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December 20, 2021 9:09 am

Complex Interplay of French Patriotism and Jewish Identity Behind Éric Zemmour’s Presidential Run

avatar by Orit Arfa /


French right-wing commentator Eric Zemmour speaks at an event at the ILEC conference centre, London, Britain, November 19, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson – Many nicknames and adjectives have been thrown around to describe the new talk of the French town, Éric Zemmour, the French journalist turned presidential candidate: brilliant, knowledgeable, extremist, racist, far-right, provocateur, and, perhaps the most catchy: the “French Trump.”

But there’s one adjective no one can deny: Jewish. Born to an Algerian Berber family that migrated to France in the 1950s, Zemmour was educated in Jewish schools and attended synagogue in Parisian suburbs. If his romantic interests—and gossip—are any indication, he’s loyal to Jewish continuity. He has three children with his Jewish wife of Tunisian descent, Mylène Chichportich. A French tabloid has reported that his Jewish mentee and advisor, Sarah Knafo, is pregnant with his “lovechild.” (Zemmour has filed suit to block the story.)

What remains up for debate is how much, if at all, his Jewish identity plays a role in his positions, popularity, and electability among Jews and non-Jews alike.

Zemmour is most well-known—or notorious—as a critic of Islam, having earned his “far-right” epithets for not differentiating Islam from radical Islam. He calls for an end to immigration and the full integration of Muslims in France. He buys into the “Great Replacement” theory that predicts native Europeans will eventually be replaced by Muslim migrants and their descendants unless they are stopped.

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