by Oleg Burunov
In June, Jean-Luc Melenchon faced criticism after he rejected anti-Semitic chants heard during that month’s massive anti-racism rally in Paris as “gossip”.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the left-wing French party La France Insoumise (Unbowed France), has hinted that Jews were ostensibly responsible for killing Jesus Christ.
During an interview with the French TV news channel BFM-RTL, Melenchon was asked whether the country’s police should “be like Jesus on the cross and not reply” when provoked by demonstrators.
“Listen, I don’t know if Jesus was on the cross. I know who put him there, it seems that it was his own compatriots”, he replied, in an apparent nod to Jews.
The remarks were immediately followed by French Jewish parliamentarian Meyer Habib teaching Melenchon “a bit of history” and recalling in a tweet that “Jesus Christ was condemned to death by crucifixion by the Roman Pontius Pilate, not by his Jewish compatriots”.
“The temptation was perhaps too strong to recycle the age-old anti-Semitic deicide trope”, Habib added.
He was echoed by Shimon Samuels from the Los Angeles-based non-profit human rights watchdog Simon Wiesenthal Centre, who recalled that “the repeated accusation of deicide, throughout the Middle Ages, resulted in pogroms, torture, and execution of Jewish communities”.
“Apparently, Melenchon didn’t get the memo”, Samuels said, adding that deicide-related accusations of Jews had “fueled violence across Europe, culminating in the Nazi Holocaust”.
Melenchon, whose party currently holds 17 of the 577 seats in the French National Assembly, has issued anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past.
Last month, the 68-year-old was slammed for dismissing “the Dirty Jews” chants heard during a massive anti-racism demonstration in Paris as “gossip”.
In November 2019, he accused French Jews of promoting “violent sectarianism” that he claimed was not seen among Muslims. This was preceded by Melenchon describing French Jews as “an aggressive community preaching to the rest of the nation”.