OUTRAGE OVER MAYOR'S REFUSAL TO AWARD BOOK PRIZE TO JEWISH AUTHOR
The American Jewish Committee expressed outrage at the action of a French mayor's refusal to award his city's book award to Marek Halter, a prominent Jewish writer. The mayor of Toulon, Jean-Marie Le Chevallier, was quoted as calling the award to Halter "inopportune" and "a cheap plot against the National Front," a far-right, anti-foreigner political party led by Jean-Marie Le Pen.
At the same time, the AJC commended those French personalities, including the Minister of Culture, Philippe Douste-Blazy, and leading French publishers who have pulled out of the Toulon Book Fair, who have stood firm against Mayor Le Chevallier's authoritarian and anti-minority positions.
Mr. Le Chevallier, Mr. Le Pen and their National Front Party express the worst ideology of the far right movements in Europe today. Their anti- democratic, anti-immigrant ravings are dangerous to a free society. If the National Front Party can succeed in its isolationist, anti-foreigner agenda in France, the ideals of the more than 200 years of French democracy are at risk.
We are pleased that so many in France have stood tall in defense of Marek Halter and against discrimination and racism. The American Jewish Committee stands with these defenders of liberty and democracy.
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