Photo Credit: Blandine Le Cain via Fickr
Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen has been demonized by the media even worse than Donald Trump, in a strategy that delineates anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli statements from policy announcements which originally had nothing to do with Jews or Israel. A case in point was Ha’aretz’s Friday headline: “Le Pen: French Jews will have to give up Israeli citizenship,” which was followed by the opening line: “In a France ruled by the far-right Marine Le Pen, Jewish citizens will be forced to give up their Israeli citizenship, the Front National party leader said on Thursday.”

According to the AP, though, in an interview with France 2 TV Thursday, Le Pen “vowed to request all people with dual citizenship in France and other countries to choose only one nationality, except for Europeans and Russians.”

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The host, Léa Salamé, asked if Le Pen would inquire whether French-Jews in the audience “are willing to renounce their dual Israeli citizenship,” to which Le Pen responded that she was not after Jews, but wanted Israelis with French citizenship “to choose their nationality,” since “Israel is not a European Union country,” she said.

When one sees these persistent attempts to frame the right-wing candidate as a Jew hater, one starts to wonder whether one can trust news reports such as the one from Reuters, declaring that “French far-right leader Marine Le Pen will lose in an election runoff for president to centrist Emmanuel Macron,” based on public opinion polls.

The fact is that despite the natural suspicion Jews harbor against right-wing European politicians, for obvious historical reasons, Marine Le Pen might be the most pro-Israel and pro-Jewish French politician since Léon Blum.

“The Jews of France are Frenchmen, they’re at home here, and they must stay here and not emigrate. The country is obligated to provide solutions to the development of radical Islam in the problematic regions,” Le Pen told Ha’aretz back in 2011.

She also noted, in the most honest appraisal of Muslim behavior towards people they dislike: “The growing [Islamic] anti-Semitism in our territory is related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As I’ve already declared in the past, today in France there are entire regions where it’s better not to be a Jew, a woman, a homosexual or even an ordinary white Frenchman.”

And although Le Pen is not a fan of the settlement enterprise, she is not an enemy, either, as she said in the same 2011 interview: “I myself don’t understand the idea of continuing to develop the settlements. I consider it a political mistake and would like to make it clear in this context that we must have the right to criticize the policy of the State of Israel – just as we are allowed to criticize any sovereign country – without it being considered anti-Semitism. After all, the National Front has always been Zionistic and always defended Israel’s right to exist.”

To be sure, there are several anti-Israel senior officials within the National Front. One of the party’s vice-presidents and domestic partner of Marine Le Pen, Louis Aliot, praised the UN Security Council anti-Settlements resolution in December, calling Israel “a country that frees itself from international rules.”

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