“The Lobby-That-Doesn’t-Exist”: Politicians and Pundits on Jewish Influence in France

French President François Mitterrand spoke of “a powerful and harmful Jewish lobby”

French President François Mitterrand spoke of “a powerful and harmful Jewish lobby”

There are few things as difficult to talk about as Jewish elites and Jewish ethnocentrism (which, translated into left-wing parlance, could be termed “Jewish privilege” and “Jewish racism”). For the French case, Paul-Éric Blanrue (see my previous article on his work) usefully documents the numerous cases in which various prominent figures and journalists have spoken of Jewish ethnocentrism or “the Jewish lobby.”

Jewish influence is typically remarked upon by bragging activist Jews, by senior politicians near death, by uncritical commentators, or by critical commentators who, being swiftly punished, usually learn to keep quiet. The penalty for criticism – universal ostracism – is such that Blanrue speaks of “the-lobby-that-doesn’t-exist”: the lobby that everyone knows about and everyone knows must never be spoken about (lest they find themselves in the dock with Alain Soral and Dieudonné M’bala M’bala).

But prominent figures, even at the highest levels of the state, have spoken of Jewish power in France despite this threat. In 1995, President François Mitterrand, near the end of his life and on his last day in office, referred in private to “the powerful and harmful influence of the Jewish lobby in France.”[1] Mitterrand was specifically referring to the constant politico-media pressure that has made the Shoah “the official religion of the French Republic” (in the words of Jewish pundit Éric Zemmour[2]).

In 2007, former Prime Minister Raymond Barre, also close to death, told a radio station: “The Jewish lobby, not only concerning myself, is able to organize operations which are disgraceful. And I want to say it publicly!”[3] Left-wing and media Jews had called Barre an anti-Semite for a slip of the tongue following the 1980 Paris synagogue bombing. In the heat of the moment, he had said the attack had killed both “Jews” and “innocent Frenchmen,” seeming to insinuate the Jews were not innocent. Many Jews and leftists did not accept his swift apology on the matter, exploiting the incident for ideological and political gain. In the same 2007 interview, Barre gave a qualified defense of two other figures demonized by Jewish organizations: former wartime official Maurice Papon (“a scapegoat”) and Front National politician Bruno Gollnisch (“a good man”).

The early 2000s saw increasing discussion of “the Jewish lobby” by various public figures and journalists, particularly with the steady rise to the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, who was more overtly pandering to Jewish groups than was traditionally the case in French politics. The homosexual billionaire and co-owner of the liberal Le Monde newspaper Pierre Bergé, who cannot be suspected of anti-Semitism, wrote in a 2001 book:

[There is] a certain Jewish lobby, whose obvious existence, I do not know why, is denied [ . . .] — [despite the fact] it presents itself as such — and which is as legitimate or illegitimate as the Protestant lobby, the gay lobby, the farmers’ lobby, or the feminist lobby.[4]

The statement clearly reflected the fact that Bergé as a high-level oligarch had had dealings with organized Jewish networks, whose legitimacy he did not contest, and had evidently been told not to discuss it. Similarly, the prominent writer and former center-right MP Dominique Jamet had also spoken of “a Jewish lobby” in France. The journalist Élisabeth Schemla said the reaction to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ had revealed “the birth of a Jewish lobby, in the full and respectable sense of the term.”[5]

In another register, Algerian Minister for Veterans Cherif Abbés blamed Sarkozy’s election on “the Jewish lobby, which has the monopoly on industry in France,”[6] an overstatement. Conversely, Jewish groups have occasionally bragged about being a lobby, as, for example, when the Union of Jewish Professionals of France (UPJF) gave an award to Sarkozy in 2006 for his work at improving relations between Paris, Washington, and Jerusalem.[7] In short, an ethnic lobby was openly working to distort French foreign policy to better serve perceived Jewish-Zionist interests.

Some Jews have been concerned that the lobby has become too overt. Julien Dray, a Jewish Socialist politician and the founder of SOS Racisme (a Socialist-aligned NGO designed to rabble-rouse Blacks and Arabs, and censor Whites), said in 2008:

We need to get out of this lobby logic and behave in a republican manner. Because if we are going towards a battle between lobbies, the Jewish lobby will lose. [. . .] I think there is a temptation in the community, these past years, to transpose the American model. This is a mistake: The Jewish community must keep its republican traditions and reject communitarianism.[8]

Incidentally, Dray had previously served as spokesman to Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal and his brother lives in Israel. His comments were made specifically at a time when Sarkozy, as both candidate and later as president, had successfully wooed many Jewish organizations who had traditionally sided with the left. Indeed, Blanrue compares French presidential candidates’ appearing at the Radio J Dinner, an event organized by a Jewish radio station, to American presidential hopefuls’ tradition of groveling before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Dray’s criticism was a friendly, “internal” one and so was tolerated. The Egyptian-cosmopolitan “Islamologist” Tariq Ramadan[9] was in contrast strongly attacked for pointing out that ethnic bias motivated the pro-Israeli and anti-Palestinian position of many Jewish intellectuals:

Whether on domestic issues (the struggle against anti-Semitism) or on the international stage (the defense of Zionism), we are witnessing the emergence of a new attitude among certain intellectuals who are omnipresent on the media scene. It is legitimate to ask what principles and what interests they are defending above all. We clearly see that their political position responds to ethnic principles [principes communautaires], as Jews, or as nationalists, as defenders of Israel.[10]

Ramadan was roundly attacked — pointing out that some Jews “omnipresent on the media scene” are strongly influenced by their ethnic biases was considered “anti-Semitic” — and has since learned to stick to safer targets, such as indigenous Europeans. On the recent migrant invasion of Europe, he declared: “Europe needs immigrants. [. . .] White Switzerland [. . .] belongs to the past.”[11] Ramadan happily lives in Switzerland but, evidently, feels only contempt for the native population who has been gracious enough to host him.

The point is that all of these politicians and pundits have found that one could not seriously discuss the events of elite French national life without discussing the influence — at times subdued and in the background, at times frenetic and manifest — of Jewish legal, political, and cultural networks. What’s more, a number of Jewish media figures, such as Pierre-André Taguieff, Benard-Henri Lévy, Alain Finkielkraut, and Ruth Elkrieff, have on various occasions shut down any discussion of Jewish racism and influence.

How to speak about Jewish power?

Blanrue’s two books on Jewish influence are not entirely satisfactory in framing the issue, although this is perhaps understandable given the nature of French censorship legislation.[12] Sarkozy, the more moderate work, declines to use the term “Jewish lobby” and the euphemisms are sometimes frustrating. The more virile Jean-Marie is freer and more biting.[13] Blanrue argues Jewish influence is a legitimate question because:

Despite the silence of media professionals, the question of Jewish influence in France, whether concerning the presidential elections or any other event, remains relevant because of the size of the French Jewish community (the third in the world, making up about 600,000 people and placing it quantitatively just behind those of Israel and the United States), because of its media visibility, of the political, cultural, and economic weight which is ascribed to it, and also because of the stated objectives of some of its most prominent representatives.[14]

Blanrue however declines to use the term “Jewish lobby” because this would suggest ordinary Jews are guilty of the crimes of their elites and that, in any case, in France the use of this expression provokes too much emotion to allow for serene, rational discussion.[15]

Blanrue also declines to use the term “Zionist lobby,” preferring that of “Zionist networks”:

For my part, I prefer to speak of Zionist networks, or better still of pro-Israeli networks, a terminology which seems to me to better reflect reality in all its complexity [. . .]. The difference ? Networks are potential power lobbies, but not necessarily acting ones. Networks overlap, crisscross, sometimes join forces, compete, promote their interests, but there is no concerted strategy, no central command unit for the whole; networks can show differences. There is no hidden HQ, no “protocols” written by candle-lit men in hoods, during secret meetings in the underworld of the great capitals of the world. Let us leave these ideas of another time to professional conspiracy theorists, hungry for fantasy and secrets.

On the other hand, I will be led to mention and denounce the takeover that some these groups have achieved over the Jewish community, a sort of hostile takeover which contributes to spreading in an misinformed public opinion the idea that “the Jews” speak with one voice.[17]

And “Zionist” is not necessarily merely a euphemism. Blanrue cites Patrick Klugman – former head of the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF), a Socialist politician, and lawyer for SOS Racisme defending the hysterical FEMEN and persecuting nationalists – at length on the powerful bonds that Zionism creates between Jews worldwide:

Zionism is what today links the greater part of the Jewish people, the Israeli component and the diaspora component. It is a kind of relationship between periphery and center. The center of the Jewish people, as much in demographic and in cultural terms with the rebirth of Hebrew, is in Israel. There are also other peripheral centers: France is one, the United States is another. When I meet an Argentinian Jew, there is a two-thirds probability that we be linked by a feeling of common belonging to a history and a project. Neither of us may be Israeli, but there is a fundamental cultural and ideological link which is Israel. [. . .] Whatever one’s feeling on Israeli policy, there is a link not of citizenship but of ideology, which we call Zionism.[16]

Klugman then starkly presents Zionism as a kind of psychic and ideological unity binding the world’s Jews together, despite an infinitesimal minority of dissenters.

Let us summarize: Jews in France are massively over-represented in the political, cultural, legal, and oligarchic apparatus. This, in and of itself, means power in France is distorted by Jewish ethnic biases and perceived interests.[18] What’s more, these elites form specific networks that are often highly ethnically-conscious and work to promote particular ends, such as support for Israel, the sacralization of the Shoah, the persecution of the Front National, official censorship and informal ostracism of the politically incorrect, and so on.

Blacks and Muslims: Not as Protected as the “Vanguard of the Republic”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls tells French TV: “The Shoah must be sacred.”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls tells French TV: “The Shoah must be sacred.”

Blanrue also usefully documents the double standard whereby French public discourse accepts some criticism of Islam, immigration, and Gypsies, while being completely intolerant of any criticism of Jews and the Shoah-as-religion meme. This discrepancy in itself highlights Jewish cultural power.

Here it is probably useful to point out that Blanrue apparently converted to Islam in 2009.[19] Nonetheless, he is critical of immigration.[20] This is part of a wider trend among French writers, such as Alain Soral[21] and perhaps Michel Houellebecq,[22] who see Islam as a potential ally in restoring tradition and destroying Jewish-Zionist influence in France. Indeed, there is a tradition of dissident French writers converting to Islam, such as the traditionalist philosopher René Guénon and the revisionist historian Roger Garaudy.

In any event, Blanrue’s compilation of Islamophobic and “racist” statements shows the superior protection enjoyed by Jews in French public discourse. Blanrue provides the following list:

  • Former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing warning of an “immigration invasion” in 1991;
  • the right-wing writer Renaud Camus warning of immigration leading to “le Grand Remplacement” (“the Great Displacement”) and later being purged for noticing Jews occupied all positions in a public radio show dedicated to “French culture”;
  • Houellebecq’s stating in 2001 that “the dumbest religion, it has to be said, is Islam”;
  • President Sarkozy’s declaring in 2007 that “African Man has not sufficiently entered history”;
  • Zemmour’s saying on television in 2010 that “[f]oreign-origin Frenchmen are stopped by police more often because the majority of drug dealers are Black or Arab”;
  • actress Véronique Genest declaring “I’m a bit Islamophobic. I don’t mind saying it”;
  • then-Interior Minister Manuel Valls declaring in 2013 that “the Roma [immigrants] are to return to Romania or to stay there”;
  • Jewish pundit Alain Finkielkraut complaining in 2014 that the French national football team was “Black, Black, Black” (using the English term);
  • numerous Islamo-critical or outright blasphemous magazine covers over the years, such as those of Charlie Hebdo.[23]

There is nothing more legitimate than critical discussion of such cultural, religious, and ethnic issues, and especially of a group’s ethnocentrism or of demographic transformations of a country. Yet, there is never any similarly critical discussion of Jews, Judaism, or Jewish culture in France, despite the fact that Jewish elites and culture, both through French Jews and the political and cultural power of the United States, are patently more influential than Islamic elites and culture.

Blanrue notes:

[E]xcesses on Arabs are allowed, those on Jews are forbidden. Manuel Valls, among others, has stated this in a tone that would not suffer contradiction: “The Shoah, the extermination of the Jews, the genocide, must be sacralized, sacred.” “The Jews are at the vanguard of the Republic.” [. . .] What other community in France can boast of this elevated status?[24]

Valls, who is now serving as Prime Minister, then openly declared that Jews are a “moral elite” in the French Republic and that we must all worship their real and imagined persecutions. Meanwhile comics like Dieudonné are censored and obscene rags like Charlie Hebdo get millions in public subsidies to insult Christianity, Islam, and French nationalists.

The late President Mitterrand’s former foreign minister, Roland Dumas, declared not too long ago that that Valls was under “Jewish influence,” notably because of his Jewish wife.[25] Blood runs thicker than water, and certainly direct family ties can bias one’s judgment or lead to conflicts of interest.

But that is quite secondary. Valls is a politician, the kind of “democratic politician” who lives only to serve those with the money and influence to get him in office, and in this he knows he needs “the-lobby-which-doesn’t-exist” and “the vanguard of the Republic” on his side.


[1] Paul-Éric Blanrue, Sarkozy, Israël et les Juifs (Embourg, Belgium: Éditions Oser Dire, October 2009, third edition), 29. I discuss this as well as Mitterrand’s right-wing background and European identity in Guillaume Durocher, “François Mitterrand: European Statesman, anti-American, & Judeophobe,” North American New Right, August 18, 2015.

[2] Éric Zemmour, “The Rise of the Shoah as the Official Religion of the French Republic,” The Occidental Observer, May 12, 2015.

[3] Blanrue, Sarkozy, 29.

[4] Ibid, 32.

[5] Ibid, 31-32.

[6] Ibid, 27.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid, 30.

[9] Alain Soral has amusingly commented on the Ramadan case. In short, Ramadan is the grandson of the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, lives in Switzerland, teaches in British and Moroccan universities, and has launched an Islamic studies center financed by Qatar. Strangely, French media make a point of choosing Ramadan – who is not French – to represent the point of view of French Muslims. Soral has speculated that Ramadan’s objective role, as a rootless cosmopolitan promoted by the French media and financed by the Qatari and British governments, is to promote a pseudo-Islamic theology compatible with Imperial-American and Jewish-Zionist interests. He can be thought of as a Muslim ethnic activist working within the framework of and in collaboration with the wider American Empire. Alain Soral, Video of the Month, February 2012.

[10] Tariq Ramadan, “Critiques des (nouveaux) intellectuels communautaires,” Oumma, October 3, 2003. x

[11] Nadine Haltiner, “Tariq Ramadan: “L’Europe a besoin d’immigrés. Ils sont une aubaine économique,” Radio Télévision Suisse, September 6, 2015.

[12] For an overarching presentation of the issue, see Kevin B. MacDonald, “Understanding Jewish Influence I: Background Traits for Jewish Activism,” The Occidental Quarterly and Kevin B. MacDonald, The Culture of Critique, preface to the first paperback edition, https://web.csulb.edu/~kmacd/books-Preface.html

[13] Paul-Éric Blanrue, Jean-Marie, Marine et les Juifs (Embourg, Belgium: Éditions Oser Dire, 2014).

[14] Sarkozy, 26.

[15] Sarkozy, 33-34.

[16] Sarkozy, 36

[17] Sarkozy, 37

[18] Guillaume Durocher, “‘As Happy as God in France: The State of French Jewish Elites,” The Occidental Observer, May 3, 2014.

[19] Blanrue quotes the famous Venetian writer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova saying: “Mohammedanism is more reasonable than Christianity.” In an interview, he explains that he converted to Islam in rejection of Western Mammonic decadence: “L’historien Paul-Éric Blanrue s’est converti à l’islam en 2009: ‘Devenir musulman a été pour moi une prise de conscience,’” Égalité et Réconciliation, March 13, 2011.

[20] Blanrue recently mocked Pope Francis’ suggestion that every parish host a migrant family on his blog. Paul-Éric Blanrue, “Modeste proposition,” Le Clan de Vénitiens, September 6, 2015.

[21] Soral once spoke favorably of Blanrue for his courageous work on the revisionist historian Faurisson. The two have since fallen out. I will not burden this article with details of the dispiriting tendency for French dissidents to bicker with one another. Perhaps such disputes are inevitable given the highly-independent personality type required of those who go against the grain.

[22] See Guillaume Durocher, “Houellebecq, Islam & the Jews: A Review of Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission,” North American New Right, February 26, 2015.

[23] Jean-Marie, 11-13.

[24] Jean-Marie, 15.

[25] To not belabor the point, Valls himself has angrily told Jews questioning his commitment to Israel saying: “I am by my wife eternally attached to the Jewish community and to Israel. Come on!”