Published on 17 July 2023

Crif - Yonathan Arfi's Speech at the Vel d'Hiv ceremony in Paris : What happened ?

At the ceremony commemorating the Vél d'Hiv roundup – 16 and 17 July 1942 – the President of Crif, Yonathan Arfi, gave an engaging speech. Jean-Luc Mélenchon – French extreme left leader –commented on some of his remarks.

A few hours after the end of the ceremony paying tribute to the victims of the Vél d'Hiv roundup, the leader of La France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, took to Twitter to react to Yonathan Arfi's remarks about Crif's commitment to fighting political extremes.

In his speech, Crif’s President recalled the dark hours during which the Front National, now Rassemblement National, was created: "In our opinion, it is never pointless to remind that the Rassemblement National – the former Front National – was founded by former collaborators, in other words, by people who preferred Pétain to De Gaulle.

"A little later, Yonathan Arfi also considered that faced with the far right, the leaders of La France Insoumise "were much more part of the problem than the solution.” "By choosing clientelism over universalism, by straying into complacency with Islamism, with Putin or supporters of calls for riots, they [LFI representatives] are sowing ideological confusion, the best ally of the far right," he said.

On Twitter, Jean-Luc Mélenchon attacked the Crif and its President, associating them with the extreme right they were denouncing.

In response to these unfounded accusations, Yonathan Arfi reiterated his comments on the ambiguous role played by Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the fight against the far right.

Speaking on RCJ radio, the President of Crif described Jean-Luc Mélenchon's statements as "grotesque.”

"It all makes no sense. [...] I think it's due to irritation," he declared.Numerous political and public figures reacted to the controversy, denouncing Jean-Luc Mélenchon's accusations against Yonathan Arfi and supporting Crif and its battles.