Wonderful article in Le Figaro (in French) today explaining the radio silence coming from the FN over the violence that happened this weekend in Paris during a pro-palestinian demonstration. I have been working on an article (that I plan to post tomorrow) detailing my view of this event, and more specifically how I believe that the government brought this violence upon itself.
In the meantime, I think this piece is a very lucid explanation of the internal limits of this foreign policy debate within the FN. Clearly, the party still harbors certain extreme ideas that pose a threat to the internal stability of the party. The obvious implications of matters concerning Israel are a powder keg for a party torn between its pragmatic new leadership and an ideological old guard.
Marine Le Pen, the party president, has defined her political career on the concept of “dédiabolisation” or decontamination of the party’s image. Yet as this event underlines, the FN still has to toe a delicate line to ensure both internal unity and external credibility.
Unsurprisingly, the Achilles’ heel of the party is anti-semitism. Just last month, a scandal erupted when Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party founder and President emeritus, made a disparaging off hand remark about gas chambers. The clear historic parallels that such a comment solicits undermines all attempts at decontaminating the party and its antiquated image.
Marine Le Pen’s job is hardly an easy one. Perhaps her decision to remain distant from the ongoing conflict in Palestine is a sign of her tacit recognition that certain issues, regardless of their political importance, are simply better left untouched.