Jewish support for Marine Le Pen is deeply disturbing

February 27, 2015 13:42

My enemy’s enemy can indeed sometimes be my friend — at least in the short term. But the willingness of Roger Cukierman, chairman of the French Representative Council of Jewish Institutions (Crif) to give Marine Le Pen a clean bill of health on the basis that the National Font is also opposed to Islamism is deeply disturbing. In describing Ms Le Pen as “personally irreproachable”, M Cukierman appears to be confusing the NF leader’s change of tone from her father about Jews with a change of outlook towards them.

French Jews are under pressures that, thank heavens, we have not yet come close to in the UK. So it is understandable that almost any straw is now clutched at. But to view Ms Le Pen and the NF as plausible friends of the French Jewish community is naively, dangerously, blinkered.

She has undeniably been successful at presenting her party in a more mainstream light. In that respect, she differs from her father, Jean-Marie, who paid little heed to positioning and simply spewed out his bile as and when he wanted.

But for all her PR skills, she has never formally distanced herself or the NF from her father’s antisemitism (or any other aspects of his racism). She is a far more skilled politician, and uses sophistry rather than abuse. And the evidence shows that that stance is working. In 2012, nearly fourteen per cent of French Jews voted for her. That level of support has almost certainly increased. Now she has been praised by the chairman of the Crif.

It is, viewed from afar, almost beyond belief that growing numbers of French Jews would sup with the devil. Because, for all the pressures they face from Muslim attacks, support for fascism — even in a more presentable guise — is deeply, worryingly wrong. The NF is no more appropriate a vehicle for Jewish protest about Muslim antisemitism than would be the BNP.

February 27, 2015 13:42

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