February 22, 2024

Marine Le Pen to Attend ‘Grand Civic March’ Against Antisemitism

Marine Le Pen, the former leader of France’s far-right National Rally party, is set to participate in France’s ‘grand civic march’ against antisemitism on Sunday. Her decision to attend has caused controversy across the French political spectrum, as well as among Jewish and non-Jewish communities, raising questions about the sincerity of her commitment to Jewish safety and the impact of her attendance on the legitimacy of her party and the rally itself.

Several far-left parties have opted not to join the demonstration due to Le Pen’s participation. Additionally, a major Jewish group in France has expressed unwelcoming sentiments towards her attendance.

Le Pen, who inherited the leadership of her party from her father, Jean-Marine le Pen, has been striving to court Jewish voters in recent years despite her father’s history of downplaying the Holocaust and being convicted of antisemitic hate speech. The party has sought to appeal to Jews, emphasizing its opposition to immigration from Muslim countries and its stance against public Muslim life in France as a matter of security for the Jewish community.

In light of Le Pen’s participation, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) has rejected the party’s attempts to win over Jewish voters, citing the party’s origins and its founder’s ties to Nazi Germany. Far-left leaders have also announced their decision to skip the march due to Le Pen’s involvement.

The surge in antisemitic acts in France following recent events in Israel and Gaza has heightened the significance of the upcoming march, with tens of thousands expected to participate and a significant security deployment in place. President Emmanuel Macron, who will not be present at the march, has condemned the resurgence of antisemitism in France and expressed the importance of defending universalism.

The controversy surrounding Le Pen’s participation has underscored the complex dynamics of addressing antisemitism in France and the diverse range of political responses to this critical issue.