France: Over 180K March Against Antisemitism

More than 180K people across France, including at least 100K in Paris, took to the streets on Sunday to protest against a surge in antisemitism following Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and Tel Aviv's subsequent bombing of the Gaza Strip....

France: Over 180K March Against Antisemitism
Image credit: Remon Haazen/Getty Images

Facts

  • More than 180K people across France, including at least 100K in Paris, took to the streets on Sunday to protest against a surge in antisemitism following Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and Tel Aviv's subsequent bombing of the Gaza Strip.1
  • Among the first to announce their presence at the protest, called by leaders of the Senate and the National Assembly, were the far right's Marine Le Pen, three-time presidential candidate for the National Rally (formerly the National Front), and the party's young president, Jordan Bardella.2
  • France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, members of Pres. Emmanuel Macron's party, and far-right politician Marine Le Pen all joined the march, while the far-left stayed away, calling it a meeting of 'friends of unconditional support for the massacre' in Gaza.3
  • In attendance were also former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, who led the march holding a banner that read 'For the Republic, against anti-Semitism.'4
  • Although Macron didn't attend the march, he has previously called on citizens to unite behind France's 'universalism' and rise against 'the unbearable resurgence of unbridled anti-semitism.'5
  • At least 1.2K antisemitic acts have been recorded in France — home to Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim communities — since the conflict, which has allegedly killed more than 11K people in Gaza, erupted in the Middle East.5

Sources: 1Al Jazeera, 2BBC News, 3Associated Press, 4The Telegraph and 5The Guardian.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by NPR Online News. Amid rising levels of antisemitic attacks in France, Sunday's show of solidarity against such discrimination is a powerful symbol of solidarity with Jewish citizens and reminder that France's political establishment is united in its support for conflict resolution. Given the nation's complex history with antisemitism during the Second World War, fostering social cohesion is crucial to the ongoing health of French society.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by France 24. The support of France's political establishment for this protest should be met with skepticism, especially given the fact that the roots of Marine Le Pen's own party lie in antisemitism. Politicians have been accused of opportunistically utilizing the boycott to enhance their own reputations, while the hard-left — which boycotted the demonstration — have highlighted that emphasis on opposing antisemitism and 'Islamic Fundamentalism' is taking up space in the national debate which should be focused on calling for ceasefire in Gaza.

Predictions