Towards ‘Kosher Nationalism”? (4): The Rise of Éric Zemmour and the Case of France

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The Jewish dilemma on immigration is perhaps most apparent in France. The French situation is unique in many respects:

  • The largest Jewish population outside of Israel and the United States (about 600,000 people or 1% of the population).
  • A staggering Jewish intellectual/cultural presence, perhaps more influential politically than in the U.S., because French power networks tend to be more centralized (whereas American power networks, being polycentric and based in several different autonomous industries and geographical locations, strike me as more difficult to completely capture).
  • The largest Muslim community in Western Europe (guestimated at perhaps 6 million or around 10% of the population).
  • Relative physical proximity to Israel (one can fly from Paris to Tel Aviv in four hours), dual French-Israeli citizenship, Jewish education for children and life being perfectly practical and practiced by an increasing number of French Jews.
  • An intermediate intermarriage rate over 30% generally and 40% for under 30s.

These factors together mean that French Jews are coming up against the problems posed to them by multiculturalism quicker than in other Western countries. Certainly, American Jews worry about Hispanic antisemitism, but this is a cakewalk compared to French Jews’ difficult task of getting Black and Arab Muslims to feel guilty about the Shoah. Indeed, Arabs and Muslims can only be “anti-Zionist” given Israel’s oppression of their kin of blood and faith in Palestine and French Jewish organizations’ ardent support for Israel.

Cue the rise since the early 2000s, really since the Second Intifada and the Iraq War, of the mostly-Jewish “new reactionaries,” oddly similar to the rise of the also mostly-Jewish “new philosophers” in the 1980s. Thus, people like Éric Zemmour, Alain Finkielkraut, Élisabeth Lévy and Gil Mihaely have been able to use the media to promote FN talking points about Islam and immigration.

The new reactionaries’ motives in turning from multiculturalism to anti-immigration are no secret. As Finkielkraut told an Israeli newspaper in 2007: “Jews in France only have a future if France remains a nation; there is no future possible for Jews in a multicultural society, because the power of anti-Jewish groups could become greater.” Similarly, ‘Finky’ recently told a radio station: “This great multicultural France that we wanted to see as an alternative to the old France, well, if it exists and when it exists, beyond communitarianism, it is cemented precisely by antisemitism.” Multiculturalism is now bad because it is bad for the Jews, the only genuine moral litmus test.

The French Jewish community has been increasingly divided on the question of immigration and multiculturalism since the early 2000s. This ambivalence has been explicitly expressed in articles by the official French Jewish lobby, the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF). The new reactionaries are the kosher-approved voices for this sentiment, as it becomes increasingly evident that a more Islamized France is not necessarily good for French Jewry and Zionism. Not coincidentally, the French National Front (FN) has increased in “respectability” as Marine Le Pen rides the wave and, calculatingly, does not engage in the kinds of politically incorrect jokes and principled positions of her father (e.g. on the right to freely study the holocaust, on the existence of race, on Jewish lobbies).

However, support for European nationalism is obviously a double-edged sword for the Jewish community. The new reactionaries want to suggest a conflict of interest between Muslims and European-Frenchmen, but not between European-Frenchmen and Jews. Thus the new nationalist discourse must be carefully calibrated and policed. If one’s last name is “Camus,” “Le Pen,” or “Soral” and makes the same points too vigorously, one is not only unlikely to be promoted by the media but is also liable to be sued by the various well-financed and skillfully-lawyered censorious Jewish organizations (CRIF, LICRA, UEJF…) for “hate speech.” In general, one can expect that even as criticism of Muslims and immigration is increasingly allowed, criticism of Jews will lead to the harshest reprimanding. Anti-Zionist activists Alain Soral and Dieudonné M’bala M’bala will continue to build up their notoriety and income by pointing out the double standard.

French Identitarian writer Anne Kling has argued that anti-immigration books have tended to be ignored unless they are kosher. She notes that the best-seller on crime and immigration, La France Orange mécanique, was promoted by “right-wing and ultra-right-wing Zionist” Jews and that the book’s author was represented in court by Gilles-William Goldnadel, a Franco-Israeli dual national close to the Likud party,  Franco-Jewish neoconservative networks thus find it in their interest to promote books and ideas hostile to Islamic immigration.

Zemmour, who is not a recent convert to French nationalism, has been both the most prominent mainstream pundit arguing for conservatism and patriotism, and has to some degree been increasingly marginalized while still maintaining a major audience. He was removed from a talk show on the France 2 public TV channel in 2011 to move on to the more marginal regional channel, Paris Première. He has occasionally been sued by (de facto Jewish) “anti-racist” groups (for example, for arguing that a majority of drug dealers are Black or Arab). In January 2014, the Nouvel Observateur, the leading center-left magazine, equated Zemmour with Soral and Dieudonné under the title “Hatred.” Most recently, he was fired from a talk show on i-Télé (a secondary digital TV channel) for giving an interview to an Italian newspaper which was interpreted as advocating the deportation of French Muslims. In fact, he pointed out that Muslims could be evicted during an ethnic civil war, such conflict being exceedingly common in human history. Zemmour sees such a war in France as likely in the long-term.

Zemmour is walking a fine line and is by no means “burned out” with the establishment. He continues to be employed by RTL radio and the conservative newspaper Le Figaro. In addition, the controversy re-boosted his book Le suicide français back to the #1 spot of the Amazon best-seller list. Many mainstream figures, including those opposed to him politically, such as the leftists Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, protested i>Télé’s decision to fire him as censorship.

The controversy reflects a division within the French Jewish community and political-media class on the question of French nationalism. I suspect Zemmour will recover from his current setback and that he and people like him will continue to progress. The recent attack on Charlie Hebdo – liberal-leftist cartoonists being slaughtered by Islamist radicals – fits perfectly with the new reactionaries’ narrative and may well accelerate the ascendance of political nationalism. One possible outcome would be for the center-right conservative party to become a genuinely anti-immigration party or possibly have FN participation in a coalition government (and possibly an outright FN presidential victory, although I wouldn’t bank on that before 2022 at the earliest).

This is only possible if the French Jewish community, on some level, accepts it. This may reflect in fact the optimum outcome for them: To not completely Islamize/Africanize France, but to have a multiracial country in which European-French remain the majority, with Jews as a privileged group, particularly over-represented in the oligarchy and media, and with politicians particularly sensitive to its concerns. This, it seems to me, would be optimal for French Jews, but, as we’ve already seen, Jews often pursue their ideological fervor even to the point of self-destructiveness, so the rational outcome is not necessarily the most likely. It is not clear that they would be temperamentally capable of maintaining a stable equilibrium, even one which was in their favor.

Conclusion: Whither multiculturalism?

In the United States, I suspect Jews will continue to feel far less threatened by non-European immigration — Muslims forming a small part of overall immigration — and on the contrary will be deeply comfortable with the arrival of largely apolitical Asians and Hispanics (the latter being particularly manipulable for the promotion of left-wing Jewish causes such as “civil rights” racial agitation, redistribution and the Democratic Party). America, in many ways, with critical over-representation in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, prestigious English-language media, and the financing of Washington DC politicians, is a genuinely remarkable and really ideal springboard from which to attain influence worldwide (far better than what Jews could hope to achieve in a second-tier power like France or in little Israel).

However, the case of France shows one of example of how Jews may come to defend civic nationalism. We may see more Ron Unzes in the future, a man who clearly wants to “save America,” so to speak, for the destruction of the United States through multiculturalism would for Jews be akin to foolishly killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Similarly, Jewish support for genetic realism and human biodiversity may also increase over time, if only as an imperfect justification for Jews’ staggering over-representation in various fields. As the Jewish Harvard professor Steven Pinker has argued:

There’s a downside to denying the possibility of individual differences. Many of the most horrific cases of racial and ethnic persecution in the Twentieth Century in fact did not come from targeting groups that were thought to be racially inferior. The problem is that if you believe that all people are indistinguishable there’s a temptation to treat the more successful people not as more talented but rather as more ruthless or avaricious. And many of the atrocities of the Twentieth Century came from persecuting ethnic groups which provided the circumstances which allowed their more talented members to prosper. Examples include the Indians in East Africa and the South Pacific, the Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia, the Igbos in Nigeria, and the Jews almost everywhere.

Of course, whether Zemmour and the “new reactionaries succeed in France, or whether Jews react fast enough in the United States to save it, or whether they will pursue the ideology of multicultural individualism until our mutual and collective suicide, remains unclear.

All this puts European ethno-nationalists in a strange position. On the one hand, anything that encourages the slowdown or reversal of non-European immigration is to be welcomed. On the other, European peoples’ well-being should not be dependent upon the different interests and neurotic whims of an alien ethnic group. We should be fully culturally sovereign, so as to resume our unique tradition of free debate and scientific inquiry wherever it may lead us, free to embrace whatever destiny we choose.

Soral has warned darkly against making a ‘deal with the devil’ of international Zionism: Collaborating with the Jews to throw the Muslims under the bus is a sinful act which will be punished by some divine, poetic justice. More generally, taking on a prophetic tone, he claims that supporting ‘kosher nationalism’ would in fact mean heightening the “clash of civilizations” within the West, leading to debilitating civil wars and leaving us as broken as Lebanon or Serbia. Such a cataclysm would, in a way he does not fully articulate, ultimately benefit Israel and the international coalition of Zionists and globalists (perhaps because it would destroy potential rivals, reinforce the U.S. National Security State and give the Israelis the pretext to create “Greater Israel” through ethnic cleansing?).

For my part, I would say that anything that helps to maintain the ethnic cohesion of European nations is to be welcomed as the most prudent course of action. The more cohesive our countries are, the less likely they are to fall to the terrible ethnic conflicts and civil wars that we see today in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and so many other countries. Westerners today, with our staggering technical achievements and especially the near-infinite possibilities of information technologies, feel basically secure, even if they are in their majority dimly troubled at the demographic changes underway.

This sense of security is a false one: It would only take one major crisis, so common in history — such as an exhaustion of energy, a climate disaster or perhaps the meddling of geopolitical rivals — to revert to a state of nature in which the ties of blood will be supreme again. But kosher nationalism is obviously a suboptimal outcome. In time, we must become culturally sovereign again.

End Part 4 of 4.


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