Resurgence: Anti-semitism's alarming presence in French politics

Resurgence: Anti-semitism’s alarming presence in French politics

FRANCE-After the Hamas attacks on October 7 and the ensuing conflict in Gaza, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel student factions on American campuses have become more tense. These tensions have now crossed the Atlantic and arrived at a prestigious French university.  At a Palestinian solidarity rally held on the Paris campus of Sciences Po, the alma mater of French President Emmanuel Macron, accusations of antisemitism surfaced last week. A Jewish student claimed that she was denied entry to a demonstration organised by pro-Palestinian students after being referred to as a “zionist”; the demonstrators angrily denied this accusation.

Why the reappearance of anti-semitism in French politics?

The French government responded promptly, emphasizing the seriousness of the affair, but it has subsequently come under fire for allegedly acting rashly in the face of uncertainty and violating academic independence. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal unexpectedly showed up at a board of directors meeting for the National Foundation of Political Science (FNSP), which is in charge of managing Sciences Po’s administrative and financial strategy, less than 24 hours after the alleged antisemitic incident. 

He stated that the university’s administration would need to take action against an “active and dangerous minority.” In a statement released, the university’s deans and heads of research centres denounced the prime minister’s unexpected visit, saying that “no political figure should take actions that undermine the principles of academic independence and freedom.” They expressed their outrage “in the strongest terms.”

What’s driving anti-semitism’s comeback in French politics?

The administration appears to have acted quickly because of concerns over the importation of American-style college battles, complete with political proxy conflicts originating from the Israel-Hamas conflict. The French Jewish Students Union (UEJF), which claimed that one of its members had been denied entry to an auditorium that was filled with students staging pro-Palestinian protests on March 12 during a solidarity event, ignited the controversy at Sciences Po. 

Jordan Bardella, the party’s youthful president, and Marine Le Pen, a three-time presidential candidate for the National Rally (formerly the National Front), were among the first to declare their attendance. Their counterpart on the far left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the irascible head of France Unbowed (LFI), responded almost instantaneously. He tweeted that the march was a “rendezvous for unconditional supporters of the massacre of Gazans” and that his party would not be participating.

Can French politics stem the tide of anti-semitism’s return?

This weekend in Paris, something unusual is taking place due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas and its repercussions throughout Europe. For the first time ever, the far right is present at a significant protest that is attended by leaders of the major political parties, but not the far left. In response to a sharp increase in antisemitic incidents since October 7, thousands of people responded to a summons issued by the Speakers of the two houses of parliament on Sunday afternoon to demonstrate their support for French “Republican” values and their opposition to antisemitism. For many years, the extreme right’s beliefs, particularly with regard to Jews, were seen as “anti-Republican” in French politics. 

The previous National Front, led by Marine’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen, was despised and viewed as immoral. While the radical left, including the Communists, Trotskyists, and new groups like Mr. Mélenchon’s LFI, was undoubtedly criticized for their beliefs, they were never shut out. They belonged to the wider political family, which the Le Pen group was obviously not.

It would have been unimaginable a few years ago for a far-left party to have abstained from a march against antisemitism. It would not have been acceptable for a far-right party to have been present instead.

Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024 due to human trafficking in France

Raquel Garrido, a senior lieutenant, was suspended for four months this week as the party’s spokesman for questioning the leader’s position, not least over Hamas. Paris Olympics 2024 is a case of racism because the security threats are going to be very serious. Human rights violations and racism issues are increasing day by day. 

According to bbc, Opinion surveys support this: last week, IFOP predicted that Marine Le Pen would defeat the opposition with up to 33% of the vote in today’s presidential election first round. After polling at 22% in 2022, Mr. Mélenchon is now at 14%. 

As per politico, The disagreement on the specifics of the reported incident has also given rise to criticism of the government’s prompt response, which some see as an excessive response and overreach.

Although Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (LFI) is strategically repositioning itself on the political fringe, Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) is skillfully rebranding itself as a mainstream political force.



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