CRIF president says victory of far-left coalition leader Melenchon puts ‘a target on the back of all Jews who support Israel.’


Following a shocking election in France that brought a leftist coalition to power, French Jews are expressing deep apprehension about their future status in a country that in recent months has experienced a historic surge in antisemitism and souring relations with Israel.

Over the weekend, France’s coalition of far-left parties, the New Popular Front (NFP), won 182 seats in snap parliamentary elections, delivering a blow to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party (RN), which was expected to perform better. However, NFP failed to obtain a majority of the 577 seats in France’s National Assembly, meaning it will need to build alliances with other parties in order to pass legislation.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance now has the second largest faction with 163 seats. The RN and its allies won 143 seats, garnering the third biggest representation.

The largest member of the NFP is the far-left La France Insoumise (“France Unbowed”) party, whose leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, has styled himself as the self-appointed leader of the coalition. His new position of power has French Jews worried. “Melenchon is a person who is a threat against the Jews,” Yonathan Arfi, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF), told the Jerusalem Post after the voting on Sunday. He added that La France Insoumise (LFI) puts “a target on the back of all Jews who support Israel.

Arfi also blasted LFI on X/Twitter, writing that it “has no place in government,” pledging to fight “its culture of violence and its antisemitic excesses.

Shortly after the NFP’s victory, Melenchon called for France to recognize a Palestinian state, and supporters of the hard-left coalition, which includes socialist and communist parties, poured into the streets of Paris waving Palestinian flags. French flags were largely absent from the celebrations.

Melenchon in a 2017 speech referred to the French Jewish community as “an arrogant minority that lectures to the rest.” Three years later, Melenchon suggested that Jews killed Jesus, echoing a false claim that was used to justify antisemitic violence and discrimination throughout the Middle Ages in Europe. “I don’t know if Jesus was on a cross, but he was apparently put there by his own people,” he said in an interview with a French TV station. He refused to apologize even after backlash from notable Jewish groups.

In the wake of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’ massacre across Israel on Oct. 7th, Melenchon and his party issued a statement declaring the attacks “an armed offensive of Palestinian forces” as a result of continued Israeli “occupation.” Melenchon also failed to condemn a deputy who called Hamas a “resistance movement.

As the NFP prepares to wield greater influence in the legislature, French Jews have expressed concern over what they expect to be even more hostility than what they have been facing.

It seems France has no future for Jews,” Rabbi Moshe Sebbag of Paris’ Grand Synagogue told the Times of Israel following the ascension of the NFP. “We fear for the future of our children.

Meanwhile, Jewish French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy counseled in a post on X/Twitter, “Pray that Macron does not call on Melenchon [to become the next president] under any circumstances. Urge the social democrats to break their pact with this antisemite.

NFP’s victory came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

Late last month, an elderly Jewish woman was attacked in a Paris suburb by two assailants who punched her in the face, pushed her to the ground, and kicked her while hurling antisemitic slurs, including “dirty Jew, this is what you deserve.”

In another egregious attack that has garnered international headlines, a 12-year-old Jewish girl was raped by three Muslim boys in a different Paris suburb on June 15. The child told investigators that the assailants called her a “dirty Jew” and hurled other antisemitic comments at her during the attack. In response to the incident, Macron denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” plaguing French society.

Now with the ascension of the far left, French Jews fear even an even greater spike in antisemitic violence. In an interview with The National — a UAE-based publication — a French Jew who requested only to be identified by his first name warned against the violence coming from France’s extreme left: “There is an urgent need to stop the far left, which has allied itself with radical Muslims — if we don’t stop it France will become even more dangerous for Jews.”

In addition to an expected increase in antisemitism, Israel-France relations are expected to nosedive, following comments by the incoming coalition. NFP has publicly called for the recognition of a Palestinian state and a break “with the guilty support of the French government for the far-right supremacist government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to impose an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and enforce the order of the ICJ [International Court of Justice].” The ICJ is considering an ongoing case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of committing “state-led genocide” in its defensive war against Hamas in Gaza.

The NFP coalition’s platform also demands that Israel release all “Palestinian political prisoners,” many of whom have been imprisoned for terrorism offenses.

Under the Macron government, Israel became increasingly isolated from France. Last month, French officials banned Israeli arms manufacturers from attending Europe’s largest arms exposition, Eurosatory, citing Israel’s ongoing operations in Gaza. The NFP coalition will likely seek to block arms sales to Israel as demands for a ceasefire grow.

Meanwhile, on Monday, France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement condemning what it described as “colonization in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Although Melenchon has called for Macron to step down, the incumbent president announced that he will remain in office until his term ends in 2027.




Read More about the recent snap Election in France