French Jewish Historian Cleared Of Anti-Muslim Hate Speech

    (JTA) – A French court acquitted the Jewish historian Georges Bensoussan of hate speech charges over his assertion that Arabs receive anti-Semitism with their “mother’s milk.”

    Bensoussan was acquiteed on Tuesday, the AFP news agency reported, ending a polarizing trial that observers regarded as a significant test case for determining the boundaries of academic freedom amid growing inter-ethnic tensions.

    Bensoussan, a scholar on the Holocaust and one of the world’s leading historians on Jewish communities in Arab territories, was put on trial in December after a Muslim lobby group and a French human rights organization that was founded by Jews in the 1920s initiated a criminal lawsuit against him for the statement he made during an interview for a radio station in 2012.

    The reference to mother’s milk was in a paraphrased quote that Bensoussan attributed to Smain Laacher, a non-Jewish French filmmaker whose family originates from North Africa. In reality, Laacher had said in an interview that for many Arab families, anti-Semitism is in “the air that one breathes.”

    Leading French scholars dismissed the lawsuits against Bensoussan as an attempt at “intimidation” in a statement in December.

    This story "French Jewish Historian Cleared Of Anti-Muslim Hate Speech" was written by Cnaan Liphshiz.

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