Spat over Tel Aviv day at Paris beach

 A French councillor on Monday slammed a decision to dedicate one day of the beach festivities in Paris to Tel Aviv, saying it sent "a very bad message" of support for Israel`s policies.

Paris: A French councillor on Monday slammed a decision to dedicate one day of the beach festivities in Paris to Tel Aviv, saying it sent "a very bad message" of support for Israel`s policies.

Every summer, the French capital turns the banks of the Seine into a makeshift beach known as Paris Plages and has this year devoted each day to a famous beach around the world.

But left-wing councillor Danielle Simonnet has reacted angrily to the idea that August 13 has been dubbed "Tel Aviv Sur Seine" after the Israeli beachside city.

"For the Israeli government, this is a nice bit of PR that Paris is serving up on a plate," Simonnet told France Inter radio.

"I fear it will go very badly and I think it sends a very bad message."

She called for the event to be cancelled or reorganised into "a peace protest, in support of fraternity, in support of the fight against all forms of racism and anti-Semitism, and to back recognition of the Palestinian state."

Bruno Julliard, a top official in the mayor`s office, sought to downplay the uproar, saying people should distinguish between "the brutal politics of the Israeli government and Tel Aviv, a progressive city".

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