Daniel Ben-Simon wrote a fascinating piece in Haaretz on the rapidly re-aligning politics of Europe, especially on the emerging alliance between conservative and moderate Jews and right wing parties.
Worth noting - we did not invite anyone (nor did anyone attend) from Le Pen’s party in France to the Counterjihad conference, due to his current and past positions on Israel, the Holocaust and anti-semitism. And if we had, we have no idea if they would have accepted; like all political parties they have their own objectives. However, Le Pen is far from a marginal actor in France; he came in second to Chirac in the 2002 presidential election, and finished fourth in the 2007 election.
We suggest looking for the possible movement of Le Pen’s political party Front National towards the center-right, as they may change their platform to pro-active support to improve the situations of European Jews and Israel. The same trend is happening in Austria, and with the BNP in the UK (also not invited and did not attend the conference).
If such parties specifically state pro-Israel positions, and take real actions opposing anti-semitism and disavowing previous positions - and reach out to Jewish constituents and encourage Jewish participation in party positions - these are real actions to observe, and to approve. They have not done this yet - but are starting. If they have representation in the EU Parliament or their national parliaments, their statements and how they vote are other good indicators. Ben-Simon’s article shows the trend:
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France - Two small and vulnerable communities, one
constituting about 1 percent of the population and the other about 10 percent,
are the fulcrum of the 2007 French presidential elections. The Jews and Muslims
in France have fulfilled a decisive role in determining the political agenda for
some 60 million French people.
First, the Jews were hit. In the fall of 2000, when the Muslims began
to avenge the damage done to their Palestinian brethren in the territories, the
lives of the Jews of France changed. Within months, hundreds of attacks on Jews
and Jewish institutions were reported. Community leaders raised the alarm, but
the French government dismissed the events as incidents perpetrated by criminals
or delinquent youths.
The socialist government headed by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
deciphered the new reality, but feared sparking a communal and ethnic
conflagration that would set fire to the republic. Thus, only rarely did
government spokesmen mention the ethnic origin of the perpetrators or their
victims. Only when synagogues and schools were hit was their link to Judaism
mentioned. Only when Jews took to the streets and demanded that their country
protect them, waving the flag of Israel alongside the French flag, did France
concede that this was a new wave of anti-Semitism. In the past it had taken a
Christian form; this time, it was described as Muslim anti-Semitism.
Seven years later, the all-clear can be sounded. Attacks do continue,
but they are much less severe. Here and there curses, here and there shoving,
here and there slogans on walls. The murder of Ilan Halimi a year ago was
considered the height of the anti-Jewish campaign that began in the fall of
2000. These seven years have shaped the new politics of France’s Jews. Real
fears have grown strong sometimes to the point of exaggeration and have caused
the Jews to prefer a right-wing to a left-wing candidate.
It is almost certain the extreme right headed by Jean-Marie Le Pen will
benefit from the terror that has settled in the hearts of the Jews. In the past,
Jews did not vote for Le Pen because they saw him as a racist and a xenophobe.
As long as they felt protected, they condemned him and his opinions. But in
light of their feeling that the state has abandoned them, some see him as a
While the state has not admitted to the growth of extremist elements in
the Muslim community, Le Pen more forcefully emphasizes his well-known opinions:
Muslims, or most Muslims, should go back to their countries of origin. The enemy
of my enemy has suddenly become a friend. A Jewish doctor in this picturesque
town said a few days ago that many of his friends intended to vote for Le Pen.
“Of course, because he is the best for the Jews of France,” he said. A friend of
his, an economics professor who took part in the conversation, conceded that
although things had improved, most of the Jews of Aix-en-Provence would vote
either for the right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy or Le Pen. “I have a feeling
that Le Pen will do very well in the coming elections,” he said.
In the last elections, in 2002, Le Pen got most of the votes in the
mixed cities, where veteran French people live alongside Muslim immigrants.
Sarkozy, the leading candidate, is for this reason trying with all his might to
pull votes that have already leaked into Le Pen’s camp. Segolene Royal, the
left-wing candidate, knows that hundreds of thousands of votes have gone to the
margins, pursued by fears and insecurity.
To a great extent it is the Jews of France who have marked out the new
path the 2007 election is taking. True, in the election campaign everybody is
talking about the economy, unemployment, education, allocations to the weak, the
level of universities, the need for increased military power, France’s place in
Europe and its relationship with the United States; but floating above all these
important issues is the question of France’s identity.
In what country do they want to live and how France will look in the
future are two of the questions that the French voters are placing before their
candidates. Who would have thought that France, too, would become entrapped by
the politics of identities and would not be able to extricate itself from them.
One hundred and two years after religion and state were separated and a way of
life instituted that erases identities, France finds itself struggling over what
is left of the republican revolution. On this level, not only the Jews have
fulfilled a significant role since the fall of 2000, but so have the Muslims,
since the riots of the fall of 2005.
This reflects a certain desparation, in my opinion. Many in the counter-Jihad are grasping for help from anyone from whom they might receive it.
However, the counter-Jihad movement, if it is to become a large movement, must above all, stand for a body of ideas, and not merely stand against the international Jihad.
Why do we stand against the International Jihad? The answer is rather simple, if you were to ask me. Because the Jihad is being waged in order to install Muslim rule (Sharia law) across the world. Sharia law calls for the stoning to death of apostates, adulterers and homosexuals. As such, it is opposed to the idea which is embodied in the Infidel Bloggers Alliance headline, which reads:
All of us, every single man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth were born with the same inalienable rights; to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, if the governments of the world can't get that through their thick skulls, then, regime change will be necessary.
The thing is, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and his party the National Front, have never, as far as I can tell, made such principles their highest priority. In fact, Le Pen, is an Ethnic Nationalist.
Here is a little bit of history on Le Pen:
The language of Le Pen and his publications leaves no doubt that the leader espouses bigotry and anti-Semitism and sees little problem with of exterminating the Jews.
In 1987, he said that the Nazi death camps were "a mere detail" of World War II. In 1990, he was convicted of incitement to racial hatred by casting doubt on the Nazi persecution of Jews and Gypsies under a French law banning such rhetoric. He was fined the equivalent of $233,000 and has appealed the sentence to the European Court of Human Rights.
In those days, Le Pen seemed to be compulsive in belittling or ridiculing Auschwitz. He was critical of a then-cabinet minister named Durafour, and in referring to him said, as in a joke and with a smile, "Durafour-crématoire’ It was a pun on "four," French for oven.
Le Pen’s most egregious recent’ comment, evoking widespread protest from parties across the political spectrum and from human rights and Jewish organizations, was that "the races are not equal’ It was a comment that was repeated by the newly elected Mayor of Vitrolles, Mine Mégret, and seems to be a staple of the FN ideology. Both Le Pen and Mme Mégret elaborated on the statement by noting that, after all, different races have different strengths. Thus, both said, Blacks are better at sports.
Now, one has to wonder about the Center for Vigilant Freedom, an organization which the Infidel Bloggers Alliance has, up to now, supported. Does the Center for Vigilant Freedom stand for the freedom of all individuals to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
And, if they do, then why are they so willing, indeed almost eager, to make alliances with organizations like Vlaams Belang, and Le Pen's National Front, when they have a history of racism and anti-Semitism?
Is it enough that such parties disavow anti-Semitism and begin to make pro-Israel statements? Is not history filled with characters who were willing to make alliances with former enemies for a period of time in order to gain an advantage? Does not Le Pen's decades-long history of racism and anti-Semitism warn us against jumping into such alliances?
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French white power freak that "Vigilant Freedom" is on the brink of endorsing if he'll just say what they want to hear, met in May 2005 with:
... and several other white nationalist and neo-Nazi scumbags.
I hope everyone on that side of the controversy is happy with their new neighbors.
It looks like a political oxymoron, but Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front is poised to strike an alliance with France's large immigrant Muslim community.
A generation after France's right-wing party began its surge with a tough anti-immigration campaign tinged with both racism and anti-Semitism, three factors are coming into play that could spell a strategic realignment.
These factors, which are still little grasped outside political circles in France but will have an enormous impact, include:
* The Islamicization of France is largely a fait accompli. It is assumed that 6 to 8 million citizens or residents of France, 10% to 13% out of a global population of 62 million, are Muslim by now. And that the Muslim community, being more prolific, is much younger than the rest of the population: As much as 25% of French citizens or residents under 20 is Muslim, with the number reaching 40% or 50% in the big cities.
* The National Front is surprisingly popular among Muslim immigrants or second-generation Muslim citizens. For all its campaigning about immigration, Mr. Le Pen's party has always extended support to Arab and Islamic causes abroad, from Saddam's Iraq to Arafat's or Hamas Palestine, and from Al Qaeda to Iran. And it is as firmly anti-American and anti-Jewish as the Muslim community itself tends to be.
* The attraction of the French far left, which accounts for another 20% of the national vote, toward Islam, rabid anti-Americanism, and even anti-Semitism, a phenomenon underscored by the emergence of Dieudonne, a former liberal music-hall humorist who has turned into an enormously popular French equivalent of Louis Farrakhan. Dieudonne, the son of a black Camerounese father and a white French mother, claims that Jews were the main European slave traders in the 17th and 18th centuries. He refers to civic and educational programs about the Holocaust as "memory pornography." He has welcomed the electoral victory of Hamas in Palestine. According to the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, he is in moral terms "Le Pen's son."
Mr. Le Pen's inner circle seems to have entertained such a strategy for quite a time. Back in 1999, Samuel Marechal, one of Mr. Le Pen's sons-in-law, stated that France was becoming "a multiethnic and multireligious society," and that "Islam was now France's second religion."
Over the last weeks, in the wake of the crisis over the Danish cartoons, the National Front has sided with Muslims in their claim that "religious sensibilities must be respected."
The National Front has always been a coalition of two very distinct political families: Neofascists, like Mr. Le Pen himself, and traditional, Christian right-wingers.
Neofascists think Jews and Americans are the chief enemy, rather than Arabs and Muslims. In a way, they even tend to celebrate Arabs and Muslims as fellow fascists. As for Christian right-wingers, they see Arabs and Muslims as the chief enemy.
For years, Mr. Le Pen has been pretending he is a Christian right-winger rather than a Neofascist and that resistance to Muslim immigration is his major concern. Now he has emerged on the side of the Neofascist branch and is ready to drop the anti-Muslim issue.