Macron decries France’s Nazi past during Netanyahu visit

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron denounced France’s collaboration in the Holocaust, lashing out Sunday at those who negate or minimize the country’s role in sending tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths.

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 organized this.”

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

Holocaust survivors recounted wrenching stories at the ceremony at the site of Vel d’Hiv stadium outside Paris, where police herded some 13,000 people on July 16-17, 1942 before they were 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 later when then-President Jacques Chirac became the first French leader to acknowledge the state’s role in the Holocaust’s horrors.

Macron dismissed arguments by French far right leaders and others that the collaborationist Vichy regime didn’t represent France.

“It is convenient to see the Vichy regime as born of nothingness, returned to nothingness . Yes, it’s convenient, but it is false. We cannot build pride upon a lie.”

French Jewish leaders hailed Macron’s speech 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 woman believed linked to anti-Jewish sentiment.

Netanyahu said that “recently we have witnessed a rise of extremist forces that seek to destroy not…

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