In French National Assembly, Far Right and Far Left Unite Against Israel
Will President Macron cave in to their anti-Semitic agenda?
Just after Biden left the Middle East, Mahmoud Abbas flew to Paris to try to persuade President Macron to support Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a “two-state solution.” Abbas had been deeply disappointed in Biden’s insistence that the time was not yet ripe for such negotiations; furthermore, he was angered at Biden’s refusal to publicly commit, during the press conference he held with Abbas, to reopening the “consulate to the Palestinians” in Jerusalem, or to reopening the PLO office in Washington, or to removing the PLO from the list of terrorist organizations. He’s furious with the Americans, and suspects, quite rightly, that the Palestinians will be better treated by the Europeans than by the Americans if they take on the role of intermediary for those Israel-Palestine negotiations. He went to Paris to talk to Macron about this. The results of those talks have not been made public.
Meanwhile, in France itself, there is reason to believe that Macron would not be able to assume the role of a neutral party, given the sudden shift in the makeup of the National Assembly, where both the antisemitic left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the slightly less antisemitic right of Marine Le Pen gained many seats in the June election. A report on what this may mean for Israel is reported on here: “Will France’s National Assembly perpetuate antisemitism? – opinion,” by Mark Regev, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2022
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Yair Lapid made his first international trip as prime minister, meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron. The centrist president, reelected in April to a second five-year term, is challenged to govern effectively, as he lacks a majority in the new National Assembly. But the French legislature isn’t just Macron’s problem, its composition raises serious questions for French Jews and bodes ill for Jews everywhere.
In June, French voters elected 577 members of the National Assembly. Of those, 131 now represent the hard-left bloc of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and a further 89 are from Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally. Both have been accused of antisemitism.
That means that 220 members out of a total of 577 in the National Assembly , who disagree on everything else, constitute a solid bloc about the only thing that unites most, if not all, of them: antipathy to Jews and to the Jewish state.
Marine Le Pen claims that neither she nor her party harbor any hostility towards Jews. During the elections, she even proclaimed that the National Rally is best positioned to “protect French people of the Jewish faith.” Many remain unconvinced.
The political movement she leads was founded in 1972 by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, notorious for abhorrent remarks about the Holocaust. In 1987, Jean-Marie Le Pen referred to the Nazi gas chambers as a “detail of history.” And in 2005, he wrote that the Nazi occupation of France “was not particularly inhumane.”
Marine Le Pen has purposely endeavored to distance her political movement from the extremism and Holocaust revisionism of her father, but while some see this as a genuine ideological transformation, others fear her strategy is to sugarcoat an ultra-right agenda.
Her views on Israel are clear. As she said during the presidential campaign last April, she supports a “two-state solution” based on “the 1967 lines” and with Jerusalem as the “capital of two states.” This merely echoes what Mahmoud Abbas has called for, and should not inspire confidence in Jerusalem. But she is not the rabid antisemite that either father was or, more importantly, that Jean-Luc Mélenchon appears to be.
Fueling such skepticism are some of Marine Le Pen’s own comments. In 2014, she stated that “antisemitism is due to the implantation of Islamism in our country,” effectively whitewashing historic homegrown French antisemitism – from the expulsions and massacres of the Middle Ages, through to ideologues Edouard Drumont and Charles Maurras, and the collaborationist Vichy regime.
She was, of course, wrong to ignore the long history of homegrown antisemitism in France, especially of the Drumont-Maurras variety from the times of Captain Dreyfus, and that expressed by such Vichy officials as Pierre Laval, René Bousquet and, as we learned recently, Philippe Pétain. But she was not wrong to point the finger mainly at Muslims, whose antisemitism is inculcated from an early age. She might have said, more accurately, that “antisemitism in France today is largely a result of its increased Muslim population.”
Like Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon piously denies any anti-Jewish prejudice. After all, as a radical socialist, he advocates the equality of humankind and rejects all ethnic hatreds.
Yet, when it comes to the Jews, Mélenchon also has a history of disquieting pronouncements. In 2021, he was quoted as saying that the murder of three Jewish children in Toulouse a decade earlier was “planned in advance” so as “to point fingers at Muslims.”
Just think of the kind of mind Melenchon must possess, how deep must be his antisemitism, for him to attribute to Jews themselves the murder of a rabbi and three small children, two of them the rabbi’s, meaning that they either inveigled a confused Muslim to commit the murders, or if he did not do so, to cleverly affix the blame on him.
In 2020, Mélenchon seemed to repeat the historic deicide charge, saying: “I don’t know if Jesus was on the cross. I know who put him there; it seems that it was his own compatriots.”
Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s illogic goes like this: he doesn’t “know if Jesus was on the cross,” but nevertheless, “I know who put him there.” It was the Jews. They killed Jesus. Not Herod. Not the Romans. The Jews are the Christ-killers.
Furthermore, Mélenchon has a serious problem with the Jewish state. He has espoused a radical anti-Zionist narrative that sees Israel as an illegitimate colonialist implant created at the expense of the country’s indigenous Palestinian inhabitants.…
Mélenchon ‘don’t know much about history.” He is apparently unaware that the Land of Israel, from the river to the sea, has been the center of Jewish religious life, and of political yearning, for 3000 years, that is, at least 1600 years before a single Muslim Arab travelled to the land from Arabia. He does not know that the land was in turn conquered by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Ottoman Turks, the British, but never by the Arabs, save for a partial conquest, lasting all of 19 years, from 1949 to 1967. Jews are the indigenous people of the area, not a “colonial implant,” and the Arabs are the usurpers throughout the Middle East and North Africa, who “colonized” a vast area from Morocco to the border of Sassanid Persia. Méelenchon clearly knows nothing of the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine, Article 6, the UN Charter, Article 80, or UN Security Council Resolution 242. He’s been paying attention to, and does believe, the incessant pro-Palestinian propaganda that left-wing parties in Europe are so quick to parrot. Mélenchon harbors a deep antipathy to the Jewish state, akin to that of his British analogue, the unlamented former Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. He’s someone to watch, and to worry about.
And like the Mélenchonists, noted progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chose to legitimize Jeremy Corbyn. Despite his antisemitism receiving significant media coverage in the US, in 2019, she nonetheless parleyed with the controversial Englishman and later tweeted that “it was an honor to share such a lovely and wide-reaching conversation.”…
The addlepated former barkeep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is incapable of recognizing, and has no interest in fighting, antisemitism. She found that deep-dyed antisemite Jeremy Corbyn to be a delightful interlocutor, “with whom it was “an honor to share such a lovely and wide-reaching conversation.” I wonder what they talked about – those terrible illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, the great tragedy of the dispossessed Palestinian people, the way international Jewry prevents the UN from properly punishing the Jewish state? Anything is possible with two such raconteurs.
This week, Macron attended a ceremony to commemorate 80 years since the Vél d’Hiv deportation of Jews to the Nazi death camps, stating, “We have not finished with antisemitism, it is still here – stronger and more rampant.” Sadly, Herzl’s conclusions from over a century ago were remarkably prescient.
Antisemitism is “stronger and more rampant” in France today not because of the traditional Right, but because the chief carriers of the virus today are the millions of Muslim immigrants who bring that hatred with them, undeclared, as part of their mental baggage. And they have made common cause, politically, with the Far Left of Mélenchon.
Fortunately, President Macron, wanting to focus on his domestic agenda, and not wanting to engage in a fight over Israel-and-Palestine with either the Far Left or the Far Right, given their increased numbers in the National Assembly, will almost certainly pass on Mahmoud Abbas’ request to get involved. So it’s back to the drawing board for the malign Mahmoud, who may find, after all, that he has to return to the Americans as potential arbiters with Israel, for he has nowhere else to go.