A former French foreign minister said on the radio Monday that French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was "under the influence of his Jewish wife."
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Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas made the comment in an interview with French radio station RMC-BFM, during which he was promoting a new book.
He was widely criticized in French social media and mainstream media, with the comment standing in sharp contrast to expressions of support from several European leaders in the wake of deadly attacks on a kosher supermarket in Paris last month and a synagogue in Copenhagen over the weekend. In addition, hundreds of graves in a Jewish cemetery were recently desecrated in eastern France.
Valls is married to Anne Gravoin, a violinist and a Jewish woman he married in 2010.
Valls and French President Francois Hollande vowed Monday to defend the Jewish community against attacks, 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 attack 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."