French ex-PM in ‘Jewish control conspiracy’ storm

Dominique de Villepin allegedly implied that Jews control cultural life in both the US and France


2010 Getty Images

A former French prime minister was bitterly criticised this week by a Jewish community leader for apparently implying that Jews control cultural life and the media in both the US and France.

Dominique de Villepin, who was prime minister from 2005-2007 and was previously both interior minister and foreign minister, commented in a television interview on the fierce blowback actors Susan Sarandon and Melissa Barrera received following their outspoken pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel comments after the October 7 Hamas massacre.

Sarandon was sacked by her agents and Barrera lost her role in the Scream movie series. Sarandon said American Jews were “getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country” while Barrera accused Israel of “genocide and ethnic cleansing”.

De Villepin, 70, said on the TF1 television station: “We can see in the background how heavily financial domination over the media and the worlds of art and music weigh. They cannot say what they think because the contracts stop immediately.

“The financial rule that is imposed on the United States in cultural life weighs heavily. Unfortunately, we also see it in France.”

While de Villepin did not mention the word “Jew”, his remarks echoed historic conspiracy theories about Jewish financial power. Yonathan Arfi, head of the French Jewish communal organisation Crif, retorted on X/Twitter that de Villepin had expressed “insidiously antisemitic rhetoric unconsciously designating Jews as the party of international finance and puppeteers of media and artists”.

Arfi accused de Villepin of “conspiracy rhetoric,” “salon antisemitism” and “passionate anti-Americanism”.

Éric Ciotti, leader of the Les Republicains (LR) Party, said his words “remind us of dark times”, while Jewish parliamentarian Meyer Habib declared that de Villepin’s “pathological hatred of Israel” had morphed into antisemitism.

Former French President Francois Hollande told Franceinfo that he had known de Villepin “for a long time” and didn’t “want to believe that he had that intention” when asked whether his comments were antisemitic.

But Hollande, who attended a huge pro-Israel rally in Paris recently, warned of the need to “be careful with this idea that there would be a kind of oligarchy that would be infiltrated, structured with the Jews.

“Faced with this threat, this reality, of antisemitism, we must be very careful.”

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