French embassy worker in Tunisia probed for anti-Semitic speech

August 7, 2016  

An employee of France’s embassy in Tunisia claimed hackers posted anti-Semitic comments under his name on Facebook, including one about Adolf Hitler’s failure to “finish the job.”

Selim Dakhlaoui, a consulting agent for the embassy, was responding to an outcry following the publication on a French-language blog of copies of anti-Israel messages made under his name, as well as the sentence about Hitler, which has been decried as anti-Semitic.

“Watch out, my account has been hijacked,” Dakhlaoui wrote on Thursday.

On Friday, the embassy called the statements attributed to Dakhlaoui “unacceptable,” adding he was summoned to talks with his superiors. The foreign ministry will decide how to handle the affair once it determines whether Dakhlaoui wrote the offensive remarks, the embassy’s statement said.

In October, a comment that read, “Soon it will be the end of Israel” appeared under Dakhlaoui’s name, followed by an icon of a missile. A week later, the same account displayed the message: “Go to hell, Israel.” Earlier this year, it featured a comment reading “Hitler didn’t finish the job” in a discussion about Israel’s alleged involvement in Islamist terrorism.

On Wednesday, CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, posted about Dakhlaoui on its Facebook page and urged the embassy to react.

“This is a hateful comment, just like the ones we see too often on social media. Except this one was authored by an employee of the embassy of France in Tunisia. We anxiously await their reaction!” The post also noted that speaking favorably about a crime against humanity is forbidden under French law, punishable by up to five years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

The comments have since been removed and Dakhlaoui’s account had been renamed “Selim Dakhlaoui – new profile.” It was then taken offline altogether.

The authors of the blog mocked Dakhlaoui’s claim that his account had been hijacked. “Selim is entering stage 2 of 4 stages: Feigned indifference; Denial; Feigned regret; Relapse. We’ll catch up with him when he reaches stage 4.”

Last year, a report on the same blog about anti-Semitic statements on Facebook by a Kuwaiti woman interning at the French consulate in New York led to her dismissal. She was also suspended from the Sciences Po University in Paris for the same statements.

She wrote about Jews: “You don’t belong anywhere in this world – that’s why you guys are scums and rats and discriminated against wherever you are. Do not blame it on the poor Palestinians.”

In response to being accused of racism, Jumaa wrote: “First of all you dispersed rat, I am not an immigrant from France. I am from Kuwait so my country can buy you and your parents and put you in ovens.”

Earlier this month, the Sciences Po University agreed to readmit Jumaa, who is under disciplinary review for the hateful remarks. Sciences Po allowed Jumaa to continue to study at the institution while its disciplinary board, which had suspended Jumaa last year, decides on her appeal of the sanctions.

The Sciences Po chapter of the Union of Jewish Students of France, or UEJF, protested the move in a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page titled “No to readmitting an anti-Semitic student.”


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