The campaign for France’s upcoming national elections—which occur on April 23 and May 7—has already made clear that the country is undergoing a political realignment as unexpected as those in the U.S. and UK, and perhaps with even more far-reaching consequences. In an in-depth and informative analysis of the current situation and its causes, Michel Gurfinkiel notes how Jews play into the current conversation:
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who served as editor at Atlantico, a major conservative online magazine, recently remarked that Jews function in many countries as an advance-warning system. When Jews get anxious about their condition, it means that something wrong and ominous may be lurking for the nation at large. Can this Jewish standard be applied to the present situation of France? Maybe. Muslim anti-Semitism (with or without the excuse of anti-Zionism) has been a harbinger of more general Muslim antagonism to mainstream French culture. Repeated acts of anti-Jewish terrorism preceded the anti-French terrorism wave of 2015 and 2016.
By this token, the 2017 presidential campaign is not entirely reassuring. Globalization, the original sin according to both the far left and far right, is frequently associated with the United States, the West—and the Jews. . . . Donald Trump may be an America Firster, but he is also a friend of Israel, the father of an Orthodox Jewish daughter and the “proud grandfather,” to quote him, “of Jewish grandchildren.” In the [French] order of things, French Muslims may support, indiscriminately, Islamic State or Palestinian groups or Iran or Assad’s Syria as expressions of Muslim power, while many non-Muslim French may support Iran or Hizballah or Assad’s Syria as allies against Islamic State.
As for the rise of [the maverick, economically liberal candidate Emmanuel] Macron, it fits only too well many stereotypes about elites, bankers, cosmopolitanism, conspiracies, or what the Americans call “Manchurian candidates.” Again, these stereotypes tend to include Jews as well. A conservative website recently ran a caricature of Macron as a former Rothschild banker, [which he is], that exaggerated some of his facial features, clearly to suggest, against all the evidence, that he is Jewish. It was swiftly withdrawn, but the damage was done.