Zemmour In the Crosshairs

Steve wrote here about the speech that French nationalist Eric Zemmour delivered to announce his candidacy for the French presidency. The post includes a translation of Zemmour’s speech, which has electrified Frenchmen. Some of them, anyway.

So of course Zemmour must be denounced by right (i.e., left) thinkers. Yesterday the New York Times warned its readers against Zemmour.

Mr. Zemmour, the far-right polemicist who this week announced his run for next year’s presidential election….

“Far right”is a term of art in European politics. It refers to anyone who has reservations about mass third world immigration.

His campaign-launching video was a nationalistic call for reborn French glory. From Joan of Arc to the singer Johnny Hallyday, from Napoleon Bonaparte to Brigitte Bardot, from Voltaire to Versailles, from Notre Dame to village church bells, it took viewers on a tour of Mr. Zemmour’s imaginary France.

Which of these figures is imaginary? Aren’t they all quite real, and don’t they have a lot to do with how Frenchmen think about their country?

The France that — in the telling of Mr. Zemmour, a Jewish journalist of North African descent whose family arrived in France 70 years ago — existed before immigrants, Muslim veils, vandalism and mealy-mouthed elites led the country to its most recent strange defeat.

The Times considers it paradoxical that a Jew of North African descent whose ancestors arrived in France only 70 years ago should be a French nationalist. These same journalists can’t understand why most Hispanic American citizens are hostile toward illegal immigration.

Already this man without a party has illustrated just how far France has lurched to the right.

As a friend notes, no one ever lurches to the left.

Mr. Zemmour explicitly models himself on Mr. Trump. He rose to notoriety through regular TV appearances, he laces his apocalyptic message with anti-immigrant slurs, he makes the unsayable sayable, he delights in a macho contempt for women, and his slogan might as well be “Make France Great Again.”

One could say that Zemmour is the Little Satan. Are the Times’s characterizations of Zemmour correct? Don’t look for links, or direct quotes, or, where there is a quote, more than a word, phrase or sentence fragment:

Mr. Zemmour has called child asylum seekers “thieves, killers and rapists.”

This is the closest I have seen to a full account of what Zemmour has said:

When referring to the ‘unaccompanied minors’ living in France, Zemmour argued that “Each foreign minor costs us €50,000… They are thieves, they are murderers, they are rapists, and that’s all they do.”
Earlier this month, Zemmour again made waves when he asserted that not only do unaccompanied migrant minors in France cost the state vast sums of money, but they’re also a major source of crime and delinquency, Remix News reported.

“Among the these minors, some 40,000 to 50,000 a year cost us [in France] billions [of euros], and feature an enormous delinquency. I never said they are all delinquents, all I said was that a great many of them are,” Zemmour said while speaking on the French news channel CNews.

And as we know from our own experience, unaccompanied “minors” are not necessarily children, as the Times calls them.

He has said “most drug dealers are Black and Arab.”

I assume that is a true statement. Does the Times have information to the contrary?

The Times cites what reads like a greatest hits compendium of Zemmour’s alleged outrages, which journalists can pull off the shelf when they want to attack him. No links, generally no quotes. I will stop with this:

He has equated Jewish children murdered in 2012 with their jihadi terrorist killer because their parents chose to bury them outside France, in Jerusalem.

If you suspect that Zemmour couldn’t possibly have done that, you are right. The Times made it up. This is what he actually said, as quoted in none other than the New York Times:

“Anthropologists teach us that we come from the country where we are buried,” Mr. Zemmour said. “They did not belong to France.” He added, “The French drama is we don’t make French people any longer.”

I don’t think Zemmour is going to win the presidential election, and it may well be true that, among his many writings, including a number of books, and his countless speeches and television appearances, he has occasionally said dumb or offensive things. But there is a reason why the Times, and other establishment news outlets, recite the same misleading anecdotes and denounce Zemmour as “an extreme right-wing ideologue.” (It is interesting to contemplate who in contemporary public life the Times would describe as an extreme left-wing ideologue.)

Liberals don’t want to acknowledge what Zemmour is saying, or why it appeals to many Frenchmen. The fact is that mass immigration from third-world countries, legal and illegal, is a hugely controversial topic. A great many people in France, as in other European countries, do not believe that such immigration has been beneficial to the French people, which is the relevant standard. They may well be right. It is interesting to ask, in fact, when has a liberal ever tried to demonstrate that massive third-world immigration has benefited France? And when did the French ever vote for an open borders regime, for mass immigration? They didn’t.

So the issue needs to be debated, and it is being debated, whether the New York Times and comparable left-wing journals in France like it or not. Calling Zemmour and everyone else who dissents from liberal orthodoxy on immigration right-wing extremists isn’t fooling anyone.

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