‘Freedom of expression’ Fury erupts in France over ‘anti-Semitic’ mural of puppet Macron

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The painting is located at the entrance of a carpark in Avignon in the southeast of France. It depicts the President being manipulated by Jacques Attali, a political adviser who is Jewish, as “Mister Geppetto”.

Many have seen the mural as a fine piece of political satire.

But others have insisted it bears an anti-Semitic undertone and that it ought to be removed.

The Paris branch of the American Jewish Society (AJS) branded the mural a reproduction of an “old anti-Semitic cliché”.

Its official Twitter page argued: “Freedom of expression is not the freedom to spread old anti-Semitic clichés.”

The implication of the mural in the eyes of this organisation is that the President is acting not by his own will but is answering the call of powerful Jewish controllers.

One social media user, guillaume_confort, responded to the post, however, telling the artist: “Don’t be bullied by the so-called anti-racists who are actually the ones who really hate.”

National Assembly member Olivier Faure agreed with the AJS that there was “little doubt” over the meaning of the mural.

He wrote: “The interpretation of the mural leaves little doubt.

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“The figure of the Jewish banker manipulating his puppets is a recurrent representation of anti-Semites.

“Anti-semitism is that plague bacillus that always reappears.”

Mr Faure added: “No weakness is tolerable.”

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The AJS asked: “Can the Avignon town hall tell us who authorised or commissioned this anti-Semitic mural and why it’s still there?”

The city has, however, expressed reluctance about removing the work.

It argued it wanted to “respect freedom of expression”.

But MEP Nathalie Loiseau said this was the wrong line of approach.

He wrote in a post on Twitter: “This is not a controversial mural, but an image that conveys an antisemitic message.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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