French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday railed against anti-Semitism, saying it “haunts our present time”, during a visit to Jerusalem to commemorate Holocaust victims.
The French leader is in Jerusalem ahead of a gathering of world leaders there on Thursday, to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
In a message to Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre, which will host the high-profile event, Macron spoke of “citizens of France and elsewhere (who) are targeted because they are Jewish.
“This return of hatred haunts our present time,” he said in the text published by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.
Combatting anti-Semitism is a key theme of Thursday’s event, which will remember more than one million Jews killed at Auschwitz during World War II.
“This fight against anti-Semitism, I lead it every day by tackling it in speeches, in behaviour, on the internet,” said Macron.
He invited digital platforms and public authorities, as well as civil society and individuals, to intervene “to eliminate hateful content”.
“Saying nothing, turning away, is making yourself an accomplice,” he added.
Ahead of Thursday’s memorial, to be attended by dignitaries from more than 40 countries, Macron will have a series of high-level meetings.
He began the day in Jerusalem by meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before talks with his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin.
With Israel just weeks away from an election on March 2, Macron also met with Netanyahu’s chief rival Benny Gantz.
He was due to meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at his headquarters in the occupied West Bank early on Wednesday evening, but the meeting was delayed until around 10:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) after Macron spent more time than expected touring Jerusalem’s Old City.
The two men did not speak to the assembled media but the official Palestinian news agency said they discussed the peace process and regional issues.