Jews and the Right

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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. Read more

Towards ‘Kosher Nationalism’? (2): On Jewish Intellectual Power Struggles

Part 1.

I do not think there is a conscious Jewish endgame[1] but I would like to suggest a pattern, whether caused by Jewish culture, social position (especially, being a minority) or psychological predisposition, in the behavior of many Jewish intellectuals and their power struggles. It goes something like this:

  • The young intellectual settles into an ideological system, which is, consciously or unconsciously, a rationalization of his ethnic interests in that particular time and place.
  • The intellectual will then powerfully and eloquently argue for this intellectual system, ruthlessly criticizing and ridiculing alternative systems (after all, all systems and societies have flaws). If he triumphs, he attains prestige and cultural power for both himself and, indirectly, his community.
  • The intellectual will enter into pitched battles with other Jewish intellectuals if they have sharply opposing systems, typically challenging the ideology of Jews from a previous generation or different social milieu. The most eloquent critics of a particular Jewish ideology are often rival or successor Jews. (For example, Alan Dershowitz on the previous generation’s Communism or the current ongoing struggles between liberal Jews like Paul Krugman and Glenn Greenwald and overtly ethnocentric Jews such as American neoconservatives and Israeli nationalists).

In this context, an ideology is a system of rules and values which is turned into a kind of “cultural programming” for any given society. The society’s trajectory will be powerfully influenced by the particular rules, values, norms, taboos and so on that it has internalized. Ideology determines what is normal behavior, who is moral, and who are pariahs.

As the historian Paul Johnson has noted:

For 1,500 years Jewish society had been designed to produce intellectuals… Jewish society was geared to support them… Rich merchants married sages’ daughters; …Quite suddenly, around the year 1800, this ancient and highly efficient social machine for the production of intellectuals began to shift its output. Instead of pouring all its products into the closed circuit of rabbinical studies, …it unleashed a significant and evergrowing proportion of them into secular life. This was an event of shattering importance in world history.[2]

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Towards ‘Kosher Nationalism’? (1): The Unstable Jewish-Gentile Dialectic


I have been somewhat puzzled by recent developments in the French media, namely, the emergence of the so-called “nouveaux réactionnaires (new reactionaries) advocating restriction of (overwhelmingly African/Muslim) immigration and a defense of French identity. “None of the neo-reactionnaires – not even Camus – claims allegiance to the FN [French National Front],” the BBC helpfully notes. “Many of them are Jewish.”

That would be an understatement. Four of the five listed in the article are Jewish: Éric Zemmour, Alain Finkielkraut, Élisabeth Lévy and Gil Mihaely (an Israeli dual national), all of whom strongly identifying as Jews. The only non-Jew mentioned is Renaud Camus, who has been blackballed for years for criticizing Muslim immigration (he coined the term Grand Remplacement or “Great Displacement”) and for once noting that a radio show on France Culture was entirely run by Jews. All of this is a bit of a théâtre juif (Jewish theater) as Alain Soral might say.

We have this strange phenomenon where Jews are on television promoting FN talking points on Islam and immigration. Simultaneously, the FN is still informally excluded from making political alliances with mainstream parties. There has also been backlash from parts of the Jewish community against the new reactionaries, and in particular against Zemmour, who has lost one of three media jobs. Read more