Anti-Zionism and the boycott of Israeli products and skills are viewed by French Jews as another form of anti-Semitism. But, unlike other countries, France has successfully countered the phenomenon, launching the France-Israel Foundation in July 2005 to reinforce ties with the Israeli government and encourage collaboration in various fields, from literary exhibits to stem cell research.
The foundation has prevented boycotts that would have isolated Israel in the intellectual and commercial fields. It instigated French investments in the Israeli film industry, for example, leading to the success of the Israeli Film Festival of Paris and to numerous productions and prizes, the latest ones being the awards granted at the Cannes film festival to two Israeli films, "Jellyfish" and "The Band's Visit." Israeli movies, once rare in French theaters, have become common and, at times, even popular.
Those who supported the boycott against Israel, mainly within the pro-Palestinian association CAPJPO (Coordination of the Calls for a Fair Peace in the Middle East), are about to observe a new high in French-Israeli relations since the annual book fair -- the major cultural event of the year -- selected Israel to star the 2008 exhibit.
I hope to hear that our government is following the French example...