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The French Far Right's Unlikely Quest for Jewish Voters
On January 27, premiers, community leaders, and survivors gathered across Europe to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. That same evening, the continent's far-right leaders gathered in Vienna for an unrelated gala dinner and dance. Among them was Marine Le Pen of France's Front National, the country's prominent and often controversial nationalist party. Accused of having "danced on the graves of Auschwitz", her appearance was incongruous to the new image she is offering France's Jewish voters, having previously called the Holocaust the "epitome of human barbarism."
Much has been made of the dauphine's attempts to reform the party she inherited, moving it away from Jean-Marie and his legacy of Holocaust minimisation, with the apparent hope even of winning over a few Jewish voters. She is attempting to appeal to two of the French Jewish community's principal concerns -- insecurity and Israel -- by speaking of the need for Islam to become compatible with French secular principles, and adopting a pro-Israeli posture, arguing her party has "always been Zionistic and always defended Israel's right to exist."
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