marine le pen

Le Pen’s deputy quits as tensions engulf French far right

PARIS (AP) — The right-hand man of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen quit the National Front on Thursday, the culmination of a feud that erupted after her bruising defeat in May’s presidential election, laying bare party divisions and risking more.

Florian Philippot, who made a meteoric rise to party vice president and Le Pen confidante, was the most visible figure in the party after Le Pen. He was a familiar face on French TV — where he announced his exit.

Philippot played a key role in Le Pen’s effort to scrub clean her party’s racist and anti-Semitic image to make it more voter-friendly. But he was also behind Le Pen’s controversial proposal for France to leave the eurozone. Some Philippot critics believe the proposal harmed her in the presidential vote, when she lost to centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Philippot, 35, announced his departure on a morning news program on France 2 television after being demoted by his boss and relieved of his responsibilities for party strategy and communications late Wednesday.

“I was told I’m vice president of nothing … I don’t have the taste for ridicule. Of course, I’m leaving the National Front,” Philippot said.

Philippot, with degrees from France’s top schools, joined the National Front six years ago and quickly rose to the top echelons, irking some longtime officials wary of his left-leaning bent and ideas, like returning to the French franc currency, that they feared distracted from the party’s fundamentals: immigration and national identity.

But he and Le Pen were inseparable throughout the presidential campaign.
Philippot’s exit comes as the National Front is in the midst of a major makeover, to include changing the party’s name that dates from its founding in 1972 by Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Philippot claimed that the party’s “old demons” were sneaking back into the party, a reference to hard right values.

“I regret his (Philippot’s) departure,” Le Pen said Thursday on the LCP TV station. But she added that “the Front will get over it without difficulty.”

She wasted no time in starting to fill Philippot’s shoes, replacing his communications role with four people, a chief and three spokespeople. His name was scratched from the lists of party officials on the National Front website.
The power struggle unfolded after Philippot decided to start a political group, Les Patriotes, within days of Le Pen’s election defeat and without consulting her. It has played out on TV in numerous interviews by Philippot and party officials. Le Pen and Philippot never had a direct meeting about their differences, both say.

Philippot has said his served as a think tank aimed at broadening the National Front’s support base with a modern, more open approach to politics. But Philippot’s critics saw it as both a diversion from the task of rebuilding the party, and a bid to lay the groundwork for his own political movement.

Philippot was playing the role of victim, Le Pen said. But with the creation of his association, “there was a strategy to raise tensions … I think the goal was to push himself out.”

Party secretary-general Nicolas Bay said on France Info radio Thursday that the group “has all the characteristics of a micro political party.”

Le Pen recently gave Philippot an ultimatum to leave the group’s presidency. But he refused, saying Wednesday that “you don’t remake a party with a pistol at your head.”

In her statement demoting Philippot, Le Pen said his “double responsibilities” posed a “conflict of interest.”

Philippot has insisted that he wasn’t plotting an exit strategy. But the shadow of a potential schism fell over him. No one in the National Front forgets the 1998 departure of Bruno Megret, the right-hand man of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who took numerous officials with him.

Shortly after Philippot announced his departure, others said they were leaving, including Philippe Murer, Le Pen’s economic and environmental counselor. Sophie Montel, a close ally of Philippot and vice president of his association, also left the party Thursday, days after being ousted from her role as a regional head of the National Front.

“There will be those who are disappointed because in a divorce like that … there always are,” Luis Aliot, another vice president and Le Pen’s companion, said on BFM-TV. “But most will be relieved.”


Thousands of torn Le Pen ballots discovered in the French presidential election, all invalid and disqualified


Practically a mirror image of the US presidential election of 2016, today’s French presidential election pits populist underdog and Trump fan, Marine Le Pen, against establishment insider, Emmanuel Macron, with decades of political experience and a ton of personal baggage.

Like the US election, the liberal mainstream media and the pollsters in France are solidly behind the establishment candidate, Macron, who pollsters are declaring will be the first French president to win with over 60% of the vote.

Also like the US election, the establishment leftists are openly cheating to win, and like the US election, they don’t really care who knows it.

Many French voters have received their ballots in a large envelope in the mail, some of which contained two Macron ballots and no Le Pen ballot, while others contained a perfectly intact Macron ballot and a torn Le Pen ballot. Torn ballots are invalid and will be disqualified.

Oh, those leftists, such clever devils, yes?

The very survival of the European Union and the political establishment is dependent upon this election, thus, as was the case with President Trump’s, the huge (European in this case) deep state and establishment machine are pulling every trick in the book to defeat Le Pen, a nationalist/populist, who favors following Britain’s Brexit…. “Au Revoir, EU,” which should cripple the liberal Big Brother confederacy.

C’est la vie!

French Jews certainly wanted Macron over Le Pen, but friction may lie ahead

PARIS (JTA) — French Jews may have voted en masse for Emmanuel Macron in the final round of France’s presidential elections, but that doesn’t make him their dream president.

Like many other supporters of the 39-year-old former investment banker, who on Sunday became the youngest French president in recent history, Jews voted for Macron mainly to block his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen. The centrist won with 65 percent of the vote to 34% for Le Pen.

Leaders of French Jewry said they were relieved and even “happy” to see Macron elected — but the honeymoon may be short-lived.

A self-declared progressive with a foreign policy rooted in human rights, Macron even during the campaign demonstrated that like his Socialist predecessor, Francois Hollande, he is willing to clash over Israel and Islamism with the conservative and pro-Israel mainstream of French Jewry.

To be sure, the youthful-looking Macron has charmed many voters, Jews and otherwise, on his own merits. He is known for an energetic oratory style, a profound understanding of finance and a passion for inter-European cooperation, and he promises to heal France’s deeply divided society by building a post-partisan consensus based on tolerance.

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte hug as he addresses his supporters at his election day headquarters in Paris , Sunday April 23, 2017. (AP/Christophe Ena)

His good looks, coupled with his apparent devotion to his wife – his former high school teacher, who is 24 years his senior – have endeared him to women especially, according to Elle.

Yet in a town hall meeting on March 22 with hundreds of Jewish voters Macron, an independent politician who had served for two years as Hollande’s industry minister, showed why he and the Jewish mainstream may be on a collision course over Israel and Muslim extremism.

For the first 90 minutes of the meeting, sponsored by the the CRIF Jewish federation, Macron discussed his economic vision lucidly and in great detail. Juggling data and well-chosen anecdotes, he was clearly in his element as he explained his support for free-market labor reforms, greater cooperation with Germany and no new taxes on corporations’ revenue-producing capital.

But then he turned to foreign policy — a weaker subject for the wunderkind who became the first candidate in decades to win a presidential election in France without the support of its main political parties.

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, left, and outgoing President Francois Hollande attend a ceremony to mark the end of World War II at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Monday, May 8, 2017. (Philippe Wojazer, Pool via AP)

“My policy is to continue the current line of French diplomacy,” Macron told the crowd of 700.

To his evident surprise, the promise of continuity did not sit well with his listeners, whose hisses and booing forced him to pause.

“Oh, no?” he mumbled in surprise when the booing started. “Perhaps it’s not your policy, but it is mine,” he said in the unapologetic style that helped him through debates with more seasoned speakers, including former prime minister Francois Fillon of The Republicans and the fiery far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Macron’s attempts to appease the audience by proclaiming his attachment to Israel’s security “as well as to the two-state solution” did not seem to have a particularly mollifying effect.

Apparently unwittingly, he touched one of the raw nerves of French Jewry under Hollande, who has led a firm line — and according to some critics at times even a hostile one – on Israel.

Leaders of French Jewry were especially angry when France voted last year in favor of at least two resolutions by UNESCO, the cultural body of the United Nations, that ignored Judaism’s attachment to Jerusalem. Unusually, the country’s chief rabbi, Haim Korsia — who joined Muslim and Christian faith leaders in endorsing Macron three days before the election — issued a written condemnation of the votes.

Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia speaks to journalists on June 22, 2014, in Paris. (AFP/Fred Dufor)

CRIF condemned France’s failed bid earlier this year to stage a Middle East peace conference in Paris without Israel’s support. Hollande said France was organizing the conference out of a commitment to peace and as a “friend of Israel,” but CRIF President Francis Kalifat clearly had his doubts.

“Some pretend to be Israel’s friend, but there is no such thing as friendship: There are proofs of friendship,” Kalifat said at a protest rally in January against the summit in front of Israel’s embassy in Paris.

Israel’s refusal to attend the conference ultimately led the Palestinians to pull out. CRIF called the ensuing summit a “grotesque” event in light of international inaction on the wholesale slaughter of civilians in Syria.

French Jewry’s mainstream also objected to France’s leading role within the European Union in singling out Israeli West Bank settlements and their products, and to Socialist Party lawmakers who supported a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood.

CRIF President Francis Kalifat poses in Paris, France, on May 29, 2016. (AFP/Francois Guillot)

During the town hall meeting, Macron said that like Hollande, he would recognize a Palestinian state only after a negotiated settlement agreed upon by Israel and the Palestinians. (Interviewed last week, he reiterated his support for a negotiated two-state solution and opposition to unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.)

Then there are fears that Macron’s tolerance-driven agenda is too accommodating to Muslim fundamentalists. Many French Jews perceive Islamism as the main threat facing their communities following a string of deadly jihadist attacks on Jewish and non-Jewish targets.

In Macron’s official platform, he speaks of “fighting with determination against all radical streams that distort the values” of Islam. But whereas Le Pen and the right-of-center Fillon proposed concrete punitive steps, including revoking the French nationality of radicals and deporting them, Macron has remained vague, proposing to conduct the fight by “helping French Muslims to achieve the [restructuring] of their institutions.”

Sensing he was losing the audience’s affection, Macron told the CRIF crowd, “Hang on, I can return to the UNESCO vote, which is a different matter.” He added: “It’s a mistake and I condemn it.” But Macron also insisted that the UNESCO vote was a technical glitch, provoking more dismissive boos and laughter from dozens of listeners and an intervention by Kalifat.

“Yes, but there were two votes, Mr. Macron,” Kalifat said. “They were definitely not unintentional.”

Alain Finkielkraut (Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons)

Macron also infuriated prominent members of the French Jewish community when he visited a Holocaust monument during the last stretch of the campaign. Although the visit was meant to draw a contrast with the Holocaust denial roots of Le Pen’s party, the prominent French-Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said Macron’s actions turned the genocide into a “campaign argument.”

Regardless of their differences, Macron is nonetheless someone French Jews can respect, according to Philippe Karsenty, a French Jewish politician and pro-Israel activist who supported Fillon in the first round but switched to Macron against Le Pen.

“I disagree with him on many issues — Israel, his vision of French history,” Karsenty told JTA. “I think he’s too naïve, like former US president Barack Obama or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But his background is in banking, in business. He’s accomplished. And he understands the power of compromise.”

French Jews ‘relieved’ Macron won but worried over Le Pen’s electoral gains

(JTA) — Leaders of French Jewry expressed both relief over the defeat of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential elections and concern over her receiving more than a third of the vote.

Le Pen, whom the chief rabbi of France and the CRIF umbrella of Jewish communities have decried as dangerous to democracy and minorities, received 34.2 percent of the vote compared to the 65.8 percent who voted for the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, according to a report by Le Monde based on exit polls from Sunday’s final round of the elections.

“I am happy with the result of Emmanuel Macron being elected president, which constitutes a veritable relief for all our nation and for the Jewish community of France,” Joel Mergui, the president of the Consistoire, wrote Sunday evening in a statement by his group, which is responsible for providing religious services to Jews.

Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who is employed by the Consistoire, also spoke of his satisfaction from the vote. But in his statement, Korsia also referenced concerns over the support shown to Le Pen – a nationalist who seeks a ban on wearing Jewish and Muslim religious symbols in public, ritual slaughter and the provision of pork-free meals in school cafeterias.

The vote was the best electoral result ever obtained by her National Front party, which was established in the 1970s by her father, the Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews. He clinched 18 percent of the vote in the 2002 presidential elections — the first time that National Front made it to the final round.

“Well aware that many voices have been raised in favor of the candidate of the National Front, the Chief Rabbi calls on all political leaders to take seriously the voters’ cry of despair and anger in order to review their platforms and to regain the enthusiasm and support of the citizens,” the statement by Korsia’s office read.

Francis Kalifat, president of CRIF, called the victory “uncontestable” and congratulated Macron on it. “Everything starts right now,” Kalifat, who has lobbied intensively in favor of Macron in recent days, wrote optimistically on Twitter.

The president of European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, said in a statement: “We remain extremely concerned by the still large support for parties of the far right, not only in France but across Europe.”  He also wrote in a statement that the result was “a victory against hate and extremism” by the French people.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement that while Macron’s election is ”extremely encouraging,” his group is “concerned that a third of the French population voted for a dangerous political leader.” This, he said, is part of a “worrying political landscape in Europe and the increase in far-right rhetoric which has swept the continent.”

Macron’s positions on Israel, its conflict with the Palestinians and the Middle East in general correspond with those of the government of France’s outgoing president, Francois Hollande, Macron told a predominantly Jewish crowd in March during a town hall meeting organized in Paris by CRIF.

Hollande is one of France’s least-popular presidents. Citing dismal approval ratings, he had withdrawn from the presidential race to better the chances of his party to remain in power.

The economic policies of Macron, a former banker who at 39 will be the youngest president in the history of the Fifth Republic of France, differ significantly from those of the Socialist Party. A believer in free-market economy, he is calling for an economic reform opposed by labor unions and advocates of France’s relatively generous welfare amenities.

This has alienated many left-wing voters in what could explain a historically low turnout in Sunday’s vote.

According to Le Monde, a quarter of registered voters did not show up to vote, making the turnout of 75 percent the lowest recorded in any final round of the presidential elections since 1969.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not address National Front’s gains in the vote in a standard statement congratulating Macron. He said that one of the greatest threats facing Israel and France “is radical Islamic terror which has struck Paris, Jerusalem and so many other cities around the world,” adding he was sure the two countries “will continue to deepen our relations.”

President Donald Trump congratulated the “people of France on their successful presidential election.” Trump, who said last month Le Pen was “the strongest candidate on borders,” added: “We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”

Macron wins French election, but Marine Le Pen wins a contest for legitimacy

Emmanuel Macron

(JTA) — Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old  former investment banker and political centrist, handily handily defeated the far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election on Sunday. Projections showed Macron winning the vote by a margin of 65 percent to Le Pen’s 34 percent.

However, although her bid to lead the country failed, Le Pen’s divisive campaign against Macron did achieve at least five goals that her supporters have sought for years.

Going mainstream

Under Le Pen, her National Front went from being a fringe movement with no real shot at achieving power to a veritable contender. Her  presidential bid was supported by 34.5 percent of French voters, according to exit polls from Sunday’s election. It is by far the party’s best electoral performance since its establishment in the 1970s.

While this support may diminish over the next five years, National Front is now indubitably a major political power and a legitimate choice in the eyes of a third of the electorate.

Le Pen referenced this during an interview on Friday, saying: “We moved everything, we have changed everything already.”

This transition was difficult to pull off and it came with a personal price for Le Pen, who has had a public falling out with her father and mentor, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Convicted multiple times for Holocaust denial and incitement of racial hatred against Jews, Jean-Marie Le Pen is a hero to the hardcore of the French ultra-right for his apparent disregard for both France’s laws against hate speech, and that rhetoric’s political cost.

Since taking over the leadership of the party in 2011, Marine Le Pen has worked to rehabilitate its public image by distancing the party from the racist rhetoric favored by her father, the party’s founder.

He lost control of the party to a new generation of National Front politicians, led by his daughter, who viewed his provocations as an impediment to making the party a real contender. Which is why Marine Le Pen in 2015 kicked her father, as well as dozens of other politicians who made anti-Semitic remarks, out of the party.

Still, Marine Le Pen has remained the far-right’s go-to candidate thanks to her insistence on a ban on Jewish and Muslim religious symbols and ritual slaughter, and bans on  immigration by Muslims, among other discriminatory policies.

Jean-Marie Le Pen had to go because he “personifies the ultra-right that does not seek to reach power” in a form of “self-destruction,” Florian Philippot, a National Front vice president and ally of Marine Le Pen, said in 2015 in an interview.

Philippot may have been overstating things — in the 2002 presidential elections, the party attracted a respectable  18 percent of the vote. Still, Marine Le Pen has clearly taken National Front to a whole new level of acceptability — while retaining the spirit of its founding mission.

Isolating minorities  

Whereas the general population was divided 65-34 percent during the elections, the communal representatives of French Jews and Muslims mobilized almost without exception for Macron.

In both communities, even clergy abandoned their carefully cultivated non-partisanship in an unusual effort, the likes of which had not been seen in at least 15 years.

On Friday, French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia co-authored, with the president of the Protestant Federation of France and a Muslim faith leader, a statement endorsing Macron. Tellingly, the Catholic Church of France, which by far the largest Christian denomination in the country, sat out the declaration.

“Fully aware that our roles require us to be non-partisan,” the three clergymen wrote, “peace supersedes all other things and only a vote for Emmanuel Macron guarantees” it.

The unusual statement followed efforts by French Jews to prevent a victory for Marine Le Pen on “a scale that was last witnessed in 2002, ahead of the runoff led by her father,” according to Philippe Karsenty, a Jewish Macron supporter and deputy mayor of the Paris  suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Originally supportive of Francois Fillon, the Republicans candidate who lost in the first round last month and who stands significantly to the right of Macron, Karsenty joined the Macron camp not because he believes in the candidate’s policies, but “to block Le Pen from ruining France,” as Karsenty put it in an interview with JTA Saturday.

CRIF, the federation of Jewish communities of France, called on all Jews and non-Jews to vote for Macron, describing Le Pen as a “danger for democracy.” And the Union of Jewish Students of France held a string of rallies against Le Pen, including a concert “against Fascism” on Friday.

While these efforts served as a show of unity within French Jewry and with other faith groups, they also cast a partisan light on French Jews and Muslims, which leaders of both communities have worked hard to avoid. And that has the potential of highlighting a distinction, favored by many Le Pen supporters, between these minorities and the general population.

At the same time, this may also reinforce stereotypes held by many Frenchmen about Jews and Muslims – presenting Le Pen and her party as the archenemy of groups that conspiracy theorists in France like to describe as cabals working in unison.

Making international alliances

Critics of Le Pen — who has vowed to dismantle the European Union — warned that her victory would leave France internationally isolated.

In a world where international trade is more important than ever, her isolationist policies had the potential of making France “a pariah nation with no international allies,” according to a position paper published by the liberal think tank Terra Nova in March.

However, her campaign showed that National Front has allies from Washington to the Kremlin — and also among some of the leading politicians of countries that founded the very European Union that she is seeking to break down.

President Donald Trump, whom Le Pen endorsed openly during the U.S. presidential elections, returned the favor partially on April 21, when he offered what was widely interpreted as tacit support for Le Pen.

The far-right candidate, Trump said, is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.” Stopping short of giving her his explicit endorsement, Trump added: “Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election.”

In March, Russian president Vladimir Putin hosted Le Pen at the Kremlin and reportedly wished her good luck in the elections — though he, too, insisted Russia did not have any favorites in the runoff. Macron did not visit the Kremlin during the campaign.

Still, Putin, a rival and critic of the European Union, seemed to have an unsurprising soft spot for the woman who vowed to dismantle it.

Several computer experts claimed that Russian operatives were behind the hacking of huge amounts of internal correspondence by Macron’s campaign, which were published 36 hours before the vote and presumably intended to sow chaos and discredit the front-runner.

Le Pen also has powerful allies within the European Union, including Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician who in March led his Party for Freedom as it became, for the first time in its history, Holland’s second largest political movement. He publicly endorsed her.

So did Nigel Farage and his UKIP populist party in the United Kingdom, which lobbied forcefully and, ultimately, successfully, in favor of a “yea” vote in last year’s referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.

Reopening debate on the Holocaust

By uttering five words followed by the name of place that most young French have never heard of, Marine Le Pen has reopened a debate on France’s complicity during the Holocaust, potentially reversing the results of decades of soul-searching that led to a belated admission of guilt.

On April 9 she said:  “France is not responsible for Vel d’Hiv” — the name of a Paris stadium where French police officers in 1942 rounded up more than 13,000 Jews for the Nazi occupation forces, who had them sent to death camps. For decades after the war, France’s leaders equivocated about France’s responsibility for the deportations.

In 1995, former president Jacques Chirac delivered a landmark speech at Vel D’Hiv that for many had put the issue to rest.

“Yes, it is true that the criminal insanity of the occupying forces was supported by some French people and the French State,” Chirac said.

Coming amid stubborn resistance by the French railway company lawyers to demands that it assume responsibly for its central role in the deportations, Chirac’s speech was the first admission of collective guilt of its kind by a French head of state. He made it at what the Yad Vashem museum had for years called “a symbol of the responsibility of the regime and the French nation” for the Holocaust.

Marking a long and anguished journey by a nation that initially had perceived itself only as a victim of Nazism, Chirac’s speech opened the door to restitution agreements with the railway company. It also mainstreamed the consensus of historians, relegating apologists for French collaborators to the fringes.

The impact of Marine Le Pen’s revisionism is not yet clear. But again, more than a third of French voters supported a candidate who sought to whitewash the historical record.

And, according to some observers, it has politicized the Holocaust in a way that did not exist before the campaign.

Following Le Pen’s remark, Macron, on April 30, visited the Memorial for the Martyrs of the Deportation in Paris during the last stretch of his presidential campaign. The gesture, however well-intended, infuriated the French Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut and other critics. Finklekraut said he was “furious” at Macron for “making the extermination of Jews a campaign argument.”

Attracting Jewish support

While the Jewish establishment rejected Marine Le Pen and her party, this has not prevented Le Pen from making significant inroads into the Jewish community and in Israel.

According to a 2014 poll, 13.5 percent of Jewish voters said they would vote from her.

And while that figure is significantly lower than Le Pen’s approval rating in the general population, it is a major achievement for Marine Le Pen considering the nearly nonexistent support that her father got from Jews.

Numbering approximately 500,000, French Jews lack the electoral weight to determine a major political campaign nationally. But Jewish supporters are nonetheless necessary for Le Pen in her attempts to argue that her party has changed for the better.

Indeed, Marine Le Pen’s life partner, Louis Aliot, makes no secret of his Jewish origins. Aliot has recently visited Israel, where he met in January with a low-level representative of Israel’s Likud party.

Under Le Pen, the party has an active club of Jewish supporters, the Association for Patriots of Jewish Faith, led by Michel Thooris, a 36-year-old police officer who is also a member of the Central Board of the National Front.

She has secured Jewish support by saying that Jews are allies of other French people endangered by Islam — a potentially potent argument within a community traumatized by jihadist terrorism. In 2015 she promised to be “the shield” for Jews against Islamists but asked Jews to “make a sacrifice” in the fight, including giving up ritual slaughter and the right to wear religious symbols.

Even CRIF, the federation of Jewish communities of France, appeared to soften its opposition to Le Pen. In 2015, its then president, Roger Cukierman, said she  “cannot be faulted personally” for anti-Semitism. Although he later added that National Front will continue to be shunned by CRIF, his comments earned widespread criticism from prominent Jewish groups and individuals who consider Le Pen irredeemable.

A continent away, French Israelis flock to polls to block Le Pen’s rise

French Israelis headed to the polls Sunday, joining their countrymen in France choosing a new president in a watershed election seen as a referendum on the future of France, and possibly the European Union.

At polling stations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa and elsewhere, long lines formed, as French citizens cast their ballots for either far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen or centrist Emmanuel Macron.

“I came quite simply to defend the Republic. To block the extreme right,” said a voter named Daniel, who said he opposed Le Pen’s plans to stop allowing dual nationalities.

According to the embassy, ​​8,434 French citizens voted in the first round of the elections, and numbers were expected to be similar in this second round. Nearly 58,000 people in Israel are registered on the French electoral roll.

By 8:30 a.m. a few meters from the beach on one of the main streets of Tel Aviv, police and staff were taking extra precautions to ensure voter safety.

Children walk past election campaign posters for French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, in Osses, southwestern France, Friday May 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Despite no longer living in France, voters in the long lines showed they were still invested in what direction the country takes, with most opposing Le Pen, whose National Front party has a history of anti-Semitism and who has espoused plans to crack down on religious freedoms as a means of targeting Muslims.

“It is important for my whole family who are still in France, and even though I live here, France is still also my country,” said Rebecca, who has been in Israel for four years. “My hope is that [Macron] will be able to put France back on track, restart the country’s economy and boost employment. France must remain a democracy and a welcoming country as it has always been.”

Early arrivals at the polling station in Haifa, for the French presidential election on May 7, 2017. (Pierre-Simon Assouline)

Annette, who is 82-years-old and lived in Paris for 52 years, said she preferred Macron from the beginning and was worried about what she saw during the debate between the candidates.

“I saw the debate, and Le Pen’s words reminded me of 1939. ‘I’m for the people, I’m for the people,’ [Le Pen said]. We know what happens next. Everything she said was shocking because she was so aggressive,” she said.

Like Le Pen, Macron is also an outsider, but his centrist policies are seen as a counterweight to Le Pen, and he is widely expected to cruise to victory when first results are announced at 9 p.m. Israel time.

Many voters have expressed unhappiness with both candidates, who each got just over 20 percent in the first round of elections last month. Elisheva was one of those, and she said she would cast a protest vote with a blank slip. Exasperated at the long lines, she said she would return later to register her displeasure with the elections.

“Neither of the two candidates represents me,” she said. “I do not think either of them are looking after retired people, security, or terrorism. Macron didn’t speak about it at all! He is the friend of the Arabs and buddy of [former president François] Hollande… France, for me, is finished. I wanted to vote because my children still live in France, that’s all.”

A bit further back in line an ultra-Orthodox couple waited patiently. Esther, 35, from Bnei Brak, didn’t seem bothered by the length of the line. She told The Times of Israel that the important thing for her was the safety of the rest of her family who lives in France: “I came to vote for them,” she said. Marine Le Pen cannot lead the country, she said, “It cannot happen.”

Three generations come to vote in the French presidential elections in Haifa, May 7, 2017. (Pierre-Simon Assouline)

In Haifa, three generations of the same family from Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu showed up to vote, though grandson Naftali, seated in a stroller was too young to actually cast a ballot.

His grandfather Naftali said more family members would also show up soon to vote.

“Of course I still have a connection with France. It is my family’s country, my roots. I vote in all the elections, it is important,” he said.

For Naftali senior, the key thing is to prevent Le Pen becoming president.

“Marine Le Pen is the return of fascism,” said Naftali.

In the first round, Le Pen won only 3.72% of the votes cast in Israel (311 votes out of 8,434 voters), falling well behind Francois Fillon, who won over 60% in Israel but failed to reach the second round with a poor showing in France, and Macron, who won over 30% in Israel.

Many people mentioned Le Pen’s statement that France was not responsible for the round-up of more than 13,000 Jews at the Vel d’Hiv cycling track which was ordered by Nazi officers in 1942 as a reason to oppose her.

“One can not even imagine the extreme right coming to power in France,” said a voter named Leon. “My mother told me that in 1933 Hitler had come to power in the same way.”

Macron Decisively Defeats Le Pen in French Presidential Race

PARIS — Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker and political novice, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change, according to projections based on preliminary results.

Mr. Macron, 39, will become the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic, after leading an improbable campaign that swept aside France’s establishment political parties.

The election was watched around the world for magnifying many of the broader tensions rippling through other Western democracies, including the United States: populist anger at the political mainstream, economic insecurity among middle-class voters and rising resentment toward immigrants.

Mr. Macron’s victory offered significant relief to the European Union, which Ms. Le Pen threatened to leave. His platform to loosen labor rules, make France more competitive globally and deepen ties with the European Union was also likely to reassure a global financial market jittery at the prospect of a Le Pen victory.

Her loss provided further signs that the populist wave that swept Britain out of the European Union and Donald J. Trump into the White House may have crested in Europe, for now.

“It is a great honor and a great responsibility,” Mr. Macron said, using a video link to address thousands of flag-waving supporters who gathered on the plaza of the Louvre, where he held his victory celebration. “A new page is opening.”

Projections based on early returns gave Mr. Macron 65 to 66 percent of the vote, compared with Ms. Le Pen’s 34 to 35 percent.

The outcome was nonetheless a watershed for Ms. Le Pen’s party, the far-right National Front, giving it new legitimacy even as the results showed that the party remains anathema to much of the French electorate for its history of anti-Semitism, racism and Nazi nostalgia.

The election was groundbreaking for including two political outsiders, as well as for its rancor and an apparent attempt to sway the vote with the large-scale hacking of Macron campaign emails, similar to the attack directed at last year’s election in the United States.

But although Mr. Macron won by a wide margin, the share of votes that went to Ms. Le Pen and the high abstention rate — the worst turnout since 1969 — indicated the challenges he faces in building a base of support for his program.

Ms. Le Pen conceded the election not long after polls closed in France, saying voters had chosen “continuity,” denying Mr. Macron his outsider status and linking him to the departing Socialist government, in which he served as economy minister.

The vote was a record for the National Front and, she said, a mandate for it to become a new “patriotic and Republican alliance” that would be “the primary opposition force against the new president.”

She added that the new political divide would be between “patriots and globalists” and that her party would transform into a new political force reflecting all those who voted for her.

Early returns, according to Ms. Le Pen, showed she would receive 11 million votes, which would be twice the number her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, received when he ran a losing presidential campaign against Jacques Chirac in 2002.

The estimated 34 to 35 percent of the vote Ms. Le Pen received was the highest share the French have given to her party.

The election was also the first in which the National Front candidate, rather than being a pariah who was shut out of debates and kept off the front pages of major newspapers, as happened in 2002, was treated more like a normal candidate despite the party’s anti-Semitic and racist roots.

Still, Ms. Le Pen clearly failed to convince a decisive portion of voters that her party really had changed. Many of the votes Mr. Macron received on Sunday were no doubt cast not so much in support of him, but in rejection of Ms. Le Pen.

Mr. Macron formed his political movement, En Marche! (Onward!), a little more than a year ago. He was initially given a slim chance of winning in a country that has never elected a president from outside the traditional parties, the Socialists on the left and the Republicans on the right.

Mr. Macron’s campaign benefited from canny timing and no small dose of luck, with the collapse of the governing Socialist Party under President François Hollande, the incumbent, who was so unpopular that he took the extraordinary step of not seeking re-election.

Mr. Macron received another strong boost from an embezzlement scandal that damaged the candidacy of the center-right candidate François Fillon, who at the start of the campaign seemed certain to claim the presidency.

Mr. Macron has already started to try to build support in Parliament, where he has no party to support him.

His message — that his new movement is neither right nor left, but represents a third way, with elements of both — seemed to have appealed to numerous urban voters as well as to many young voters.

As the results appeared on a screen set up at the Louvre, Macron supporters shouted with joy. Some started singing the Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

“This is a historic moment,” said Jacques Pupponi, 60, who came with his children, Noé, 11; Dora, 12; and Eden, 13. “I’ve lived moments like this before, in 1981,” he said, referring to the election of the Socialist president François Mitterrand. “I’m very happy about the score — it’s very, very important,” Mr. Pupponi added, referring to Mr. Macron’s decisive victory.

For Mourad Djebali, 30, a Tunisian engineer who obtained French citizenship a few months ago, the result felt like a personal affirmation. “I’m moved,” Mr. Djebali said. “I recognize the France that has received me.

“It’s a great symbol of France,” he added. “It’s a sign of hope. Everyone doesn’t agree with each other, but that one thing we agree on is that we should not open the door to the extremes.”



by Jonathan Azaziah

Let me go ahead and say this right off the rip before going even a millimeter further: Emmanuel Macron is scum. And not just run-of-the-mill, everyday, basic scum that you find across the political spectrum of a colonialist shitbucket like France either. He’s super-scum. Globalist. Member of the notorious Bilderberg Group. Supporter of even more criminal interventionism in Syria. EU stooge. Kisser of Merkel’s feet. Advocate of neoliberalism to the tenth power. And the kicker – an open agent of the Rothschild Octopus who has actually been groomed for power by the parasitic, globe-holding, Jewish supremacist clan of capitalist carnage from his early days as a banker. Based on these truths, it can at least be rationalized why many in the Resistance Camp would cautiously embrace Macron’s opponent Marine Le Pen, who on the mere surface, is anti-NATO, anti-EU, anti-globalist, anti-Wahhabi, pro-Russia and has stated that Syrian President Dr. Bashar al-Assad “must stay” as a counterweight to ISIS. But Le Pen’s words, which, as campaign rhetoric, are tantamount to nothing more than hot air, should not be trusted. Because digging deeper, far beneath the aforementioned surface, one finds that the same Jewish-Zionist powers who are backing Macron are in fact backing Le Pen too. It’s the Hegelian dialectic, the same, tired, false right-left paradigm, repackaged to the “Goyim” with a globalist vs. anti-globalist flavor.

Perhaps what Marine Le Pen possesses even more than her bombast is her ambition. She’s had her sights on leading France for well over a decade and she knew that to even be in the running, she’d have to kneel before the real rulers of the French state: World Zionism. She was a devoted member of the Delegation For Relations With ‘Israel’ from ’04-’09, going to bat for the Zionist tumor at every opportunity. Still though, she needed to take it up a notch. Enter Louis Aliot, Le Pen’s partner and one of the National Front’s (FN) vice presidents. A Zionist Jew with ties to the usurping ‘Israeli’ entity and a facilitator of growing Jewish membership in the FN, Aliot is personally responsible for purging the organization of Anti-Zionist/Anti-Judaic activists and paving the way for a Jewish wing of the FN to go into full effect led by Michel Thooris, a hardcore Zionist Jew who wants to formally annex the occupied West Bank and who is close to genocidal warlord Avigdor Lieberman. Aliot also sued French Anti-Zionist thinker Alain Soral and is at the forefront of several Zionist-sponsored censorship initiatives vis-a-vis pro-Palestine activism. Le Pen’s relationship with Aliot and subsequent “house-cleaning” at the FN opened up the door for her to receive the backing of Gilles-William Goldnadel, president of the France-‘Israel’ Alliance and one of the most prominent movers and shakers of French Jewry.

Even Le Pen’s father, the notorious Jean-Marie, got swept up in the mix and to this day, there remains the overt appearance of a rift between them. But since Jean-Marie is now towing the new FN line, this can clearly be seen for the farce that it is. While his reputation as an “anti-Semite” and a “maverick” proceed him, the fact is, Jean-Marie was an occupation soldier in Indochina and an intelligence officer in Algeria, committing unspeakable crimes in both nations, and remains, ’till this very moment, a proponent of colonialism. Like father, like daughter, because Marine herself is an upholder of France’s hideous colonialist past and perhaps it this mentality that has led her into defending the ‘Israeli’ disease as it bombed babies in Gaza during Operation Mighty Cliff in ’14, slamming all attempts to boycott the artificial Zionist regime, going on record to show her support for the JDL, a Jewish terrorist organization that has murdered innocents on several continents, and routinely engaging in oratories that stray from anti-Wahhabism and wade deep into the waters of the Zionists’ anti-Islam doctrine, thus furthering the neocons’ “clash of civilizations” agenda. Under Le Pen’s leadership, Freemasons, including those of the ultra-influential Great National Lodge of France, are also flocking to the FN and bringing all their money and vast political clout with them. Valerie Le Dougouet, a prominent initiate of the Grand Orient de France, the largest French Masonic organization, is a vital backer of Le Pen’s. And who brought him into the fray? None other than Louis Aliot.

Reports were abound at the end of 2016 that Le Pen’s campaign would run out of cash to carry on. Yet, she’s not only still in the race after making it out of the first round but in a very good position to defeat Macron this coming Sunday. Now, rumors are swirling in Anti-Zionist circles that the money that kept her afloat came from gazillionaire Ukrainian Jewish-Zionist oligarch Vadim Rabinovich, founder of the European Jewish Parliament who Le Pen warmly met with in ’15, as well as the Zionist-normalizing UAE, who Le Pen heaped praised on for “fighting fundamentalism”. This would explain why Russia, despite Le Pen’s overtures, didn’t give the National Front candidate any funds, as the Federation did not want to be caught up with such shadiness. Murky indeed, as there’s another possible source of money and the link can be found with her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, a rising star in the National Front and frequenter of pro-‘Israel’ events staged by CRIF and LICRA, the two most powerful Jewish Lobby groups in France.

The reason that the Zionist Power Configuration in Paris is so warm towards Marion and thus, getting warmer towards Marine, is because Marion is the daughter of infamous “journalist” and Mossad spy Roger Auque. Hizbullah had detained Auque 30 years ago on suspicions that he was spying for the ‘Israeli’ enemy and the Resistance is now vindicated as it was finally revealed to be exactly the case in Auque’s posthumous autobiography. Auque performed services for the CIA and the DGSE too, but it was his activities with the Mossad, including the pursuit of Hizbullah Commander Hajj Imad Mughnieyh (R.A.), that made him so dangerous. Mossad is a family business of course and it stands to reason that Auque’s handlers set their sights on Marion as soon as she was of age and since a Marine Le Pen presidency will only boost Marion’s own ambitions, it’s more than likely that Mossad is pumping a steady flow of cheddar into the National Front to protect its asset(s). One only has to read Victor Ostrovsky’s two tremendously juicy exposés of Mossad as well as “Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad” by Gordon Thomas to know that wrapping politicians in Western states around their fingers is among the subversive things that Mossadniks do best.

In short, we have the “left” candidate who is wholly subservient to the Rothschilds and we have the “right” candidate who is wholly subservient to Mossad. Same Yahoudling demons. Let the rise of Donald Trump serve as the best lesson to how the game is being played now. World Zionism is trotting out candidates who claim to be “anti-establishment” and use large chunks of the lingo of “anti-establishment” crusaders, all to continue business as usual in the establishment for years to come, with magniloquent tirades against “Islamism” and/or “radical Islamic terrorism” and/or “jihadists” being spewed out with regularity while ‘Israel’ continues to be armed, financed and sheltered from Gentile criticisms. No matter who ascends to the French presidency on May 7th, France’s colonialist aggressions will go on; France’s ever-expanding prison-industrial-complex that targets Black-Brown-Muslim youth will go on; France’s weapons sales to the most despotic regimes, chief among them Saudi Arabia, will go on; France’s indentured servitude to ‘Israel’ will go on; and France’s current state as a nation under the rule of a hostile Jewish “elite” will go on.

Some say “anyone but Macron”. Others say “anyone but Le Pen”. Rightists cry out “Antifa!” Leftists cry out “fascism!” Analysts shout about “pragmatism”. But how things look and how things are… represent two starkly contrasting realities. A servant of ‘Israel’ pretending not to be one is a servant of ‘Israel’ nonetheless. And make no mistake, anyone mouthing off about “Islamists” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but simultaneously never making a peep about the Jewish gangster “state” is a tool of “Tel Aviv” and its global agenda. Until we speak this unfiltered truth about who and what really dictate Western elections and who and what REALLY drive the wars on the Arab-Islamic world, nothing will change for the better in the Global North or the Global South. Call a thing… A THING… And knock the six-pointed-star-encrusted controllers off of their “chosenite” perches. No Macron. No Le Pen. No more kowtowing to Organized Jewish Interests. No more of this anti-human, pro-Satan system. No more of this “left-right” sideshow. Burn it… Burn every last goddamn part of it to the goddamn ground.

Controversial Likud backbencher Hazan endorses Le Pen

An outspoken and scandal-ridden MK from the ruling Likud party on Wednesday endorsed far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen ahead of the second round runoff election in France.

The endorsement from Oren Hazan came despite an official Israeli stance of avoiding contact with Le Pen’s National Front party, which is accused of anti-Semitism.

“Madame Le Pen, I offer my support at the debate this evening, as well as in the second round [of the election on Sunday], for the construction of France’s future,” Oren Hazan wrote in French in a post on his Twitter account.

Hazan, who has made headlines in Israel since becoming an MK in 2015 for his behavior both in and out of the Knesset — most notably for taking hard drugs while running a casino in Bulgaria before becoming a lawmaker — has also been vocal in his support for US President Donald Trump.

French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen (C), flanked by former French presidential election candidate for the right-wing Debout la France (DLF) party Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (L), gestures at the end of her meeting at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte, on May 1, 2017. (AFP/Alain Jocard)

Following Hazan’s voicing of support for Le Pen, the French branch of Likud condemned his endorsement and asked French-speaking Israelis to sign up to the party in order to boot him from the Knesset list in the next party primaries.

“You’re fed up to be represented by people like Oren Hazan that are embarrassing us all?” the post in French said, while adding that “Likud, the Knesset and the people of Israel deserve better than that.”

Since Le Pen took over the leadership in 2011, she has worked to scrub away the anti-Semitic image inherited from the long reign of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a party co-founder convicted of racism and anti-Semitism.

She had her father expelled as a party member, though a court ruled he remain honorary president for life.

However, charges of anti-Semitism have continued to dog both her and the party, and in a speech last month President Reuven Rivlin harshly criticized Le Pen and accused her of Holocaust denial.

“Some two weeks ago a French presidential candidate denied France’s responsibility for the deportation of its Jewish citizens to the Nazi concentration and death camps,” Rivlin said at an event marking the close of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Earlier in April, Le Pen said that “if there are people responsible” for the deportation of French Jews, “it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France.”

Le Pen, who has advanced to the second round of the French presidential race, said on April 9 she did not “think France is responsible for the Vel d’Hiv,” the 1942 round-up of Jews at a Paris cycling track who were then sent to Nazi death camps.

After stepping down as party leader following the first round of elections last month, her temporary replacement Jean-François Jalkh resigned the post shortly after following an interview from 2000 surfaced in which he cast doubt on the Nazi gassing of Jews during the Holocaust.

Le Pen has also advocated a number of policies that have caused consternation among French Jews, such as bans on religious headgear and on French citizens holding dual nationality.

French presidential election candidates Marine Le Pen (L) and Emmanuel Macron pose prior to the start of a televised debate on May 3, 2017, as part of the second round election campaign. (AFP Photo/Pool/Eric Feferberg)

On Wednesday evening, Le Pen squared off with Emmanuel Macron in the final debate of the election contest ahead of Sunday’s runoff.

Opinion polls show Macron holding a hefty but narrowing lead of 59 percent to 41%, but previous debates during the rollercoaster campaign have quickly shifted public opinion.

Following Macron’s first round victory last month, Yesh Atid party leader offered his support for the centrist candidate and has billed him as a fellow champion of centrism amid rising populism through the West.

Battling anti-Semitic image, Le Pen quietly visits Holocaust memorial

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen placed a wreath on a Marseille monument to French victims of the Holocaust Sunday morning, weeks after she drew sharp criticism by claiming that France had no responsibility for the fate of its Jewish citizens deported to Nazi Germany.

The low-key wreath-laying took place without the media present at a memorial to 30 Jewish women and children who were rounded up by the Gestapo in 1943, to mark France’s Memorial Day for Victims of Deportation.

She was accompanied by a local politician. A picture of the wreath-laying was tweeted by a campaign worker.

Her rival, centrist Emmanuel Macron of the En Marche movement, is due to visit a Holocaust memorial near Paris later Sunday.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

À Marseille, @MLP_officiel et @Stephane_Ravier déposent une gerbe pour la journée nationale du souvenir des victimes de la déportation

Le Pen has worked to purge the hard-right National Front (FN) party of its anti-Semitic old guard, including her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, but has been bedeviled by statements casting doubts over the efforts, including her own claim that France wasn’t responsible for aiding Germany in deporting citizens to their deaths.

The populist candidate said April 10 that France was not responsible for the roundup of Jews during World War II. She said she “considers that France and the Republic were in London” during the war, with Gen. Charles de Gaulle who oversaw the Resistance.

Last week, allegations emerged that the man chosen to lead the party while she focuses on the presidential campaign, Jean-Francois Jalkh, had questioned the Holocaust and the use of gas chambers to kill millions of Jews.

Le Pen — who once called Nazi death camps the “height of barbary” — firmly denied that anyone in the party leadership would cast doubt on the extermination of six million Jews and others, some deported from France.

“Let things be very clear. I abhor these theories,” she said in an interview on BFM-TV.

“There is no one in the leadership of the National Front who defends this kind of thesis,” she said.

Jalkh firmly denies French media reports that he questioned whether Zyklon B poison gas was used in death camps. Lawyer David Dassa-Le Deist said he was filing a defamation suit against Le Monde newspaper, which identified his client as a negationist, someone who denies the Holocaust.

However another party stalwart, Steeve Briois, mayor of Le Pen’s northern bastion, Henin-Beaumont, was named to replace Jalkh as temporary party chief while Le Pen campaigns in the critical final stretch ahead of the May 7 vote.

Even without the cloud of anti-Semitism casting its shadow anew on the party, Le Pen, who took over the National Front in 2011, faces claims of racism for evoking fears that Muslims want to conquer France.

French emotions around France’s history of collaborating with the Nazis remain complex seven decades after the war’s end. The country has never undergone a national atonement. In 1995, President Jacques Chirac boldly declared that the collaborationist Vichy regime — which helped in the deportation of 75,000 French Jews — was the French state. However, many still view the actions of Vichy as a historical anomaly. Some still salute its leader, Philippe Petain, a hero of World War I.