French politicians join thousands at Jewish solidary march in Paris

French politicians join tens of thousands of people marching through Paris to protest against rising anti-Semitism amid Israel-Hamas war in Gaza

  • French politicians from across the political spectrum marched in Paris
  • The march was organised by leaders of the Senate and parliament’s lower house
  • President Emmanuel Macron did not attend, though expressed his support 

French politicians across the political spectrum have joined tens of thousands of people for a march through Paris to protest against rising antisemitism amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Centrist Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, representatives of several left-wing parties as well as far-right leader Marine Le Pen attended the march in the French capital on Sunday, amid tight security.

While President Emmanuel Macron did not attend, he expressed his support for the protest and called on citizens to rise up against ‘the unbearable resurgence of unbridled antisemitism’.

The leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, Jean-Luc Melenchon, meanwhile stayed away from the march, saying last week on X, formerly Twitter, that it would be a meeting of ‘friends of unconditional support for the massacre’ in Gaza.

Le Pen attended the march amid fierce criticism that her once-pariah National Rally party has failed to shake off its anti-Semitic heritage despite growing political legitimacy.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen (pictured, centre) attended the march in the French capital on Sunday

Thousands of Parisian police officers kept order at the march, which took place on Sunday

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured, left), whose grandfather was Jewish, was seen at the march

Also in attendance was former president Francois Hollande (pictured, second from left)

Also seen at the march were former Presidents of France Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, whose grandfather was Jewish. 

READ MORE: Police post images of protesters carrying anti-Semitic placards and men wearing Hamas-style headbands after hundreds of thousands took to streets of London on Armistice Day

Paris’ authorities deployed 3,000 police troops along the route of the protest, which was called by the leaders of the Senate and parliament’s lower house, the National Assembly, amid an alarming increase in anti-Semitism in France since the start of the conflict last month.

Thousands were seen holding signs in solidary with France’s Jewish population. 

One sign read: ‘Jewish lives matter.’

Another sign, translated, read: ‘Fascists f*** you, the Jews don’t want you.’ 

Holding a French flag, Robert Fiel, 67, said marching against antisemitism is ‘more than a duty’. 

‘It’s a march against violence, against antisemitism, against all [extremists] that are infiltrating society, to show that the silent majority does exist,’ he said.

France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, with the Institute for Jewish Policy Research claiming that the country has a ‘core’ Jewish population of 442,000. 

More than 1,000 acts against Jews around the country have been registered in the past month alone. 

Thousands were seen holding signs in solidary with France’s Jewish population, with one reading: ‘Jewish lives matter’

Another sign, translated, read: ‘Fascists f*** you, the Jews don’t want you.’

In a letter addressed to the French people on Sunday, Macron vowed that perpetrators of anti-Semitism will be prosecuted and punished.

‘A France where our Jewish fellow citizens are afraid is not France,’ he said in the letter, published in Le Parisien newspaper.

He called on the country to remain ‘united behind its values… and work for peace and security for all in the Middle East’.

He noted that 40 French citizens were killed in the initial Hamas attack, and eight remain missing or held hostage.

‘To this pain of the nation has been added the unbearable resurgence of unbridled antisemitism,’ he said.

As of Saturday, officials counted 1,247 anti-Semitic acts in France since October 7 – nearly three times as many as for the whole of 2022, according to the Interior Ministry.

France has largely banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations, although supporters have marched in several cities in the past weeks. Thousands demanded a ceasefire in Gaza in an authorised protest in Paris last Sunday.

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