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Top French Socialist axed from party over anti-semitic tweet

This file photo taken on September 19, 2016 shows Gerard Filoche, former candidate for the 2017 French Socialist Party (PS) presidential primary, posing in Paris. —  AFP picThis file photo taken on September 19, 2016 shows Gerard Filoche, former candidate for the 2017 French Socialist Party (PS) presidential primary, posing in Paris. — AFP picPARIS, Nov 22 — A top official in France’s Socialist Party was expelled yesterday days after tweeting an image with anti-Semitic overtones against President Emmanuel Macron.

Gerard Filoche, a member of the Socialists’ national bureau, claims to have written the tweet out of “negligence”, but the party’s National Office voted unanimously to exclude him in his absence.

“The National Office has voted for the exclusion of Gerard Filoche. He can no longer speak on behalf of the Socialist Party, nor be a member,” party coordinator Rachid Temal said at a press conference.

“Gerard Filoche is no longer a member of the Socialist Party. He is excluded.”

He added: “It is not possible for a socialist leader to write an anti-Semitic tweet.”

Filoche’s post on Friday showed Macron with his arms outstretched over the Earth, wearing what appears to be a Nazi armband but with the swastika replaced by a dollar sign.

“On the move towards global chaos,” the caption reads, a reference to Macron’s En Marche (“On the Move”) movement that swept him to the presidency earlier this year.

Filoche introduced the image by writing: “A dirty bastard, the French are going to know it,” using a phrase that echoes a well-known anti-Semitic slur in French.

The post was quickly deleted and Filoche said he was “sorry”.

On Monday he told i24news: “Obviously I was careless... I was not attentive, I should not have done it.”

Filoche, who co-founded the SOS Racism anti-discrimination association, can appeal the decision. — AFP

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