By 199 votes against 71, the French deputies largely rejected, Thursday, May 4, a motion for a resolution condemning the Israeli policy. The text, tabled in the National Assembly by the majority Communist group, reaffirms the need for a two-state solution and condemns “the institutionalization by the State of Israel of an apartheid regime resulting from its policy colonial”.
If deep divergences of analysis on the political situation in the Middle East cross the political class, it is the qualification of “apartheid” which electrified the debate and divided even within the left. A majority of elected Communists (16 present out of the 22 in the group), Rebellious (47 out of 75) and a minority of environmentalists (8 out of 23) voted for this resolution. On the other hand, the Socialist Group opposed it and will present its own resolution in the coming days.
With two abstentions, all the voters of the presidential majority, the right and the extreme right rejected the resolution. A non-binding text which asks the government to recognize the State of Palestine and to allow the “boycott of products from the colonies”.
Communist Jean-Paul Lecoq, author of the text, insisted on his group’s “deep attachment” “to the existence of the State of Israel”, but defended the right to criticize an “illiberal and colonial drift of this State”. However, it is the use of the word apartheid that has fueled very heated exchanges. Part of the left is sticking to a legal definition of the term “which makes it possible to go beyond the South African framework”, insisted Ersilia Soudais, deputy LFI. “A lot of intellectuals do it, to name things, to qualify, it is a path to peace”, tried to plead his communist colleague Elsa Faucillon.
Accusation of anti-Semitism
But these arguments were swept away by the majority, starting with the representative of the government, Laurence Boone who considers the term “largely excessive, inappropriate”. The Secretary of State in charge of Europe recalls that he carries “a heavy burden” and assures that the “diversion of words does not serve the cause of peace”.
On behalf of the Modem, Jean-Louis Bourlanges judged the word “reductive, inappropriate, sterile”. He “digs a ditch when we have to open bridges”, summarized in a formula the very applauded deputy. For the group Les Républicains (LR), Annie Genevard described the term apartheid as “slanderous and indecent”. But his related right-wing colleague LR, Meyer Habib, as usual, pushed the offensive far. “Today, anti-Semitism is mainly on the left,” accused the elected official close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“It’s an insult to our political family,” retorted communist Elsa Faucillon. When we denounced apartheid in South Africa, we were quite alone and you called us terrorists”.
Jean-Louis Bourlanges, in turn, called “not to caricature” the author of the resolution which recognizes the existence of the State of Israel. Placing himself “in the wise steps” of the centrist, the leader of the socialists Olivier Faure does not wish either to “disqualify” under the pretext of anti-Semitism those who pose the debate, while standing out from the rest of the Nupes. “Transforming a territorial conflict into a debate between Jews and Muslims, between Jews and Arabs is a fault because it does not allow a solution to be found”, criticizes the socialist.
As for environmentalists, they remained discreet. Sabrina Sebaihi returned to a general discussion on the occupation of the West Bank, “a colonial and apartheid situation”. But no elected member of the group took the floor for the explanations of vote.