Ahead of a rally against antisemitism being held Sunday in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron published an article in the Le Parisien newspaper in which he strongly condemned the violence of Hamas, expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself and came out strongly against rise in antisemitic attacks in his country.
More than 3,000 people are expected at the march, but Macron will not be among them, Macron said Saturday that he would not join the rally, but would attend in his "thoughts."
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose National Rally has a history of antisemitism despite its growing political legitimacy, said she would attend the rally.
"The terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel on October 7 provoked cross-border protests at the time. One thousand two hundred people were murdered with absolute brutality. Forty of our compatriots fell victim to barbarism, eight more are missing or held hostage. We stand bruised, all of us, alongside the families, we are all mobilized to obtain the release of all the hostages," Marcron wrote in his letter released on Saturday night.
"Added to this pain of the nation is the unbearable resurgence of unbridled anti-Semitism. Whether religious, social, identity or racial, antisemitism is always as Émile Zola presented it: odious. In one month, more than 1,000 antisemitic acts were committed on our soil. Three times more acts of hatred against our Jewish compatriots in a few weeks than during the entire last year.
"Our Jewish compatriots therefore experience legitimate anguish. Afraid to take their children to school. Fear of going home alone. Fear to the point of erasing their names on their mailboxes to protect themselves. As if the grief was not enough, they are gripped by anguish and loneliness. As if the past feelings transmitted by their parents, their grandparents were suddenly resurfacing
"A France where our Jewish fellow citizens are afraid is not France. A France where French people are afraid because of their religion or their origin is not France. This is why, in the name of the French people, our internal security forces like our magistrates are mobilized to give force to the law. In one month, hundreds of arrests were made and dozens of legal proceedings opened. To bring antisemitism back to where it belongs: in court and behind bars. No tolerance for the intolerable. This fight against antisemitism must never divide us or ever lead to pitting some of our compatriots against others. In our history, antisemitism has always been the prelude to other hatreds and racism.
"The October 7 terrorist attack prompted an armed response from Israel. Israel, I have said from day one, has the right to defend itself. There is no “yes but” - putting Hamas out of harm's way is a necessity. I proposed an international initiative in this direction. This defense must be accompanied by the resumption of political dialogue and ensure the protection of civilians and hostages in Gaza who cannot pay the price of their lives for the bloodthirsty madness of the terrorists. This is why France is committed to building a humanitarian coalition, the first meeting of which was held this Thursday in Paris, during which we called for an immediate humanitarian truce leading to a cease-fire.
"The aim of the terrorists is to create divisions everywhere to fuel clashes and chaos. We will not fall into this trap. We are the Nation of the Universal. A people who have never given up on this simple principle, established by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen: a life is worth a life. Beyond origins, backgrounds, beliefs, choices. We want justice, peace and security for the people of Israel, for the Palestinian people and for the States of the region. We want French unity.
"I therefore see as a reason for hope the marches which are organized for the Republic, against antisemitism, for the release of hostages and for peace. They will express what is the very essence of the French project: the refusal of the assignment of difference. The defense of universalism. This fundamental idea that there are no communities, only citizens equal to citizens. Lives worth other lives. This is how France speaks when it comes to carrying a message of humanity. And on this path, in the moments we live, nothing should divide us. France must remain united behind its values, its universalism, united for itself, to carry out its project and work for peace and security for all in the Middle East," the French president's letter concluded.