Mélenchon condemned as 'enemy of the republic' over attacks on French Jewish organisation

Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Jean-Luc Mélenchon Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AFP
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France's leading hardline leftist has been accused of 'legitimising terrorism' since Hamas's violent attack on Israel.


Hard-left French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been condemned as "an enemy of the Republic" by the leader of the country's largest collective of Jewish organisations after a series of remarks about the deadly ongoing events in Israel and Palestine.

The president of the Council of French Jewish Institutions, CRIF, described the far-left leader's expressed position on Hamas's recent attack in Israel as "abject".

"Jean-Luc Mélenchon has chosen not to express himself in solidarity with Israel but to legitimise terrorism by equating Israel with Hamas," said Yonathan Arfi, the day after the leader of political party La France Insoumise directly criticised CRIF as enforcing the agenda of a "far-right" government.

On Monday, Mélenchon wrote on X (formerly Twitter): "By forcing everyone to align themselves with the position of the far-right Israeli government, by agreeing to demonstrate with the RN, by insulting the futile elected representatives of the PS, CRIF has isolated and prevented the solidarity of the French with the desire for peace and the demand for an immediate ceasefire".

This message was sent a few hours after several rallies that CRIF had helped convene in solidarity with Israel and its citizens after Hamas fighters led 

The surprise offensive, which appears to have been carefully planned, killed more than  900 people in Israel, many of them civilians, with some 150 hostages taken. Nearly 700 people have so far been killed on the Palestinian side.

In addition, 1,500 fighters from the Islamist movement were killed during the attack.

Since then, Israel has launched a massive assault on Gaza, cutting off all supplies and bombarding neighbourhoods with air strikes.

The Eiffel Tower is illuminated with the colors of Israel after a demonstration in a show of support for Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023 in Paris
The Eiffel Tower is illuminated with the colors of Israel after a demonstration in a show of support for Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023 in ParisMichel Euler/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

'Legitimising violence'

Government spokesman Olivier Véran harshly criticised Mélenchon and the stances he has taken since Hamas's attack.

"Jean-Luc Mélenchon, he's all hatred," Véran told broadcaster franceinfo, reacting to the Insoumis leader's attacks on CRIF.

Véran, who took part in CRIF's main rally in Paris, said that "the time for emotion and mobilisation is for Israel and the Jewish community".

For the government spokesman, Mélenchon's remarks are the mark of "someone who has decided that it is good to legitimise the use of violence, at the very least to excuse it", and who utters "virulent, contrarian remarks all the time".

"This is no longer politics, it's a moral issue," said CRIF president Arfi. "Jean-Luc Mélenchon always takes the side of totalitarianism: he supports Russia against Ukraine, China against Taiwan and today, in a way, Hamas against Israel. It's a constant: he's always on the wrong side of history.

"He is outside the republican pact... and above all, he paves the way for the Rassemblement National because his excesses play into the hands of the Rassemblement National."

Beyond its leader, LFI as a whole has been criticised since Saturday, by both the executive and its left-wing allies, for positions deemed ambiguous, even complacent towards Hamas.

Véran also denounced "this current of the French far left which is sinking into this kind of permanent drift" and which, in his opinion, is "not up to the challenge of History".

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