Thousands gather for a march against antisemitism in Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. French authorities have registered more than 1,000 acts against Jews around the country in a month since the conflict in the Middle East began. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
France March Against Antisemitism

In France, more than 1,200 antisemitic outrages have been recorded since the atrocities in Israel, a national record.

By Ben Cohen, Algemeiner

More than 200,000 people took the streets of French cities on Sunday to protest the dramatic rise in antisemitism since the Hamas pogrom in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The vast majority — 182,000, according to the news outlet Le Monde — marched in the capital Paris, led by senior French politicians including Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, whose Jewish father was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Nazi occupation of World War II. More than 20,000 gathered in provincial cities as well, among them Lyon, Nice and Grenoble.

Sunday’s march came at the close of a nervous weekend for Jews across Europe, with 300,000 supporters of Hamas marching through central London on Saturday in what was billed as a “peace march.” In France, more than 1,200 antisemitic outrages have been recorded since the atrocities in Israel, a national record.

Billed as a “great civic march” against antisemitism, Sunday’s event was overshadowed by a bitter dispute over the participation of the far right Rassemblement National (RN — “National Rally”), accused by critics of exploiting Jewish fears of antisemitism to push its anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim agenda, as well as the decision of the far left La France Insoumise (LFI — “France Rising”) to boycott the event on the grounds, according to the party’s leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, that the overriding issue was the need for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Several protestors jeered as the RN’s leader, Jordan Bardella, and its former leader, Marine Le Pen, arrived at the march in Paris on Sunday.

The march took place under heavy security along a one-and-a-half-mile route on Paris’s Left Bank to the Place Edmond Rostand, a square named after a French playwright who was an outspoken supporter of Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish army officer falsely accused of spying for Germany at a milestone trial in 1894 that unleashed a wave of violent antisemitism across France.

Several demonstrators expressed fear that the situation facing France’s Jewish community of 450,000 was becoming worse.

“I’m here because I’m Jewish, French, because what’s happening isn’t acceptable,” Emilie — a 45 year-old marcher — told Le Monde. “There is no need to mix the conflict in the Middle East and the Jews of France.”

Another marcher, 80-year-old Vartan Kaladjian, said he was protesting because of the increase in attacks on Jews. An Armenian married to a Jewish woman, Kaladjian expressed disappointment that French President Emmanuel Macron had been absent from the march. Macron’s presence would have shown “everyone that he is with us,” Kaladjian said.

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