In Marseille, the second largest city of France, on April 5, 2016 took place another rally against the bill which aims at reforming French Labour Law. Over a thousand people march between the Canebière and Préfecture. Then one group walks up rue Paradis and stops in front of the Israeli Consulate general in Marseille and some demonstrators shout: "Long live Palestine! Palestine will live, Israel will die!"
At the same time, less than a hundred yards away, the headquarters of the socialist federation of Bouches-du-Rhône is violently targeted, its facade still bearing the scars with inscriptions such as "socioterrorists".
Rights and duties! France is a democracy where citizens have the right to demonstrate and protest their dissatisfaction towards their government. However, if one has rights as a citizen, one also has duties. Indeed, you cannot say nor do just anything.
After last week's violence, the words uttered outside the Israeli consulate are misleading in that they are anything but neutral, nor do they serve the demonstrators' purpose.
Clamor in front of the Israeli Consulate general in Marseille! I have been thinking hard, but I still cannot find any rational link between a French bill and a conflict taking place on another continent. And if there were one, and that the Palestinian cause were being defended, why call for the destruction of a democratic state recognized by the UN ?
Are there no other tragedies on the planet which warrant mention? Indeed, there is a long list of them, including the Syrian crisis with its 4 million refugees, the Kurds, and Eastern Christians, not to mention Europe, with Crimea or Cyprus, an EU member state with a portion of its territory occupied by Turkey since 1974.
NO to divisions and YES to coexistence! Social progress cannot be built on violence and division, which pit one section of the French population against another.
The leaders of the demonstrations against the "Labour bill" can in no way validly endorse such actions. Therefore, in order to remain credible, they should dissociate themselves from the latter and sanction the perpetrators.
I prefer women and men of goodwill who advocate coexistence to those who wish to divide.
One such example is the republican dinner held on March 30, 2016 in Marseille to celebrate Jewish-Muslim friendship and which saw Imam Hassan Chalghoumi award the "Olive Peace Tree" to Benjamin Amsellem, a Jewish teacher and victim of a recent machete attack.
It was a brave and symbolic event, which clearly said no to violence, no to terrorism, and yes to coexistence. And as the Prefect of Police of the district declared during the ceremony, "This is the true face of Marseille!"