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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
US Jews call for Cannes 'boycott'
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman made a splash in Cannes in 2001
A major US Jewish group is calling on Hollywood stars and producers to consider boycotting the Cannes film festival following a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in France.

The American Jewish Congress ran an advert in Hollywood's trade newspapers comparing modern day France to the Nazi-sympathetic regime set up in Vichy during World War II.


These allegations are both excessive and wholly unfounded

Jean-Luc Sibiude, French consul general
The group's executive director Gary Ratner said he wanted to use one of the world's biggest film festivals to draw attention to what he claims are the spiralling number of anti-Semitic attacks in France.

The advert listed alleged similarities in the country between 1942 and 2002, including the fire-bombing of synagogues and schools and attacks on Jews in French streets.

'Shocked'

Jewish groups claim that 350 incidents of anti-Semitic violence had taken place in France in the first three months of this year, almost as many the total number reported in the whole of 2001.

Woody Allen's new movie opens the festival
Woody Allen's new movie opens the festival
Mr Ratner said: "What we are trying to do to get the entertainment industry... to rethink whether they want to go to Cannes... or if they do go Cannes, to raise the issue of anti-Semitism there."

The advert has provoked an angry reaction from France's consul general to Los Angeles, Jean-Luc Sibiude.

He said he was "deeply shocked" by the "unfounded" comparison between modern-day France and the fascist French regime of the 1940s.

"Enough is enough," he said. "These allegations are both excessive and wholly unfounded."

'Dramatic effect'

He said that the "regrettable" increase in anti-Semitic violence was a result of an overspill of Middle Eastern violence into France, which is home to large Jewish and Muslim communities.

Mr Ratner said that France itself is not an anti-Semitic country but that the advert was for "dramatic effect".

The festival, which is one of the biggest and most glamorous in the world, starts on 15 May and runs for 11 days.

Woody Allen's new film Hollywood Endings, opens the festival.

As well as the screenings of movies from all over the world, many directors, producers and writers are at the festival in an attempt to do deals to get movies made.

The festival was first started just after World War II in 1946.


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See also:

10 Apr 02 | Europe
New attack on Paris synagogue
23 Apr 02 | Europe
Jews warn of rising anti-Semitism
11 Jan 02 | Film
Lynch heads Cannes judges
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