Arabs in Israel join anti-French demonstrations, boycott

Demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron were staged in Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Jerusalem, and now east Jerusalem shopkeepers are boycotting French products.

al-monitor Israeli police arrest a man following a protest over comments by French President Emmanuel Macron defending cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, outside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Oct. 30, 2020. Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images.

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arab-israelis, protests, jerusalem, tel aviv, east jerusalem, prophet muhammad, france, boycott, emmanuel macron

Nov 3, 2020

Some Palestinians in east Jerusalem have decided to boycott French products in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron and the publishing in France of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Israel Hayom reported today that an owner of a shop in the Jerusalem Silwan neighborhood removed all French-made products from his store, hanging in their place signs saying, "Only the emissary of God. We will not buy and will not sell to French people. We need to boycott French products." Shopkeepers in the Palestinian Beit Hanina neighborhood and other Palestinian east Jerusalem neighborhoods reportedly did the same.

The boycott follows several protests against Macron in Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Jerusalem. On Oct. 24, some 200 people protested outside the residence of French Ambassador Eric Danon in Jaffa, carrying banners in Arabic.

On Oct. 29, hundreds of activists of the Islamic Movement in Israel demonstrated outside the French Embassy in Tel Aviv. The protesters carried banners praising the Prophet Muhammad and flags of the movement. One protester carried a sign depicting Macron as a dog.

Asked whether he condemned the triple murder in Nice, France, earlier that day, former Knesset member for the Joint List Masoud Ghanaim told Haaretz that he is obviously against hurting any innocent people. Still, he said, "The statements made by Macron and his government and the way they are conducting themselves cannot be ignored." Ghanaim also said that France cannot pretend to act against what it calls extreme Islam while hurting Muslims across the globe. "There is 1-2% who are the extremes, and then a whole people is tainted. We cannot accept that, so we demand an immediate apology and change of policy."

Joint List Knesset member Mansour Abbas also participated in the Tel Aviv demonstration. After the protest, he met with Danon for a dialogue on the issue. Abbas condemned the murders in Nice and the murder of teacher Samuel Paty earlier in October, but said that a discourse of incitement and hate and blaspheming religious symbols make fertile soil for the growth of religious and nationalistic extremism. Abbas called on Macron to prevent any further publication of such caricatures.

Abbas is a senior member of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and member of Ra’am, one of the four parties composing the Joint List. The other three were not represented at the Tel Aviv demonstration.

Despite the meeting with Danon, anti-French protests continued the next day. Hundreds of worshipers marched after the Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, protesting Macron, and three people were detained for disturbing the public order.


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