The philosopher gives his first impressions following the second round of the legislative elections making the New People’s Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) the first opposition force in the National Assembly – even if the RN becomes the first opposition party with its 89 deputies. Anyone who continues to define himself as a man of the left worries about the ambiguous relationship maintained by a radical left with the Jews, Judaism and Israel. For the academician, the controversies which Jean-Luc Mélenchon has made a specialty of are not anecdotal. And, according to him, the right does not have a monopoly on anti-Semitism. Even if the republican and universalist left, selling off its principles, gave in to the sirens of an electoral alliance, Alain Finkielkraut refuses to see it as a definitive act. Maintenance.
Le Point: Jean-Luc Mélenchon has taken the leadership on the left in France. What inspires you?
Alain Finkielkraut: A great sadness. Contrary to previous experiences of unity of the left, it was under the aegis of the radical left that the great gathering took place. A radical left itself has been profoundly transformed: workerism has given way to multiculturalism and the critique of capitalism is accompanied by a no less lively critique of secularism. Nothing to do with the Popular Front: Léon Blum would have no place in the Nupes.
In recent years, some dikes have been broken: within a radical left, ambiguous talk about Jews and Judaism has multiplied. When did that change?
La France insoumise was a hit in Seine-Saint-Denis, that is to say in the territories where, as Georges Bensoussan says, anti-Semitism is no longer an opinion but a cultural code. The hatred of the Jews was, since the Dreyfus affair, a marker of the extreme right. It is today, new France obliges, a reality with which the radical left decided to compose. Every time Jean-Luc Mélenchon is asked the question of communitarianism, he points an avenging finger at the Crif (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France). And when it is said that Jewish students are increasingly having to change schools and leave so-called “sensitive” neighborhoods, he shamelessly denounces Islamophobia. To the stunned French Jews, the radical left announces that they no longer carry the weight.
Should we see some of this as opportunistic anti-Semitism, a strategy that follows the direction of the wind, or do you see it as the resurgence of older, deeper ideas?
It is through anti-Zionism that Judeophobia is making a comeback on the left. In a world divided between oppressors and oppressed, Jews are on the wrong side. Because of their attachment to Israel, they are classified among the dominant and even among the racists. They are unrepentant whites. The defense of the damned of the earth goes through their indictment.
Are clientelism and communitarianism the future of the French left?
The future of the French left is social democracy and a return to republican principles. If it continues along the path of the New People’s Ecological and Social Union, it may one day come to power thanks to demographic change, but it will have lost its soul.