(JTA) — Left-wing protesters against French President Emmanuel Macron paraded in Paris with a poster of him wearing a Nazi uniform and an Israeli flag — prompting legal action by a watchdog on anti-Semitism.
In the poster carried Friday by protesters against the centrist leader’s economic reform, he was wearing a black uniform emblazoned with his initials and two dollars signs instead of the SS symbol of the elite Nazi unit known by that acronym. The flag featured on the figure’s right-hand upper arm.
The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, complained to police that the poster was incitement to hatred and violence.
“We consider this an unacceptable outrage against the head of state, the republic and all the victims of the Holocaust as well as to the State of Israel,” BNVCA wrote in a statement Monday about the complaint.
The protest was organized by the French General Confederation of Labour trade union and the far-left party of Jean-Luc Melenchon, a communist politician who has been accused of inciting hatred toward Jews.
CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, said it considers both Melenchon’s Insuppressible France party and Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front “movement based on hatred” and has refused to meet with officials of either party.
Melenchon, who last year condemned Macron’s apology to French Jews for French collaboration with the Nazis during the Holocaust, has denied harboring anti-Semitic sentiments.
In 2014, he praised the restraint of protesters against Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza. He said this after nine synagogues were torched in anti-Semitic riots that began as anti-Israel protests. In the same speech, he criticized French Jews who rallied lawfully to demonstrate solidarity with Israel, saying: “If we have anything to condemn, then it is the actions of citizens who decided to rally in front of the embassy of a foreign country or serve its flag, weapon in hand,” he said.
Melenchon, who in last year’s presidential elections won 19 percent of the vote in the first round, also said in 2014: “We’ve had enough of CRIF,” Melenchon said, shouting. “France is the opposite of aggressive communities that lecture to the rest of country.”