The French government is considering banning a Jewish group which “rejects the myth of the Palestinian people” and which is linked to a terrorist group in the US.
The Interior Ministry said it was weighing up its options after Ligue de Défense Juive (LDJ) members were accused of provoking pro-Palestinian demonstrators in and around Paris in recent weeks.
On three occasions, violence has broken out between LDJ-led gangs and protesters opposed to Israel’s actions in Gaza.
The LDJ is thought to have around 250 members, most in their early 20s, and is a French off-shoot of the American Jewish Defence League, which was placed on the FBI list of terrorist groups 13 years ago.
Its website proclaims that it “rejects the myth of the existence of a Palestinian people” and police authorities say LDJ members have been involved in attacks against “Arabs” in France.
Members say they have themselves been provoked, forced to defend themselves against attacks on synagogues and the looting of Jewish-owned shops by youths of north African origin. An unnamed spokesman for the group told Le Monde that a ban was a “message to the Jewish community that its future lies in Israel not in France”.
They added: “This will be the first time since the Vichy regime that a Jewish organisation will have been dissolved in France.”
Moderate Jewish groups in France reject the methods and ideology of the LDJ and welcome the decision, but they have also called for banning of a group called ‘Gaza Firm’, purportedly influenced by the anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonné.