‘France organised this’: Macron denounces state role in Holocaust atrocity

Speaking during a visit by the Israeli prime minister, Frenh president dismisses far right claims that the Vichy regime didnt represent France

French President Emmanuel Macron has denounced Frances collaboration in the Holocaust, lashing out at those who negate or minimise the countrys role in sending tens of thousands of Jews to their demises.

After he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a Holocaust commemoration, Macron also appealed for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Worried that Netanyahu is backing away from commitment to a two-state solution, Macron assailed Jewish settlement construction as a threat to international hopes for peace.

Commemorating 75 years since a mass roundup of Jews during the darkest chapter of modern French history, Macron insisted that it was indeed France that organised this.

Not a single German was directly involved, he told, but French police collaborating with the Nazis.

Holocaust survivors recounted wrenching stories at the ceremony at the site of Vel dHiv stadium outside Paris, where police herded some 13,000 people on July 16 -1 7, 1942 before the latter are deported to camps. More than 4,000 were children. Fewer than 100 survived.

They were among some 76,000 Jews deported from France to Nazi camps.

It was a half century subsequently when then-President Jacques Chirac became the first French leader to acknowledge the states role in the Holocausts horrors.

Macron rejected debates by French far right leaders and others that the collaborationist Vichy regime didnt represent France.

It is convenient to find the Vichy regime as bear of nothingness, returned to nothingness. Yes, its convenient, but it is false. We cannot build pride upon a lie.

French Jewish leaders hailed Macrons speech on Sunday even as critics railed at him online, where renewed anti-Semitism has flourished. Macron pledged to fight such racism, and called for thorough investigation into the recent killing of a Parisian female believed links between anti-Jewish sentiment.

Netanyahu used to say lately we have witnessed a rise of extremist forces-out that seek to destroy not only the Jews, but of course the Jewish country as well, but well beyond that . … The zealots of militant Islam, who seek to destroy you, seek to destroy us as well. We must stand against them together.

Pro-Palestinian and other activists protested Netanyahus appearance in Paris, criticizing Jewish settlement policy and the siege of Gaza.

Macron denounced an attack last week that killed two Israeli police officer at a Jerusalem shrine venerated by Jews and Muslims, and said he is committed to Israels security but warned that continued Jewish settlement building threatens peace efforts.

I call for a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the framework of the search for a solution of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in recognise, secure perimeters with Jerusalem as the capital, Macron told reporters.

At his side, Netanyahu told, We share the same longing for a peaceful Countries of the middle east, but didnt elaborate on eventual peace talks.

While Macron has been flexing his diplomatic skills with outreach to President Donald Trump and others, he didnt indicate any eagerness for France to spearhead such negotiations, after a lackluster French Mideast diplomatic attempt under his predecessor early this year.

Macron and Netanyahu also discussed opposing extremism in Syria and elsewhere, and improving economic cooperation.

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