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November 17, 2022 1:26 pm

Far Right Party Withdraws Bid to Chair French Parliament’s Antisemitism Study Group

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Activists opposed to the French far right RN party marching in Paris in Nov. 2022. Photo: Reuters/Djoudi Hamani

The far-right French National Rally (RN) political party has abandoned its attempt to obtain the chair of the French parliament’s study group on antisemitism in the wake of a furious protest from the country’s Jewish community.

At a meeting on November 8 to determine which parties would chair the 80 study groups for French parliamentarians to intervene on issues ranging from wine to hunting to video games, the RN applied for the chair of the antisemitism group. An outgrowth of the neo-fascist National Front (FN), whose leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, infamously described the Holocaust as a “minor detail of the Second World War”, the RN has in recent years attempted to distance itself from its roots under the tutelage of Le Pen’s estranged daughter, Marine Le Pen.

However, the Jewish community has consistently rejected the RN’s overtures. News of the RN’s attempt to chair the antisemitism study group was roundly rejected by Crif, the community’s representative body.

“If this were to happen,  Crif and the Jewish institutions would never participate in this masquerade,” Yonathan Arfi, Crif’s chair, tweeted. “It would be unacceptable ineptitude and manipulation.”

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Yaël Braun-Pivet, the President of the French National Assembly, offered additional clarification this week, pointing out that the final decision on the chairing of study groups would be made on Dec. 7. Meanwhile, the RN announced that it had reached agreement with Renaissance — the ruling party of President Emmanuel Macron — for the latter party to chair the antisemitism group.

“The antisemitism group has returned to us, as has the group on AIDS,” an unnamed Renaissance source told the AFP news agency.

The US Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt, said in October that France, where antisemitic outrages have multiplied year -on-year, had “proven to be ‘Ground Zero’ for European antisemitism.”

“I think that in many respects, France emulates what we’ve seen in other places, because it’s not just Islamist extremist antisemitism, it’s also from the right and from the left,” Lipstadt added.


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