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March 2, 2017 7:24 am

Is Marine Le Pen Really a Friend of the Jews and Israel?

avatar by Jonathan Fenton-Harvey

Marine Le Pen. Photo: wiki commons.

Marine Le Pen. Photo: wiki commons.

Since becoming the leader of the National Front (NF) party in 2011, Marine Le Pen has presented herself as a staunch ally of Israel and French Jewry. But although she has won the support of a fraction of French Jewry and Jews worldwide, it is unclear whether her words can be trusted.

Her father, Jean-Claude Le Pen, was the previous leader of the NF — and was infamous for his long list of controversial and antisemitic statements, including calling the Holocaust “a mere detail in history.” Marine Le Pen never condemned or repudiated any of her father’s statements while he was in power.

Admittedly, she has made a strong effort to reform the party, in part by condemning and distancing herself from the past antisemitic elements of the NF. She has promised to defend Israel; to act as a “shield for Jews” in the face of radical Islam and other sources of antisemitism; to oppose the BDS movement; and to distance herself from the likes of David Duke (who constantly praises her).

But how can we be convinced that her words and promises are genuine, especially if such open support for Israel and Jews was non-existent prior to her elevation as the party’s leader? How could she go from tolerating antisemitic statements one day, to suddenly becoming a champion and defender of the Jewish people?

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At best, she perhaps sympathizes with Israel because she sees it as a moderate bulwark against Islamism. In other words, she may see Israel as a useful ally, rather than supporting it for the right reasons.

To refute the notion that Marine Le Pen is the right choice for French Jews, it’s important to look at how she plans to treat religious minorities. Le Pen has stated that she wants to ban religious attire and other symbols in public, along with the preparation of kosher food.

Even worse, she has presented an ultimatum for French Jews: Renounce your ties to Israel, or sacrifice your French citizenship. In other words, Jews must sacrifice their ties to a necessary safe haven or be accused of having dual loyalty.

Even if Le Pen does not pose a direct threat or danger to Jews, she is evidently indifferent to antisemitism — which would allow it to flourish further. French — and Jewish — voters should beware.

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