Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming attendance of a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the “Vel’ d’Hiv” Holocaust-era roundup of French Jews is expected to be met with protests in Paris.
French anti-Israel activists have called for demonstrations during Netanyahu’s visit and for their supporters to demand that France’s President Emmanuel Macron rescind the invitation to the Israeli leader.
“In what way does this event concern Israel? The state didn’t exist at the time [of the Holocaust]. Israel cannot present itself as the sole inheritor of the victims of the Holocaust,” wrote Bertrand Heilbronn, president of the French Palestinian Solidarity Association, in a joint letter with French-Jewish historian Dominique Vidal.
“The head of the Israeli government, who is from the Right, the far-Right of Israel, has no place at the commemoration of the roundup at Vel’ D’Hiv,” the letter added.
The French Communist Party released a statement saying the memorial ceremony “must send a strong message of peace, and Benjamin Netanyahu is not the man for this message.”
During the July 1942 Vel’ d’Hiv roundup, French police implemented a Nazi-ordered roundup of 13,000 Jews ahead of their deportation to the Auschwitz death camp. In 1995, Former French President Jacques Chirac apologized for the “irreparable act.”
Netanyahu flies to Paris Friday and will meet with Macron ahead of Sunday’s memorial event. Following his stop in France, Netanyahu will travel to Budapest to participate in a summit with the leaders of the Visegrad Group: Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.