Potential French presidential candidate creates unrest in Jewish community

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Columnist and polemicist, Eric Zemmour, son of Jewish immigrants from Algeria, shakes up even before she starts the French presidential race of 2022 and dominates the media from her second place and in front of Marine Le Pen, leader of the party of extreme right National. Rally Party, in some polls. Even if he has not yet declared his candidacy. He challenges Le Pen for the leadership of the nationalist far right in France, with his positions against migrants and in favor of French identity and allegiance to France.

In the Jewish community, he created unrest because of his controversial comments on several sensitive topics. He even shocked by drawing in his latest book ” ” France has not said its last word ” (France has not said its last word), a parallel between Mohamed Merah, the Islamist terrorist who has killed three Jewish children and a teacher, Jonathan, Arie and Gabriel Sandler and Monsenego, who were murdered in an attack at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse in 2012, and his victims, all of whom were buried abroad , in Algeria and Israel, and not in France. ” They are no longer French, ” he said.

“ My parents are buried in France, they are not buried in Israel. The French drama is that we no longer make French people. We don’t make them in school, we don’t make them on television, we don’t make them in the mainstream culture … ” wrote Zemmour, 63, descendant of Berber Jews who moved from Algeria to France during the Franco-Algerian war in the 1950s.

“I’m going to spit on your graves, that’s what Eric Zemmour does when he denies the French Jewish children murdered in France by an Islamist terrorist,” responded Patrick Klugman, lawyer for the Sandler family. “If he wants to continue spitting on the graves of victims of terrorism, he will have to answer in court. Now we’re just saying enough is enough.

When asked to explain his words about the Sandler children, which shocked the Jewish community, Eric Zemmour initially defended himself for wanting to “denounce, condemn and even less insult the Sandlers”.

“What happened to them is tragic and I understand the pain of this family”, he said, while explaining that his remarks were intended “to question what the fact of burying his relatives outside France said about the defrancization “.

A problem also highlighted, according to him, by the choice of foreign first names to baptize French children, including Hebrew names common in the Jewish community.

Zemmour also claimed that French Jews were protected by the state during World War II while it is a historical fact that the French Vichy regime during the war under Marshal Pétain sent thousands of French Jews as well as Jewish refugees in Nazi death camps.

Since then, Zemmour has multiplied the statements which offended many French Jews, on the Dreyfus affair, the Vel ‘d’Hiv roundup and on the memorial laws he wishes to abolish, including the Gayssot law, which punishes the crime of negationism.

“Eric Zemmour is dividing the Jewish community,” writes Actualité Juive, France’s leading weekly Jewish newspaper. “While the community leaders denounce the words and positions of Zemmour from the outset, many are those who, on the contrary, have decided to support his candidacy,” the newspaper notes. Because of his positions on Islam and on what he perceives as the refusal of many Muslims in France to integrate into French society.

“An anti-Semite?”

The chief rabbi of France Haim Korsa even qualified Zemmour as “anti-Semite”. “Anti-Semite? Certainly. A racist? Certainly, “he said in an interview with France 2 television.

Ariel Goldmann, president of the Jewish Social Fund, expressed his “shame” at belonging to the same religion as Zemmour.

What does Eric Zemmour think of the reactions of community leaders to him?

“The antifas treat me as a fascist and when I am in Drancy (the place of an internment camp where Jews were brought before being sent to Nazi extermination camps) I am treated as a dirty Jew. The Chief Rabbi of France says that I am not a Jew and that I am an anti-Semite. It’s grotesque, “replied Zemmour in a long interview Tuesday on i24NEWS, before concluding:” I had respect for the Chief Rabbi of France, but I asked around and learned that he wanted to bring my scalp to (president) Macron. He’s just a court Jew.

Tribune Juive, a Jewish magazine, severely criticized Korsia for calling Zemmour an anti-Semite and dismissed the accusation as unfounded. That same editorial, however, called some of Zemmour’s statements “puzzling”, “abject”, “obsessive” and “pathologically nationalistic”.

“ Many are those who, on social networks, defend Eric Zemmour, whom they consider to be the last bastion before the chaos which threatens, ” writes Actualité Juive.

Sammy Ghozlan, chairman of BCNVA, the Office for National Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, which records anti-Semitic attacks on the territory, often carried out in the suburbs of large cities where large Muslim communities live, said he refused to blame those who decided to vote for Zemmour.

” No Jewish vote for Zemmour ”

This goes against calls made by Jewish leaders to the community that “no Jewish voice should go to potential candidate Eric Zemmour”, a call made by the president of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France), the representative political body of the Jewish community.

The question of a Jewish vote for Eric Zemmour is debated. There has never been a ‘Jewish vote’ in France, but the votes of French Jews have in the past been divided between left and right while opposition from far right and far left was a consistent trend in previous presidential elections. It is a fact that French policy has shifted to the right in recent years.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Asked in the same interview on i24NEWS, a Franco-Israeli channel, his take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the two-state solution, Eric Zemmour said that this was an outdated view and that “there is no would never have a Palestinian state, because of the shift in power relations in the Middle East.

“I think the two-state solution is outdated logorrhea,” he said. “The Palestinians have lost the battle, they will never have a state. “

On this point, the polemicist strongly criticized France’s foreign policy towards Israel and the Palestinians, which, according to him, has not changed since the 1970s, in defiance of the new geopolitical realities in the Middle East.

When asked if he was a Zemmourist, Zemmour replied that it all depended on how you define the word.

“If Zionism is the will of every Jew to live in Israel and to come together among the Jewish people, then no, I am not a Zionist because I am ‘aggregated’ to the French people,” he said, taking up a phrase from Napoleon. addressing the Sanhedrin in 1807.

“But if being a Zionist means defending Israel and its right to exist, then that’s not the same thing,” he said. “I am not an anti-Zionist,” he added.


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