Meyer Habib, the subject of an article in Le Monde denounced as antisemitic, addressing the French National Assembly. Photo: Reuters/Xose Bouzas (Reuters/Xose Bouzas)
Meyer Habib


Offending piece accused Jewish former member of French parliament of ‘lack of manners’ and ‘excesses’ which ‘seduce a French electorate in Israel which leans more and more to the right, and where the Sephardim have more and more weight.’

By The Algemeiner

A Jewish former member of the French parliament has filed a complaint against Le Monde, one of the country’s leading newspapers, over an allegedly antisemitic opinion piece that referred to the “lack of manners” among Sephardic Jews in Israel.

Lawyers for Meyer Habib — a vocal supporter of Israel whose election to the French National Assembly was annulled by the country’s constitutional court earlier this month, after it cited ballot “irregularities” and other violations of electoral conduct — announced on Thursday that the complaint was based on a perceived “racial insult” against the Sephardic community, “(who were) described with contempt.” Habib, a member of the center-right Les Republicains Party, had served as the parliamentary representative for French citizens living abroad in Greece, Turkey, Italy and Israel for the last 10 years.

The offending piece — written by Christophe Ayad and Louis Imbert, Le Monde’s Jerusalem correspondent — mocked Habib, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for having been removed from his parliamentary position as the Israeli leader arrived in Paris for talks with President Emmanuel Macron. Describing a meeting with business leaders, Ayad and Imbert noted that Habib was standing alongside Netanyahu wearing “a crumpled white shirt and blue tie — the colors of the Israeli flag.”

The piece then observed that what “was to be the day of glory of Mr. Habib was the end of his mandate. That’s too bad.”

However, the authors warned that Habib could make a bid for re-election in the coming months.

“He has a chance to win, as his lack of manners and his excesses seduce a French electorate in Israel which leans more and more to the right, and where the Sephardim have more and more weight,” they claimed.

The Israeli Embassy in Paris had earlier reacted furiously in the wake of the article’s publication.

In a statement responding to the article, Israeli Ambassador Yael German asserted that Le Monde was “no longer satisfied with its systemic bias against Israel.”

She charged that the paper was displaying “uninhibited antisemitism” by arguing that a “lack of manners” and “excesses” were specific characteristics of Sephardic Jews.

“Such declarations convey the most objectionable antisemitic stereotypes,” German added.

Send Passover Packages to Needy Israeli Soldiers - Bring Them Joy!

We are honored to thank the young men and women of the IDF who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Israel. Since October 7th, soldiers have been on the battlefield for months - many are hoping to come home for Passover.

Join us in sending Passover food packages (and personal notes) to Israeli soldiers and their families.

Many soldiers spend the Passover holiday with needy families back home. The soldiers greatly appreciate your love and concern. Bring them Passover joy!