At a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi deportation of Jews from Paris on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed, “We will not surrender to anti-Zionism, because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism.”
Macron, who recognized the French government’s complicity in the deportation of 13,000 French Jews on July 16, 1942, promised to “never surrender to the messages of hate,” The Washington Post reported.
In 1995, President Jacques Chirac became the first French head of state to recognize his government’s complicity in Nazi plans. “France, on that day, committed the irreparable. Breaking its word, it handed those who were under its protection over to their executioners,” Chirac said at the time.
Macron echoed his predecessor’s remarks on Sunday, acknowledging, “It was indeed France that organized the roundup, the deportation, and thus, for almost all, death.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived in France for talks on Sunday, also attended the ceremony.
“The Nazis and their collaborators in France … shattered the lives of thousands of French Jews at Vel’ d’Hiv,” Netanyahu said. “Jacques Chirac and successive presidents deserve much credit for telling the truth.”
“It seems that the values of the French Revolution—liberty, equality and fraternity—these values were crushed, crushed brutally under the boot of anti-Semitism. Yet we must say, and we heard it today as well, we must say that not all was dark,” he added, expressing his appreciation to the French who protected Jews during the Holocaust.
The prime minister also denounced the global threat of “militant Islam,” telling Macron, “Two days ago in Nice, you said that this was a war of civilizations. I fully agree. Militant Islam wants to destroy our common civilization. The militant Shiites led by Iran, the militant Sunnis led by ISIS – both seek to vanquish us. They seek to destroy Europe.”
During Bastille Day celebrations in Nice last year, an Islamist truck driver drove his vehicle through a crowd of people before emerging and shooting at passersby, killing more than 80 people.
“Your struggle is our struggle,” Netanyahu added in an apparent reference to Friday’s terror attack at the Temple Mount. “The zealots of militant Islam, who seek to destroy you, seek to destroy us as well. We must stand against them together; we must remain strong against them together; and we must defeat them together. For the sacred honor of those who perished here, for the sake of generations to come, let us ensure victory – the victory of liberté, egalité, fraternité.”
Macron’s remarks echo those of former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who said in a 2014 commemoration of a terror attack on a Jewish school, “Criticism of Israel that is based on anti-Zionism—that’s anti-Semitism today, this is the refuge of those who do not accept the State of Israel.”
Diverse public figures including former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, Pope Francis, and Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres have also denounced anti-Zionism—the denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination—as a form of modern anti-Semitism.
[Photo: Prime Minister of Israel / Facebook ]