Zemmour, the ‘useful Jew’ leading far-right push for power in France


French far-right media pundit Eric Zemmour (C) gestures as he arrives for the promotion launch event of his new book "France hasn't said its last word" (La France na pas dit son dernier mot) in Nice, southeastern France, on September 18, 2021. - French far-right pundit Eric Zemmour is inching closer to announcing a run for the presidency, a move that would create fresh uncertainty around France's 2022 election race. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Far-right French-Jewish demagogue Eric Zemmour is leading the challengers against Emmanuel Macron in the polls with six months to go until the presidential elections.
Although condemned by French-Jewish organisations for racism — and even antisemitism — some Jewish voters see him as a potential saviour as they face growing insecurity and Islamist antisemitism.  
Zemmour has yet to officially declare his campaign as he promotes his book La France N’a Pas Dit Son Dernier Mot ( France Hasn’t Had Its Last Word).
Still, polls show him ahead of Marine Le Pen — successor to her father Jean-Marie Le Pen as leader of the French far- right — and poised to reach the second round of voting to face President Macron in a run-off.
A journalist and a pundit on French television, Zemmour is accused of stirring up hatred with his warnings of a “war of race” and that France is in danger of becoming an “Islamic republic”.
Born to a Berber Jewish family that fled the Algerian War for France, Zemmour, 63, has even courted antisemitism. He has defended the Vichy regime over its treatment of Jews, suggested that Alfred Dreyfus may not have been wrongfully convicted and was possibly guilty of being a spy, and said recent Jewish victims of terror in France were “foreigners”.
The vice-president of Jewish umbrella organisation Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF) Yonathan Arfi told the JC: “Zemmour has the same programme as [Jean-Marie] Le Pen. But since he is Jewish, and isn’t called Le Pen, some Jews are not as cautious and think he is more acceptable.
“Some Jews do back him and they are making a lot of noise on social media. There is a bit of a populist trend but luckily most Jews are moderate. No Jewish institution has backed him.”
Zemmour has claimed that Vichy ruler Marshal Petain protected French Jews by sending foreigners in the first wave of deportations to the death camps from France. Of the 75,721 Jews who were sent to be murdered, a third were French, and Petain even handed over Jewish children before the Germans asked for them.  
The UEJF Jewish students’ association sued Zemmour for denying crimes against humanity over the false statements but lost.
Zemmour has also been condemned for saying that terror victims who are buried abroad are not French. 
Talking about four victims of the 2012 attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse who were buried in Israel, he said: “Murderers or innocent people, persecutors or victims, foes or friends, for them, France was suitable to live in {…} but they wouldn’t leave their bones in France, they are foreigners first and foremost and they wanted to remain foreign even after death.”  
Many were shocked by Zemmour’s statement, with the newspaper Tribune Juive describing the comparison of a terrorist with his victims as “vile”.
As Zemmour gains momentum, leaders of Jewish organisations have criticised him and called on others not to support him.  
“French Jews shouldn’t give Zemmour a single vote,” said Francis Kalifat, head of CRIF, on Jewish radio.
But there was a backlash, with one lawyer saying: “I’m not saying Jews must vote for Zemmour but Jews can vote for anyone and they don’t take orders from the head of CRIF.” On social media, CRIF and other critics of Zemmour have been smeared as “court Jews”.
In an interview Zemmour responded: “Kalifat could make the case for the craziest antisemites who think Jews vote together as one homogenous group to rule over France. Kalifat is the useful idiot of last surviving antisemites in France.”
Kalifat hit back saying Zemmour “is not a useful idiot but a useful Jew for revisionists and for whom he’s now a leading figure”.

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