A French chapter of SPME is in the process of being created. Contacts have been established with the board of directors and staff in the United States since last summer. Our group is currently very small, but we hope to progress in the near future. A call for new recruits has been issued to the list of French subscribers of the SPME newsletter. We already received several responses of
potential members and expect some more. Actually, previous efforts had been undertaken to start a French chapter a few years ago. Members of this former nucleus are being contacted and asked to join our new group. We hope to build on this past experience and reactivate the prospects that had then been initiated.
Our objectives are to consolidate the presence of SPME in France and to enhance monitoring of campus activities concerning the Arab – Israeli conflict, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. In the short term, we plan to work on organizing the chapter so as to provide SPME with a proper structure in France. Our main efforts will therefore be concentrated on increasing the number of members in
Organizing a SPME chapter in France requires taking into account the context regarding Israel and the Jewish community in French society and particularly in academia. The situation in French universities is still quite uneasy concerning the Middle East conflict and especially Israel, although the climate seems to be less critical than it was a few years ago. Notwithstanding, recent events raise
concerned. For instance, anti-Israeli gatherings have been organized in front of major universities to commemorate the war in Gaza that occurred a year ago. Itshould be noted though that some universities, such as Pierre et Marie Curie University which is the biggest university in Paris, did not allow such events to take place inside the campus. A worrying event though occurred in December
when Ali Fayat, a member of the Lebanese parliament belonging to the Hezbolla, was invited for a conference held in the Sorbonne University of Paris. Students from the “Union des Etudiants Juifs de France” (Union of Jewish Students of France) were present and tried to speak up and expose the terrorist nature of the Hezbolla. They were violently repelled from the conference room. Several
French Jewish organizations had called for this event to be canceled but to no avail. This demonstrates the difficulties that need to be tackled before the climate in some French universities can be expected to return to a sane position.
To become involved in the newly forming chapter contact: Ouriel Grynszpan at the University of Paris 6 at email@example.com .