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Standing in Solidarity with French Jewry: France's 2012 Election

Election Day In France: Implications for French Jewry

 Election Day In France:  Implications for French Jewry

May 3, 2012

On Sunday, the French people will choose their next President. The preliminary vote two weeks ago revealed a dramatic shift to the far-right. 

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• Almost a third of the 11 million French voters cast ballots for parties with a history and leadership that include anti-Semites, anti-Zionists or both.

• The extreme far-right National Front Party, led by Marine Le Pen, daughter of National Front founder, Holocaust revisionist and anti-Semite Jean-Marie Le Pen, (pictured together, top right) had its best national showing ever.  

• For the Jewish community there is deep concern that a victory of the leading candidate, Socialist Francois Hollande (pictured bottom, right) over President Sarkozy, (pictured middle right, receiving the Center's Tolerance Award) will swing France closer to Arab countries at the expense of French-Israel relations.

• In addition, there is deep concern over the Socialist Party's attitude vis-a-vis anti-Semitism. In the past, while Socialists have been consistently vocal in their criticisms of Israel, there has been a virtual silence after many anti-Semitic attacks targeting French Jews.

With the images of the massacre in Toulouse still fresh in their collective consciousness, and with the upcoming election, a recent poll shows many French Jews considering leaving France, many to Israel.

“If a third of 11 million votes for radicals in the first round were a wake-up call, the political mortgages with those elements set for the second round may be the catalyst for emigration,” writes Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC Paris-based International Relations Director, (pictured with Rabbi Cooper and Nicolas Sarkozy) who is monitoring the elections for the Wiesenthal Center.

These are troubling times. The outcome of the French elections could have serious repercussions for Jews living in France, Jews around the world, and for the State of Israel.

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Want to learn more? Read Dr. Shimon Samuels’ recent piece in The Times of Israel, The People of Saturday and the French Election