A satirical article suggesting that the French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy plans to emigrate if a far-left politician is elected president triggered a slew of antisemitic comments on Twitter.
In the fake interview published last week on the satirical website NordPresse, Levy, one of the country’s best-known celebrities, is quoted as saying, “If Mélenchon is elected, I’m leaving France.”
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who is the presidential candidate of the French Communist Party and several other far-left groups, has made considerable gains in polls ahead of the first round of the presidential elections on April 23.
Using the hashtag #BHL — the Jewish philosopher’s initials — hundreds of Melenchon supporters circulated the fake interview on Twitter, adding antisemitic comments about it.
“Shove off to Israel or the States, you son of a bitch,” one Twitter user wrote in an apparent reference to the fact that Levy, who is a citizen neither of Israel nor of the United States, is Jewish. Another wrote, “If Mélenchon wins BHL knows where he can return.” The latter added a banner advertising Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to tourists.
The L’Expresse daily accused the satirical website of encouraging antisemitic discourse by inventing a quote by Levy.
Lévy has criticized Mélenchon, whose policies he has called “dangerous.” This week, Levy wrote on Twitter: “A reminder on the deplorable remarks by Mélenchon following 2014 rallies featuring chanting about death to Jews.”
CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, has a boycott policy on Mélenchon’s party and that of the far-right politician Marine Le Pen.
“They both traffic in hatred,” CRIF President Francis Kalifat said in February in explaining this policy.