More than 100,000 people march in Paris against soaring antisemitism amid Israel-Hamas war

by Ryan Lee
Paris anti-antisemitism march

Over 100,000 individuals gathered in Paris on Sunday, demonstrating against the escalating antisemitism linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Elisabeth Borne, the Prime Minister, along with members from various political spectrums, including leftists, conservatives, centrists from President Emmanuel Macron’s party, and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, were present at the march. While Macron expressed support for the protest and condemned the resurgence of antisemitism, he did not attend in person. Jean-Luc Melenchon of the France Unbowed party opted out, criticizing the march on social media as a rally for supporters of Gaza’s bombardment.

In response to the surge in anti-Jewish hate crimes in France, coinciding with Israel’s conflict with Hamas that escalated after the latter’s unexpected attack on Israel on October 7, Paris deployed 3,000 police officers to oversee the march, initiated by the Senate and National Assembly leaders.

The Israel-Hamas conflict has seen intense battles near Gaza’s main hospital, trapping civilians. Meanwhile, a summit in Dubai, sponsored by an Israeli company, avoided discussing the ongoing conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted calls for a ceasefire.

France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish community, feels the sting of antisemitism deeply due to its historical collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. Robert Fiel, carrying a French flag, emphasized the importance of the march as a stance against violence and antisemitism, representing the “silent majority.”

Participants included relatives of the 40 French citizens killed or affected by the initial Hamas attack. The march, with a turnout of 105,000, was significant for Patrick Klugman, a lawyer part of the “Freethem” committee advocating for the release of those held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza.

Yonathan Arfi of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) recognized the support but questioned future actions against antisemitism. Actor Tomer Sisley highlighted the unity among French citizens against violence and hatred towards any religious or ethnic group.

In the past month, over 1,000 incidents targeting Jews were recorded in France. President Macron, in a letter, assured of legal actions against the perpetrators, affirming that a France fearful for its Jewish citizens is not true to its identity. He emphasized unity and peace in the Middle East, stating his spiritual presence at the march while focusing on national unity.

Marine Le Pen’s participation drew criticism due to her National Rally party’s past antisemitic associations, despite its growing political acceptance. She urged politicians to set aside political disputes during the march.

Since October 7, antisemitic acts in France have nearly tripled compared to the entire previous year, as per the Interior Ministry. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been largely restricted in France, though authorized marches have taken place, including a recent one in Paris advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza.

[Report by Surk from Nice, France, and additional reporting by video journalist Nicholas Garriga in Paris.]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Paris anti-antisemitism march

How many people participated in the anti-antisemitism march in Paris?

Over 100,000 people gathered in Paris to protest against rising antisemitism, linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Who were some of the notable attendees at the Paris march?

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, representatives from various political spectrums including leftists, conservatives, centrists from President Emmanuel Macron’s party, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen attended the march.

Did President Emmanuel Macron attend the anti-antisemitism march in Paris?

No, President Emmanuel Macron did not attend the march in person but expressed his support and called for action against the resurgence of antisemitism.

What was the reason behind Jean-Luc Melenchon’s absence from the Paris march?

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, chose not to attend the march, criticizing it on social media as a gathering in support of what he termed the massacre in Gaza.

What measures were taken by Paris authorities during the march?

Paris authorities deployed 3,000 police troops to oversee the march, which was called by the leaders of the Senate and the National Assembly, amid a rise in anti-Jewish acts in France.

What was the context of the anti-antisemitism march in Paris?

The march occurred in the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which saw a significant increase in antisemitic acts in France, coinciding with Israel’s military engagement with Hamas.

What does the participation in the Paris march signify according to Patrick Klugman?

Patrick Klugman, a lawyer and member of the “Freethem” committee, stated that the large participation in the march was meaningful and symbolic in reassuring Jewish communities in France.

What stance did Tomer Sisley express at the Paris march?

Tomer Sisley, an Israeli and French actor, emphasized the unity among French citizens against violence and hatred towards any religious or ethnic group, asserting that they are all together as French.

How did French authorities respond to the increase in antisemitic acts?

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that perpetrators of antisemitic acts would be prosecuted and punished, emphasizing the need for unity and peace in the Middle East.

What was Marine Le Pen’s stance at the Paris anti-antisemitism march?

Marine Le Pen, the French far-right leader, attended the march and called for a pause in political controversies during the event, despite criticisms of her party’s historical associations with antisemitism.

More about Paris anti-antisemitism march

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JohnDoe November 13, 2023 - 12:11 am

I think Macron should’ve been there in person, not just in spirit. Leaders need to show up, literally.

JennyLovesCats November 13, 2023 - 1:09 am

can’t believe Macron didn’t actually go to the march.. seems like a big moment to miss out on?

Mike47 November 13, 2023 - 4:33 am

Wow, over 100k people, that’s huge. Really shows how serious this issue is in France right now..!

Mike237 November 13, 2023 - 8:18 am

Wow, over 100k people marching against antisemitism, thats huge. good to see people standing up for what’s right.

TechGuy89 November 13, 2023 - 9:23 am

did they really need 3000 police there? seems a bit over the top or am i missing something?

SarahB November 13, 2023 - 10:52 am

Jean-Luc Melenchon not showing up speaks volumes, doesnt it? Politics always gets in the way.

EmmaK November 13, 2023 - 11:47 am

its so sad to see antisemitism rising again, especially in France with its history. We should never forget the past.

HistoryBuff1917 November 13, 2023 - 2:28 pm

France’s WWII past still casting a long shadow, sad to see anti-Semitism on the rise again.

Sara_K November 13, 2023 - 2:58 pm

Its good to see so many people standing against hate but what happens next? is there a plan to really tackle antisemitism?

Frank_the_Tank November 13, 2023 - 4:36 pm

Le Pen showing up is interesting… didn’t her party have a shady past with this stuff?

AlexR November 13, 2023 - 5:28 pm

The increase in antisemitic acts is alarming. Glad to see the govt is taking action but is it enough?


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