Macron condemns ‘yellow vest’ anti-Semitic abuse

French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned anti-Semitic abuse directed towards a prominent intellectual by “yellow vest” protesters on Saturday.

“These abuses are the absolute negation of what makes France a great nation. We won’t tolerate them”, Macron said on Twitter.

Alain Finkielkraut was walking on the fringes of a demonstration in central Paris on Saturday when a group of “yellow vests” insulted him with offensive remarks such as “dirty Zionist” and “France is ours”, Aljazeera reported.

“I felt absolute hatred and, unfortunately, this is not the first time,” the French writer and philosopher told the Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. He expressed relief that police intervened.

Finkielkraut has expressed his solidarity and sympathy with the “yellow vest” protesters from the outset but in an interview published Saturday in Le Figaro, he criticised the leaders of the movement, saying “arrogance has changed sides”.

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Saturday’s incident triggered a wave of condemnation and messages of support for the philosopher.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said it was “simply intolerable” while the leader of the Republican opposition party, Laurent Wauquiez, denounced the “abject idiots”.

Ian Brossat, French Communist Party candidate for the European Parliament, said, “We can hate Finkielkraut’s ideas”, but “nothing can justify attacking him as a Jew”.

Finkielkraut, who is seen as having pro-establishment beliefs, has since January 2016 been a member of the French Academy, the prestigious institution in charge of defining the French language.

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