The man tipped to become France’s conservative candidate in next year’s presidential election has suggested that, historically, Jews did not respect the country’s laws.
Francois Fillon, who won the first round of the Republican primary last weekend, made the statement during an interview with French radio station Europe1 on Wednesday, in the context of a discussion about the integration of Muslims.
He said: “I think that sectarianism is increasing today within the Muslim community and that the sectarians are taking that community hostage.
“We need to combat this sectarianism and we need to do it as we have in the past,” Fillon continued. “We fought against a form of Catholic sectarianism or like we fought the desire of Jews to live in a community that does not respect the laws of the French Republic.”
CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jews, tweeted in response: “The law of the land is the law – a Talmudic saying which requires Jews since antiquity to respect the laws of the land where they live.”
Mr Fillon did not elaborate on his comments about Jews.