Update: claim of impersonation
Following the furor created by a tweet asking if Palestinian children killed in Gaza are “halal meat,” French politician Jacques Renaud is reportedly disavowing ownership of the Twitter account bearing his name.
The newspaper Le Courrier de l’Ouest now reports that Renaud, deputy mayor of Montreuil-Juigné, “officially denies any role and is currently at the police station lodging a formal complaint against X for identity theft.”
The mayor of the town, currently abroad, supports Renaud “unreservedly, considering it impossible that her deputy could be the author of such an odious message, adding that he does not have an account on Twitter,” the newspaper said.
The French website Al-Kanz had said in its report earlier that it had called up the Montreuil-Juigné town hall “to make sure that this really was the Twitter account of Jacques Renaud. It was confirmed to us that the elected official does have a Twitter account and this was him.”
Using its own Twitter feed (@alkanz), Al-Kanz has been casting doubt on Renaud’s denial.
The account @JacquesRenaud49 has been tweeting since 27 November 2013, much of it mundane details about city business. As Al-Kanz points out, some of the tweets include photos taken locally.
The website Europe 1 also examined the account and found that it had previously used a different handle “Nicolas Millot,” a much stronger indication that it is likely a hoax account.
Europe 1 noted that many other French politicians condemned the tweet and called on Renaud to resign if it had really been written by him.
The website, a major news publication in France, said that the tweet that had “set the political class aflame” may be nothing more than “a big fake.”
Under French law, the tweet, regardless of who made it, could violate laws on expressing racial or religious hatred. By any standard it is horrifying.
In an extreme sign of the anti-Muslim hatred and pro-Israel sentiment among France’s political elite, an elected official took to Twitter to ask mockingly if Palestinian children killed in Israel’s onslaught on Gaza were “halal meat.”
Jacques Renaud, the deputy mayor of Montreuil-Juigné in western France, uses Twitter to post a constant stream of anti-Palestinian and pro-Israel propaganda.
Twitter user @StonMichel responded to one of Renaud’s tweets, calling for “a bit of humanity” and attaching a graphic image apparently of the dismembered body of a young Palestinian child.
Renaud responded, “It’s halal meat, I suppose.”
Renaud’s sickening reply was retweeted more than 1,100 times, but many of the responses to it expressed disgust.
Children have been among the most vulnerable to Israel’s two-week bombardment in Gaza. At least 121 children are among more than 650 fatalities. Hundreds more children have suffered horrifying injuries, while the rest live in a state of “shock and horror” at the carnage around them.
The carnage has been so appalling that even Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister in France’s staunchly pro-Israel government, condemned Israel’s “massacres” in Gaza and demanded a ceasefire.
Al-Kanz, a publication oriented toward the Muslim community in France, reported that they called the Montreuil-Juigné town hall “to make sure that this really was the Twitter account of Jacques Renaud. It was confirmed to us that the elected official does have a Twitter account and this was him.”
Renaud is a member of the right-wing UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
“It will be interesting to see which members of parliament react and who will be silent,” Al-Kanz stated, urging members of the public to write to their representatives asking them to denounce Renaud’s horrifying statement.
Anti-Palestinianism in France
Renaud’s statement comes amid a wave of allegations of anti-Semitism at Palestine solidarity rallies in France. In a notorious case, Israel advocates claimed that protestors had attacked and stoned a Paris synagogue earlier this month.
But as Sam Knight reported for Mondoweiss, the incident “was actually a street fight between pro-Palestinian demonstrators and the Jewish Defense League, one that appears to have been started by the extremist latter in support of Israel’s ongoing bombing campaign.”
The Israeli army has, at least on one occasion, attempted to use a Paris synagogue as a recruitment site.
It was nonetheless partly on the grounds of preventing alleged attacks on synagogues that Paris authorities imposed a ban on Palestine solidarity demonstrations.
When thousands defied the ban last Saturday, police “besieged protesters.” Witnesses said police used tear gas and tasers against them and arrested dozens. Witnesses contest police claims that they were responding to violence by protestors.
“The demonstration started out peacefully, and then the police started throwing gas bombs,” Houria Bouteldja, one of the organizers and a spokesperson for the anti-racist political movement Les Indigenes de la Republique – The Indigenous of the Republic, told Al Jazeera America.