Jean-Luc Melenchon
Jean-Luc MelenchonReuters

Far-left French politician Jean-Luc Melenchon accused Jews of deicide, or being responsible for the death of Jesus, during a television interview, JTA reported on Monday.

Melenchon, the founder of the democratic socialist La France Insoumise, or Unsubmissive France party, and a member of the National Assembly, made the remarks on Thursday in an interview on the French BFM-RTL TV news channel.

Asked if the French police were supposed to stand back in the face of violent protest, Melenchon responded that they needed to “stay put like Jesus on the cross without reacting.”

He then added that “I don’t know if Jesus was on a cross, but he was apparently put there by his own people,” meaning Jews, and thus repeating the anti-Semitic canard that the Jews killed Jesus.

The Wiesenthal Center director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, said in response that “the repeated accusation of deicide — throughout the Middle Ages — resulted in pogroms, torture and execution of Jewish communities. Its imagery fueled violence across Europe, culminating in the Nazi Holocaust.”

He noted that the accusations were condemned by the papal encyclical Nostra Aetate in 1965.

“Apparently, Melenchon didn’t get the memo,” Samuels added.

He called on Melenchon to publicly withdraw his discriminatory comments and apologize for the false accusations.

The Judeo-Christian Fellowship of France condemned Melenchon’s comments as well, saying, “This old thesis of the responsibility of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus, rejected for decades by all historians and exegetes, and condemned by all the Churches, gave birth, as we know, to deadly anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism. whose culmination was the Holocaust.”

Melenchon has been accused of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past. He supports a blanket boycott of Israel and has said that allowing Israel to keep even some Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria “is like letting bank robbers keep the money.”

In 2014, he called French Jews “an aggressive community preaching to the rest of the nation.”

In November of 2019, the far-left leader accused French Jews of inciting to assault him and promoting “violent sectarianism” that he said doesn’t occur among Muslims.

A month later, Melenchon blamed what he called “networks of influence from Likud” for the loss suffered by Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party in Britain’s election.