Macron condemns yellow vest anti-Semitism
French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut on Saturday evening was called a “dirty Jew” and “dirty Zionist shit”.
Video from a freelance journalist showed police taking action to protect the pro-Israel, left-wing philosopher, who is among France’s most respected thinkers.
Police stepped in to protect the 69-year-old academic, forming a barrier around him, amid shouts of “throw yourself in the canal”.
The protesters, who originally began their movement over proposed fuel tax rises, cried out: “You’re going to die, you’re going to hell” at Finkielkraut. “Go back to Tel Aviv” and “We are France” can also be heard.
The yellow vest movement has broadened into a vague revolt against Macron and a political class seen as out of touch with struggling citizens.
The protests have often turned violent, causing damage, including to some of Paris’ most famous landmarks.
Paris last weekend saw anti-Semitic vandalism, including swastikas daubed on pictures of Holocaust survivor Simone Veil and “Juden” sprayed on a Jewish bagel shop.
Vandals also desecrated a memorial to a Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, who was tortured to death by an anti-Semitic group in Paris in 2006.
A tree planted where the 23-year-old’s body was found was chopped down and a second tree was partly sawed through.
The son of Polish immigrants’ work focuses on identity-based violence, such as anti-Semitism.
The best-selling author has expressed support for the yellow vests, saying he “likes this movement in its beginnings and continues to love it”. However, he has more recently expressed criticism.
Macron said the abuse was an “absolute negation” of what made France great and would not be accepted.
In 2016 Finkielkraut entered the pantheon of French academia when he was admitted into the Academie Francaise, which is a council of 40 scholars elected for life.
Tens of thousands took part in anti-government protests on Saturday.
Police used tear gas again during the 14th consecutive weekend of yellow vest protests.
He told Journal du Dimanche that he felt an “absolute hate” and would have feared for his safety if the police had not intervened. The scholar added that not all of the protesters were aggressive.
Macron spoke to him by telephone on Saturday.
“Those who insulted him had their faces uncovered,” tweeted Paris MP Benjamin Griveaux. “I hope they will be identified, prosecuted and heavily convicted.”
The French interior ministry said around 41,500 people took part in protests across France on Saturday, including around 5,000 protesters in Paris, although the Parisian organisers said many more were in attendance.
“We are 15,000 [in the capital], that means the movement is increasing,” protester Jerome Rodrigues told the media.
The yellow vest movement has alienated many of its initial supporters. Picture credit: Wikimedia