A race row has broken out in France over claims that the state railway company, SNCF, made effort to ensure that Israeli President Shimon Peres did not meet black or Asian employees in case they were Muslims.
Mr Peres visited Paris last month for a meeting with his French counterpart Francois Hollande. The SUD-Rail union claims that SNCF’s baggage handling subsidiary, Itiremia, had insisted – on the grounds of security – that only certain members of staff met Mr Peres as he arrived at Paris’s Gard du Nord station from Brussels.
SNCF has denied the claims and has insisted that the Israeli embassy in the French capital did not ask for assistance.
The company’s management had insisted that, “no Muslim must greet the Israeli head of state,” the union has claimed. The claims have outraged SNCF staff.