France’s Jewish community—Europe’s largest—is confronting the rise of Eric Zemmour, a columnist, TV personality, bestselling author, and undeclared candidate in the April 2022 French Presidential elections. Paris-born son of Algerian-Jewish-Berber background whose parents came to mainland France in 1952, he trades in controversial assertions that have caught a wave of enthusiastic support: The “Grand Replacement,” the replacement of French culture and civilization by an immigrant Muslim population; that Maréchal Pétain saved French Jews by sacrificing foreign Jews; that Captain Dreyfus was more German than French, and others. Zemmour’s insensitive comments about the burial in Israel of several French-Jewish victims of antisemitic murders was a low point in a flow of ambiguous statements condemned by the President of the French Jewish CRIF and the Chief Rabbi of France.
Zemmour has been polling ahead of Marine Le Pen of the far-right Rassemblement National, reaching a peak of 18-19% versus 15 to 16% —capturing some of her base with his French nationalist and anti-Muslim immigration memes. Current polls indicate he might make the Second Round in contention with incumbent French President Macron, who is shown winning re-election against all currently known candidates.
On the commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the November 13th, 2015, Islamic terror attack, Zemmour showed up at the Bataclan theater where 90 people—of the more than 130—were savagely massacred that day and accused former President Hollande of “criminal negligence” for letting the attackers slip in with the wave of Syrian refugees. Survivors and families of victims were outraged at the political exploitation of their distress.
These developments come amid the judgment in the case of the savage anti-Semitic murder, in 2018, of 85-year Mirelle Knoll, who narrowly escaped deportation in July 1942. Yacine Mihoub was sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole before 22 years. His accomplice, Alex Carrimbacus, received a 15-year sentence for aggravated theft. Mihoub’s mother, Zouliikha Khellaf was sentenced to three years in prison, with two years suspended, for cleaning and hiding the bloodied knife used by her son to slit Mirelle Knol’s throat, slashing her 11 times before setting her body on fire. The victim’s sons, Alain, and Daniel, were “greatly relieved” by the judgment. Their lawyer, Gilles-William Goldnadel, tweeted; “Justice has been done and well done.”
Still outstanding is the case of the brutal antisemitic murder, in April 2017, of Sarah Halimi, at the hands of her drug-addled Muslim neighbor, Kobili Traoré. The highest court (Cassation) rejected all appeals and sustained the judgment of the lower court that Traoré was unfit to stand trial. An ongoing and very thorough parliamentary investigation is bringing to light the judicial errors in this case.
Twelve Jews have been victims of antisemitic murders in France since 2003. All the killers are Muslim.
Against this background, we held another in a series of discussions with our New English Review colleague, Nidra Poller, an ex-pat American and decades-long resident of Paris. She is a well published author of articles and commentary in publications like The Wall Street Journal, National Review and Makor Rishon in Israel. Among her many books of note on these topics, available on Amazon are Al Dura: Long Range Ballistic Myth, The Black Flag of Jihad stalks la Republique. Poller provides weekly coverage in French, for ELNET, of English-language News and opinion.
Jerry Gordon: We are here to hold an interesting dialogue about the controversial intellectual, columnist, TV raconteur, who turns out to be the son of Algerian-Jewish Berber parents who transferred to France in the 1950s—Eric Zemmour. One of the purposes of this interview, is to get down to the nub of the controversy surrounding him, dismiss things that are misinformation, and zero in on those things that are factual. We know that he has risen in the polls. That he does not have a party yet. He has had a round of public meetings to enthusiastic crowds. Until recently he was a popular commentator on CNews a former platform for his views. He is an accomplished debater in forums where he can destroy public figures, including current leaders of contending French parties. With that background, Nidra, why don’t we delve into your views about Mr. Zemmour?
Nidra Poller: We will. However, I would like to correct misimpressions from our last interview. Remember, I wanted to say that France was on the “front lines,” not the “forefront,” in the fight against Islamization. I do not want to give a false impression that somehow France knows better than others how to deal with the problem. Sometimes, going into different areas of the city, I ask myself if I am giving the wrong impression. There are plenty of problems here, that is a concrete reality. There are problems of unassimilated immigration, illegal immigration, terrible violence. The drug traffic has just gone crazy. Every day you read about people killed over that.
I want to be sure I am not giving a wrong impression, that everything is quiet and orderly. And I also want to say that I love debate. Debate is to clarify things, to bring light to subjects. The kind of controversy that seems to be in favor these days does the opposite: it is shouting matches. And just covers the other person with mud. It covers the reality and distorts everything. Then there is false debate, where a person twists the terms to force a forgone conclusion. He does not listen to what you say and then say what he thinks; he twists his words to win something that he planned from the beginning.
That is my first reserve about Eric Zemmour. He is a false debater; he has something in the background that is pushing him to arrive at a certain conclusion. So, he twists the terms as he goes along. Therefore, I did not find much interest in following his program on CNews. There was always something provocative, sticking a knife in, or coming out with something outrageous. That is his way: to come out with something outrageous. Now we are assailed by false comparisons. In preparation for our interview, I read articles in French and English, but especially in English. They suggest that Eric Zemmour is the Trump of France, he is like Tucker Carlson, and CNews is Fox news. There is absolutely no comparison.
We are battered with this, flooded with it. If you notice, these comparisons are repeated, but they do not go into the details. Because if they went into the details, they would not be able to defend the comparison. What is the purpose of it? Sometimes in journalism, the purpose is simply to say what others say. One says it, and then the other say it, and then they all repeat it. So, I would like it to be clear. There is no comparison with Trump, no comparison with Tucker Carlson, no comparison with Fox News. Even if you do not understand French, you could watch CNews for one day, and you would see it is not Fox News.
Another thing you often read is that Eric Zemmour is the first one to speak out on these burning issues. But Jerry, you know, because we have been working together for 20 years, we have been speaking out on these questions for 20 years; other people have been speaking out for 30 years, 40 years, and dozens of people have been writing about these questions. I am not the least of them. See for example my 2012 book The Black Flag of Jihad: Stalks La Republique. So, the question is, what is the difference between us?
What is the difference between Eric Zemmour and a brilliant historian like Georges Bensoussan, who has been speaking out and has suffered far worse censorship than Zemmour? Why does Eric Zemmour’s discourse translate into what looks like political power, when serious writers that have been working on these questions for years have small audiences? I think one of the elements is those little knife stabs. Every time he speaks. he sticks in something outrageous, and then everybody talks about it. It gives him momentum.
Here is another interesting aspect: those of us who spoke out decades ago … who said that antisemitism was the beginning of Islamization, of the Jihad that would strike France … Zemmour, at that time, did not want to speak out as a Jew, because his identity is French. More French than the “French.” It is something like the complex of immigrants who want to be so proud of the country they belong to. But of course, the Jews in Algeria were French, since the Décret Crémieux.
Then there are the other clichés; He’s a “pundit.” It is true that he has had a strong media presence. But he is a writer who authors heavy thick books. I have not read them, I readily admit. But I have read enough about them to sense that he is a sort of historian, but not a solid historian. There is the problem of his intellectual dishonesty. But he is an intellectual. When I first heard the comparison with Trump, I said, “what are they talking about? Eric Zemmour is the author of big thick heavy books.” He is known as a writer. Readers come for autographs. He is not just a TV star. He has strictly nothing to do with Trump.
Zemmour is a nationalist. He is not a far-right extremist, He’s not an anti-Semite, a xenophobe, a racist, a misogynist. He is a sovereignist, and he writes on subjects that concern us. He is not against gay people; he is against the LGBT lobby. He is against “woke.” The French are trying bravely to stop woke from waking us up here … or putting us to sleep. You do not need clichés from right, left, or center for that. Let us take a closer look at Zemmour’s intellectual dishonesty, which is my real concern. Controversial statements like the role of Pétain in so-called, saving French Jews … or the innocence of Captain Dreyfus. What is he looking for when he questions the innocence of Captain Dreyfus?
People who know quite a bit about Zemmour’s intellectual development think that he is really making an appeal to the Ultra-Right with such notions. One writer noted that Zemmour often visited Jean-Marie Le Pen. What is more important is that he is getting support from Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. And here we have this sordid Le Pen family, with the father disowning his daughter, Marine, who is. a little worn around the edges. After dropping the arguments that drew people to the Front National, she has been floating around looking for the Center. Her niece Marion Maréchal is younger, blonder, and close to the grandfather, close to his ideas. There is rivalry between Marine Le Pen and her niece, Marion Maréchal. Zemmour went recently with Marion to see Orban Hungary.
This touches on another aspect of Zemmour’s nationalism—and we saw this happening in Israel too—illusions about Central Europe. Because Poland and Hungary have a strong policy against Islamization and insist on a certain degree of sovereignty within the European Union, the nationalists have confidence in them. The next thing you know, Poland is making it illegal to mention their participation in the extermination of the Jews and is balking at the restitution of Jewish property. I do not think Orban is so trustworthy. What is going on in our democracies? If somebody agrees with you on three points, you are ready to kiss his feet? And what is happening to our conservative movements? Zemmour comes along, his serious character defects are obvious from the beginning, and now you are not allowed to criticize him? I have read very rude things in French by someone who also writes in English … very rude things against French Jews who dare to not be enchanted by Eric Zemmour.
This is a fundamental problem in our democracies. Personally, if someone on the far left or left of center that I do not have any enthusiasm for, has these kinds of character defects, it does not hurt me so much. It‘s like, when you are Jewish, and there’s a Jewish criminal: it feels worse than a non-Jewish criminal, because you feel collective responsibility. If I cannot find a political leader that I admire and respect, I just accept the election results. I believe in democracy. No matter what I think or write, people vote, and they usually do not agree with me. I must accept that. I do not see the need to get enchanted with someone like Eric Zemmour. Why not just be reasonable about him? But that is not the way it goes today.
Let us talk about the political aspect of not having a party. Emmanuel Macron was in politics … not an elected office, but he worked in government. He created a party, just to be elected as president, and he slipped in at a time when Francois Fillon, from the parliamentary right, would have been elected. Fillon was unfairly eliminated by a scandal that really amounts to nothing, and Macron became president. But Macron’s party had no nationwide network. He still does not have one. The last regional elections were won primarily by the parliamentary right, not by the left, not by the party of Marine Le Pen, and not by the party of Macron. Zemmour has even less of a political structure, no political experience, and no party. I just would like to ask the people that are now panting over him, whether they are observing from a distance in the United States, or here in France: How do they think he could govern without a party?
In France, we have legislative election shortly after the Presidential election. Our legislature is not as powerful as the US Congress. But still, unless you want a dictator, the president governs with the legislature. How would Zemmour win legislative elections without a party? Marine Le Pen has not even managed to create a viable party.
Jerry Gordon: What has been the reaction in the French Jewish community, the CRIF leadership.
Nidra Poller: The CRIF is civil society. It is equivalent to the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization (PMAJO), a loose collective. The president of CRIF bluntly said, “No Jewish vote should go to Zemmour.” That is not exactly against the rules … and it is not true to claim he never said such a thing before. Contrary to what is claimed by some people who should know better. They do not care that it is not true because they want it to be true. This kind of twist is hard to take. Presidents of the CRIF, in the past, have said Jewish votes should not go to the far left La France Insoumise and the far right, le Rassemblement National. The president of the CRIF is giving his opinion; he is not giving orders. Nobody controls the Jewish vote, and the Jewish vote is so small in France.
Opinion on Zemmour within the community is very divided. It is debated. Some people went along with Zemmour to a certain point, and then started to question the provocations, what he said about Pétain. Why did he question the innocence of Captain Dreyfus? They wonder what he is looking for, who he is trying to attract. He certainly is not looking for the truth. The truth has been established. It is like the revisionists questioning the Nazi death camps. They say we should be able to debate any and every question. Well, there is nothing to debate about that, right? So, they do not want to debate it, they want to lie, and they want people to say that the lie is the truth.
Today, I’m sorry to say, people have become so tribal. I know someone who said Zemmour is going to win in a landslide, and any Jew that does not recognize that he is The One For Us is stupid, evil, or blind. Zemmour is not going to win in a landslide! Within the Jewish intellectual community, you have articles written for and against Zemmour. There is quite an open debate. You could not say that he has a whole-hearted following among Jews.
I would like to underline something that Americans might not know: The campaign has not officially started. It starts in January. The parliamentary right does not have a candidate yet. They have four or five competing candidates. The choice will be made on December 4th. Zemmour is not competing with a candidate who is already nominated. We do not know how the parliamentary right will mobilize behind their candidate, and what the issues will be. Zemmour is certainly functioning as the gadfly on questions of immigration and security, LGBT, ultra-feminism, homosexual marriage … questions that have been circulating over the past few years. I have been writing about those issues, and I could not expect to get 18-19% in the polls.
What about the polls? The recent polls gave Zemmour something like 18-19%. In the second round, the same polls say Macron will win. Commentators that are dazzled by Zemmour who came out of nowhere to reach these recent poll figures do not want to talk about his loss in the second round.
Jerry Gordon: Keeping that in mind, there are certain threshold requirements for Zemmour to run, not unlike the Macron situation. Is there a requirement for him to sign up hundreds of French mayors to file?
Nidra Poller: Yes, five hundred.
Jerry Gordon: Has that effort begun yet, or is it waiting more endorsements?
Nidra Poller: Yes.
Jerry Gordon: How many endorsements does he have from French mayors?
Nidra Poller: There was talk of about two hundred. If he is officially declaring, he always does it in a coy way. “Well, if I don’t run, people are going to be disappointed.” Having a party is not a requirement. However, if you do not have a party, how can you govern?
Jerry Gordon: Not only that, but he also must have the funding to do this.
Nidra Poller: Yes, you are right about the funding. He does have wealthy supporters that might assist with funding, but if he does not have a campaign structure, it would be difficult. Did you see the photo of him at the military security show in Paris?
Jerry Gordon: Oh, you mean Milipol?
Nidra Poller: Yes.
Jerry Gordon: Milipol, yes.
Nidra Poller: You’re up on everything, Jerry. Yes, Eric Zemmour picked up a sniper rifle.
Jerry Gordon: Correct.
Nidra Poller: It was about as tall as he is. He picked it up, and then he said to the journalists who were around him, “step back, step back.” This was about two days before Alec Baldwin shot the director of the film he was doing in New Mexico. You do not point a gun! What I saw was: he talks about security, but he does not know what he is talking about, he does not understand power, he is a fake. Because there he was, in front of the world. Everything he does is watched. He did not properly judge anything. It is one thing to write about problems, analyze them, and say what should be done about them, It is another thing to govern. Now, can you imagine somebody who makes a mistake like that with the sniper rifle? How would he deal with international relations, how would he defend the country? Macron was not exactly what anybody wants, or half the people voted for him. But he has a certain sense of how you behave in public. I first heard about Eric Zemmour in 2008, when he published a novel called Petit Frere (Little Brother). I was shocked. As you may remember we were together at Harvard when the news broke of the murder of Sébastien Selam, the French Jewish DJ.
Jerry Gordon: Yes.
Nidra Poller: Remember, I was giving a talk, and I announced the murder. Somebody in the audience, a French woman living in the United States, said it was not anti-Semitic. When I returned to Paris, I contacted the family, and visited them often. I was close to Sébastien’s sister-in-law, Laetitia. She was more sophisticated than the others in the family, and she did much to get recognition that this was an anti-Semitic murder. In the novel, Zemmour invented a love affair between Laetitia and her brother-in-law, Sébastien. He was challenged on that, and I remember his reply: “Oh, you know, all the great authors did works of fiction based on real crime stories.” I thought “how pretentious!” I did not get the impression he is a great author. And this story was still warm. He invented a terrible lie about my friend Laetitia Selam. So, it gives you an idea of his attitude at the time about what was happening to French Jews.
As I understand it, the plot was based on the idea of identity pressure on both sides. The Jews are pushing their identity and the Muslims are pushing their identity, and it collides. Zemmour was not so concerned about the Islamist antisemitism that was blossoming in those days. This brings us to two other stories in the news right now. The trial of the murderers of Mireille Knoll and the parliamentary hearings on what went wrong in the judicial treatment of the Sarah Halimi case. I thought of something that brings together these anti-Semitic murders. Sébastian Selam, Mireille Knoll, and Ilan Halimi, were French Jews that trusted their Muslim neighbors or, in Ilan Halimi’s case, trusted a Muslim woman who came to seduce him. It shows that there was no strict separation. People trusted their neighbors. Mireille Knoll, in her mid-eighties, bedridden, had trusted this young man, Yacine Mihoub, since he was a kid. And he not only killed her … it was an Islamic murder. The murder of Sébastien Selam was an Islamic murder. To this day, it has not been widely recognized. In the case of Mireille Knoll, officials and spokespersons of Jewish communities immediately labeled it anti-Semitic.
Sarah Halimi did not trust her Muslim neighbor, but she had no choice. She was living in that building, and her Muslim neighbor knew where to find her. The parliamentary investigation into her murder is available on video (in French of course). I have started to watch it. The claim of a failure of the judicial system in this case is not to be dismissed. It is not just because they want the man to be put on trial. There is a wealth of precise details of how the case was mishandled. The commission will make a report to the parliament in January 2022.
In the Sarah Halimi case, it is a question of the power of the investigating judge. This is how the antiquated French legal system “works.” A judge can mishandle the entire case. And you cannot ever get it back on the rails. What are you hearing in the US about Zemmour?
Jerry Gordon: Well, from our side here in the US, the appeal that Zemmour has is tribal. There is obviously a concept known as psychological set. Having seen the performance of former president Trump, the immediate response here is, he is the French Trump. And as you correctly point out, he is not.
Nidra Poller: I wish, Jerry, they would explain what they mean. How is he “the French Trump?” What do you understand by it?
Jerry Gordon: They superimpose views of former President Trump that appear to resonate with Zemmour’s remarks. The other thing that has come to fore here, particularly in what I would call the Jewish social media outlets, is really the characterization of Zemmour, of being not only being extremely far to the right, but also callously treating events. One that caught my attention was his remarks concerning the unfortunate appalling murder in Toulouse.
Nidra Poller: Yes.
Jerry Gordon: The self-styled Al Qaeda operative, Mohammed Merah. He murdered a rabbi and three young children who were being taken to a Jewish day school in Toulouse. Zemmour raised the question of why were they buried in Israel instead of France? I just found it absurd and callous, particularly considering the way the murder happened. As you and I both know, not only were the rabbi and three children murdered, but so were several French soldiers who happened to be Muslim.
Nidra Poller: Yes. And the fourth soldier is Antillais. He did not die, but he is so handicapped, it is heartbreaking.
Jerry Gordon: Yes.
Nidra Poller: That is what misled the police First, Merah killed the soldiers. In two separate incidents; Islamic murders with guns. That misled people and gave him time. Of course, they did not thoroughly investigate … they missed important evidence. The little girl that Merah killed, the daughter of the school director, she was running away, he grabbed her by the hair and shot her in the head. Sarah Halimi and the children murdered by Merah at the Toulouse Jewish School were buried in Israel.
And this story of giving French names! All my Jewish friends between 60 and 80 have French names. Younger Jews have Hebrew names. But Zemmour does not talk much about that. When he says French Muslims should not name their sons Muhammad, he is also including young French Jews with names like Amos, Gabriel and Avishai. They should be named Jean Pierre and Jean Phillipe. What is that about? Who is he trying to attract? I do not put labels, I do not say he is an anti-Semite, a xenophobe, racist. Neither is Trump. You can personally be none of these things, and still attract them, as do certain politicians in our democracies. They are not jihadis, but they see a vote from the jihad sector, and they try to attract that vote. So, what does that mean when you attract it?
If you say Zemmour is the French Trump, what do you mean? That we could expect him to get elected and do hardly anything he promised? Where is the wall that Mexico was going to pay for? That he will mess up on one thing after the other, and end up with an insurrection to take over the country? I do not think it is a favor to Zemmour to say he is the French Trump. Beyond that, is another reality: we are overwhelmed with texts to read, and nobody can find the time to read one-fifth of what comes in every day. So, I feel like I am being tricked when I decide to read something and end up with all these cliches, all this repetition, and nothing developed. The idea that Zemmour is the French Trump, like the idea that CNews is Fox News … you cannot develop the idea. If we cannot think clearly, how are we going to find a way out of the terrible problems facing our democracies?
That is a big problem in a democracy. If your population is uneducated and cannot think, then they are prone to charlatans. Bad politicians are bad enough. And there are plenty of them. Anyway, does it make sense, in our day and age, to think that the President will solve everything? Or should we think about the body politic, the whole society? What can we do? Because if the society is falling apart, the President cannot solve anything. For one man to manage a multinational is almost impossible. How can you expect someone to manage everything in a country? It is an idea; the President is like an idea that you have up there. So how do you feel about this information that you are getting from all sides?
Jerry Gordon: From my vantage point, personally, I find it intriguing to a degree that Mr. Zemmour, who came from Algerian-Jewish-Berber background, has been seized by the right or extreme right in France, as being their savior from “le grand remplacement.” Meaning, immigration and the growth of the Muslim population. That speaks to the dynamics that characterize the so-called Trump base in the Republican party now. Those of us who are politically astute and know what is required to run for US president, what Zemmour is doing in France is unimaginable. To run for the highest elected office, and succeed, appears unrealistic if you really do not have an organization, a staff of talented professionals that can assist you in getting organized and conduct polling, putting out themes that make appeals to significant voting blocks in a country like France. The other thing that is apparent is something that came up in my view the other day concerning Mr. Zemmour. He has a 28-year-old French-Jewish staffer. There have been intimations that there may be a relationship between “the 63-year-old guy and this younger gal.” That just takes away from the credibility of the situation for many of us.
Nidra Poller: There is a TV special coming soon, a sort of exposé In France, we do not have family-style elections, the candidate does not come out holding hands with his wife and followed by the children telling how wonderful their father is. I did not know anything about Zemmour’s personal life. I read this week that he has a proper wife, who is a lawyer, and three adult children. Zemmour’s wife has never appeared at any of those book-promotion events that look like campaign rallies. There were two points of view in the Paris Match (PM) feature about the relationship between Zemmour and his young advisor.
Some thought he deliberately let them run the story because it gives him macho appeal. The French like their politicians to have a way with women. But the PM editor was fired. The other version is that Macron, or someone connected to him, deliberately managed to get that story out to make Zemmour look bad. The age difference. Well, as people point out, the wife of our President is much older than him. That did not prevent him from getting elected. But they were legally married at the time. We do not know if they cheated on anybody before. We had our President Hollande cheating on the “first girlfriend” while she was living in the Presidential palace and then he kicked her out.
I guess this alleged romance could be an advantage or a disadvantage. To people like us, it could be an example of a lack of integrity. People might think it is cute, but we might see it is a lack of integrity. Because there is a wife somewhere that is betrayed. Zemmour knew this young lady when she was thirteen. She is the daughter of a friend, which makes it look like pedophilia. She is a lovely looking young lady. Anyway, I will watch the exposé and let you know…
Turning to another matter, our respective Presidents made up after the Submarine fiasco. They cannot afford to stay angry.
Jerry Gordon: That was going to be my final question for you. There was this interesting picture of the two of them from the back, engaging in what we call a bromance. That was after President Biden sheepishly said the whole thing with the AUKUS treaty and the submarine deal was “clumsily” handled. All that does back here in the United States is to ask how competent is Mr. Biden in conducting international affairs?
Nidra Poller: Well, if that’s the question, how about another kind of President that said, “Oh, I just … I made a great deal. Oh, it was wonderful. Everybody thinks what I did was great. Oh, this was fantastic”? It was very awkwardly handled, that is true. But it was not just Biden. Turning to another contretemps. Do you know what is happening today? The British and the French are fighting over fishing rights. The Channel is boiling.
Jerry Gordon: I heard that the British were suggesting that they are going to seize French vessels in retaliation.
Nidra Poller: And the French are going to close the ports, and we will go to war in the English Channel. That will give us a nice subject henceforth.
Jerry Gordon: It will give France the opportunity to invade the Isle of Jersey. It is the silly season on all accounts. On a more serious vein, there is a critical issue regarding Israel. The EU has gone out of its way to characterize the announcement of 3,000 new construction permits in Judea as a “no-go.” The thing that has inflamed controversy in the United States, regarding Mr. Blinken and Mr. Biden, is the question of the “resurrection of the Palestinian consulate” in Jerusalem.
Nidra Poller: Yes.
Jerry Gordon: That really has stoked an intense resentment here among certain quarters in the American Jewish community who thought that reopening the former consulate was pandering to the PA The irony is that Mr. Biden was the co-sponsor of the 1995 Embassy Act that permitted the movement of the US embassy from Tel Aviv. The catch was that the move was evaluated every six months based on conditions on the ground.
Nidra Poller: Yes.
Jerry Gordon: It was left to Mr. Trump, in 2018, to say, “Enough is enough. Let us move.” That is really consternating stuff. And it now appears that there may have been speculation about whether this was a trade with Israel in the context of issuing visas to Palestinians.
Nidra Poller: What I have been following is … If you look my press review for ELNET where I summarize, in French, articles published in English, I followed, all this year, the return to the JCPOA. According to what I understand, the Biden administration was not ready to make any significant concessions. They have not reintegrated the JCPOA, and it is now a moot question. Yet I read countless articles in English saying the opposite. It is the same with Zemmour: Commentators do not say what is verifiable, they say what they wish were true. But it is not simply wishful thinking. It is worse.
The latest information I have on the American position is that they will not open the consulate without Israeli approval. And the last point is: if you feared that a Biden administration would not be so good for Israel, what strategy would make sense? The strategy that makes sense would be to constantly give good arguments for good decisions. With all his faults, he is a human being. He is free to choose and decide. Why not encourage good decisions?
Regarding Blinken—he grew up in France, with his stepfather, the international lawyer, Samuel Pisar, who was a survivor of the Nazi death camps. Do they think that Blinken has no feeling for Israel? I am working on an article about that. Back to the JCPOA: the US has not reintegrated it; we can agree on that fact. And now, it is too late. It will not happen. Leaving the JCPOA accomplished something, but nothing was done afterward to stop Iran’s nuclear development.
Jerry Gordon: From my vantage point, being as old as I am, I recall when Israel attacked the reactor in Iraq in 1981 and the so-called Syrian reactor in 2007—which was a copy of the North Korean plutonium factory—the Israelis said nothing. What disturbs me is there is too much chatter emanating out of Jerusalem about getting ready to do this, we must do that. Is that for Israeli consumption, or is to prod a combination of the EU-three and the US to see what they can do to mollify the crazy Mullahs in Tehran?
Nidra Poller: You know they are consulting closely. If you want to look at the difference between the Obama regime and Biden’s administration, look at the reaction to building permits in the settlements. The Biden administration said, “Oh, no, that’s not so good for a two-state solution.” And the next day, it was over. They are not on Israel’s case all the time with these things. The Administration is consulting with Israel more than anyone else about Iran. In my next review for ELNET, I will be following what is coming out of Israel about a potential attack on Iran. And we will see where it goes.
Jerry Gordon: With that, I am going to say, thank you very much.
Nidra Poller : Yes, I thank you very much.
Jerry Gordon: Au revoir! Lehitraot! (See you next time in Hebrew).