14 political parties are calling on the people of France to take to the streets on Tuesday night, to protest the rising anti-Semitic attacks in their country. As many as 54 marches will take place in 50 locations across France, starting from 5 to 7 PM, with banners saying “Anti-Semitism is not an opinion, it’s but a crime.”
French President Emmanuel Macron will not be among the marchers, but he is scheduled to be the keynote speaker on Wednesday at the 34th annual dinner of CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish organizations.
There will also be gatherings at 7 PM in many French cities: in Paris at the Place de la Republique, and in Nice, Strasbourg, Metz, Pau, Lille, Tours, Limoges, Valence, Perpignan, Marseille, Caen, Saint-Etienne, Avignon, Nantes, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Clermont-Ferrand.
The French are feeling disgusted by the rise of anti-Semitism in their country—third largest Jewish community in the world; and their disgust has reached a climax following the much publicized attack of yellow vest activists on prominent philosopher French-Jewish Alain Finkielkraut on Sunday. It could be said that France has finally reached its “J’Accuse…!” moment.
“J’Accuse…!” (“I Accuse…!”) was the title of an 1898 open letter by author Émile Zola, which accused the French government of anti-Semitism lawbreaking in the jailing of Alfred Dreyfus. Zola’s letter was printed on the front page of the newspaper L’Aurore and caused an enormous uproar in France and abroad.
Incidentally, no one is recorded to have marched in support of Dreyfus, but Zola was prosecuted for libel and found guilty, and he was forced to flee to England.
This time around, French Prime minister Edouard Philippe will lead a government delegation at Place de la Republique, and National Assembly president Richard Ferrand and the head of Senate Gerard Larcher will conduct a moment of silence at the Shoah memorial in Paris, at 17 Rue Geoffroy l’Asnier.