Swiss lawmaker excluded from political party for saying Israel is ‘on path of carbonization’

Geneva councilman calls for cancellation of Chanukah event in the city, saying it’s against Swiss law.



Swiss lawmaker Denis Menoud was excluded from the populist Geneva Citizens’ Movement (MCG) on Friday after commenting that Israel was “on the path of carbonization” following the signing of the interim nuclear deal with Iran, AFP reported.

Delegations from Iran, other world powers during closed-door nuclear talks on October 15, 2013. - Photo: REUTERS

Delegations from Iran, other world powers during closed-door nuclear talks on October 15, 2013. – Photo: REUTERS

His comments, written on his Facebook page on Tuesday, caused an uproar in the party, leading party president Roger Colay to condemn his words and demanding him to resign.

Johanne Gurfinkel of CICAD, a Swiss group that monitors anti-Semitism, called on Menoud to “publicly apologize for his statement.” Gurfinkel also asked Menoud’s rightist MCG party to take a stand against “this type of hateful comments.”

Menoud, who later deleted the post from his page, told the Tribute de Genève that the “sentence was taken out of context,” and that he only meant to say that this situation in the Middle East will create a new paradigm. “The loser is Israel, strategically and politically.”

While Menoud refused to resign from the party, MCG President Colay said on Friday that the lawmaker was “no longer considered a member” of the party.

Another Geneva city councilman caused an outcry this week when he warned his municipality against allowing a public Hanukka event, which he said would violate Swiss law.

“I’m not afraid of being called anti-Semitic, because my request is not directed at a religious community [but at] the authorities, which do not comply with the law by issuing an authorization for this event,” council member Pierre Gauthier is quoted as telling the Tribune de Geneve daily newspaper this week.

In a letter to the mayor, Gauthier, who is the secretary of a not-for-profit called “Geneva Secular Coordination,” cited Switzerland’s Law of Foreign Worship, which states that “no celebration of worship, procession or any religious ceremony is allowed on public roads.”

He urged the mayor’s office to cancel a public candle-lighting event on Mollard Square scheduled for December 3. The organizer of the event, Rabbi Mendel Pevzner of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, told the Tribune, “This is not a religious event but a moment of sharing, open to all faiths. Since 1991, we have never encountered a problem.”


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