After sixteen Saturday demonstrations by the “yellow vests,” who began in November by protesting French President Emmanuel Macron’s increase in fuel prices, the controversy seems to have taken a darker turn.
That seems to have come to light on February 13, when a small group of demonstrators started hurling insults at a French Jewish philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut — who was born in and lives in Paris — after they spotted him on a sidewalk. One man, shouted, “Shut up, dirty Zionist sh*t,” “Go home to Tel Aviv,” “France is ours,” “God will punish you.” A cameraman filmed the incident, then shared the video on social networks. A scandal ensued. The “yellow vests” movement as a whole was immediately accused by the French government of anti-Semitism and “fascism”.
Finkielkraut claimed that he had not been attacked as a Jew, but as a supporter of the State of Israel. He then added that the man who had insulted him did not speak like a “yellow vest” and that the words “God will punish you” is an expression from “Islamic rhetoric”. Police who watched the video identified the man as a radicalized Muslim, and the next day arrested him.