NIDRA POLLER: FRENCH ELECTIONS: VIRTUE, THE DEBT AND THE JEWISH QUESTION
The French presidential elections, initially presented by pollsters and commentators as a pushover for the Socialist contender François Hollande, turns out to be a cliff-hanger.[i] The best comparison with the United States might well be the 1948 Dewey- Truman match. On the eve of the final round, pollsters admit that the gap between the two candidates is gradually narrowing. My prediction is a photo finish, with less than one point of difference. This is the most important presidential election in France since the end of World War 2. The outcome is not only crucial for France but for the free world. I think this is the most clear cut opportunity for a European nation to stand up and confront the wave of conquest unleashed in 1973. There has been some speculation about how this would happen: mass incarceration and deportation of Muslims, civil war, craven surrender… Now, in the European country with the largest Muslim population, the question is going to be treated democratically; not by revolution, not by tribal warfare, but by the exercise of hard won freedom through institutions created and developed over the centuries. French citizens, acutely aware of the high stakes, are riveted on a campaign that has become increasingly articulate and well-defined. It is impossible in the space of this brief article to give a detailed account of issues and events, particularly to an English-speaking readership that has received rather sketchy superficial information. (I will remedy that with an in-depth essay soon.)
The Left tried to focus the campaign on economic issues, which could only fall to the disadvantage of President Sarkozy who had been unable to fulfill his promise to implement extensive structural reforms that would release the untapped potential for growth and significantly reduce the unemployment that has plagued France for the past thirty years. But voters, fortunately, have had their say. While it would be false to claim that the score of Front National candidate Marine Le Pen, who came in third, has no economic component it is impossible to ignore the burning issue that sent so many votes her way: Islam. Nicolas Sarkozy cannot win the second and final round without attracting a significant percentage of the Front National vote. François Hollande, who counts on reaping the total far Left vote, will gladly take in the economically disgruntled who “mistakenly” went for FN but will grant them nothing in exchange. Now, on the eve of the final round, polls are still predicting victory for François Hollande. One issue could make the difference:
Immigration, actually a code word for Islam and/or Islamization, is not a new issue. François Mitterand, the only Socialist president (1981-95) of the 5th République, admitted there might be a “seuil de tolérance” [threshold of tolerance] beyond which immigrants would be rejected. He was confident that a generous policy of regularization of illegals combined with the salutary effects of education, public housing, employment and voting rights would ensure their integration. Close to thirty years later François Hollande is making the same promise. Mitterand, in his baroque manner, engineered the formation of SOS Racisme (Harlem Désir, the first president of the anti-racist movement, is now N° 2 in the Socialist party apparatus) while at the same time underhandedly heightening visibility for the Front National to divide and conquer the Right.
Hollande, like Mitterand in his day, cannot win without the support of the “gauche plurielle” (euphemism for the far Left). France has the most vigorous, retrograde, unashamed, grotesque, far Left contingent of any Western European country. In a broad sweep from the Front de Gauche–an alliance of the Communist Party with newer, fresher versions of same-to the NPA (New Anti-capitalist Party) and including the Green coalition, these parties advocate preposterous economic policies entwined with militant Palestinianism, virulent anti-Zionism, and exuberant Islamophilia. The revolutionary Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche), expected to be the third man, the kingmaker, attracted tens of thousands of fans to his Chavez-style rallies, culminating in a rally on the beach in Marseille with a battle cry for the Maghreb (he was born in Tangiers). Europe is not Christian, he proclaimed, it is diversity. Mélenchon promised a 100% tax bracket for income above 30,000 euros per month, regularization of all illegal immigrants, and a cornucopia of goodies picked from the pockets of the rich. Nathalie Arthaud of Lutte Ouvrière would imprison bosses who don’t impose male-female parity. Philippe Poutou (NPA) would prohibit companies from firing workers.
These are a few examples of the policies promoted during the first round campaign, where all ten contenders–nine of them opposed to Nicolas Sarkozy–were given equal time in the media. Why is it considered perfectly normal for François Hollande to scoop up the voters of the far Left-a total of 21.4%– but outrageous for Nicolas Sarkozy to try to harvest enough Front National votes to win the election? Why? Because Islam has been placed on the positive side of the scale of virtue. This is the European Condition at the dawn of the 21st Century. The failure to correctly designate the “something” that threatens to destroy European civilization causes turmoil, distress, and confusion. If Islam is a religion, if Muslims are victims of discrimination, if immigration from the Arab-Muslim world is exactly like previous waves of immigration, then individuals, groups, or political parties opposed to Islam are simply bad. And “bad” for Europeans means the nationalist, fascist, xenophobic far Right of the good old Nazi days. (Geert Wilders, who has nothing in common with those values or methods, is systematically labeled a far-Right xenophobe… because he combats Islam.)
Fortunately, but tragically, reality clarified the issue. The truth about the Islamic motivation of Mohamed Merah, who executed French soldiers, Jewish children, and a young rabbi in Toulouse and Montauban in mid-March burst into the presidential campaign.[ii] The fact that the mujahid, who resembled, at least outwardly, hundreds of thousands of second and third generation Muslim “youths” creating endless problems for themselves and for French society, could chase down an eight-year old Jewish girl, catch her, grab her by the hair and shoot her point blank in the head, was utterly horrifying.
The Sarkozy government immediately drafted measures that will criminalize preaching and training for jihad, advocating genocide, aiding and abetting terrorists. Members of the recently banned Salafist organization Forsane Alizza were arrested and jailed awaiting trial. Six Islamic firebrands invited to speak at the annual Convention of the UOIF (French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) were denied visas and President Sarkozy publicly regretted the impossibility of refusing entry to Tarek Ramadan because he travels on a Swiss passport. Refraining from the usual honey-coated reports on the UOIF Convention, the media described Ramadan’s speech as violent, virulent, and offensive.
Far from any spirit of resignation, French Jewish voices are speaking clearly and boldly. There are calls for increased police protection as a short term measure and demands to curb the evil at its roots in media incitement to Jew hatred via anti-Zionism. The SPJC (Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive) is recruiting security personnel for Jewish schools, charitable institutions are raising money to pay for them. When Richard Prasquier, the president of the CRIF, expressed concerns of some Jewish citizens that the far Left, essential for Hollande’s victory, would influence the policies of his government[iii] he was accused of mixing religion with politics. Sammy Ghozlan, president of the BNVCA (National Office for Vigilance against anti-Semitism), tireless defender of the safety of Jews and indomitable opponent of the BDS movement, has consistently noted the greater incidence of anti-Semitic violence in municipalities governed by communists, with peaks after demonstrations, exhibitions, and anti-Israel rallies.
Meanwhile on the Left, the BDS organizers of the Bienvenu en Palestine Flytilla solicited moral support from the presidential candidates. Centrist François Bayrou, who considers himself the epitome of Virtue, deemed the enterprise worthy and reputable. Nathalie Arthaud (Lutte Ouvrière) declared that Gaza is an “open-air [sic] concentration camp. Green candidate Eva Joly enthusiastically seconded the motion (a member of her campaign committee, Julien Bayou, had participated in the Gaza Flotilla). A few weeks after Jewish children were brutally murdered at the Ozar Hatorah school, the Socialist mayor of Angoulême refused to cancel an apologetic photo exhibition simply named “Hamas.”
Mélenchon had sworn he would kick the hell out of the Front National. Voters decided otherwise. Now Marine Le Pen is promising to smash Sarkozy’s UMP and take the lead of the recomposed Right. This is unlikely. The FN is a mixed bag with too much volume and not enough political brain. There is no governing principle that can maintain the alliance between a whacko Pujadiste economic policy, hardcore resentment, persistent anti-Semitism, petty ambitions and a loose mass of disappointed conservatives who can’t forgive Sarkozy for not doing nearly enough to slash immigration, impose law and order, and resist Islamization. Now the Left accuses Nicolas Sarkozy of veering sharp right in a desperate attempt to woo back those FN votes. They know full well that all of these questions were debated last year in a series of Conventions by which the UMP developed its platform[iv] because they held protest meetings at the time. UMP chief Jean-François Copé said then that the Front National raises the right questions but give the wrong answers… or no answers at all.
During the two weeks of the second round campaign, the debate has intensified day by day. Two radically different approaches to the question of Islam are proposed. François Hollande defends the open-arms humanitarianist, inclusive approach advocated by Mitterand in his time. For Nicolas Sarkozy, a strong national identity is the bulwark against submission to Islam. During the three-hour face to face with Hollande, Sarkozy said it is irresponsible to give voting rights to immigrants at a time of extreme tensions and determined radicalization of these populations. His rival, scandalized, asked if he was associating “immigrant” with Islam. Sarkozy replied: you would have to be deliberately blind not to recognize the fact that the overwhelming majority of immigrants are from Muslim countries in North or sub-Saharan Africa.
The choice on Sunday May 6th is not between two men but between two mutually exclusive visions of the future or, more exactly, the survival of France as a nation. If ever the proverbial Jewish vote would make sense, this is the moment. French Jews would not be afraid to be recognized as Jews, wouldn’t fear for their lives, the safety of their children, their very future in France if “immigration” did not import Islamic Jew hatred. The Socialist party, which claims to stand for the vivre ensemble [living together] and accuses President Sarkozy of catering to a neo-fascist Front National, cuddles up to the anti-Zionist Left that sees no evil in the population that spawned Mohamed Merah. The point is not to accuse all Muslims of being jihad killers nor to pretend that there is no connection between Islam and jihad, but to ask how the French nation can resist conquest and avoid collaboration.
Nidra Poller is an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Forum
[i] Official results 1st round : François Hollande-28.63%; Nicolas Sarkozy-27.18; Marine Le Pen-17.90; Jean-Luc Mélenchon-11.11 ; François Bayrou-9,13 : Eva Joly-2.31, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan- 1.79 ; Philippe Poutou-1.15 ; Nathalie Arthaud-0.58 ; Jacques Cheminade-0.25
[iii] http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/jews-to-face-new-challenges-in-post-elections-france-1.426488 and http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/french-jewish-leader-in-hot-water-over-apparent-endorsement-of-sarkozy-1.427180
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