France's tense political climate mirrors Israel's, says scholar Ilan Pappé

Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has seen his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine reissued in France after a French publisher pulled it from shelves. He tells RFI that it fits with a broader political climate that limits freedom of expression, both across Europe and in Israel.

RFI: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine has been republished in French by La Fabrique after its original publisher, Fayard, cancelled a reprint and took it out of bookshops. What was your reaction?

Ilan Pappé: I was surprised to hear that Fayard decided to stop reprinting and distributing the book at the moment that it became popular again. This had to do with the change of ownership at Fayard. To my mind it was a clear violation of freedom of expression.

They used some technical [excuses]. I was disappointed that in France you can suppress freedom of speech by not distributing or publishing books that are in demand.

But it goes beyond my case, it has to do with the era we live in where ideologies and political positions are restricting our freedom of expression – especially when it concerns Palestine.

RFI: Parliamentary elections will be held in France on 30 June and 7 July. Were you surprised to hear about these snap elections and the rise of the far right?

Ilan Pappé: It is part of the global rise of neo-right and fascist political parties, which isn't only happening in France. It also shows lack of confidence in politicians by many people who definitely are not supporting the right, but don't believe that politics matter.

Read more on RFI English

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