An artificial beach named “Tel Aviv on the Seine” will open in the French capital for a one day celebration on Thursday.
Dreamt up by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and her Tel Aviv counterpart Ron Huldai during the former’s visit to Israel’s second largest city in May, the “beach” party will feature paddle ball games and backgammon, falafel and Israeli music.
Opponents of the Jewish state have, however, reacted strongly against the planned celebration, Walla! News reported Sunday.
Pro-Palestinian activists and members of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement are already planning protests and riots against the event, which they claim amounts to Paris’s sponsorship of the state of Israel.
“A year after Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, less than a month after the Knesset’s decision to pass a law force-feeding prisoners, and a week after the burning of the Dawabshe family in Duma in the occupied West Bank – the penetration of the Tel Aviv beach in Paris is a real provocation,” BDS France said in a statement.
Calling on residents to demand a cancellation of the event by flooding Paris’s city hall with emails and telephone calls, BDS France claimed that “Tel Aviv is a not like other cities. It was built on the ruins of seven Palestinian villages.”
Undeterred by the backlash, the Israeli Embassy in Paris has continued promoting the event, which producers said will “give Parisians and tourists the opportunity to experience Tel Aviv without traveling out of town.
The Paris municipality, meanwhile, took a diplomatic stance, announcing its “promotion of its partnership with the city of Bethlehem,” in an effort to mitigate the pressure of BDS supporters without canceling the event outright. (INN)