Madonna Lashes Out at anti-Semitism in Europe

American singer says in interview that current atmosphere similar to period when German fascism was on the rise.

AP

Intolerance in France and across Europe today is so high that “it feels like Nazi Germany,” American singer Madonna said in an interview on Friday.

Interviewed on French radio station Europe 1, Madonna said “anti-Semitism is at an all-time high” in France and elsewhere in Europe, and likened the atmosphere to the period when German fascism was on the rise. The interview was reported on the Guardian website.

The 56-year-old singer deplored what she said was the loss of France’s tradition of welcoming diversity and honoring freedom.

“It was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form – artistic expression of freedom,” Madonna said. “Now that’s completely gone.

“France was once a country that accepted people of color and was a place artists escaped to, whether it was Josephine Baker or Charlie Parker.”

Madonna previously spoke out in 2012, when she denounced the rise of xenophobia and the extreme-right in Europe – at a time when she was "receiving a lot of criticism and threats from Marine Le Pen” and her National Front party, which Madonna described as “fascist.”

At the time, Le Pen threatened to sue Madonna over a video featuring an image of the political leader with a swastika on her forehead. The symbol was eventually replaced with a question mark to avoid litigation.

The issues that led her to speak out against intolerance in 2012 were even more pressing today, Madonna said in the interview.

“What I said two years ago is valid today,” she said. “It’s not just happening in France, it’s all over Europe. The level of intolerance is so enormous it’s scary.”