Or the strategic shift from antisemitism to islamophobia combined with a party she sold out to foreign powers.
Marine Le Pen has made a name for herself in French politics by first inheriting a readily made political party from her father Jean Marie Lepen then for initiating an ambitious plan to “de-demonize” the party in order to win elections and become president.
In France, the term “dédiabolisation” has stuck with the Front National as it has been doing everything possible to become approachable by turning away from the antisemitic legacy of Marine’s father. But like any self proclaimed “patriotic, nation loving, sovereignty defending” party, the Front National did not push its ambitious de-demonisation plan as far as to disavowing racism once and for all.
“Let’s be clear about “de-demonisation”. This only concerns our presumption of antisemitism. Not immigration, not islam, about which being demonised is not a bad thing”
As Louis Alliot, Marine Le Pen’s partner and VP of the party said: “Let’s be clear about “de-demonisation”. This only concerns our presumption of antisemitism. Not immigration, not islam, about which being demonised is not a bad thing”…until Marine Le Pen declared that France was not responsible for the Vel D’hiv rounding up of jews that lead to 12500 of them being deported to the death camps.
This shift from antisemitism to islamophobia has indeed granted them more respectability. Marine Le Pen and her VP Florian Philippot have been the most invited politicians and given continuous platform, without much contradiction, to explain how the Front National is the “people’s party”, the only one that cares about French interest, the protection of French values in opposition to rampant “islamisation” and defiant “islamism in our neighbourhoods”.
the “undemonisation” of the Front National can be acquired through the demonisation of Muslims.
Marine Le Pen was even granted immunity for comparing comparing muslims to occupying nazis and calling for an awakening to resist with reference to the French Resistance during WWII with a clear reference to the armed resistance against the nazis. The message could not be more clear, the “undemonisation” of the Front National can be acquired through the demonisation of Muslims.
France First, in the name of the “Peuple”
In recent speeches, Marine declared being “worried” about a “free France”, condemned “France’s foreign policy which far too often is dictated by foreign powers” and showed solidarity with the French people whom “are being deprived of their right to be who they really are, because of an attack against their interests” and calls them to rise because “complacency is in our heads, in our little arrangements with national interests”.
So it comes as no surprise to see the party condemn foreign financing of the Grand Mosque of Strasbourg, as well the ones in Nice or Fréjus : “The Republic cannot accept foreign funding on national soil”. Giving a legislative support to this ideological position, MP Marion Maréchal Le Pen, Marine’s niece brought forward a resolution in order to target “muslim organisations bragging about representing Muslims are pressure levers at the hands of foreign powers.”
This criticism of foreign funding or working on behalf of foreign interests has also been used against Nicolas Sarkozy for being “tempted to head a Qatar based investment fund” and whom himself is being prosecuted for receiving Libyan money for his 2007 presidential campaign.
And to show how the party does not play with France’s interests, its Vice President Steve Briois accused France’s century old Human Rights League (LDH) of being “foreign funded”…because the organisation stood against the burkini ban and took the matter to the high court in France, the Council of the State.
Reality check: how patriotic is the Front National?
In 2014, the party had secured two Russian loans totalling €11M through a series of intermediaries and without making the information public. On May 24th, Marine Le Pen had even secretly visited Moscow in order to meet with Sergueï Narychkine, head of the Russian Parliament (Douma) as well as Alexeï Pouchkov, head of its foreign affairs committee.
In return, Marine Le Pen made public her support for Russia’s foreign policy. She supported the annexation of Crimea by Russia and declared that the referendum on its independence were “legitimate without contest”. Went on supporting Russian bombings in Syria and condemning EU sanctions against Russia.
The love affair between Marine Le Pen and Russian politicians and oligarchs was further highlighted in the documentary “L’oeil de Moscou” (The eye of Moscow) in which the investigative team revealed the extent of Russian influence on Marine Le Pen. So much so that even a pro-Russian National Front European Parliament member raised concerns about “Russians absorbing” Marine Le Pen.
Such fears won’t be appeased as she again visited Moscow. This time, she had the chance to meet with the man she “admires”, Russian President Vladimir Putin in person, just one month before the first round of the presidential election.
Marine Le Pen secretly met with a UAE envoy in her own mansion. The same UAE also financed her trip to Egypt in 2015
The same year, the National Front unsuccessfully sought Emirati money through the National Bank of Abu Dhabi but still managed to develop “working relationships” there which are still bearing their fruits.
According to Intelligence Online, Marine Le Pen secretly met with a UAE envoy in her own mansion in the western suburbs of Paris. The same UAE also financed her trip to Egypt in 2015 during which she met with then PM Ibrahim Malhab, the Mufti of Al Azhar and Khaled Fawzi whom is no other than the Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (EGID).
After returning to France, she declared her support on multiple occasions for Egypt’s dictator Abdel Abdel Fattah Al Sissi whom she finds “courageous” and even wishing him a warm welcome to France for his November 2014 visit. And, showing her limited knowledge, she continued her charming work towards the UAE by calling for “relations with countries fighting islamism: Russia, the UAE and Egypt among others” and that France must “end its relationship with Saudi Arabia”…the same Saudi Arabia that is heavily supporting the Egyptian dictator along with the UAE.
The National Front’s swaggering patriotism covers for party’s alignment with Russian, Emirati, and Egyptian interests so far. But the list will undoubtedly get much longer given the recent declarations of one party EMP: “We’ve sent RFP’s for borrowing to 45 countries worldwide.”
Once more, the National Front has proved that unity around the hate the of “other” instead of the love of the country, only makes a mockery of what patriotism usually mean. Patriotism ends where money starts flowing. While boasting about uncompromising defence of France’s interests, it only took a few million euros to buy the “new” Front National’s allegiance even before Marine Le Pen wins a mandate. How much worth will France be if Marine Le Pen ever makes it to power?