Four years ago، a heartbroken Bernard-Henri Levy found some solace in how more than a million Frenchmen marched through this city to protest extremism، according to Arutz Sheva.
The Republican March، as it is known، took place on Jan. 11، 2015، amid national mourning after Islamists gunned down 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and، two days later، four people at a HyperCacher kosher store. The silent protesters held signs reading ”I am Charlie،” “I am police” and “I am Jewish.”
That march was “something we have never seen before in France and perhaps anywhere،” Levy، a Jewish philosopher and celebrated author، said at the time. “It’s a kind of miracle، this national unity، this feeling of fraternity، this willingness by Parisians to go down to the street.”
Four years on، he had hoped it would be a watershed moment for French society، he told JTA on Wednesday.
Change “alas did not come” and the march’s “spirit and promise have been betrayed” by another wave of street protesters، he said: the Yellow Vests movement. What started out in the fall as a series of protests against a hike on fuel prices has been mired since in countless instances of violence against police and a substantial amount of anti-Semitic hate speech.
“Instead of a million people in the street، today we have thousands of homophobes، xenophobes who are anti-republican، anti-journalist and sometimes anti-Semitic. For these demonstrators، it’s as if the bloodbaths never happened،” said Levy، who is scheduled to speak on Feb. 13 at the 92Y Jewish community center in New York about these and other issues.