France's far right tries to move away from past anti-Semitism

© Christophe Ena/AP

France’s far-right National Rally has used the war between Israel and Hamas as a way to bolster its support for French Jews – a U-turn for the party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen, who famously called the Holocaust a "detail" of history. By shifting away from anti-Semitism and focusing on the threats of radical Islam, daughter Marine Le Pen is transforming far-right tactics in a way that has divided French politics.

On Sunday, 12 November, nearly 190,000 people marched in cities around France against anti-Semitism and in solidarity with French Jews.

France's Jewish community has been facing an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitism since the militant Palestinian group Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October, and Israel retaliated with a massive bombing campaign on Gaza.

As of 14 November, 1,518 anti-Semitic offences had been officially recorded since the Hamas assault, nearly three times as many as in all of 2022, according to the Interior Ministry.

Last weekend's march, organised by the heads of both houses of parliament, unified most political leaders across the spectrum – with some notable exceptions.

President Emmanuel Macron did not attend, though he expressed support for it and other members of his party were there.

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