Emmanuel Macron defends Donald Trump charm offensive in Paris

Vincent De Villiers
Julho 17, 2017

Ending decades of equivocation, President Jacques Chirac formally admitted France's collective responsibility for wartime crimes, declaring in 1995: "the criminal folly of the occupiers was seconded by the French, by the French state".

Paris - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to hold talks on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, marking the first time the two officials meet.

France's participation and responsibility in the Holocaust has always been a sensitive issue in France and was only officially recognised in 1995 by then president Jacques Chirac.

After Poland and the Netherlands, France has the highest number of people with the title of "Righteous Among the Nations", an honour given by Israel to non-Jews who helped Jews escape persecution during the Holocaust.

Holocaust survivors recounted wrenching stories at the ceremony at the site of Vel d'Hiv stadium outside Paris, where police herded some 13,000 people on July 16-17, 1942 before they were deported to camps. Many deaths were not registered because on arrival at Birkenau, groups were sent directly from their trains to nearby gas chambers. "Not a single German" took part, he added. I fully agree. Militant Islam wants to destroy our common civilization.

President Donald Trump
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The French presidency said Sunday's meeting would be an occasion to "signal our lack of complacency towards Iran".

Netanyahu's visit comes just after a surge of violence in Israel, where a gun attack by three Arab Israelis in Jerusalem's Old City Friday left two Israeli police officers and the attackers dead. Marine Le Pen, Mr Macron's far-right opponent in this year's election, drew strong criticism on 9 April when she suggested France was not responsible for the tragedy. We have known in Israel a lot of heroism, as have you here in France.

Netanyahu, who spoke ahead of Macron, praised the new president for condemning anti-Semitism and "this larger militancy that seeks to destroy our world".

A wave of French Jews is leaving France for Israel over the last few years: 5,000 in 2016 and 8,000 in 2015, according to the Jewish Agency of Israel to Agence France-Presse.

Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has consistently called anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism, but this statement had not been made publicly by a presiding French president prior to Macron's speech. "We must stand against them together".

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