Last week, the far-right French pundit and provocateur Éric Zemmour announced his candidacy for the country’s 2022 presidential elections. His platform rests on social conservatism, hostility to immigrants, national pride, and nostalgia for an idealized past. Although Zemmour is himself Jewish, Ben Cohen offers this caution:
When you examine the depressing chronology of anti-Semitic attacks in France over the last twenty years, you note pretty quickly that many of the offenders were Muslims who were influenced in some way by radical Islam. . . . Some Jews, inside and outside France, believe that Zemmour will deal with the problem of domestic Muslim radicalism and that alone would justify voting for him. They will then point to his Jewish origins and his habit of occasionally attending synagogue for additional support.
Still, to reach that conclusion requires you to ignore other pertinent considerations, such as Zemmour’s nauseating Holocaust revisionism, which falsely depicts the Vichy regime as the savior of French Jews at the expense of the foreign-born, and his crackpot belief that Alfred Dreyfus—falsely convicted of espionage amid a surge of violent anti-Semitism in France at the end of the 19th century—might have been guilty after all.
You would have to forget that Zemmour described the victims of the 2012 Islamist massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse as not truly French because they were laid to rest in the state of Israel. And you would have to overlook the fact that Zemmour has no experience of government, a past conviction for racist utterances, and a boorish side to his personality.