France honors Oct. 7th victims with strong denouncement of global surge in antisemitism

‘Those who kill out of hatred will always be confronted by those who are ready to die out of love,’ the French president stated.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel as “the worst antisemitic massacre of our century” at a special ceremony in Paris on Wednesday morning to commemorate the 42 French citizens murdered during the onslaught by Hamas terrorists.

The centerpiece of the ceremony, staged exactly four months after the Hamas assault, was comprised of the portraits of the 42 murdered French passport holders held by uniformed members of the country’s Republican Guard police unit. Three empty chairs were also prominently on display, symbolizing the three French hostages who are still in Hamas captivity in Gaza.

The ceremony in the courtyard of Hotel Les Invalides in Paris opened to the mournful strains of “Kaddish,” a piece for piano and violin by the noted French composer Maurice Ravel. Wearing a solemn expression, Macron then took to the podium, where he forthrightly condemned the killings and emphasized that France was “fighting every day” to secure the release of the three French hostages among the 132 who continue to be held by Hamas.

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Addressing the explosion of antisemitism in the wake of the pogrom, Macron declared that “nothing should be allowed to give in to rampant, uninhibited antisemitism, here and there, because nothing justifies it.”

“Those who kill out of hatred will always be confronted by those who are ready to die out of love,” the French president stated. “The lives we honor today are victims of a terrorism that we fight in all its forms, and that struck us in the heart.”

Macron briefly referred to the loss of Palestinian lives incurred during Israel’s ongoing military operation to end the rule of Hamas in Gaza. “In this tornado of suffering that is war, all lives are priceless in the eyes of France,” he said. The French authorities have said they intend to organize a separate ceremony to commemorate their citizens killed in Gaza, but no date has yet been set, while is is unclear how many French passport holders have actually been killed since the government announced the deaths of two Palestinian children who were French citizens on Oct. 31.

Wednesday’s ceremony was not spared from the political controversies that have dogged attempts around the world to honor the Israeli victims. A festering row over the presence of parliamentarians from the far left party La France Insoumise (LFI — “France Rising”), which has furiously condemned Israel’s military response amid accusations that its supporters have trafficked in antisemitism, resulted in angry exchanges with pro-Israel demonstrators at the edges of the ceremony. As the four LFI MPs — Mathilde Panot, Manuel Bompard, Eric Coquerel and Caroline Fiat — arrived, they were greeted with shouts of, “LFI, Hamas thanks you.”

Joel Mergui, head of the Consistoire Central, France’s main Jewish religious organization, said earlier on Wednesday that the presence of the LFI deputies was an “insult to Jews and Israel.” In an interview with broadcaster Public Senat, Mergui also expressed disappointment that most Muslim leaders in France “did not condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization. This is important for our national cohesion.”

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Support for the LFI deputies came from the party’s leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, who praised their “great dignity” in the face of “rudeness and provocations” in a post on Twitter/X.