PARIS (AP) – President Emmanuel Macron called on the French people to rise up against anti-Jewish acts ahead of a march in the capital on Sunday to protest rising anti-Semitism.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and many other politicians will participate in the march in the French capital. Paris authorities deployed 3,000 police officers along the protest route called by leaders of the Senate and the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, amid an alarming increase in anti-Jewish acts in France since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas after his arrest. Surprise attack on October 7 against Israel.
French authorities have recorded more than 1,000 acts against Jews across the country in a month since the Middle East conflict began. In a letter addressed to the French on Sunday, they promise that the perpetrators of these acts will be prosecuted and punished.
“A France where our Jewish fellow citizens are afraid is not France,” Macron said in the letter published in the newspaper Le Parisien. He called on the country to remain “united behind our values… and to work for peace and security for all in the Middle East.”
He noted that 40 French citizens were killed in the initial Hamas attack, and that eight are still missing or held hostage.
“To this pain of the nation was added the unbearable resurgence of unbridled anti-Semitism,” he declared.
Macron said he would participate “in my heart and in mind,” but not in person. “My role is to build the unity of the country and to be firm on values,” Macron said on Saturday on the sidelines of the Armistice commemorations, marking the end of the First World War.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is expected to attend Sunday’s march amid fierce criticism that her once-pariah National Rally party has failed to shed its anti-Semitic legacy despite growing political legitimacy .
On Saturday, the authorities counted 1,247 anti-Semitic acts since October 7, almost three times more than for the whole of 2022, according to the Interior Ministry. France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, but given its own collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, anti-Semitic acts are now reopening old scars.
France has largely banned pro-Palestinian protests, although supporters have marched in several French cities in recent weeks, including thousands demanding a ceasefire in Gaza during a permitted demonstration in Paris last Sunday .