Macron condemns ‘Yellow Vests’ anti-Semitism after French-Jewish philosopher attacked

A French philosopher, son of an Auschwitz survivor, is called a “dirty Jew” at a weekly Paris protest for economic justice. 

By World Israel News staff

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has condemned anti-Semitic attacks that have taken place at France’s “Yellow Vests” protests.  The grassroots political movement, launched in France in November, calls for economic justice. It was named for the reflective yellow jackets worn by its participants, who initially came together to protest a since-withdrawn government fuel tax.

Macron’s condemnation came after French media outlets reported that French-Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut was the target of an anti-Semitic attack on Saturday in Paris. A video from Yahoo! News showed Finkielkraut crossing a street as protesters wearing yellow vests hurled abuse at him.

Protesters shouted “Dirty Jew” and “you’re going to hell,” while others called towards him that “we are the people” and “France is ours.” This is the 14th weekend of protests.

Macron tweeted: “The anti-Semitic insults he has been subjected to are the absolute negation of what we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate it.”

The president praised Finkielkraut as “the son of Polish immigrants who became a French academician,” adding that he “is not only a prominent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic allows everyone.”

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Finkielkraut, 69, is the son of a Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz. He has written many books and essays on identity violence, including on Jews and anti-Semitism.

In December, French police opened an investigation into allegations that an elderly Jewish woman had been subjected to anti-Semitic slurs while traveling on the Paris Metro after she approached three supporters of the “Yellow Vests” movement with a request to stop their abusive chants and gestures.

According to Thibaut Chevillard, a journalist for the outlet 20 Minutes who was traveling in the same subway carriage, three inebriated men wearing yellow vests began chanting for the resignation of Macron while making the quenelle salute.

On seeing this, Agnes rose from her seat and challenged the men, explaining that the salute was an anti-Semitic gesture, and informing them that her own father had been deported to the Auschwitz death camp during World War II.

Interviewed by Chevillard, Agnes said she was proud that she had stood up to the three men, despite the potential danger she faced.

At the time, a “Yellow Vests” spokesman, Benjamin Cauchy, told French broadcaster BMFTV that anti-Semitism and racism had no place in the protests.

“These fanatics are messing up this popular movement,” Cauchy said. “We reject all racial discrimination, xenophobia, anti-Semitism.”

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However, from the beginning of the movement in November, concerns have arisen about the violent behavior of some of the movement’s supporters, along with the infiltration of anti-Semitic elements from the far-left and right.

Finkielkraut told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that he felt an “absolute hate” directed at him, adding that it was not the first time.

“I would have been afraid if there had not been the police; fortunately, they were there,” he added