You know, that Jean Marie Le Pen, he wasn’t such a bad guy:
From the window of his Paris home, Michel Ciardi can see into the waiting room of a government welfare agency where a predominantly Arab and African crowd awaits government checks.
A former communist, Ciardi once believed the scene at the agency was a necessary element of French efforts to help integrate new immigrants. But that changed in 2000 after the second Palestinian intifada triggered a massive increase in anti-Semitic violence, much of it committed by Arab and African immigrants.
The violence was enough to shift his political allegiance to the National Front, a far-right party long demonized by French Jews as anti-Semitic and a threat to republican values.
“I never considered voting National Front,” Ciardi told JTA. “But I realized you need to defend yourself, your community, society and country against those seeking to subdue us.”
To be fair, it’s not Le Pen père we’re talking about, but Le Pen fille:
French Jewry has long viewed the National Front as an enemy, an abominable vestige of the pro-Nazi Vichy state. But under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, the photogenic daughter of party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, a political provocateur convicted multiple times for hate speech and Holocaust denial, the party has tried to shed its image as decidedly outside the mainstream.
The younger Le Pen has aggressively courted Jewish voters by emphasizing its opposition to “the Islamization of France” and asserting that Jews have far more to fear from Arab anti-Semitism than from the racist rhetoric of some far-right activists.
Her strategy appears to be working.
A recently published survey of 1,095 self-identified Jews showed that the National Front had more than doubled its share of the Jewish vote in the 2012 presidential elections, earning 13.5 percent of Jewish support — a finding that has set off alarm bells among leaders of France’s major Jewish groups.
I wouldn’t worry. This ain’t her daddy’s National Front. Besides, ask Enoch Powell how it feels to be right ahead of your time:
Here is a decent, ordinary fellow-Englishman, who in broad daylight in my own town says to me, his Member of Parliament, that the country will not be worth living in for his children. I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something else. What he is saying, thousands and hundreds of thousands are saying and thinking – not throughout Great Britain, perhaps, but in the areas that are already undergoing the total transformation to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history.
We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. So insane are we that we actually permit unmarried persons to immigrate for the purpose of founding a family with spouses and fiancées whom they have never seen.
As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”.
That speech, famously known as the “Rivers of Blood” speech, was delivered in 1968. Powell was reviled as a racist for decades thereafter. Until Woolwich.
As Reagan’s Labor Secretary, Ray Donovan, famously quipped after his acquittal on charges of fraud, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” Enoch Powell has since passed across the River Styx, “foaming with much blood”, his reputation very much intact. Jean Marie Le Pen will take a little more time.