While in October he shot up to second place in the polls behind President Emmanuel Macron, he has since fallen back, and he’s now edging the traditional right-wing candidate, Marie Le Pen, and the head of the center-right Republican party, Valérie Pécresse, at around 15 points. To take on Macron on April 24, he’d have to overtake the right/conservative flank in the first election round on April 10. Amsellem thinks he may have what it takes to do just that.
“The fact that he’s a Jew means he can say things that if they were said by simple French rightist, it wouldn’t be kosher,” said Amsellem. “But if he’s a Jew, he can’t be criticized the same way. … He succeeded in speaking to the pride of the popular classes and also to the elitist right because he’s very intelligent.”
Karsenty thinks Zemmour would have to galvanize massive public support to overcome negative media coverage.
“If he goes to the second round against Macron, you’d have huge demonstrations and people claiming the fight is against Nazism, which is completely ridiculous,” said Karsenty.
Samuels doubts that he’ll advance to the second round but fears his party will remain a political force. “Zemmour’s not going to win the presidency, but he may win at the local and regional level, and that will be very bad.”
As intense are his haters, so are his French lovers.
Said Amsellem: “I say there’s never been so much enthusiasm for a Jew in France since Jesus.”