France rallies to denounce anti-Semitic insults at protests


19th February, 2019 01:21:05 printer

France rallies to denounce anti-Semitic insults at protests


Mass rallies are planned in Paris and other French cities Tuesday to denounce a flare-up of anti-Semitic acts which culminated in a violent tirade against a prominent writer during “yellow vest” anti-government protests last weekend.


Political leaders of all stripes called the rallies after a protester was caught on video calling the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut a “dirty Zionist” and telling him that “France belongs to us.”


Finkielkraut had initially supported the yellow vest movement, before criticising the violence carried out against police forces by a fringe of suspected far-right and far-left demonstrators.


Protesters also launched anti-Semitic abuse at Ingrid Levavasseur, who tried to lead a yellow vest list for coming European Parliament elections, in Paris over the weekend.


President Emmanuel Macron called the insults “the absolute negation of who we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate it.”


His office said he would not take part in the rallies, though Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will be among several government officials at a Paris march starting at 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) at Place de la Republique.


The yellow vest protests began last march against high fuel taxes and rising costs of living blamed on Macron’s policies, which critics say favour the well-off.


But officials accuse the grass-roots movement of helping unleash a wave of extremist violence that has fostered anti-Semitic outbursts among some participants.