“Tel Aviv beach” in Paris sparks outrage a year after Gaza slaughter

A promotional image for “Tel Aviv Sur Seine” shows what an area of Paris will look like on 13 August when it is refashioned as an Israeli beach.

Palestine solidarity activists in France are expressing outrage that a “Tel Aviv beach” is being created in Paris to promote Israel.

For a few hours on 13 August, a section of river bank in the French capital near the Pont d’Arcole will be turned into “Tel Aviv sur Seine” (Tel Aviv on the Seine), complete with falafel stands and “Israeli nightlife.”

According to Coolisraël, a website that markets Israel to a French-speaking audience, the propaganda event is a joint project of the Paris and Tel Aviv municipal governments.

Tel Aviv sur Seine will be held at “Paris Plage,” a simulated beach the city sets up in the summer.

Lionel Choukroun, director of Agence Culturelle, the company that is producing the event, says the idea is “to give Parisians and tourists the Tel Aviv experience without having to go anywhere.”

The Israeli embassy in Paris is heavily promoting Tel Aviv sur Seine on its Facebook page and Twitter accounts.

Beach massacre

In August last year, Israel was in the midst of its 51-day attack on Gaza, dropping the equivalent of an atomic bomb on the besieged territory, killing more than 2,200 people, including 551 children, and causing utter devastation.

While people were partying on Tel Aviv beaches, Palestinian children were being slaughtered by Israeli shells a few miles away on Gaza’s beach.

A year later, Israeli bombs are still causing horror in Gaza. On Wednesday, leftover Israeli ordnance exploded, ripping through a house near Rafah. Four members of the Abu Nukira family were killed by the blast; dozens more Palestinians were injured.

“Festive”

The Paris municipality is sending a form response to citizens who email Mayor Anne Hidalgo to express outrage at Tel Aviv sur Seine.

The city’s response, a copy of which was seen by The Electronic Intifada, states: “This festive day, open to all, underscores the strong cultural and high-tech ties between Paris and [Tel Aviv].”

The city says that the project was conceived as a result of Hidalgo’s visit last May to present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank.

It adds – in a form of balancing rejected by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – that Paris plans to pursue “partnerships with Bethlehem,” in the occupied West Bank, “in the field of water management.”

“Provocation”

BDS France, a national coalition that supports the Palestinian campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, has denounced Tel Aviv sur Seine.

“One year after Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in Gaza, less than one month after the Israeli parliament voted to authorize the force-feeding of prisoners, one week after the latest colonial violence burned alive the members of the Dawabsha family in Duma in the occupied West Bank killing 18-month old baby Ali, the incursion of Tel Aviv onto Paris Plage is a real provocation,” BDS France said in a statement.

“Tel Aviv is not a city like others,” BDS France added, “it is built on top of the ruins of seven Palestinian villages.”

BDS France called on the public to email Paris City Hall and to leave comments on Mayor Hidalgo’s Facebook page.

There is perhaps one unintended irony in the event organizers’ desire to give Parisians a taste of Tel Aviv without them actually going there.

That might be the only way they’ll experience Israel, given that tourists have been staying away from it in droves since last summer’s attack on Gaza.

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Comments

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Are you serious !!!! Between the IDF and settler's the Palestinians are human beings and are being slaughtered like animals ..... Hang your heads in shame .... Boycott all the lot of you !!!!

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The blatant celebration of a fake beach in Israel along the Seine is outrageous, given the deliberate slaughter of Palestinian children playing soccer on a beach in Gaza by the IDF. Those children were running for their little lives and shot down with careful aim by the Israeli soldiers. How dare this happen in France!

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A quite shocking blunder by French tourism. Je suis - all the Palestinians killed on Gaza beach

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It's not the tourist office, it's the (Socialist) mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who decided on the sly to organize this propaganda exercise, without putting it to the elected politicians who sit on the Paris Council, which she chairs. Several of those politicians have published communiques denouncing this operation, which they only found out about via the recent press reports.

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Instead of water sports, volley ball, sailing and snorkeling, guests get to mass outside of Gaza City and shell it.

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Some suggestions:

A beach in Gaza ("Gaza sur Seine") with a Caterpillar D-9
destroying Palestinian homes in background. Some destroyed
shells of homes should be a backdrop.

A "real life" Israeli checkpoint through which all who wish
to enter must go with lines, correct papers etc.

Destroyed Palestinian schools, hospitals.

The illegal wall as background.

The illegal settlements as background.

Regular funerals for Palestinians for Parisian "amusement".

The shells of some totally destroyed (former) homes such as
frequently shown in EI's "Photos from Palestine"???

Just a very few ideas. Perhaps you may have more.

Perhaps the French would enjoy these reminders.

Also another name. What about "Gaza Today sur Seine" in
French??

---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
(not "sur Seine!)

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Je suis non sur Seine? #JesuisnonsurSeine

Nevermind, my delicate fingers grow tired typing such a long hashtag--and my manicure can't endure this abusive keyboard with all these hard buttons to push--they push back, you know, it's physics.

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It will only have the Gaza feel if the French Air Force, maskarading as the Israeli AF, provides appropriate soundtrack with live bombardments throughout the evening. Oops! Was that the Notre-Dame? Sorry didn't mean to hit that. Then the bombed site must remain as is for at least one year to do justice to the lack of political will to rebuild.

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I hope they have a few Caterkillar D-9's to properly prepare the site for the full flavor of the "Democratic-and-Ethnic-Cleansing-State".
If you're gonna give the kiddies the real ride, you need to show 'em how a "Moral" army does it!

and... what on earth does France get from a "partnership with Bethlehem" in the "field of water management"?? I'm sure the French knew how to colonize the resources long before the zionists were in diapers...

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I would build a Gaza beach at the end of Tel-Aviv beach, I would recreate the circumstances that such a proximity has caused, and I would have a silent protest of mock-fishermen appearing dead in a hundred small boats floating slowly down the Seine. I wouldn't, however, recommend firing bottle-rockets or Roman Candles from the Gaza area during the festivities, as that could be misconstrued as incitement. Also, regarding my last sentence, I realized the internets need a font for sarcasm. The real victim in all of this is me, for not having a font for sarcasm....

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I have to say, BDS shouldn't really complain- they're largely responsible for the drop in tourism which is causing Israeli tourism industry to pull stunts like this in the first place!

Of course, if Israel wouldn't cause outrage to begin with it would be a perfectly normal cross-cultural experience. As a protest they should recreate Gaza beach across the river- Palestinians playing soccer one moment, targeted by shells and blown up the next. Dead bodies all over. Cardboard cutouts of Israeli bombs with the star of David everywhere. You get the picture. But as much outrage as people have over the event, remember and take heart in the fact that this is out of desperation precisely due to that drop in tourism, so maybe instead of the gruesome protest just go over there and laugh your asses off. Seriously. Just point and laugh. Disarm TPTB, they know how to crack down on protests but a bunch of people laughing? What are they gonna do? And it'll piss em off more than anything else you could possibly dream up.

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Ridiculous idea of the Mayor. Luckily it proved to be a total failure. By the way falafel is a Lebanese dish. Did Israel steal that as well?

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.