More than 180,000 people—100,000 of them in Paris alone—marched across cities in France on November 12 to express solidarity with the country’s Jews and to condemn both the surge in antisemitic acts following the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas as well as the loss of innocent civilian lives amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Arranged by the leaders of both houses of the French Parliament, the marches occurred the day following a pro-Palestinian protest in London estimated by police to have involved about 300,000 people. In Paris alone, around 3,000 police officers patrolled the demonstration route.
As of November 11, French officials recorded 1,247 antisemitic acts since October 7—a number nearly three times higher than the total for the entire year of 2022, as reported by the Interior Ministry.
The government has taken measures to safeguard synagogues, Jewish schools, and centers across the country by deploying 10,000 police officers and soldiers. The action is in response to the awareness of previous incidents targeting such institutions during heightened tensions between Israel and Palestine.
In an open letter published in Le Parisien on November 11, French President Emmanuel Macron denounced what he referred to as the “unbearable resurgence of unbridled antisemitism” in France, asserting there would be “no tolerance for the intolerable.” Macron remarked that a France where Jewish citizens feel fear is not the France he envisions.
Although France has not witnessed extensive clashes between pro-Palestinian and Jewish students at universities—as has been the case in the U.S.—there have been reports of antisemitic acts on campuses throughout the country. Jewish students have expressed experiencing an escalating atmosphere of hostility.
Marc Knobel, a historian specializing in antisemitism in France, described the current levels of antisemitic acts as unprecedented. He expressed concern, noting that 500,000 Jewish French citizens live in fear within their own country, “and that’s absolutely terrifying.”
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