“As in last year’s infiltration of the ‘yellow vests’ demonstrations by antisemitic, ant-Zionist and Holocaust denying neo-Nazis, so yesterday, Jew-hatred was exposed at the rally inspired by ‘Black Lives Matter’,’’ stated Shimon Samuels from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
‘’We will be uncompromising in the face of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination and new strong decisions will be taken,’’ said French President Emmanuel Macron Sunday in a televised national address aimed at charting a path out of the coronavirus crisis.
His statement regarding antisemitism came one day after anti-Jewish and anti-Israel slogans were screamed during a protest rally in Paris against racism in light of the Black Lives Matter rallies that have been taking place around the world in protest against police brutality.
However, as happened one year ago during the ‘’yellow vests’’ protests, virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slogans were screamed by protesters at the Place de la République such as “dirty Jews” as some waved placards reading “Israel, laboratory of police violence.”
French weekly ‘Valeurs Actuelles’’ posted a video, widely shared on social networks, showing protesters haranguing right-wing activists of Generation Identity, who came to display a banner denouncing “anti-white racism” on the roof of ” a building next to square. In response, protesters were heard yelling “dirty Jews,” at the counter-protesters. The police prefect has reported these remarks to the magistrates.
In addition, protesters were seen wearing t-shirts reading “Justice for Palestine,” and waving Palestinian flags at the event. Placards being held aloft included the phrase “Israel, laboratory of police violence,” and another banner read “Stop the massacres by Israel. Liberty and justice for Palestine.”
According to Shimon Samuels, International Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, stickers on lamp-posts, printed for the occasion, read: ‘’Palestine: land stolen, civilians bombed, children tortured…’’, ‘’Who is the terrorist?, Palestine to the Palestinians! Boycott Israel!’’ and ‘’Stop collaboration with Israeli State terrorism.’’
“As in last year’s infiltration of the ‘yellow vests’ demonstrations by antisemitic, ant-Zionist and Holocaust denying neo-Nazis, so yesterday, Jew-hatred was exposed at the rally inspired by ‘Black Lives Matter’,’’ stated Samuels.
In February 2019, in the midst of the ‘’yellow vests’’ social protests in Paris, French Jewish philosopher and writer Alain Finkielkraut had been targeted by demonstrators at a rally in Paris. One of them yelled ‘‘dirty Zionist’’ and ‘‘filthy race’’ at him.
Samuels called upon the leaders of ‘’Black Lives Matter’’ to publicly condemn antisemitism, whether from extreme right or far left infiltration into their movement.’’
Crif, the umbrella representative group of French Jewish institutions, denounced the incident, saying “there cannot be a fight against racism which directly or indirectly tolerates antisemitism in its ranks.”
The organization also noted the response of the extreme-lef party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who tried to cast doubt on the veracity of the incident, accusing the police on Twitter of “peddling antisemitic gossip” regarding the police report to the French courts.
“Perhaps Jean-Luc Mélenchon is deaf and blind once again when faced with antisemitism which comes from his ranks?” Crif said in a statement.
Regarding the anti-Israel slogans and messages on display at the rally, Crif said that ‘’it testifies to a desire to infiltrate a just and universal cause – anti-racism – with hatred of the Jews and Israel.”
French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy denounced the ”deafening silence of the organizers, the participants, the political forces present.”
“Why are there anti-Israeli banners at this demonstration? What does this have to do with the fight against racism whose victims are black people? Foolishness,” he tweeted.
In the United States too, groups on the far-right and far-left, including pro-Palestinian organizations with links to terrorism, have been engaged in a campaign to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement to promote antisemitism and delegitimize the State of Israel.
In particular, anti-Israel groups have been using the protests over the murder of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd in Minnesota by a police officer to target Israel over past training programs set up between the United States and Israeli police departments.