French Far-left Politician Cracks Holocaust Joke Amid Spate of anti-Semitism

'The CRIF dinner is soon and you don’t want to lose your petites fours,' Taha Bouhafs tweeted, referencing the pastries whose name means 'little ovens'

Jewish tombstones are seen desecrated with swastikas in the Herrlisheim Jewish cemetery, north of Strasbourg, eastern France, December 13, 2018.
Jean-Francois Badias/AP

 Amid a spate of anti-Semitic vandalism in France, a local far-left politician cracked a Holocaust joke online about burning Jews.

Taha Bouhafs, an activist and former candidate for Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Unbowed far-left party, made the joke on Twitter last month, the LICRA watchdog on human rights wrote.

>> Read more: When anti-Semitism wears a yellow vest | Opinion 

Commenting on a condemnation of anti-Semitism by the Socialist Party’s leader, Benoit Hamon, Bouhafs wrote: “Saintly Benoit, it’s the CRIF dinner soon and you don’t want to lose your petites fours.” Liberation reported on the exchange Thursday.

CRIF is the umbrella group of French Jewish communities. Petits fours are sweet pastries whose name means “little ovens.” The Nazis burned bodies of Jews they killed in gas chambers in oven-like crematoria.

On Friday, LICRA called Bouhafs’ tweet from February “nauseating,” adding it was commonly used by far-right extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“Now we hear it from a ‘France Unbowed’ former candidate in the parliamentary elections,” LICRA said.

Bouhafs’ tweet was a reply to Hamon’s condemnation of anti-Semitic verbal assaults on Alain Finkielkraut, a French-Jewish philosopher, by protesters from the Yellow Vests anti-austerity movement in Paris. They called Finkielkraut “dirty Zionist” but “wanted to say ‘dirty Jew,’” Hamon wrote.

Separately, unidentified individuals spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the wall of the Town Hall of Heiligenberg, a village near Strasbourg. Discovered Tuesday, the graffiti called President Emmanuel Macron “a puppet of the CRIF Semites.”

In Toulouse, swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were discovered Monday on a home. And in Nice, A Holocaust monument was defaced with swastikas.