(JTA) — An estimated 180,000 people in France marched in rallies against antisemitism on Sunday that brought together political leaders from most of the country’s major parties, a display that stood in contrast with major pro-Palestinian marches held worldwide throughout the weekend.
Among the marchers in Paris were Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor; Marine Le Pen, a likely presidential contender who leads a far-right party with an antisemitic history; and representatives of President Emmanuel Macron, who has expressed support for Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Israel and triggered a subsequent war in Gaza.
Called by the two speakers of the French government — including Yael Braun-Privet, the Jewish speaker of the National Assembly — the rally was intended as a show of unity in opposition to antisemitism at a time when antisemitic incidents are on the rise in France. More than 1,200 antisemitic acts have been recorded since Oct. 7, according to CRIF, the French Jewish umbrella organization.
“Today, we were all united for the Republic and against antisemitism,” CRIF tweeted after the march, which it called “solemn” and “full of emotion.”
Planning for the rally ignited tensions in the government, as the political leaders who attended do not often work together. One political leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon of the far-left France Unbowed party, boycotted the march in a reflection of his long-held anti-Israel views, saying that those who gathered would be “friends of unconditional support for the massacre” in Gaza.
France’s interior minister announced a ban on pro-Palestinian marches last month, saying that they were a risk to the country’s Jews and to public order. The country’s top court said the marches must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Elsewhere this weekend, pro-Palestinian marches held for the sixth straight week drew large crowds in a range of cities. London’s march was particularly large, estimated by police at 300,000, and focused on calls for a ceasefire to mark Armistice Day, marking the cessation of hostilities during World War I. It was one of the largest protests in years in the city and had surfaced tensions between government and police officials over how to manage it.
The rally came a day after families in London said they were targeted by anti-Israel protesters while leaving their synagogue on Shabbat.
A synagogue in Melbourne, Australia, was evacuated during services on Friday amid pro-Palestinian protests nearby; Sydney also hosted a major pro-Palestinian rally over the weekend.
Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.
During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.
ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.
הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023
The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.
It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.
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