The objective of the march is to demonstrate national unity amid an explosion in antisemitic acts in the country – more than thousand- since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacres n southern Israel, in which over 1,400 people were murdered and more 241 kidnapped as hostages to Gaza.
The Elysée Palace said President Macron won’t attend the march. While he has been rather supportive of Israel so far, the French President used another tone on Friday in an interview with the BBC, saying that Israel ”must stop killing babies and women in Gaza.” While recognizing Israel’s right to protect itself, he added: ”We do urge them to stop the bombing.”
Several hundred thousand people are expected to join a ‘’civic march’’ against antisemitism in Paris on Sunday but while several political leaders said they will attend, French President Emmanuel Macron won’t be present, his office said.
The ‘March for the Republic and against anti-Semitism’’ has been called by the President of the French National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet – who is Jewish and was a target of antisemitic threats, and the President of the French Senate, Gérard Larcher.
The objective of the march is to demonstrate national unity amid an explosion in antisemitic acts in the country – more than thousand- since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacres n southern Israel, in which over 1,400 people were murdered and more 241 kidnapped as hostages to Gaza. 3,000 policemen have been mobilized to secure the march.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, whose Jewish father was deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz, will also take part in the march as well as several members of her government and former Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the extreme-right Nartional Rally party, said she plans to attend the march, “Of course I will participate. Party president Bardella will be there. All of our elected officials will be there, and I call on all our members, all our voters to come,” she told RTL radio.
Crif, the Jewish representative umbrella group, is among those who said Le Pen is not welcome. House Speaker Yael Braun-Pivet, who called for the march with the Senate leader, said that no political parties had been invited but that she won’t march “next to” Le Pen.
Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded theextreme-right National Front, was convicted repeatedly of antisemitic hate speech and played down the scope of the Holocaust. His daughter – who run in the last two presidential elections and is likely a top contender in the 2027 election — has worked to scrub the party’s image, kicking her father out and changing its name from National Front to National Rally.
The Communist Party and extreme-left La France Insoumise (LFI) party said they would pledged to boycott the march if the National Rally was present. But LFI would not be welcome as it has itself been accused of antisemitism and its leader, Jean-Luc Melanchon, has refused to characterize Hamas as a terrorist group and to condemn the 7th of October massacres.
According to French media, the participaation of Macron in the march was a ‘’dilemna’’ for him. ‘’It could be good if Emmanuel Macron could bet here, as it would give the event a historic dimension,’’ said Yonathan Arfi, president of Crif. ‘’We need this march because Jews in France need to hear the cry from the heart, the solidarity, the outpooring of fraternity from the French towards them in the face of antisemitism,’’ he added. France has the laergest Jewish community in Europe.
But the Elysée Palace said the president won’t attend the march. It said ‘’the President respectfully greets all those who would be marching on Sunday for the Republic, against anti-Semitism and for the release of the hostages. The President has fought relentlessly against all forms of anti-Semitism since day one.’’ He also warned against those tempted to conflate “the rejection of Muslims with support for Jews.”
While he has been rather supportive of Israel so far, the French President used another tone on Friday in an interview with the BBC, saying that Israel ”must stop killing babies and women in Gaza.” While recognizing Israel’s right to protect itself, he added: ”We do urge them to stop the bombing.” ”De facto today, civilians are bombed- de facto. These babies, these ladies, these old people are bombed and killed -? So there is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop,” Macron said. He also stressed that France ”clearly condemns” the ”terrorist actions of Hamas.