French Jewish Leader Sues JDL Over Claims He Forgave Abbas for Killing Children

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A French Jewish leader is suing France’s Jewish Defense League for claiming he forgave the Palestinian Authority president for killing Israeli children.

Richard Prasquier, the president of the CRIF Jewish umbrella group, said he would sue the “Ligue de défense juive,” or LDJ, over a caption appearing on its website last week. The caption accompanied a photo of Prasquier from 2011, in which he is smiling and shaking hands with Mahmoud Abbas.

The caption reads: “Richard Prasquier forgiving Mahmoud Abbas, killer of 21 children and three adults at Ma’alot."

A number of Israeli figures have accused Abbas of helping to plan the 1974 massacre of schoolchildren in Ma’alot, in northern Israel, although the basis for the accusation is unclear.

In 2005, protests organized by Yishai Mimoun, then mayor of Safed, prevented Abbas from visiting the city of his birth. Mimoun, who was held hostage at the school, said Abbas was responsible for the attack.

“Such an ignoble attack on my honor … is unacceptable,” Prasquier wrote this week in a statement about the photo and caption. “Dialogue does not mean forgiveness,” he added.

Prasquier also said he used his meeting with Abbas to raise “criticisms.”

Amnon Cohen, a spokesperson for LDJ, told JTA a lawsuit by Prasquier would be “baseless, because what we said is within the limits of legitimate criticism. No one asked Mr. Prasquier to meet Abbas and we may criticize that if we like.”

A screengrab of the Ligue de défense juive's website picturing Richard Pasquier shaking hands with Mahmoud Abbas.Credit: Screengrab LDJ

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