Why is the Avignon fresco representing Jacques Attali and Emmanuel Macron considered anti-Semitic?

Since this Wednesday, June 22, the fresco has sparked controversy on social networks. Painted on the facade of a building in Avignon, it shows Jacques Attali as a puppeteer directing the movements of an Emmanuel Macron dressed up as Pinocchio.

Since its discovery, the fresco has sparked a great controversy on social networks. Some Internet users see it as an anti-Semitic drawing when others only see a mocking caricature of Emmanuel Macron and the “Advisor to Presidents”.

No direct designation of the Jews, no religious symbol, a cartoonist who is not known for anti-Semitic remarks… What can lead some to cry out against anti-Semitism?


According to the signature that is visible on the fresco, it was made by the artist Lekto. On his Instagram account, we can see portraits of Francis Lalanne, Jean-Michel Blanquer, Olivier Véran, Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh or Didier Raoult.

While several of these graffiti visibly carry a political message, none shows any anti-Semitic connotation. Like the latter showing Jacques Attali and Emmanuel Macron… At first sight.

But it is the iconography of the fresco that brings the protesters back to anti-Semitism. Because the image of the puppeteer who manipulates the powerful and the world has been used for decades to “denounce” a great “Jewish plot on the world” as explained by Renée Dray-Bensousan, historian and president of the Association for Research and Holocaust Education (ARES): “This representation of the Jew refers to the Protocol of the Elders of Zion, a text invented by the Russian Tsar’s police in 1903 to discredit and persecute Jews and Freemasons. »

The image was then very popular in France at the time of Edouard Drumont, one of the founders of the National Antisemitic League of France, then it returned during the Second World War in newspapers like Gringoire, Emancipation Nationale, where we saw a Jew manipulating Churchill and Stalin. “These are cycles, these images disappear and then come back regularly”, specifies the historian.

Renée Dray-Bensousan, however, does not want to ensure that the fresco was created with an anti-Semitic character: “Usually, there are Jewish symbols directly shown. Stars of David, a hooked nose… Not here. I don’t know the artist or his work. It is possible that the author is unaware of the anti-Semitic character of his work. Maybe he just wanted to denounce Jacques Attali and Emmanuel Macron. Or else it’s done in an underlying, pernicious, implicit way. It may be a perversity. »

Other elements, however, allow Internet users to be more certain of the anti-Semitic character of the fresco. The presence of Jacques Attali first. Criticized for being the one who whispers in the ear of presidents since François Mitterrand, he is also, very often, one of the favorite targets of anti-Semites. A perfect figure of this “Jew who controls the world”.

The other element is the location of this work. According to our colleagues from BFM Marseille Provence, the fresco is located “near the Italians relay car park located on rue de la Synagogue”.

While the City of Avignon had invoked the freedom of interpretation in “the absence of mention relating to Judaism”, the prefect of the region intervened to request that it be covered, according to the Grand Avignon owner of the parking lot of the Italians .


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