Louis Aliot, a top member of France’s staunchly conservative and historically anti-Semitic Front National party, finds himself this week … in Israel? To try to drum up votes from Israeli residents eligible to vote in French elections? Actually, if you read Robert Zaretsky’s profile of FN presidential candidate Marine Le Pen yesterday in Tablet Magazine, you’d know such a strategy isn’t so far-fetched. Le Pen, the daughter of the Holocaust-negating founder of the party, has re-branded it as welcoming to Jews, and much of its platform—it is suspicious, to say the least, of Muslim immigrants and Islam generally—actually carries much appeal for many French Jews. (And France has the third-most Jews of any country.)
Aliot’s appeal to Jewish residents of Israel enfranchised in France—many of them Algerian-born—sounds quite shrewd. “Just as the Jews are defending their right to Israel, we in France are fighting to defend our identity and our land,” he said. “We have the same position on the dangers posed by radical Islam, which exists in Europe and also threatens Israel, which we call ‘the western island.’”
The $64,000 question is whether Aliot had motives beyond speaking to French voters. When pressed, he did admit to meeting with a few politicians. The alliance between the Israeli right and several far-right European parties has been well documented, and was most recently brought to light when the suspected Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik’s manifesto revealed a “philosophy” that combined, in its twisted way, respect for the Nazis and a love of Israel. Whether these burgeoning alliances are good or bad for the Jews is, shall we say, up for debate.
French National Front Heads to Israel To Stump for Support Ahead of Election [Haaretz]
Related: Send The Marine [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: What To Make of the Oslo Attacker’s Zionism?