French politicians join march through Paris against antisemitism

The march took place in Paris on Sunday (Alamy/PA)
The march took place in Paris on Sunday (Alamy/PA) The march took place in Paris on Sunday (Alamy/PA)

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

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

President Emmanuel Macron did not attend, but 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, 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.

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-Jewish acts in France since the start of the conflict last month.

Antisemitism march
Antisemitism march A protester wearing a Jewish kippa and holding a French flag joined thousands on the march (Christophe Ena/AP)

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

He added: “It’s a march against violence, against antisemitism, against all (political extremes) that are infiltrating the society, to show that the silent majority does exist.”

France has the largest Jewish population in Europe.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron After marking Armistice Day on Saturday, Emmanuel Macron said a France where its Jewish citizens are afraid ‘is not France’ (Mohammed Badra/pool/AP)

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

In a letter addressed to the French people on Sunday, Mr Macron vowed that perpetrators 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”.

Antisemitism march
Antisemitism march French police manned the route of the march (Christophe Ena/AP)

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.

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

As of Saturday, officials counted 1,247 antisemitic 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.