France’s Macron Slams Antisemitism on Jerusalem Visit

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his wife Sara (C) in Jerusalem on January 22, 2020. (Photo by RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty

(AFP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday rallied against antisemitism, saying it “haunts our present time”, during a visit to Jerusalem to commemorate Holocaust victims.

The French leader is in Jerusalem ahead of a gathering of world leaders there on Thursday, to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

In a message to Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre, which will host the high-profile event, Macron spoke of “citizens of France and elsewhere (who) are targeted because they are Jewish.

“This return of hatred haunts our present time,” he said in the text published by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

Combatting antisemitism is a key theme of Thursday’s event, which will remember more than one million Jews killed at Auschwitz during World War II.

“This fight against antisemitism, I lead it every day by tackling it in speeches, in behaviour, on the internet,” said Macron.

He invited digital platforms and public authorities, as well as civil society and individuals, to intervene “to eliminate hateful content”.

“Saying nothing, turning away, is making yourself an accomplice,” he added.

Ahead of Thursday’s memorial, to be attended by dignitaries from more than 40 countries, Macron will have a series of high-level meetings.

He began the day in Jerusalem by meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before talks with his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin.

With Israel just weeks away from an election on March 2, Macron was also set to meet Netanyahu’s top rival Benny Gantz.

The French president plans to travel to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank for a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

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