A Paris court said on Sunday that it had begun an investigation into antisemitic insults hurled at French Jewish philosopher and intellectual Alain Finkielkraut on the sidelines of Saturday’s “yellow vests” protest.
On Saturday, Finkielkraut was seen on video being verbally assaulted in Paris by yellow-vest protesters who oppose the rising cost of fuel prices in France.
The protesters are heard calling him a “dirty Jew” and a “dirty Zionist sh*t.” They yelled at him, “You’re going to die,” and “You’re going to hell.”
Finkielkraut’s philosophical writing often focuses on identity-based violence, such as antisemitism.
Quand les #GiletsJaunes croisent le philosophe Alain #Finkielkraut boulevard du Montparnasse, à #Paris, et l'insultent copieusement.#Acte14 #ActeXIV pic.twitter.com/Rgt8ClrAf3— Yahoo Actualités (@YahooActuFR) February 16, 2019
Finkielkraut told Le Parisien newspaper that he came across a group of protesters and approached them out of curiosity. He said he heard some of the insults, including one telling him to throw himself into a canal. He said he does not plan to file a complaint.
In the past, he has expressed support for the yellow-vest protests, saying he “likes this movement [from] its beginnings and continues to love it.” Recently, however, he has criticized the movement.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the attack, saying, “The antisemitic insults to which [Finkielkraut] has been subjected to are the absolute opposite of who we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate them.”
“Those who insulted him had their faces uncovered,” Benjamin Griveaux, Paris representative to the French National Assembly, wrote on Twitter. “I hope they will be identified, prosecuted and heavily convicted.”
The French government said on Tuesday that antisemitic acts in France rose 74% in 2018 compared with the previous year. In a separate incident this week, swastikas were sprayed on portraits of the late French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil in Paris.
Fourteen French political parties, including Macron’s ruling La Republique En Marche, plan to hold symbolic gatherings against antisemitism across the country on Tuesday.