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Communist Party and ‘new Right’ in France Accused of Anti-semitism

Both the French Communist Party and France’s “New Right” were accused yesterday of anti-Semitism. Two left-wing French writers, Alain de Sedouy and Andre Harris, who published a book on “The Jews in France,” last week accused the French Communist Party and its leader, Georges Marchais, of trying to whitewash the Soviet Union’s official state-imposed anti-Semitism.

At the same time, a right-wing philosopher, Bernard-Henry Levy, accused the New Right of trying to revive “the anti-Semitism of far gone days” and erasing the memory of the Holocaust and Nazi crimes.

Levy, speaking on Yom Kippur eve at a ceremony held to commemorate the six million Jewish Holocaust victims, said the current period in France “is filled with sinister omens.” He accused the New Right of basing its doctrines “on pseudo-scientific theories, paganism and racism to express its hatred of Judaism, of the Jewish message to the world and of Jewish mortyrdom.”

The New Right is a loose formation of French intellectuals and high-ranking officials who profess a return to West European paganism of pre-Christian days and a form of society based on the principle “that no two men are equal.” The New Right supporters, probably not more than several hundred, claim that new scientific discoveries demonstrate the “basic inequality of men on the basis of race, culture and education.”

LOUD AND SINISTER OMENS

Some 2000 people, including the President of the European Parliament Simone Veil, herself a concentration camp survivor, attended a ceremony at the Paris Memorial to the Unknown Jewish Martyr at which Levy spoke The French philosopher, known as the head of the country’s school of “young thinkers,” said that “what we see around us these days is an atmosphere filled with loud and sinister omens.” He condemned anti-Zionism as “the screen behind which is hiding the ancestral hatred of the Jew.”

On Yom Kippur day, yesterday, Le Monde published a letter accusing the French Communist Party and its general secretary of “a local form” of anti-Semitism and of silence on Soviet state-manipulated anti-Jewish activities The letter written by Sedouy and Harris, both of them well-known non-Jewish writers, replied to a denial by Marchais that he and his party had ever been guilty of anti-Semitism or of silence on this question.

The two writers quoted former French Communists who were forced out of high office within the party on the pretext that “there are too many Jews already” on various committees on which may were due to sit.” One of those quoted, Jean Ellen-stein, said that at one time he wrote in Communist Party publications under the name Jean Ellen to try and hide the fact that he was Jewish.

Harris and Sedouy quoted various instances of Soviet official anti-Semitism and said the French Communist Party has disagreed in the past with various individual Soviet anti-Semitic acts but has never protested against the policy as a whole.

These accusations, levelled at France’s extreme left and right came after a period of intense soul-searching in France. A mass circulation weekly, Le Point, devoted its cover story to “the Jews in France.”

Another weekly, Figaro Magazine, the weekly supplement of Le Figaro, which generally voices New Right opinions, published an interview with the chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives Leon Dulzin. The Jewish leader was quoted as saying “the condition of Jews in France is good” and that “it is wrong to say that there is anti-Semitism in France, that it threatens the Jews there and forces them to defend themselves.”

He added: “I think the Jewish community in France enjoys total freedom and even if there are some traces of anti-Semitism I do not believe that these factors are affecting this freedom… The situation of Jews in France can be described as good, as good as in other democracies like the United States, Britain, Holland…”

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