Opinion | How ric Zemmour Became the New Face of Frances Far Right – The New York Times

Posted By on December 4, 2021

He has also revised the history of the Dreyfus Affair. Mr. Zemmour says that the French General Staff, where Dreyfus was posted and from which he was supposed to have stolen documents, was justified in suspecting Dreyfus of espionage because he was a German. This is false. More outrageous, though, is his claim that both sides in the Dreyfus Affair had noble motives. Never mind that Dreyfus was exonerated. His accusers, Mr. Zemmour says, were driven by their concern for the nation. The nobility of those who condemned Dreyfus has long been a marginal opinion. No longer.

In expressing these positions, Mr. Zemmour, an Algerian Jew, is demonstrating a perverted version of Jewish assimilationism. The threat posed by French right-wing antisemitism is long dead. The attacks on French Jews in recent years have been the work of isolated individuals, mobs or terrorists. When the countrys Jews were truly in danger, it was because the government was behind the threats. This is not the case today. In Mr. Zemmour, the Jew, formerly the outsider, is now an insider, and the Jewish insider defends France even when it has harmed its Jews.

The Jewish community, like all of France, is deeply split over Mr. Zemmour. There are Jews on all sides of the campaign, from Mr. Zemmour and his closest assistant, Sarah Knafo, to Mr. Zemmours principal intellectual foe, Bernard-Henri Lvy. Given this split, among the many things the Zemmour campaign represents is the assimilation of French Jewry.

As Mr. Zemmour presents himself as the voice of France, as its savior, his Jewishness serves him and the far right well. By defending Vichy, by defending Ptain, by defending French colonialism and even its massacre of Arabs and certain Jews, as he recently did, he, as a Jew, absolves the French right of its worst stains and helps give it new life as it wages war against Muslims.

The Jew as the stalking horse for anti-immigrant racism, as the voice of its normalization in public discourse, is a new, frightening development. The results of this are unforeseeable, but they bode no good.

Mitchell Abidor is a translator, the author of several books about French history and a contributing writer at Jewish Currents. Miguel Lago is the executive director of the Institute for Health Policy Studies and teaches at Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris.

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Opinion | How ric Zemmour Became the New Face of Frances Far Right - The New York Times

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