On Sunday, a ceremony will take place in Paris to mark the 75th anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv, the mass roundup of 13,000 Parisian Jewry during the Holocaust who were arrested and sent to their deaths. Naturally, new French President Emmanuel Macron invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the event. Yet pro-Palestinian groups in France are planning on protesting his attendance.

Let me repeat, pro-Palestinian groups in France are planning on protesting the attendance of the Prime Minister of the Jewish state at a Holocaust memorial event in France. The justification? This is the statement from the president of the French Palestinian Solidarity Association. “In what way does this event concern Israel? The state didn’t exist at the time [of the Holocaust].” Those two sentences show everything that is wrong with the BDS campaign and its supporters.

Vel’ d’Hiv memorial in France (Wikipedia)

First, it is a continued denial by BDS supporters of the link between the Jewish people and the state of Israel. “In what way does this event concern Israel?” How ignorant can you get? In Israel over 100,000 Holocaust survivors reside, the largest of any number in any nation, and a significant percentage of the Israeli population are descendants of survivors. To say an event marking the Holocaust has nothing to do with Israel is to say an event marking the Armenian Genocide has nothing to do with Armenia.

Secondly, to say Israel not existing at the time of the Holocaust somehow means Israel is not relevant to Holocaust memorial is equally absurd. One of the reasons the Holocaust was able to occur and so many Jews were murdered, was that there was no safe haven for Jews at the time. If Israel were to be around during the Holocaust, a significant amount of Jews who perished may have been saved. This once again shows the blindness of the BDS campaign. Its supporters do not see the need of the Jewish state to exist, despite the horrors of the Holocaust. It is clear BDS supporters have still not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

French Jews being rounded up during the Holocaust (Pinterest)

The BDS campaign claims to be a movement that is fighting for justice, yet protesting the presence of the leader of the Jewish state at a Holocaust memorial event is far from justified. The statement reveals the true colors of the BDS campaign, not to further the rights of Palestinians, but to delegitimize the State of Israel and take away and deny the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern.

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