Wednesday, March 22nd | 29 Adar 5783

February 15, 2019 2:24 pm

French Political Parties Unite Behind Upcoming Rally in Paris Against Antisemitism

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Demonstrators in Paris gather in memory of Mireille Knoll, a Holocaust survivor brutally murdered in an antisemitic assault last year. Photo: Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes.

Fourteen of France’s political parties, ranging from the far-left to the center-right, have signed onto a call urging French citizens to attend a rally against antisemitism in Paris on Tuesday night.

The appeal for a mass show of opposition to antisemitism came at the close of a traumatic week, with at least three high-profile incidents targeting Jews reported, as well as the publication of government statistics that showed a shocking rise of 74 percent in antisemitic hate crimes during 2018.

Around 460,000 Jews live in France, approximately 0.71 percent of the country’s total population.

The initiative for Tuesday’s rally, scheduled for 7 p.m. local time in the French capital’s Place de la Republique, came from the French Socialist Party (PS). Announcing the rally in a tweet that included the logos of all 14 parties backing it, PS parliamentarian Olivier Faure declared, “Let’s gather together to say that antisemitism kills. It’s not just an issue for the Jews, but for the whole nation.”

An accompanying statement emphasized that antisemitism was “not an opinion, but an offense.”

The statement recalled the violent deaths of more than ten French Jews in antisemitic attacks over the last decade. A memorial to one of the those victims, Ilan Halimi, who was murdered in Feb. 2006 after being kidnapped and tortured by an antisemitic gang, was one of the targets of antisemitic vandalism this week.

Among the parties supporting Tuesday’s rally is the governing centrist En Marche of President Emmanuel Macron. Despite the current bitter divisions in French politics, several parties of the left — the French Communist Party (PCF), the Parti Radicale and three different Green parties as well as the PS — joined the call.

Separately on Friday, more than 150 leading personalities in the southern city of Marseille published an appeal warning against “the return of antisemitism.” The port city, home to a Jewish community of 70,000, registered a rise of nearly 43 percent in the number of antisemitic attacks in 2018.

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