Tuesday, 21 May 2019 - 16 of Iyyar, 5779

French Jewish philosopher targeted with antisemitic insults by ‘yellow vest’ protesters

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In videos published on social media, protesters can be heard yelling: “Dirty Jew” and “you’re a hater, you’re going to die, you’re going to hell,” while others called on the thinker to “go home” and “return to Tel Aviv.”

Other demonstrators can be heard screaming anti-Semitic profanities such as “dirty Zionist shit.”

 

PARIS—French Jewish philosopher, writer and academician Alain Finkielkraut was the target of an anti-Semitic attack Saturday  by ‘’yellow vests’’ protesters in Paris.

In videos published on social media, protesters can be heard yelling: “Dirty Jew” and “you’re a hater, you’re going to die, you’re going to hell,” while others called on the thinker to “go home” and “return to Tel Aviv.”

Other demonstrators can be heard screaming anti-Semitic profanities such as “dirty Zionist shit.”

The ‘’yellow vest’’ movement, which initiatly was a anti-government  social protest over rising fuel taxes, was dogged by antisemitism and conspiracy theories.

Finkielkraut, whose writing focuses on a wide range of topics, many on the ideas of tradition and identitary violence, including Jewish identity and antisemitism,  said he “felt an absolute hatred, and unfortunately, this is not the first time”.

He thanked the police for their presence. “I would have been afraid if there had not been the police, fortunately they were there,” he says. He then confided that Emmanuel Macron called him to show his support.

Macron spoke out against the attack later Saturday night in a tweet saying : ‘’the anti-Semitic insults he (Finkielkraut- has been subjected to are as the absolute opposite of who we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate them.”

French government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux condemned the verbal assault against philosopher, writing that “hatred is a foul beast lurking in the streets of Paris” and adding that “those who insulted had their faces uncovered. I hope they will be identified, prosecuted and heavily condemned.”

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that “watching such a scene in Paris in 2019 in simply intolerable.”

According to a report by the Interior Ministry, anti-Semitic acts and threats increased last year n France by 74%.

In the last few days,  several anti-Semitic inscriptions have been reported in different places in Paris, inlcuding two swastikas tagged on two portraits of late Holocaust survivor and minister Simone Veil and the word ‘’Juden !’’ (Jewish in German) on a window of a Bagelstein shop.

Fourteen political parties, including the governing La République en Marche and opposition Les Républicains and Socialist Party called this week to unite and mobilize against antisemitism. They invited people ‘’to gather in all French cities next Tuesday and speak out : No to antisemitism. This is not France.’’

Crif, the representative body of the French Jewish community, welcomed the political initative. Last week, Crif President Francis Kalifat has called for a “national effort against anti-Semitism” following the series of antisemitic incidents in the capital.

Kalifat expressed concern about the violence of anti-Semitism on social networks that contributes to  anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories to be rooted in the minds of younger generations.

For Crif, the general plans to fight against hatred unfortunately seem ‘’ineffective.’’ ‘’It is now necessary to provide targeted responses to each of the hatreds that tear our society apart,’’ Kalifat said.

 

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