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Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism Thrive in Russia; Is Putin on a Collision Course with Israel?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting at the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023. Sputnik/Vladimir Smirnov/Pool via REUTERS

During a speech in 2022 celebrating the annexation of four new Ukrainian territories (in addition to Crimea, which was annexed in 2014), Russian President Putin unexpectedly articulated a new ideology of Russian anti-colonialism, surprising many Western observers.

Putin synthesized a new “conservative” Kremlin ideology with a formally “leftist” Soviet ideology. What could this ideology practically mean for Israel?

Putin stated: “The West is willing to do anything to preserve the neocolonial system that allows it to parasitize, to actually plunder the world through the power of the dollar and technological diktat, to collect real tribute from humanity, to extract the main source of unearned prosperity, the hegemon’s rent.” Putin accused the West of preparing aggression against Russia through Ukraine, in order to maintain its global domination and colonial enslavement. Interestingly, Putin presented his own aggression and annexation of foreign territories as self-defense, ostensibly aimed at dismantling Western imperialism and liberating the Global South.

Naturally, for any unbiased observer, such a peculiar ideology of “anti-colonialism” contains an obvious contradiction: the liberation of nations from imperialism is clearly impossible through attempts to build an empire. However, the experts who underestimated the potential impact of Putin’s new ideology of “anti-colonialism” because of its inherent contradictions were mistaken.

Putin is trying to capitalize on the fact that the war in Ukraine has not been condemned in many non-Western countries. As Peter Rutland wrote: “The war unified the West — but has divided the West from the rest of the world. The majority of the countries in the Global South see the Ukraine war as a problem in that it has caused energy and food prices to rise, but they are not blaming Russia for starting the war, and have declined to join the Western sanctions. This recalls the Cold War — during which most of the developing world adopted a non-aligned stance, preferring to stay out of the contest between the superpowers.” The unexpected appeal of the Russian position for a number of Third World countries is also noted in a report by the Swedish Defence Research Agency.

To support this new doctrine, a powerful media network (including the popular RT TV channel and Sputnik system in many parts of the world, as well as a network of social media accounts) was deployed. In shaping this new doctrine, Russia managed to partially (although not without internal contradictions) overcome its dependence on the conservative and even explicitly racist discourse of Putin’s propaganda, which is widespread in Russia itself.

Putin’s “anti-colonialism” ideology continues to evolve. It looks more like a state-sponsored process than a full-fledged Soviet-type ideology (e.g., as it appeared under Mikhail Suslov, who oversaw Soviet ideology from Stalin to the end of the Brezhnev era). Based on pragmatic considerations, the Russian elite has decided to emphasize the image of Russia as a global “leader of oppressed countries,” just as the USSR did.

According to a leak, the new propaganda aimts to focus on some of the less wealthy European countries (including Southern Europe, parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe), post-Soviet countries, South America, and Asia. However, this propaganda is not limited to these parts of the world.

For Israel, the political implications of promoting such an ideology are quite clear.

The Russian leadership appeals to Soviet anti-Zionist (and implicitly antisemitic) ideology, which in itself would have negative consequences for relations with Israel, even if this process remained purely ideological and did not manifest itself in practical life.
In practice, however, Russia is trying to use the new anti-colonial and anti-Israel ideology to build relations with non-Western countries, countering Western attempts to create a global alliance against Russia’s actions in Ukraine
In this context, it is particularly dangerous for Israel that Russia actively employs anti-colonial (and anti-Zionist) ideology in its diplomatic engagement with Iran.
The surge of leftist anti-Israel sentiment in Western intellectual circles demonstrates that the Kremlin’s appeal to Soviet anti-colonial propaganda is helping to destabilize the modern West to some extent.
Anti-Zionist propaganda in Russia itself (and among far-right groups in the West) appeals to far-right groups whose significance to the Kremlin has increased due to ideological confrontation with the liberal world order.

Let’s examine the points highlighted above.

Appeal to Soviet Anti-Zionist Ideology in the Global South. Putin’s Russia seeks to capitalize on the ideological legacy of the Soviet Union in non-Western countries. The Soviet Union was renowned for its uncompromising anti-colonial struggle against Western colonial empires (although its own policies, for example, in Central Asia or the Caucasus, can be characterized as colonial, and such practices continue to this day).At least since the time of Khrushchev, if not the late Stalin, Soviet anti-colonial struggle has included significant elements of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Soviet policy in the Arab Middle East during certain periods was largely confined to supporting Israel’s opponents, including the governments of Egypt under Gamal Nasser, Syria under Hafez al-Assad, and various Palestinian terrorist groups.The Soviet struggle against Israel and Zionism, however, was much broader. It included active anti-Zionist propaganda spread in Third World countries, drawing direct parallels between Zionism and imperialism (and even Nazism as the most extreme form of imperialism). The regions of most uncompromising Soviet anti-colonial struggle included the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and others. In virtually all of these regions, the Soviet Union actively used anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic propaganda.
Establishing Relations with Non-Western Countries through a New Anti-Colonial and Anti-Israeli Ideology. The Kremlin is using a new anti-colonial and anti-Israeli ideology to build relations with non-Western countries, countering Western attempts to create a global alliance against Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Currently, in the context of the war in Gaza, old leftist forces historically linked to the Soviet Union and actively opposing Israel’s policies have re-emerged in these regions.In Latin America, most of the countries most actively opposed to Israel (primarily Bolivia, but also Chile, Colombia, Honduras, and Belize) have leftist governments that to varying degrees associate themselves with Soviet anti-colonial ideology. However, it should be noted that other factors also influence foreign policy decisions. Some leftist governments in the region have been relatively cautious in their statements. Such additional factors include national interests, diplomatic traditions (e.g., Belize tends to take a position opposite to Guatemala, which has expressed pro-Israel sentiments), or the presence of large Arab diasporas (e.g., Chile, which has a half-million Arab minority).The African National Congress in South Africa, which has a strong anti-Israeli stance, has also historically been linked (through its militant left wing) to the USSR. The Syrian regime in the Middle East, which opposes Israel, is directly linked to Soviet times: the Assad dynasty had ties to the USSR. This list could go on for a long time.

Numerous statements by Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Maria Zakharova (spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) contain elements of anti-Israel discourse and antisemitic global conspiracy theory.

For instance, Putin repeatedly stated that Volodymyr Zelensky, who he said was “installed by Western curators,” was covering for “Ukrainian Nazis” with whom Russia is at war. Lavrov added to this by suggesting that “Hitler was allegedly of Jewish descent.” Zakharova published an article justifying a position that some experts (especially in Ukraine and Israel) consider to be a soft version of the Holocaust denial prevalent in the USSR.

In this regard, there is currently an active discussion (in Russia, Ukraine, and Israel) about whether a Soviet style policy of state antisemitism is being revived in Russia. At that time, propaganda equating Zionism with Western imperialism and even German Nazism was widespread]. This idea was utilized both domestically and in specific Soviet propaganda aimed at Arab countries in the Middle East.

Russia also actively supports anti-Israel forces in the Gaza war, including various Palestinian groups, Iran and Hezbollah.

New Anti-Colonial Ideology in Diplomatic Interactions with Iran. Russia is actively using its new anti-colonial ideology in diplomatic engagement with Iran. Iran’s “axis of resistance” ideology, although adapted to a Shiite framework, is very reminiscent of Soviet anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist propaganda and often incorporates elements of the Soviet system (e.g., Assad’s Syria). I analyzed publications on the website of the Russian embassy in Iran and the Iran-related section of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website. A significant part of the publications from 2022-2024 contains elements of anti-colonial rhetoric. This rhetoric has become a mandatory component of diplomatic documents signed in recent years by Russian and Iranian representatives.

Of course, it cannot be said that anti-colonial ideology and even anti-Israel stance were the main reasons for the rapprochement between Russia and Iran. It was more a coincidence of situational factors. From Moscow’s perspective, the key reason for rapprochement was that Iran, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s international isolation, became an important source of technology (primarily in the production of drones), a political ally in the fight against the West, and an example of long-term economic survival under Western sanctions. Finally, the Iran-Israel conflict was very convenient for Russia to distract the US leadership from the Ukraine problem. Nevertheless, the new anti-colonial rhetoric ideologically reinforces the Russia-Iran rapprochement.

The Explosion of Leftist Anti-Israeli Sentiment in Western Intellectual Circles, Especially in Universities, in the US, and Moscow’s Influence. Putin’s Russia is largely not directly connected to the ultra-leftist circles in the US. Instead, Moscow interacts with right-wing circles in the US that support Trump. The ties of some left-wing parties, such as Germany’s Die Linke, to Russia are more characteristic of Europe.

Nonetheless, Russia has contributed to anti-imperialist and anti-Israeli propaganda in the .S. Notably, Moscow’s ideology is most actively promoted in English-speaking countries through the RT network. RT head Margarita Simonyan largely anticipated Putin’s turn to anti-colonial rhetoric and has sought to recruit journalists with leftist, anti-imperialist, and anti-colonial views in several countries, including the United States.

In addition, RT is connected to a large group of social media accounts actively spreading anti-Israeli propaganda in the context of the war in Gaza. Thus, the Kremlin is also contributing to the West’s division along this line.

Anti-Zionist propaganda in Russia itself, as well as among far-right groups in the West, appeals to ultra-right antisemitic groups. One of the paradoxes of the new doctrine is that it utilizes propaganda aimed at both far-right and far-left circles. The involvement of prominent right-wing ideologue Alexander Dugin in the formation of the new “anti-colonial” discourse indicates a certain continuity in shaping the right-wing propaganda (directed primarily at wealthy European countries and the US) with the new formally left-wing “anti-colonial” propaganda (directed mainly at the Global South).Dugin, in his various works (for example, on the well-known ideologue of the Third Reich, Carl Schmitt), has demonstrated how elements of Nazi ideology can be introduced into a formally leftist discourse (for example, referring to Carl Schmitt’s theory of the partisan, which in the perception of a number of Russian far-right circles acquires distinct imperial and even antisemitic connotations).

Among other far-right figures involved in the anti-colonial discourse, Konstantin Malofeev, a well-known oligarch, stands out. He played a significant role in the annexation of Crimea and in the outbreak of the war in Donbass, and was a source of funding for Igor Strelkov, the former “defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic.” Malofeev’s propagandist TV channel Tsargrad was initially modeled on American ultra-conservative propaganda. Now Malofeev finances the Tsargrad Institute, intellectually controlled by Dugin. Thus, there is an attempt to appropriate the anti-colonial discourse by Russian far-right circles. There is also a clear misuse of elements of anti-colonial discourse for Russian propaganda in developed Western countries, especially in Europe.

Dugin and Malofeev are known for their numerous antisemitic and anti-Israeli statements, which they now disguise as anti-colonial ideology. This approach is well-received by far-right antisemitic circles in Europe. Unlike the United States, Europe has very influential far-right groups with anti-Israeli and antisemitic positions. Russia’s traditional ties with some far-right parties in Europe fit well with this abusive strand of anti-colonial discourse, transforming it from left-wing to right-wing. Despite the internal contradictions in Dugin’s theses related to right-wing misuse of left-wing theories, they are fully in line with the Kremlin’s propaganda directives in Europe, where the emphasis of “anti-colonialism” should be on supporting traditional, “normal” values.

In addition, “duginism” becomes a means of reinterpreting the anti-colonial foreign policy discourse for the needs of domestic propaganda in Russia. As part of the transition to the “anti-colonial” discourse, a total mobilization of intellectual forces is planned, which involves purging the country of liberals who have not yet left. This ideology also includes a significant share of anti-Semitism. The ideologues of this process also include Dugin and Malofeev, who have proclaimed ideas of “decolonization” of Russian science.

An analysis of the anti-Israeli elements in Putin’s new ideology of “anti-colonialism” shows that as this ideology takes hold, Russia may find itself in a situation of systematic ideologically motivated confrontation with Israel, similar to what took place during the Soviet era. This ideology is currently evolving under the influence of various situational factors related to an attempt to overcome the international isolation of Putin following the invasion of Ukraine. However, this does not mean that it will quickly disappear. After all, anti-Israeli ideology in the USSR also developed under the influence of various situational factors, but lasted for decades during the Cold War.

The author is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the PSCR Program, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, PhD (Israel). A version of this article was originally published by The BESA Center.

The post Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism Thrive in Russia; Is Putin on a Collision Course with Israel? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Jerusalem, Feb. 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday departed for a highly anticipated trip to Washington, DC, where he will meet with US President Joe and Biden and deliver a speech before Congress this week as America grapples with the aftermath of Biden’s unprecedented decision to end his 2024 reelection campaign.

During his first trip to the US capital in almost four years, Netanyahu plans to visit the White House and also address US lawmakers on Wednesday. Netanyahu was originally expected to meet with Biden on Tuesday; however, several Hebrew media outlets reported that the meeting will likely be delayed due to Biden still being sick with COVID-19.

It is unclear how Biden’s shock decision on Sunday to drop out of the US presidential race will impact Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress. According to Israel’s Channel 13, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, a close confidant of Netanyahu, assured US officials that the speech will not include criticism of or against Biden following repeated requests by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for information about what the Israeli premier will say.

Netanyahu issued a statement following Biden’s announcement indicating the Israeli premier will underline the importance of bipartisanship in maintaining a close US-Israel relationship.

“I will seek to anchor the bipartisan support that is so important for Israel. And I will tell my friends on both sides of the aisle [in Congress] that regardless of who the American people choose as their next president, Israel remains America’s indispensable and strong ally in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said while leaving Israel for Washington, DC. “In this time of war and uncertainty it’s important that Israel’s enemies know that America and Israel stand together today, tomorrow, and always.”

The Israeli premier also expressed gratitude to Biden, stating that he will thank the US president for helping the Jewish state as he prepares to exit the White House.

“I plan to see President Biden, whom I’ve known for over 40 years. This will be an opportunity to thank him for the things he did for Israel in the war and during his long and distinguished career in public service, as senator, as vice president, and as president,” Netanyahu said.

Amid declining support for Israel among US liberal Democratic lawmakers, Netanyahu hopes to use his congressional address and White House visit to mend relations with Democrats, who have become increasingly uneasy over Israel’s war effort against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Biden has come under heavy fire from Republicans as well as pro-Israel Democrats for what they’ve described as him turning against Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

The US president expressed strong support for Israel following Hamas’ brutal invasion of southern Israel on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists murdered 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 hostages during their onslaught. In recent months, however, Biden has paused some weapons shipments to Israel and accused the US ally of “indiscriminate bombing” — a charge rejected by Israeli officials.

The Biden administration also discouraged Israel from launching a military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah to target some of the last remaining Hamas battalions, arguing such an operation would put too many civilians at risk. Experts told The Algemeiner at the time that Israeli forces needed to operate in Rafah in order to dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities.

More broadly, the relationship between the Democratic Party and Israel has deteriorated in the months following Oct. 7. Several high-profile Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), have suggested that Israel’s military operations in Gaza are tantamount to a “genocide.” Democratic lawmakers have also called on Biden to halt arms transfers to Israel, citing concern over mounting civilian casualties in Gaza.

While Israeli officials have expressed frustration about the Biden administration pressuring them to halt their military campaign, Netanyahu is expected to use his visit as a way to repair some of the damage. The trip could also serve as a way to make Israel’s case directly to the American public, which overall remains pro-Israel despite declining support among younger demographics.

The percentage of Americans that express “little or no confidence” in Netanyahu has increased by 11 points since 2023, according to an April poll by Pew Research Center. Among Democrats, a staggering 71 percent express “little or no confidence” in the Israeli leader. 

Anti-Israel groups have also organized protests in advance of Netanyahu’s congressional address. Far-left organizations such as Party for Socialism and Liberation and Palestinian Youth Movement are urging their supporters to “surround the Capitol” during Netanyahu’s address. Leaders of these groups have branded Netanyahu as a “war criminal” and have called for his arrest. 

The people charge Benjamin Netanyahu with genocide. When war criminal Netanyahu comes to Washington DC,” Palestinian Youth Movement wrote on Instagram, “the people of the world stand with Palestine and against the genocide committed by Israel with full support of the United States and impunity.”

In addition to meeting with Biden, Netanyahu may also speak with Republican presidential nominee and former US President Donald Trump. Netanyahu has requested an in-person meeting with Trump while in the US this week, according to Politico.

The Algemeiner could not immediately verify the report.

The post Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say

Law enforcement officers detain a demonstrator, as they clear out a pro-Hamas protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Los Angeles, California, US, May 2, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

The State Attorney’s Office of Cook County, Illinois has dropped criminal charges filed against three Northwestern University faculty and one graduate student who allegedly obstructed law enforcement’s efforts to clear an unlawful demonstration at the Deering Meadow section of campus.

According to a local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, the office said its decision is based on its “policy not to prosecute peaceful protesters.”

Charges against the four individuals were pursued by the Northwestern University Police Department, which said that they allegedly engaged in “obstructing a police officer during the protests,” a crime for which they could, if convicted, spend a year in jail and pay a $2,500 fine, The Daily Northwestern reported last week. They had already appeared before a judge and were scheduled to do so again in August.

The university had defended the recommendation of its police department and rejected the notion that the individuals acted peaceably, saying in a statement issued earlier this month that it “does not permit activity that disrupts university operations, violates the law, or includes the intimidation or harassment of members of the community.”

Many more protesters have similarly avoided punishment for the actions they took during a burst of pro-Hamas demonstrations at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year, according to a new report by The New York Times. Prosecutors in Travis County, Texas, for example, have dropped over 100 charges of criminal trespassing filed against University of Texas at Austin protesters, the paper said, and 60 other Northwestern University protesters saw their charges dismissed, with prosecutors calling them “constitutionally dubious.” The Times added, however, that some charges will stick, including those filed against someone who bit a police officer, and many students are still awaiting the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

Per the report, “At the University of Virginia on May 4, as students were preparing for final exams, administrators called in police to break up an encampment. Police officers in riot gear used chemical irritants to get protesters to disperse and eventually arrested 27 people. The local prosecutor dropped the charges facing seven people after he determined there wasn’t enough evidence. He offered the rest an agreement: their charges would be dismissed in August if they didn’t have any outstanding criminal charges at the time.”

Prosecutors in other states have not been as forbearing. According to Fresh Take Florida, prosecutors in Alachua County, Florida charged seven University of Florida students, as well as two non-students, with trespassing and resisting arrest. The defendants have resolved to take their chances at trial, the news service added, noting that all nine have rejected “deferred prosecution,” an agreement that would require them to plead guilty, or no contest, in exchange for the state’s expunging the convictions from their records in the future so long as they abstain from committing more criminal acts.

One of the nine, computer science student Parker Stanley Hovis, 26, — who was suspended for three years — proclaimed earlier this month that they will contest the state’s cases.

“We did not resist arrest, and we are prepared to fight our charges,” Hovis said in a statement. “We’re standing in solidarity with each other, and collectively demanding that the state drop the charges against us.”

Jewish civil rights group have described the anti-Israel protesters across the US as posing an imminent threat to Jewish students and faculty while noting that many avert being identified by concealing their faces with masks and keffiyehs, a traditional headscarf worn by Palestinians which has become known as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause and opposition to Israel. Images and footage of the practice have been widely circulated online, and it has rendered identifying the protesters — many of whom have chanted antisemitic slogans, vandalized school property, and threatened to harm Jewish students and faculty during a weeks-long demonstration between April and May — virtually impossible.

On Thursday, one such civil rights group, StandWithUs (SWU), implored the US Department of Justice to crack down on masked protests at Columbia University by enforcing legal statues which are widely referred to as the “KKK Laws,” citing numerous antisemitic incidents of harassment and assault on its campus and the difficulty of punishing the perpetrators.

Dating back to the administration of former US President Ulysses S. Grant, the so-called “KKK Laws” empower the federal government to prosecute those who engage in activities which violate the civil rights of protected groups, as the Ku Klux Klan did across the US South during Reconstruction to prevent African Americans from voting and living as free citizens. StandWithUs alleges that five anti-Zionist groups — most notably Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — currently operating on Columbia University’s campus have perpetrated similar abuses in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which guarantees all students, regardless of race or ethnic background, has the right to a safe learning environment.

“We hope the Department of Justice will take this opportunity to restore justice on Columbia University’s campuses and hold bad actors responsible for violating federal laws,” Yael Lerman, director of the SWU Saidoff Legal Department, said in a statement.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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France Says Israeli Athletes ‘Welcome’ at Olympics Amid Mounting Threats, Added Security Measures

The Olympic Village prepared for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo: Paris 2024 / Raphael Vriet

French leaders said on Monday that the Israeli delegation to the 2024 Paris Olympics is welcome in France, despite what critics described as “antisemitic” comments to the contrary made by a French politician two days earlier

At an anti-Israel rally on Saturday, far-left French lawmaker Thomas Portes said, “I am here to say that, no, the Israeli delegation is not welcome in Paris. Israeli athletes are not welcome at the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Portes called for Israelis to be excluded from the Paris Olympics because of Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip who perpetrated the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

Portes later also told the newspaper Le Parisien that “France’s diplomats should pressure the International Olympic Committee to bar the Israeli flag and anthem, as is done for Russia” due to its invasion of Ukraine.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Portes’ comments had “obvious antisemitic overtones” and “placed a target on the backs of the Israeli athletes.” He added, “I want to express my disgust at that. I want to assure the Israeli athletes of our full protection, like all athletes, but particularly them, also welcoming them.”

Darmanin also announced that Israel’s Olympic delegation, which includes 88 athletes representing the Jewish state, will have increased security and will receive 24-hour security from French police. He said the decision was made after taking into consideration the 1972 Munich Olympics — where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September — and how Israeli athletes are a target for attacks, especially since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

France has experienced a record surge in antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched the war with its massacre across southern Israel.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné reiterated that the Israeli delegation “is welcome in France” for the Paris Olympics during his visit to Brussels on Monday, the French-language newspaper Le Monde reported. He called Portes’ remarks “irresponsible and dangerous,” and added that France “will ensure the security of the [Israeli] delegation.”

Paris Police Chief Laurent Nuñez said 30,000 to 45,000 police personnel will be working daily to ensure safety at Olympic sites and fan zones in Paris.

It was previously reported that Israel doubled its security budget for this year’s Games, which will be Israel’s 18th appearance in the Olympics. Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar told The Telegraph that the Israeli Olympic delegation this year, which is the second-largest Israeli delegation in Olympics history, has received threats but he did not go into detail. He added that delegation members will receive security details from Israel’s Shin Bet security agency but not everyone will have their own bodyguards.

“We try our best to make sure the athletes feel free but also safe and not afraid. We don’t want them to notice the security guards too much. We want them to feel confident so they can do their job,” he explained to the publication.

There have been calls to ban Israel from the Paris Olympics because of the Israel-Hamas war, but Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in March there is no doubt that Israel will participate in the Paris Olympics.

The 2024 Olympic Games will take place from July 26-Aug. 11.

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