Tuesday, April 26, 2016

France: Marine Le Pen has a plan to court Jewish voters

Politico reports:
Marine Le Pen has set her sights on a novel potential group of backers as she tries to build support for a presidential bid next year: France’s Jewish voters.

Her anti-EU National Front party has given arms-length blessing to the launch of a nonprofit group that aims to drum up support among France’s 500,000-strong Jewish minority and counter criticism from mainstream religious groups.

Le Pen locked horns last year with the head of France’s main Jewish umbrella group, the CRIF. Its president, Roger Cukierman, had warned that French Jews would leave the country en masse if the National Front ever came to power, the same response if Islamic religious laws were ever imposed on the population.

That’s the sort of criticism that the nonprofit group, whose name is to be announced within coming days, aims to counter, the group’s founder told POLITICO.

“In France’s Jewish community there are lots of people who disagree with the views of the CRIF and don’t want to follow them like sheep,” said Michel Thooris, a police union member who advised Le Pen on security matters during France’s 2012 presidential election and remains a party member. “We want to give them an alternative voice.”

The National Front, which has taken to targeting specific voter groups despite its public opposition to defining ethnic or religious minorities, won’t be funding the group directly. It will be officially launched and named within coming days and will “not exert pressure” on Le Pen, added Thooris, who Le Monde reported was linked to Israeli far-right groups.

However, two senior National Front officials said they supported the initiative. Vice President Louis Aliot told Europe 1 Le Lab this week that it was important to offer an alternative narrative about his party to French Jews. 
“The idea is to fight the dictatorship and constant defamation of the CRIF against the National Front,” Aliot said. “This collective will not make pronouncements on foreign policy or religious issues like the CRIF does. It’s there to fight against people who try to smear the Front.”

Note: Louis Alliot's maternal grand-father was Jewish.  Since 2009, Marine Le Pen has been in a relationship with Louis Aliot,

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