Tens of thousands are expected to participate in a march against AntiSemitism in Paris on Sunday. The rally, called for by the leaders of the Senate and the National Assembly, aims to address the situation in AntiSemitic incidents across France in the aftermath of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The French capital, home to Jewish and Muslim communities, has tensions following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.
The conflict, which resulted in a month-long Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, has left an impact on the social fabric of the city.
President Emmanuel Macron, on the eve of the march, condemned the “unbearable resurgence of unbridled AntiSemitism” in the country.
In a letter published in Le Parisien, Macron addressed that a France where Jewish citizens live in fear is not true to its values.
The October 7 attack by Hamas, which killed about 1,200 people in Israel and led to over 11,000 deaths in Gaza, has a wave of antisemitic acts in France, numbering nearly 1,250 since the conflict began.
To ensure the security of the “great civic march,” more than 3,000 police and gendarmes will be deployed along the route, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
President Macron, despite expressing his support for the march, declared that he would attend only “in my heart and in my thoughts.”
Macron criticized the confusion surrounding the rally, accusing some politicians of exploiting it for their own ends.
One of the most striking aspects of the march is the participation of the far-right National Rally (RN), led by Marine Le Pen.
Le Pen has insisted that the march should also stand against “Islamic fundamentalism,” a stance reflective of her party’s priorities from its historically anti-Semitic past.
The inclusion of the RN has sparked fierce criticism, with some labeling it as “indecent.” Government spokesperson Olivier Véran stated that a party “created by the heirs to Vichy” had no place in a march against antiSemitism, referencing France’s wartime government during World War II.
The far-left France Unbowed (LFI) party announced its boycott of the event. LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon characterized the march as a gathering of “friends of unconditional support for the massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza.
The Communist party leader, Fabien Roussel, said this sentiment, refusing to march alongside the RN, citing the far-right party’s history of anti-Semitic collaboration with Nazi Germany.
The participation of the RN and the absence of LFI mark a departure from historical political norms in France. For decades, the far-right was deemed beyond the pale, particularly on issues related to anti-Semitism.
However, current political dynamics indicate a shift. Marine Le Pen’s RN, once associated with antiSemitic views, has rebranded itself as the “hard right” and found common ground with many Jews on issues such as immigration, insecurity, and Islamism.
Meanwhile, the far-left, aligned with combating antiSemitism, is facing internal divisions and accusations of abandoning its historical stance.
The march holds symbolic significance as representatives from major political parties, including former presidents and prime ministers, come together to denounce anti-Semitism.
The rallying cry, “For the Republic, against antiSemitism,” underscores the importance of unity in the face of growing intolerance.
With Marine Le Pen’s RN gaining support. The political maneuvering of the far-right into the mainstream and the far-left’s apparent withdrawal from the fight against antiSemitism highlight the complexities of French politics.
Despite the intended focus on antiSemitism, the march has not escaped criticism for perceived political posturing.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne addressed the vital battle for national cohesion and criticized the absence of LFI while suggesting that the presence of the RN fools nobody.
Efforts to organize an alternative rally against anti Semitism, all racisms, and the far right by LFI’s parliamentary group leader Mathilde Panot were by Paris police due to late announcement.
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