French Freemasons warn members not to attend Jewish events over Israel

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French Freemasons warn members not to attend Jewish events over Israel

Circular which was reportedly issued by mistake claimed that the Jewish umbrella group CRIF is 'a follower of policies of religious extreme right-wing ideology' in Israel

Members of the French Jewish community hold signs reading "I am Charlie" and "I am a Jew from France" at a rally in Jerusalem, Israel in January 2015
Members of the French Jewish community hold signs reading "I am Charlie" and "I am a Jew from France" at a rally in Jerusalem, Israel in January 2015

Leaders of the Freemason movement in Paris urged members not to attend events organised by France’s Jewish communities because of their support for Israel, which they said increases antisemitism.

The circular issued this week by the Grand Orient of France received attention in the French media partly because of how antisemites and conspiracy theorists there often target Freemasons as a branch of world Jewry.

The reference to Israel appeared in a draft resolution circulated during this week’s congress of the Grand Orient in Rouen, Le Parisien reported Tuesday. It was rescinded and senior Freemasons said it had been sent out by mistake, but the original document was obtained by bloggers covering the movement, which has tens of thousands of members.

The document called CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, “a follower of policies” promoted by Israel of “religious extreme right-wing ideology” that leads to “divisions and rise in antisemitism.” The draft resolution has not been adopted.

Francis Kalifat, the president of CRIF, told Le Parisien that he was “infuriated” by the text, which he called a “scandalous manifestation of far-left ideas” from the France Unbowed movement led by the communist populist politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, who is a Freemason.

In 2017,  a French Freemason leader said he was assaulted on the street by a woman carrying a hammer who called him a Jew.

During the Nazi occupation of France and under the country’s pro-Nazi puppet state, Freemasonry, a rationalist and secretive movement that began in the 17th century, was banned.

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