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France

Ex-minister unrepentant for comments on French PM's Jewish wife

© FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-02-17

A former French foreign minister has refused to apologise for saying the country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls was "probably influenced by his Jewish wife".

In an interview with FRANCE 24’s Sylvain Attal, 92-year-old Roland Dumas stood by his comments on BFMTV and RMC over the weekend in which he criticised Valls, saying the prime minister "has personal alliances that mean he has prejudices”.

"Everyone knows he is married to someone really good but who has an influence on him," Dumas told BFM-TV, without mentioning the name of Valls' Jewish wife, violinist Anne Gravoin.

Pressed to answer the question "is he under Jewish influence?" Dumas responded, "Probably, I would think so."

Challenged in the FRANCE 24 interview about the remark, for which he has been sharply rebuked by France’s ruling Socialists, he replied: “I will not apologise!”

In a statement, the Socialist Party said Dumas's statements were "unworthy of a Socialist decorated by the Republic".

Dumas is known for controversial comments, such as denying the official account of the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

On Monday, following the weekend attacks in Copenhagen which targeted a synagogue and free-speech event, Valls underscored the need for high security in France to defend against what he called "Islamo-fascism."

Valls and French President François Hollande vowed Monday to defend the Jewish community, following calls from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a mass immigration of Jews to Israel following recent deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Europe.

Hollande said he would not allow people to believe that "Jews no longer have a place in Europe."

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said after the attacks that Danish Jews have the government's support.

"When the Jewish community is attacked, the whole of Denmark is attacked," the premier said. "The Jewish community does not stand alone."

 

Date created : 2015-02-16

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