Protesters condemn Paris celebration of Tel Aviv culture at summer beach festival. Sean Carberry reports.
STORY: Every summer, Paris brings the beach to the banks of the Seine. But this year, the month-long festival brought not just sun and sand, but a storm of controversy. The one-day celebration of Tel Aviv's beach culture ignited heated protests by Palestinians and their supporters. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo resisted calls to cancel the day's activities. She argued it is about celebrating dialogue between cultures. Parisian Margalite Daoudy was one of the few visitors who passed through heavy security to get to the beach. (SOUNDBITE) (FRENCH) PARISIAN, MARGALITE DAOUDY, SAYING: "I'm here for Tel Aviv beach, to have a bit of fun and to show those who are against it that we don't have anything against people. We love everyone but unfortunately not everyone loves us," That sentiment was evident by the turnout of demonstrators like Nicolas Shahshahani. (SOUNDBITE) (French) VICE PRESIDENT, CAPJPO- EURO PALESTINE ASSOCIATION, NICOLAS SHAHSHAHANI, SAYING: "This is part of the 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 fully part of the Israeli communication system." Nicolas Woloszko, treasurer of the Jewish students' union says it's worrying that promoting the culture of Tel Aviv creates such a harsh controversy. (SOUNDBITE) (French) TREASURER OF THE UNION OF JEWISH STUDENTS OF FRANCE, NICOLAS WOLOSZKO, SAYING: "When the culture of a country, the culture of Israel, is rejected in such a dramatic way, you're not talking about promoting peace, you're talking about rejecting peace," France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe, and flare-ups in the Middle East often stoke tensions between the two communities.