PARIS — France’s interior minister on Monday said he had ordered his department to dissolve Civitas, a far-right party of mostly ultra-traditional Catholics, because of its antisemitism.
Gerald Darmanin said on “X,” a rebrand of Twitter, that he had asked the ministry “to proceed to the dissolution” of the party, “firmly” condemning antisemitic remarks made during its summer seminar last month.
At that meeting, on July 30, polemicist Pierre Hillard told his audience that, before the French Revolution of 1789, Jews and other religious minorities could not become French citizens because they were “heretics.”
Hillard said that “maybe we should go back to how things were before 1789.”
Several politicians and Jewish organizations quickly condemned the remarks.
“There is no room for antisemitism in our country,” Darmanin said in his post.
“I firmly condemn these despicable comments and am taking the matter to the national prosecutor,” he said.
Civitas, which claims to have 165,000 members, is an organization of ultra-traditionalist Catholics.
It was recognized as having political party status in 2016, and has been receiving public financing thanks to that decision.
Civitas backed far right figure Eric Zemmour in last year’s presidential election, fought against the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2013 and is staunchly anti-immigration.
Its members also sometimes disrupt public events when they involve non-heterosexual performers, and the party is the target of sexual discrimination complaints over alleged homophobia.