Éric Justin Léon Zemmour, 63, the son of a Berber Jewish family from Algeria, is sued frequently by his political opponents. He has been fined two times for provocation of racial discrimination in 2011, and for provocation of hate against Muslims in 2018. He has been acquitted six times, in 2008, 2014 (twice), 2016, 2017 and 2019.
In 2021, Zemmour was publicly accused by several women of inappropriate sexual behavior, but no criminal complaints followed. So, nice try.
Zemmour is a best selling author in France, with books on France’s decline that do not flinch at pointing out the culprits: the loss of traditional French and Christian values, the immigration of Muslim from Africa who are colonizing the country that once colonized them, feminism and its repression of male virility, and the “great replacement” of white people. He argues that the “white, heterosexual male” is under threat from ethnic minorities and the gay lobby.
Obviously, if you support the above views, it is highly advisable that you not say so on Twitter, Facebook, or even in your private emails, because they are the kind of truths that end up with a big bonfire with you as the kartoflach (that’s roast potatoes to you and me).
According to The Guardian, “Éric Zemmour is rising so fast in opinion polls for president that one survey this week found he could make the final round of the April election and take 45% of the vote against the centrist Emmanuel Macron.”
Zemmour has been urged many times by his political friends to run for office but has so far declined. But he may decided to throw his hat in the ring for the 2022 presidential campaign. To that end, he has already engaged in a national tour of France to promote his new book, La France N’a Pas Dit Son Dernier Mot (France Has Not Said Its Last Word), published on September 15 and sold 80,000 copies in the first week, 165,000 copies in the first 3 weeks.
In an interview on France 2 on September 11, Zemmour said: “For now, I am not a candidate. When I want to be a candidate, I will say that I am a candidate. When I decide, I will say it. For now, I am thinking. There are people who for many years have been pushing me to be a candidate, who think that it is I who have the right ideas for France.”
On September 28, the daily Le Parisien reported that Zemmour has already rented a large office space, in Paris’s 8th quarter, paid for by the “The Friends of Éric Zemmour.”
In the polls, Zemmour’s rise is nothing short of meteoric. The first time he appeared in a poll, in June 2021, the Institut français d’opinion publique (IFOP) gave him of 5.5% of the vote. In August 2021, he took 7% in an Ipsos poll. On September 14 he took 10% in a Harris Interactive poll. On September 21 he received 11% in a Harris poll, and on September 29 14%. On October 1 he took 15%, ahead of most of the right-wing candidates, and only 1 point behind National Rally candidate Marine Le Pen.
From that day on, Zemmour is regularly placed in a potentially competitive position to reach the second round of the election (in France candidates must get more than 50% of the vote or face a second round). Last week, President Emmanuel Macron led the polls with 25%, followed by Marine Le Pen with 16%, and Éric Zemmour in third place with 15%.
On October 6, Zemmour reached 17% in the polls, placing second behind the incumbent president, ahead of Le Pen.
The NYT noted that after weeks of ignoring Zemmour, President Macron is now criticizing the popular right-winger—still without mentioning his name. Government ministers and other Macron allies “have unleashed a barrage of attacks” on the right-wing not-yet contestant.
Zemmour’s rise has been even more troubling for Marine Le Pen. Her own father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of her party—who has been ousted by his daughter—said that he would support Zemmour if he decided to run.
Zemmour, who gained great fame in France as the host of an imitation Fox News show, is a Donald trump admirer, and sees the pro-Brexit vote in the UK as proof of the validity of his anti-immigration position. The Guardian suggested that he “wants to create an ultra-conservative arc from the mainstream right to the far-right, harnessing voters from both low-income backgrounds and what he calls the educated ‘patriotic bourgeoisie.’”
Finally, On September 11, 2021, Zemmour stated about the 2012 Toulouse and Montauban shooting attacks by Islamist terrorist Mohammed Merah: “The family of Mohammed Merah asked to bury him on the land of his ancestors in Algeria. It was also known that the Jewish children murdered in front of the denominational school in Toulouse would be buried in Israel. Anthropologists have taught us that we are from the country where we are buried. Assassins or innocents, executioners or victims, enemies or friends, they wanted to live in France, but when it comes to leaving their bones, they especially did not choose France, remaining foreigners above all.”
The statement, equating the terrorist and his victims, shocked many in France, especially members of the Jewish community. Contacted by La Dépêche du Midi, Franck Touboul, president of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions) qualifies Éric Zemmour’s comments as “indecent.”
“It is an insult and an offense to families, who are no less French than him. Éric Zemmour must not forget where he comes from,” he said. “I also remember Madame Halimi’s choice, when her son Ilan was tortured and then murdered by the barbarian gang, to have her child buried in Israel, although she had nothing to do with the country, except this is her Judaism. Because she feared that her son’s grave would be soiled once the killers were released from prison.”
Touboul also stressed that the right to burial is an inalienable right, which cannot be debated. “The fact that Éric Zemmour sets himself up as a judge to know who is a good Frenchman and who is not, is both an insult to our collective intelligence and the testimony of a very great arrogance on his part,” he declared, concluding: “With regard to this attack and the victims, the only thing that must be imposed is respect and silence.”
Neither appear to be qualities with which Éric Zemmour has been blessed.