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July 7, 2022 1:41 pm
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Far Left French MP Condemned for ‘Antisemitic’ Attack on Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Photo: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

A far-left French parliamentarian has been roundly condemned by opponents who alleged she made an antisemitic comment during a rhetorical attack on the country’s new prime minister.

Mathilde Panot — a newly-elected MP from the La France Insoumise (“France Rising”) bloc that enjoyed a strong showing in June’s legislative elections — sarcastically referred to French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne as a “survivor.” The first female premier of France in 30 years, Borne’s father, Joseph Bornstein, was a Polish Jewish refugee who fled from Belgium to France in 1940 and joined the French resistance against Nazi forces in Europe. He was later deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, where his father and his youngest brother were murdered upon arrival.

“Madame Borne: It must be said, you are a survivor,” Panot declared during a speech to the National Assembly on Wednesday, before proceeding to mock the prime minister for heading a government “with holes and on borrowed time: three of your ministers were defeated in the legislative elections.”

Panot continued: “The legislative electoral snub bears your name. But you are still there!”

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Several of France’s leading intellectuals and politicians rushed to condemn Panot for using the term “survivor” in her speech, interpreting it as an underhand attack on Borne’s family background.

“When the ignoble competes with stupidity,” the economist Jacques Attali — himself the recent subject of an antisemitic mural in the city of Lyon — stated on Twitter.

Another commentator explicitly compared Panot with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the neo-fascist founder of the National Front (FN) who infamously called the Holocaust “a minor detail of the history of the Second World War.”

“Mathilde Panot, in line with Le Pen senior, uses the term ‘survivor’ about the daughter of a resistance fighter who survived Auschwitz,” tweeted the philosopher Raphaël Enthoven. “Ignorance or deliberate monstrosity?”

Panot indignantly denied that she had been trafficking in antisemitism in a reply to her critics.

“Dishonest,” she tweeted on Wednesday, insisting that she had made no reference to “this terrible family history.”

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