Rabbi Bernheim - Sequel
Jewish acceptance of Marine Le Pen is still a problem for the Front National, despite determined efforts by the party leadership to dispel the doubts of the Jewish community. But more than that, non-Jewish Frenchmen can be persuaded not to vote for her on grounds that the party is inherently antisemitic, a claim made by several prominent French Jews.
On January 20, I posted an article on the remarks made by the grand Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim. Remarks that were criticized and rebutted by Riposte Laïque. Now an article by Jacques Rosen, of the Union of Jewish Frenchmen (U-F-J), on the same topic, has been posted at Nations Presse:
Gilles Bernheim, grand Rabbi of France, has just presented his book, N'oublions pas de penser la France, in an interview in the February 25 issue of the magazine Marianne.
Note: The book's title translates "Let us not forget to think of France."
Once again, Gilles Bernheim uses the journal to designate the main enemy of the Jews according to him, Marine Le Pen, whom he pigeonholes in what he calls "a movement anchored for a hundred years in French political life and which, from Action française to 'pétainisme' and to 'lepenisme', has always been intrinsically antisemitic." He then hammers in the nail: "Even if Madame Le Pen is a friend of the Jews, what she says about other minorities, notably the offensive way she treats the Muslims of France, is incompatible with the laws of Judaism."
Note: Read about the monarchist organization Action française at Wikipedia. (Remember that the Front National is not and has never been monarchist.)
Here is the second paragraph:
It was founded during the Dreyfus affair, partly in reaction to the left-wing revitalization that materialized in defense of the army captain, famously launched by Emile Zola's J'accuse. Originally a nationalist organization that attracted figures such as Maurice Barrès, it became monarchist under the influence of Charles Maurras, who followed the counter-revolutionary theorist, Joseph de Maistre. Until its dissolution at the end of the Second World War, the Action Française was a prominent proponent of far-right integral nationalism, which regarded the nation as an organic entity, a wedding of blood and soil.
Note: "Pétainsime" and "lepenisme" derive from Pétain and Le Pen.
Then, remembering perhaps that the antisemitism today in France is for the most part of Islamic origin, the grand Rabbi launches into a diatribe to remind the Muslim immigrants who do not play by the rules, without naming them, of course, of their duties on French soil: "Why take the liberty of doing on foreign soil, and more so in a host country, what would not be tolerated in the homeland? … Usage and custom tactfully observed… without behaving as if in conquered territory, without giving lessons or disrupting local customs… Their legitimate demands for the preservation of their 'differences' cannot justify attempts at destabilization or veritable dissidence, by importing external conflicts and conduct that is no longer merely exotic but totally deviant, or by threatening public order, juridical order, as well as the fundamental specificities of civilization of the national community."
Note: The Rabbi seems to have a clear perception of what the Muslims are doing to France: destabilizing, dissenting, acting like conquerors, threatening the peace of the State, etc… But none of this helps to exonerate Marine Le Pen. He may be working in the service of Nicolas Sarkozy, either officially or otherwise.
Rabbi Bernheim, is a minimal sense of history too much to ask of the religious authority you represent? You have worn thin the thread of "pétainisme", thick as it is: once again you have to be reminded that the overwhelming majority of Vichy personnel came from the Left before the war, and that a large number returned to the Left AFTER the war, such as Mitterand who never concealed the fact, and who is still the model for Socialists today, without your feeling the slightest concern. And if you were to really seek an ancestor of today's French patriotic movement, it would be rather in the Croix-de-Feu movement that you would find it, of which many French Jews were members who were always on the side of the Resistance.
Note: The Croix-de-Feu began as a nationalist veterans group and evolved into the Parti social français. According to Wikipedia it opposed racism and antisemitism. Still, some historians regard it as a native form of fascism. The story of the Croix-de-feu is complex, and new to me. Here are links to Wikipedia, in English and French.
Rabbi Bernheim, is a minimal coherency too much to ask of the religious authority you represent? Why would what Marine Le Pen says about those Muslim immigrants who do not conduct themselves correctly in our country, which is exactly what you yourself say, namely that they have responsibilities on French soil and they are expected to behave in accordance with our laws, be "incompatible with the values of Judaism"? In what way would these healthy words be "offensive" from the mouth of Marine Le Pen, and revealed truth from yours? Do you realize that when you ostracize Marine Le Pen this way, you are trying at the same time to blacklist all those who are legitimately concerned about the Islamization of France, including many French Jews? Do you understand that no other French political leader today, no other presidential candidate, has shown the will to really act in accordance with this observation, namely to really demand respect for our laws and institutions from everybody?
Rabbi Bernheim, is minimal courage too much to ask of the religious authority you represent? What is changed by the fact that you don't even dare name the Muslims who disrespect our laws? Do you think that by refusing to name the problem the Jews and non-Jews of France will be able to fight Islamic antisemitism? Or do you believe it is a service you are rendering to all the other Muslims who do respect our laws when you pretend not to see what, in Islam, is incompatible with "public order, juridical order, as well as the fundamental specificities of civilization of the national community."
Rabbi Bernheim, would it be asking too much of the philosopher, the priest, the man, that he open his eyes before it is too late?
Note: As I read the French Wikipedia page on the Front National, I did not note any special affinity with either the Croix-de-feu or the Action française. The FN was founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen and was at first a loosely organized association of various right-wing ideologies. In some ways the party today is still a composite of many ideologies: national-republicanism, nationalism, sovereignty, Euro-skepticism, populism, conservatism, social conservatism. And despite the provocative remarks made over the years by Jean-Marie Le Pen, it is hard to imagine that such a party has been demonized to the extent it has.