This is antisemitism, Ms Le Pen

When Marine Le Pen denies the French Jews the right to have double citizenship, French and Israeli; when she says that they must choose between being French-European or Israeli because there is a contradiction between the two choices, she is sending out quite an alarming message that seems to confirm the suspicion of anti-Semitism that one may reasonably attribute to her, to her party, to her own family.

In fact, discrimination of any kind, against a country, an ethnic group, a religion can be motivated: but in order to be accepted by a democratic group such as the one Le Pen says she belongs to, must stem from a factual, substantial, historical motivation. I, for instance, a pluralist who has always militated in the field of human rights, find it considerably difficult to accept deeply what Trump is doing when he is banning the entrance to people holding specific passports. Nevertheless, I am ready to reason about it with an open mind and even to accept it because Donald Trump (with whom one could be in disagreement without accusing him of the worst crimes, as the fashion dictates on the European media) explains plainly and factually why he finds it necessary to ban some Islamic countries from entering the United States.

Trump explains brings as a political reason the terrorist danger. He it describes it as mostly Islamic – and it’s difficult to deny this – and like one of the main threats that in the last few years have posed the West in substantial danger.

Conversely, the exclusion of Israel from the sphere of nations with which dual nationality is accepted has a purely ideological, non-substantial, metahistorical character and cannot be explained otherwise than as a despicable captatio benevolentiae of the French traditional anti-Semite belly. A good pawn in the next elections, indeed, there is no reason in the world for banning French-Israeli dual citizenship. An Israeli citizen poses no problem to French safety or identity. An Israeli’s religion, Judaism, his ideology and history are clear signs of friendliness, almost of belonging (this is a much talked-about issue, championed by the famous radical politician and intellectual Marco Pannella) to Europe itself. Even more senseless is the ban on wearing the kippah, a practice that, as everyone knows, is for the Jewish people a basic identity commitment that cannot be renounced.

Thus one must reach the conclusion that Ms Le Pen is acting directly against Israel as the Jewish state. She is not telling the truth, then, when she says that the anti-Semitism in her party is a paternal legacy she has nothing to do with. Or is it her absolutely unprecedented passion for Europe that inspires her sudden decision? That would be very strange, because she really shows her dislike for Europe in so many other circumstances.

In short, there is an authentic revelation in her statement, and this provides food for thought: there is the risk that the anti-Islamism of European new far-right parties have being contaminated by their ideological tutees even if they claim it’s not true, and this certainly doesn’t go well with Jews. This is anti-Semitism, and we will fight it.

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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