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HomeGeopolitical CompassEurope, Russia, OceaniaÉric Zemmour: An Anti-Semitic Candidate for a Better Islamophobia in French Presidential...

Éric Zemmour: An Anti-Semitic Candidate for a Better Islamophobia in French Presidential Elections?

Author: Belkıs Kılıçkaya

Organization/Publisher: Politics Today

Date/Place: January 31, 2022/ Istanbul, Turkey

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 1596



Keywords: Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Far-right Movements, France, and Politics 


The author examines the far-right’s latest rise in French politics, particularly when Éric Zemmour–known as Islamophobic, and Anti-Semitic—announced his candidacy for the 26th presidency of France. Over the last 20 years there has been a rise in far-right ideology that has infected both left-wing and right-wing parties, which is mainly Islamophobic and claims that visibility of Islam does not align with France’s construct of secularistic civilisation. Therefore, Muslim people should be keeping their own identity in their inner circle, but not publicly shown. French Minister of Higher Education Frédérique Vidal, once said over an interview on CNews Channel: “Islamo-leftism causes social collapse and I think universities as a part of the society are not free of its grip.” Similar statements have been made by various intellectuals, Élizabeth Badinter as one of them said in an interview: “Don’t be afraid of being accused of being Islamophobic; I’m not afraid, no one should be afraid”. Later on, Françoise Laborde, a former Radical Party of the Left senator who later joined Macron’s party, said: “Frankly, I like being called Islamophobic.” Éric Zemmour gained his popularity by being an author and a TV pundit for his xenophobic views. He formed a party called ‘Reconquête’ which refers to Reconquest (reclaiming Andalusia from the Muslims). Polls indicate he has only 14-17% of the vote. He is also inspired by Renaud Camus, former socialist militant, who had great influence on the Christchurch shooter, who in 2019 murdered 51 people in the New Zealand mosque and injured an additional 49 people. Camus’ focus is ‘the Great Replacement’, in which he states that “a number of pro-globalization elites are encouraging Muslim Arabs and Africans to go to Europe as workers and colonize it, so the white race is at great risk because at this rate they will become a minority in their own country.” He claims that Muslims ruin France and Islam is a religion of terror. Zemmour also states that he will ban immigration and will impose restrictions for those who have already become French citizens. The author states that Zemmour has only effectively vocalized something that was already whispered for some time now. Macron’s Anti-Separatism Bill which was later renamed as Principles Strengthening Respect for the Laws of the Republic, made sure that Islam will no longer be physically visible but rather would be allowed in the private inner world. The author states that one thing that makes Zemmour quite unique is that he comes from Jewish roots and practices his faith; though he doesn’t consider himself Orthodox and while many Jewish institutions and organisations condemn Zemmour for his views, suburb Jews see him as a savior: “last exit before exile.”  

Critical Commentary: When the author explains the changing political worldview of the last 20 years, the rise in Xenophobia and Islamophobia in the general sense seems to be briefly mentioned. Despite Zemmour’s current popularity that he has gained over France, a glimpse of Europe’s latest rise of far-right movements would make the reader better able to capture the essence of political change. However, there have also been demonstrations taking place in France against Zemmour and far-right expressions, which aren’t mentioned. Given the poll results of only 14-17% for his party, the other side of the argument is quite lacking from the article.    


By: Cemile Cengiz, CIGA Research Assistant   



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