Top Europe rabbi:
Macron victory a 'powerful message'

Head of the Conference of European Rabbis says French voters sent message to far-right by election Emmanuel Macron.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis
Eli Itkin

The head of the Conference of European Rabbis on Monday welcomed Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French presidential election, saying voters sent a "very powerful" message to the country's far-right.

Macron's defeat of far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the run-off vote is "very good news for France," Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt told AFP.

"The fact that two-thirds of French voters didn't want a far-right government is a very powerful statement," he added.

Many of the votes cast were not for Macron, rather "it was a protest vote against Marine Le Pen," he said.

Rabbi Goldschmidt said, however, that Jewish communities – including in France – were increasingly worried about right-wing, anti-Semitic sentiment creeping into mainstream politics.

Despite Le Pen's efforts to purge her National Front (FN) party of the anti-Semitism which became its trademark under the leadership of her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party continues to court controversy over the issue.

Last month interim party leader Jean-Francois Jalkh was forced to step down after it was discovered that he expressed skepticism about Nazi gas chambers.

Le Pen, who made clear she “abhors” Holocaust deniers after Jalkh’s remarks were uncovered, herself drew criticism during the campaign when she said that today's France bore no responsibility for the roundup and deportation of French Jews during World War II.

"If the French police and Vichy officials who collaborated (with the Nazis) did not load up people and send them to Germany, then, who did?" said Rabbi Goldschmidt.

French Jews, the largest community outside of the United States and Israel, have been leaving France at a steady pace since around 2005, noted AFP.

Elsewhere on the continent, Rabbi Goldschmidt told the news agency, Jewish communities are alarmed about proposals in Norway to ban ritual circumcision for boys under the age of 16, as well as a vote to ban ritual slaughter in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

The rabbi was speaking ahead of a three-day biennial convention in Amsterdam that will bring together more than 70 chief rabbis to discuss issues including rising anti-Semitism and how to protect Europe's Jewish communities.