France’s gilets jaunes protests scrutinised as antisemites take part in demonstrations
France’s gilets jaunes protests have come under scrutiny after notorious antisemites were seen participating, and one journalist said its online support was “riddled” anti-Jewish messages.
Among those participating in the latest round of protests were comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, known for creating the quenelle gesture. He has convictions for antisemitism.
An image of author Hervé Ryssen, a former member of the Front National, confronting a police officer while wearing a hi-vis jacket characteristic of the protests was featured on the cover of Paris Match magazine.
The publication was condemned by the International League against Racism and Antisemitism (Licra), who said: “Antisemites and Holocaust deniers rejoice because of the visibility you offer them!”
Elsewhere, protestors waved placards expressing anti-Rothschild messages – often seen as a coded form of antisemitism.
— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) December 8, 2018
Other marchers have used President Emmanuel Macron’s connection with the Rothschild family in a derogatory manner, on social media and in television interviews.
Between 2008 and 2012 Mr Macron held a number of positions at Rothschild and Cie Banque, eventually becoming its managing director.
Journalist Ben Judah said: “The Gilets Jaunes online world is riddled with antisemitic memes and statements.”
He said he had seen one message that said: “Macron is the President of the Jews.”
Left-wing blog Harry’s Place shared its own search for antisemitic messages.
Uncomfortable fact for excited leftists — the Gilets Jaunes online world is riddled with antisemitic memes and statements. “Macron is the President of the Jews,” is a pretty major theme there.
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) December 8, 2018
The JC searched on Twitter on Sunday for antisemitic pro-Gilets Jaunes messages and immediately found a supporter who had just tweeted minutes earlier about the need to “end Jewish control”.
French security forces have flooded into Paris to contain a fourth consecutive weekend of anti-Macron protests. Participants have been dubbed gilets jaunes, for the yellow hi-vis jackets they wear.
Initially motivated by rising fuel prices and high living costs, the movement has morphed into a broader anti-establishment protest.
Although the 280,000-strong movement has attracted extremists on both sides, it is not affiliated with any one political or ideological school.