Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman urged all Jews in France to leave the European country as a sign of protest against an upcoming conference hosted by Paris that is looking to restart Israel-Palestine peace talks.
Representatives from 70 countries will gather in Paris for the Jan. 15 peace talks, which Israel said it will not attend.
“Perhaps it’s time to tell the Jews of France, ‘This isn’t your country, this isn’t your land. Leave France and come to Israel,’” Lieberman reportedly said Monday.
He also described the upcoming conference as a new “Dreyfus trial.” Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish army captain, was wrongly convicted of espionage and treason in 1894. His trials divided the French society until he was cleared of all charges and reinstated in the army in 1906. His trials and conviction are viewed as a symbol of injustice and the anti-Semitic views in France at the time.
“This is not a peace conference. It’s a tribunal against the state of Israel, a conference whose whole point is to harm the security of Israel, its good name -- a trial against Israel,” Lieberman said. “It’s a Dreyfus trial in a modern version, what they're preparing there in Paris for January 15, with one difference. Instead of one Jew being on trial, it will be the entire Jewish people and the state of Israel.”
Through the January conference, France is hoping to revive the stalled peace talks while showing its support for the two-state solution, Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official and former peace negotiator, reportedly said.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said last week that France is determined to hold the conference despite setbacks. He added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be invited to meet separately at the end of the peace talks. The two leaders will also be invited to discuss the proposals presented at the conference with French President François Hollande.
“France is still determined to hold a conference in Paris to reaffirm the necessity of a two-state solution,” Ayrault said. “January 15 is the date that has been fixed and 70 countries are invited. We are not going to give up now.”
Lieberman’s comments come days after the United Nations passed a resolution condemning Israel for constructing settlements on Palestinian land. Israel’s biggest ally, the U.S., abstained from voting.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech Wednesday, backed the two-state solution, saying: “If Israel goes down the one state path, they will never have true peace with the rest of the Arab world. I can say that with certainty ... The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.”