Po­lice ban Paris rally by anti-Is­rael groups

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY SHIRLI SITBON PARIS

THE FIRST pro-Pales­tinian “Jerusalem Day” to be held in Paris has been banned by po­lice, fol­low­ing alerts on pos­si­ble al­ter­ca­tions and in­cite­ment.

Sev­eral ac­tivist groups led by the Zahra Cen­tre had planned a rally next to the Eif­fel Tower last Satur­day to protest against “Zion­ism and im­pe­ri­al­ism”.

Jerusalem Day, or Al-Quds Day, is an an­nual protest first launched by the Is­lamic lead­er­ship in Iran.

“We wanted to or­gan­ise, here in France, Jerusalem Day, the event that was launched by [late Ira­nian Ay­a­tol­lah] Khome­ini, but Zion­ist groups and me­dia pres­sured au­thor­i­ties and po­lice who banned the event at the last minute,” Zahra Cen­tre leader Yahia Gouasmi told the JC.

Pales­tinian of­fi­cials in Paris gave no sup­port to the ini­tia­tive and have dis­tanced them­selves in the past from some of the groups in­volved, such as the Euro-Pales­tine list.

Ac­tor Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a for­mer mem­ber of the Euro-Pales­tine list, par­tic­i­pated in Satur­day’s ini­tia­tive. Mr M’bala M’bala, who used to be the part­ner of Jewish co­me­dian Eli Se­moun, hosted a press con­fer­ence in his the­atre.

Po­lice forces were par­tic­u­larly con­cerned by the pres­ence of an ex­trem­ist group MDI, which has been twice banned by French au­thor­i­ties. The fac­tion, led by Stel­lio Capoc­hichi, known as Kemi Seba, was dis­banded in 2006 be­cause of its an­ti­semitic ac­tions and in­cite­ment. It has since re­formed twice us­ing dif­fer­ent names. Mean­while, its mem­bers have mul­ti­plied.

The MDI — the Move­ment of those who are Damned by Im­pe­ri­al­ism — ac­cuses Zion­ists of “be­ing re­spon­si­ble for in­jus­tice and im­pe­ri­al­ism through­out the world”.

French courts have ruled that Kemi Seba’s re­peated at­tacks on Zion­ists were ill-dis­guised in­cite­ment.

Kemi Seba and his mil­i­tants have threat­ened Jews on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions. One such at­tack, in the Jewish quar­ter of the Marais in cen­tral Paris, led to the ban of the group by then-pres­i­dent Jac­ques Chirac.

Kemi Seba’s move­ment, how­ever, has man­aged to grow stronger ever since. Once the leader of a small, ex­clu­sively black group­ing, he has opened doors to other mil­i­tants and his move­ment now com­prises an African fac­tion and an Arab fac­tion. He also de­vel­oped con­tacts with white na­tion­al­ist groups.

Ac­cord­ing to Le Monde news­pa­per, Kemi Seba was lob­by­ing the youth in var­i­ous sub­urbs and par­tic­u­larly in Paris’s 19th quar­ter where eth­nic ten­sions have risen in re­cent months.

Jerusalem Day or­gan­is­ers told the JC they were plan­ning a ma­jor re­sponse to the ban in the com­ing days.

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