A summertime beach event in Paris has sparked geopolitical tensions.
Hundreds of police have been deployed for the Tel-Aviv sur Seine celebration after the one-day celebration attracted criticism from pro-Palestinian activists.
Many set up their own Gaza beach event in protest.
From the Euro-Palestine association Nicolas Shahshahani said:
“This (Tel Aviv on Seine festival) is all part of Israeli propaganda to show an Israel that is different from the bombs, soldiers, checkpoints, etc, etc. And the ‘cool’, ‘fun’, ‘gay friendly’ Tel Aviv is all part of an Israeli PR exercise.”
Despite the pressure to cancel the event, city authorities resisted and activities rolled out with heightened security along the banks of the River Seine.
“We must say that the mayor of Paris Madame Anne Hidalgo and her team were, I would say extremely brave in saying that no matter what people say on social media, Tel Aviv is our friend, Israel is our friend, we’re gonna have this event and nobody is gonna dictate what we do in our public space,” said Eytan Schwartz, Advisor to Tel Aviv Mayor.
Activists highlighted that the event came after a Jewish extremist attack in the West Bank.
France is said to be home to both the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe. Tensions between the two flared up last summer during Israel’s offensive in Gaza.