Antisemitism becomes a political football in France's election campaign

France's parliamentary elections are pitting the far-right National Rally, which counts a convicted Holocaust denier and a former Nazi paramilitary among its founding members, against left-wing parties – themselves accused of antisemitism after an equivocal response to the war between Hamas and Israel. With all sides quick to condemn the others, anti-discrimination activists fear parties are more interested in using the problem as a political football than tackling it.

Every faction has something to say to France's Jewish voters in this month's snap election campaign, but that doesn't necessarily make it any clearer to know who to back.

"We're all a bit lost, because we've lost faith. I usually vote a certain way, but this time I’m really lost," one shopkeeper in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris with a large Jewish population, told RFI this week.

Her colleague said she was leaning towards the status quo – President Emmanuel Macron's ruling centrists.

"Even if it's not great, at least it's not a catastrophe."

For many French Jews, catastrophe could come from either side of the political spectrum. The far right is historically no friend of religious minorities in France, yet the hard left – namely the France Unbowed party led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon – is tainted by a string of questionable remarks, as well as strident criticism of Israel that some fear is underpinned by antisemitism.

The leaders of the New Popular Front claim Macron's camp is leading a smear campaign against them.

Read more on RFI English

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