French diplomats mum on anti-Semitism probe against Tunisian employee

(JTA) – A month after they launched a probe of a civil servant accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, French diplomats said they were still unable to ascertain whether the employee was at fault.

Maria Wadjinny, a spokesperson for the French foreign ministry, told JTA on August 15 that the accusations against Selim Dakhlaoui, a consulting agent for her country’s embassy in Tunisia, were the subject of a disciplinary probe launched two weeks earlier. It followed reports that he had posted on Facebook hateful statements about Israel and Jews, including one about Adolf Hitler’s failure to “finish the job.”

The ministry has not yet confirmed, Wadjinny said, that Dakhlaoui wrote the “unacceptable” posts, which appeared under his Facebook account but which he said were the work of unknown parties who had hacked his account.

Wadjinny and other ministry spokespeople did not reply to JTA’s follow-up queries on progress in the probe and on the terms of Dakhlaoui’s employment at the ministry while the probe is being conducted.

“Dakhlaoui immediately became the subject of disciplinary action, as these statements, regardless of who wrote them, are unacceptable and run contrary to the values of the Republic,” she said but would not elaborate.

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.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, last month 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. Following the August 3 publication of a post about him on the blog Inglourious Basterds, he wrote on twitter: “Watch out, my account has been hijacked.”

Separately, the superiors of a Paris high school teacher who on Facebook shared with her students anti-Semitic conspiracy theories suspended her indefinitely, Le Parisien reported.

Identified as Anne Guerrier, the teacher posted the anti-Semitic content earlier this year and invited graduates of her prestigious Janson-de-Sailly high school to read them, according to CRIF, the umbrella group of France’s Jewish communities.

She inveighed against “the American Jewish lobby” that she said supports Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She also wrote that French President François Hollande “is a Jew who benefited from his belonging to that community to ascend in politics and who now denies this,” pretending to have a Catholic father. Hollande “is Jewish and denies it. Backpedaling will begin all over, now that it is less beneficial for Jewry.”

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