While more than 13,500 people walked Sunday in the streets of Paris against discrimination against Muslims, a sticker distributed during the event created controversy. It shows the yellow star, sad symbol of the genocide committed against Jews, associated with a crescent moon, one of the emblems of Islam.
This sticker has been spotted on a photo shared by Senator EELV Esther Benbassa. He is stuck on the clothes of several protesters posing next to her, including a girl. According to our reporter on site, a few dozen people wore this symbol in the procession, without it causing any debate or incident.
An outcry left, right and at LREM
However, since it was spotted on social networks, this sticker is accused of comparing the Holocaust (between 5 and 6 million dead) to the living conditions of French Muslims in 2019. "No Muslim in France suffers what our parents suffered during the Second World War and I wish them never to suffer, "said Ariel Goldmann, president of the United Jewish Social Fund, institution of the Jewish community in France in the social field.
"Today, this picture is to vomit and those who have decked it with this star have dishonored themselves," added Alain Jakubowizc, the former president of LICRA, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.
LREM deputies François de Rugy and Aurore Bergé also expressed their anger. Just like François-Xavier Bellamy (LR) and David Assouline (PS) who speak respectively of a symbol "lamentable" and "obscene".
"Nobody steals his suffering here from anyone"
In the face of the outcry, Esther Benbassa spoke on Twitter. "Here I am treated as an anti-Semite and a denialist. I, a Jewess, having dedicated my life to writing the story of mine, "she lamented. Before indicating that they did not see these two "insignia" but first "the tricolor flags that mark an identification claimed in France".
The senator has denied wanting to compare the tragedy of the Holocaust to the current life of French Muslims. "The condition of the Jews in the dark years and that of the Muslims today are not comparable. But that our stigmatized contemporaries identify with these past sufferings is quite understandable. Nobody steals her suffering here from anyone, "she concluded.
Like others, she suggests that this may only be "a tribute to the past sufferings of the Jews and a warning against any possible drift".
The slogan "Yesterday's Jews, Today's Muslims" also pinned
As we can see on a cliché, spotted on social networks, this association of the crescent moon and the yellow star refers to an expression frequently returning to the public debate: "Jews of yesterday, Muslims of today ".
Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mockery of Paris, compared for example in March 2017 Islamophobia "to French anti-Semitism of the late nineteenth century." This Sunday, other demonstrators also made the parallel with the France of the 1930s. Note that the yellow star became mandatory in Nazi Germany in 1941 and French side in 1942.
This controversy risks in any case to crystallize even more the debates around this march. For sometimes different reasons, the presidential majority, the right, the extreme right … but also a part of the left were absent from the event organized on Sunday.