French Jews will be urged to vote against Front National (FN) in this week’s local election second round after Marine Le Pen’s party topped the polls in six of the nation’s 13 regions at the weekend.
Although once associated with French anti-Semitism, the Front National under the leadership of Marine Le Pen has over the past five years been undergoing a difficult transformation from 20th century relic to formidable political force.
Despite this, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France remains determined to keep the party out by forming a bloc to vote against their candidates. Calling on Jews to mobilise at the voting booth, the council called the FN a “populist and xenophobic party”.
Using more measured language, France’s chief Rabbi has called for a “civic uprising” at the polls, in an announcement that has been interpreted as an attack on the FN, reports TheLocal.fr. He said voters should get to the polls “to breathe life into democracy… in these particularly troubled times for the nation”.
Yet the comments of the council directly contradict others made earlier in the year. Breitbart London reported in February that French Jews were flocking to vote for FN in hope of electing politicians who would enact legislation to protect them from the new anti-Semitism imported with Islam. Violent attacks against Jews in France have more than doubled in the past year.
The chairman of the same Jewish Council said in a statement FN was no longer violent and the new leader had never been anti-Semitic. Although not directly endorsing the party, the chairman could not escape the fact that as of February 14 per cent of French Jews said they would vote FN. He remarked: “The National Front is a party for which I would never vote but it’s a party which today doesn’t commit violent acts.
“Let’s be clear: all the violence [against Jews] is now committed by young Muslims”.
The remarks of the chief Rabbi may also seem odd, if they are in fact directed against the FN, who would love to protect Jewish communities from anti-Semitic Islamists, especially considering the comments of the Belgian chief Rabbi just days earlier who said: “there is no future for Jews in Europe”.
“There is a sense of fear in the streets, they understand that they too are targets of terror. Jews now pray in their homes and some of them are planning on emigrating”.
The FN enjoyed their best ever result on Sunday, polling 29 per cent nationally and coming first in almost half of the nation’s regions. The vote was been called “stunning“, but the final result relies on the second round this coming weekend. This system of voting has in the past disadvantaged candidates who did well in the first round, as opposing voters who lost their first-choice candidates group together to vote for the second-worst politician.
This phenomenon may see the centre-right party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy ultimately win the local elections, as the second-place taker in the first round.