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French Jews Are Urged Not to Vote for Parties Making Deal with Le Pen

June 10, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The French Jewish community is being urged by its leaders to rebuff political parties that have made deals with Jean-Marie Le Pen’s far right-wing National Front in the parliamentary run-off elections this Sunday.

Theo Klein, president of the Representative Council of Major French Jewish Organizations, in a radio interview Thursday cautioned Jewish voters not to support “those who fail to respect democracy” or “those allied with them.”

Klein mentioned no names. But his reference was clearly to the center-right coalition in southern France. The Marseille-Cote d’Azur branch of the Union for the Republic and Center announced an agreement with the National Front Tuesday to help conservative candidates facing Socialists in the second round of elections to the National Assembly.

The coalition is a combination of the Rally for the Republic and the Union for French Democracy, the main center-right parties in France headed respectively by former Premiers Jacques Chirac and Raymond Barre. Its deal with Le Pen requires the URC and National Front to prevent their candidates from competing with each other in local races where a conservative is pitted against a Socialist.

Klein, whose organization, known as CRIF, is the Jewish community’s political umbrella, said, “Jews, as citizens in this country, should set an example in voting against those who back values contrary to our society.”

The same message was conveyed by another prominent Jewish leader, Jean Pierre-Bloch, head of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, who appealed to Jews to vote for the Socialist candidate in Marseille.

Bloch said that while his organization, known as LICRA, traditionally takes no sides in political contests, “this, however, is an exceptional situation and we launch an exceptional appeal to all those in favor of democracy and opposed to racism to vote against the National Front candidates and their allies.”

Meanwhile, prominent center-right politicians have criticized the deal with Le Pen. They are stressing it is “strictly a regional” arrangement in southern France. Nevertheless, Barre said Wednesday night that he was “deeply troubled” by the alliance.

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