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Shift to the Right Among French Jews as Macron Woos Anti-Israel Leftists

Changing Political Allegiances Amid Rising Antisemitism and Political Turmoil.

In a move many French Jews see as a betrayal, French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron is courting far-left anti-Israel parties after right-wing Marine Le Pen trounced his party in the first round of France’s snap elections. Two years ago, Macron enjoyed widespread endorsement from Jewish groups due to his centrist policies. However, the rise in antisemitism following the events of October 7th, Macron’s decision to call snap elections, and the success of Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Rally (RN) party have created a perfect storm that may push many French Jews to vote for the right-wing candidate for the first time.

Yohann Taieb, a French-Jewish journalist, expressed his frustration on X, stating that Macron “just endorsed a party controlled by pro-Hamas” forces and accused Jewish groups who had supported Macron of being “taken for a ride.” This shift in political dynamics began with the far right’s strong performance in European elections on June 9th, where they won 32% of the vote. This prompted Macron to call early elections in an attempt to unite left and centrist parties, a strategy that backfired.

Le Pen’s National Rally secured 34% of the vote, while the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) coalition garnered 27.99%, and Macron’s Ensemble alliance trailed in third place with 20.76%. Although the election filled all 577 seats in the French Parliament and did not unseat the Prime Minister, it acted as a referendum on Macron's leadership. Under pressure, Macron is now reaching out to far-left, anti-Israel parties, much to the dismay of French Jews.

Traditionally wary of the far-right due to its antisemitic reputation, some French Jews are now reconsidering their political alliances in light of growing anti-Israel sentiment on the left. “I never imagined voting for the National Rally [of Le Pen] to curb antisemitism,” admitted Alain Finkielkraut, a prominent liberal Jewish philosopher in France.

Serge Klarsfeld, a renowned Nazi hunter and Holocaust historian, echoed this sentiment. “I would have no hesitation, I would vote for the National Rally,” he said. Klarsfeld emphasized that his life “revolves around defending Jewish memory, persecuted Jews, Israel. Now I’m faced with a far-left that’s in the grip of LFI, which reeks of antisemitism and violent anti-Zionism, or the National Rally, which has evolved.”

This political shift underscores the complex and often painful decisions facing French Jews today. As Macron courts the far-left, the right-wing’s stance on antisemitism and Israel is being reconsidered, prompting a significant realignment of Jewish political support in France.

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