The speaker of the French parliament accused hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon on Monday of having put “a new target on her back” after she made a solidarity visit to Israel this weekend.
Yael Braun-Pivet, 52, travelled to Israel in the aftermath of the Hamas assault on the country this month.
The speaker, who is Jewish, says she has been the target of a number of anti-Semitic insults and threats over the past years.
On Sunday, Melenchon accused Braun-Pivet, a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party, of “camping in Tel-Aviv to encourage the massacre” in Gaza.
“Not in the name of the French people!” he said on X, formerly Twitter.
Thousands of people rallied in Paris on Sunday, demanding an end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza following the Hamas attack.
Speaking to broadcaster France Inter, the speaker of the National Assembly said she was “very shocked” and accused Melenchon of using provocative language to denounce her.
She insisted Melenchon had deliberately chosen the French term “camper” — which she alleged was a reference to concentration camps.
“I am convinced that the word ‘camper’ was not chosen by chance, and the claim that I favour massacres is once again a new target being put on my back,” she said.
“This is very serious.”
Braun-Pivet said that when she read “certain” tweets or letters, she felt threatened and could not leave home without police protection.
In Israel, Braun-Pivet visited Kibbutz Beeri in southern Israel, as well as the site of a rave party where Hamas militants killed hundreds of people.
“I never said that I unconditionally support the government of Israel, but I unconditionally support the existence of Israel,” she said.
She added that neither the security of Israel nor the existence of the Palestinian state were ensured “today”.
The refusal by Melenchon, the leader of the France Unbowed party, to describe Hamas as a terror group has caused a crisis within France’s left-wing NUPES coalition, which also includes socialists, greens, and communists.
Macron himself has expressed concern that the war between Israel and Hamas could create divisions in France, which is home to large Muslim and Jewish populations.
Hamas militants in Gaza stormed across the border into Israel on October 7, launching a raid that killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated, or burned to death on the first day, according to Israeli officials.
They also seized more than 200 hostages in the worst-ever attack in Israel’s history.
Israel has responded with a relentless bombing campaign, which has so far killed more than 4,600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
Officials said the central Gazan town of Deir al-Balah had been particularly badly hit overnight, from Saturday to Sunday.