French parliament evacuated over substance sent to Jewish lawmaker

(JTA) – Dozens of firefighters evacuated a part of the building housing the French parliament’s lower house in Paris, after a letter containing slurs against a Jewish lawmaker and white powder was found there. The letter, reading “fat Zionist pig, you’re not French,” among other insults, was opened by an employee of Meyer Habib’s office on August 27. The powder was found to be harmless and the threat lifted from parliament within an hour of the evacuation. No suspects are in custody. Habib, a former deputy president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, represents the eastern part of the Mediterranean.

Authorities in France have a mixed approach to vitriol toward Israel and Zionism. Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism during a speech – the first such public statement by a French head of state. In addition, Promoting a boycott of Israel is illegal in France following a 2003 law that forbids it as form of incitement to hate or discrimination. But whereas some incidents of anti-Zionist vitriol are treated as hate crimes, others are tolerated.

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