Introducing François Fillon

Hugh Fitzgerald: Introducing François Fillon (Part I)

JANUARY 9, 2017 BY HUGH FITZGERALD

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We hear a lot about possible victories this year in Europe of anti-Islam candidates. Some are well-known outside their own countries, such as Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, while others are not so well-known. One of them is François Fillon, who has a good chance to become the next President of France, and has now become outspoken on the menace of Islam. With his astonishing victory last fall in the two primaries of the Center-Right party in France, Fillon first knocked Nicolas Sarkozy out of the running, and then, in the runoff, had a landslide victory over Alain Juppé, garnering 66% of the vote. The pollyannish Juppé was known, among other things, for being soft on Islam, pushing a line about l identité heureuse” (“happy identity”) supposedly making it possible, in a way he never could explain, Muslim immigrants to unthreateningly become part of French society while still refusing to assimilate. France would now be the sum of its separate communities, and everyone would live “happily” side by side, and for ever after. Just like in the fairy tales, and fittingly, because it was sheer make-believe. For Juppé rejected the need for a ”French identity” upheld by the traditional Right. This “happy identity,” a plaintive why-can’t-we-all-get-along welcome to foreigners, is based on a refusal to admit that there is indeed a difference between today’s Muslim immigrants, so hostile to the values of their hosts, and the non-Muslim immigrants who came before, and accepted the values of the laic French state:

Juppé wants France “to be open both to its neighbors, and to the world.” For “what would France be without Marie Curie, who came from Warsaw, or Apollinaire, who was born a Polish subject of the Russian Empire, or Picasso, who was born in Spain, or Ionesco, child of Romania, or Francis Cheng, who grew up in China and arrived in Paris at the end of his adolescence?” asked Juppé, proud of this very special kind of immigration. “We are proud of this tradition of welcome and we want to keep it vibrant.”

Juppé did not appear to recognize that there might just be differences between those who arrive in France nowadays carrying Islam in their mental baggage, and those other migrants who came before – Picasso, Marie Curie, and so on – who had no such dangerous luggage, were not raised to despise the French as Infidels, and who, upon settling in France, had no trouble fitting in, obeying the laws and moeurs of the French. Juppé was suggesting there was no reason to think of the new immigrants as any different when, of course, the differences in views of today’s Muslim immigrants and those of earlier non-Muslim immigrants to France and its values are enormous and impossible to reconcile.

That softness on Muslim immigration is, observers suggested, a main reason why Juppé lost to Fillon, who has a very different take on the matter. What does Fillon say about Muslim immigration? No pollyannish “happy identity” for him; he has described radical Islam as a “’totalitarianism like the Nazis.” Catholics, Protestants and Jews “don’t denounce the values of the Republic,” he thundered — “unlike the faithful of a certain other religion.” He recognizes that Islam is a special case, represents a unique menace to the Republic of France, and to the French identity.

“We’ve got to reduce immigration to its strict minimum,” he said. “Our country is not a sum of communities, it is an identity!” It is this kind of identity – open to all as long as they fully accept the values of the Republic, but not to those who, having ended up on French soil, do not and cannot possibly share the “values of the Republic” — that Fillon wants to protect from Islamic dilution. On Islam, so far, so good.

Fillon has even written a book on how to defeat Islamic “totalitarianism” – “Vaincre le totalitarisme islamique” (“Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism”). The title is heartening – it’s good to recognize and call “Islamic totalitarianism” by its right name. But at the same time, it is mistakenly optimistic, because the word “vaincre” too hopefully implies a sense of an ending, a “conquering,” and then a doing away with, the threat. But Islamic totalitarianism cannot ever be “conquered,” its threat can only be reduced, through constant effort, to manageable size. The threat never ends, because Islam is naturally “totalitarian”; it offers a complete regulation of all aspects of life. “Islamic totalitarianism” will exist as long as Islam itself endures.

What François Fillon proposes in his 150-page book, however, are not ways to reduce Muslim immigration to “its strict minimum,” but rather, ways to fight the Islamic State abroad and Muslim terrorism at home. He wants a grand coalition of all those powers, including Iran and Hizballah, that are willing to fight the Islamic State, which he regards as Enemy No. 1. He wants a Europe-wide sharing of the costs of fighting Islamic terrorism. He wants a reorganization of the French security services, placing the prison system directly under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior, and creating special courts to speed up verdicts in terrorism cases. He wants the police and gendarmes to be supplied with better equipment. He also wants to prevent any French citizens who have gone off to fight with Muslim terrorists from returning to France. He wants 30-year sentences imposed on anyone found guilty of supplying intelligence to the terrorist enemy, and the right to expel foreigners who are found on French soil and who are judged a “threat” to public safety. And finally, he wants the big Internet companies to be required to report their suspicions about users (and possible ties to terrorism) to the French government, the same way that banks must report doubtful transactions to the government.

Save for his suggestions that French citizens who leave France to join terrorists abroad should be prevented from returning, and that the state should expel foreigners from France who are deemed a “threat” to safety, Fillon focuses entirely on improving the investigation and punishment of terrorists. Fillon does not address the question of halting, and reversing, Muslim immigration in the West. It’s still a dangerous subject to touch. But the beginning of wisdom in this matter is simply to refuse to recognize any specious “duty” to admit refugees from anywhere, for any reason. We in the advanced West can admit, or refuse to admit, whomever we want. Nothing requires us to allow into our countries, our homes, those who may be permanently hostile to us and to our values, and who may constitute a physical danger. This seems to have been forgotten by the angela-merkels and theresa-mays of this world. The Western world does not have to become Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. And we have a perfect right to deny admittance to those whom we have reason to believe are, as a group, more likely to commit terrorist acts, those whom we know are raised to regard us non-Muslims with hostility and hatred, and whose Qur’an urges acts of terror. We are allowed to take seriously what we know Muslims take seriously, and not to ignore what it says in the Qur’an and Hadith and Sira. It doesn’t matter if not all Muslims think a particular way; there will always be exceptions, but we can’t build policies on exceptions; in protecting ourselves from the dangers that Islamic ideology poses, we are always dealing with likelihoods, calculating probabilities. Is a Muslim immigrant more likely than a Buddhist or a Hindu, a Christian or a Jew, to be a threat to public safety? What kinds of evidence do we already possess – textual, experiential – that supports that proposition? This is not something Fillon addresses.

Nor does he discuss, either, ways to make France less Islam-friendly, even Islam-hostile. This could include extending the current ban on the hijab in schools to universities, as Manuel Valls has proposed, and banning not just the niqab, as Sarkozy did, but also the hijab, from all public places. It could include continuing to refuse to yield to Muslim demands that pork-free meals be offered in prison and school cantines (Muslim prisoners and pupils could simply do without meat on those days when pork is on the menu), or what would be even more useful, banning halal meat, because of objections to the method of slaughter it requires. It could also mean remaining unyielding in the face of Muslim demands for prayer-rooms in schools and workplaces, and interruptions of classes and work for Muslim prayers. Muslim demands for women-only hours at public pools can be refused by municipal authorities upholding the laic state. The French state is under no obligation to accept Muslim segregation of the sexes; it is up to Muslims, just like other immigrants, to conform their behavior to that of those in whose lands they have been allowed to settle. We in the West do not share, and consequently need not support, the Muslim view that women are dangerously seductive, and therefore need to be covered up, nor accept its corollary in Islam that men are likely to behave like uncontrollable wild animals when confronted with females who are insufficiently covered.

A crackdown on Muslim abuse of government assistance programs, especially the problem of support for plural wives and many children, would save a lot of money. The Economist estimates that 200,000 people are in 20,000 polygamous families in France, despite polygamy being prohibited, with the Muslim men exploiting the family allowances as salaries. France must become less like what it now is for many Muslims, the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where they cannot quite believe their luck, and contentedly pocket whatever benefits are on offer as a proleptic jizyah, or as Anjem Choudary has called all this Western largesse (free or subsidized housing, free education, free medical care, generous family allowances), the Jihad Seeker’s Allowance. Those Muslims unhappy with this new and uncompromising state of affairs should be encouraged to leave France. Indeed, while cracking down on all the present benefits, one new benefit that the French government might wish to offer Muslims is passage home to their countries — or that of their parents or grandparents — of origin, or to other Muslim countries, where they will be among people who share the most important thing in their lives, Islam, and will be able to practice it to their heart’s content. But in return, those for whom free passage is provided must agree not to return to France. Such subsidized out-migration would be far cheaper than paying for all those benefits to which so many Muslim migrants lay (often fraudulent) claim.

These are only a few suggestions that may prompt others to think of ways to make France distinctly less welcoming to Muslim migrants. Of course, it all begins with education, by having a truthful treatment of Islam in the schools. In history classes, French students should be taught about Islam, not the sanitized version, but the real thing, with copious quotations from the canonical texts that cannot be refuted. Let students become acquainted with the jihad verses of the Qur’an, and with piquant details from Muhammad’s life, relying always on Muslim sources in the Hadith and Sira. Will this offend Muslims? Of course it will, but a French state sure of itself and its values will not back down. Too much is at stake for continued pusillanimity in the classroom.

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4 comments on “Introducing François Fillon

  1. Mr. Fillon is a leftist fraud. He believes in the values of the French republic and revolution. He believes in the separation if Church and State. What he will set up and bulid up in France is a security structure equally hostile to all those that do not conform to the Enlightenment ; hostile to Catholic Tradition and moslems both. And what about the Catholics opposed to the Nazi State of Israel ? Opposed to the EU? The globalist world order? Gay privileges? Feminist Privileges? Immodesty in women’s dress? If Mr.Fillon only sets up a certain system to ensure protection for the values of false freedoms, there will be harsher persecution as the French Revolution moves ever more to the left.

  2. Hugh Fitzgerald: Introducing François Fillon (Part II)

    JANUARY 10, 2017 BY HUGH FITZGERALD

    In Fillon’s book “Conquering Islamic Terrorism,” there is nothing about limiting the Muslim presence in France, which has created a situation, for the indigenous French and for non-Muslim immigrants, too, that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than it would be without that large-scale presence. His view of Islam is clearly still a work in progress, but he is asymptotically approaching the views of Marine Le Pen. Perhaps we can offer him a few suggestions as to how to keep Muslim numbers down in France, and outside France, too.

    First, Fillon might discuss internecine wars within the Camp of Islam, sectarian and ethnic, and how these help the West by using up Muslim energies and assets (men, money, materiel). Right now, in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, Sunnis and Shi’a are engaged in hot wars. Ideally, these wars will simmer for a long time. Nor should the West, in a mistaken attempt to spread “democracy” in Muslim countries where despotism is the default regime, try to hold in check those Muslim rulers who, like Al-Sisi in Egypt, use ruthless methods in order to fight the Muslim Brotherhood and other fanatics. Ataturk, after all, was ruthless in dealing with Muslim clerics as he attempted to, and did, secularize post-Ottoman Turkey; one wonders if a new Ataturk, using the same methods as Kemal Pasha, were to arise today, would the West support him, or deplore his means as unjustified, no matter how laudable the ends?

    Finally, since 80% of the world’s Muslims are not Arabs, the West could help non-Arab Muslims recognize Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism. This is possibly the most important way to weaken the hold of Islam on non-Arabs, to begin to make them resent, and then to doubt, Islam. One simple way would be to subsidize the mass dissemination of translations into the major languages of Muslim Believers — Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Bahasa, Tamazight, Turkish, Malay, Kurdish – of such works as, for example, “Islam: The Arab National Movement,” by the late Anwar Shaikh. Shaikh’s study shows all the ways in which Islam favors and promotes the Arabs at the expense of non-Arab Muslims. Because Allah chose to deliver his message in Arabic to a seventh-century Arab, because Muslims should read, recite, memorize the Qur’an in Arabic, because Muslims must turn toward Mecca in prayer at least five times a day, because Muhammad the Perfect Man and Model of Conduct was Arab, because the Qur’an was written in the Arabs’ language, and it is only in that language that it ought, ideally, to be read, and Arabs are its only trustworthy transmitters, because the earliest Muslims, whose customs and manners, written down in the Hadith, constitute the Sunnah, were all Arabs, because the Arabs were the first to conquer vast territories for Islam — all this naturally produced a feeling of superiority in the Arabs. And wherever they conquered, along with Islamization, Arabization followed. That word describes two different things: first, the physical movement of Arabs into what were non-Arab lands, as in northern Iraq, where Saddam Hussein moved Arabs onto lands taken from the Kurds, in an attempt to change the demographics of the area, to “Arabize” it. But the Arabization that takes place even in Muslim lands without Arabs is different, and describes the change in the non-Arab population that follows Islamization: they forget their original identity, and instead take Arab names, assume Arab identities, and Arab lineages, and try to become, culturally, “Arabs.”

    Among the outward and visible signs of this, think of how many Muslim non-Arabs have eagerly given themselves not just Arab names and false Arab pedigrees, but copied Arab dress and customs of the seventh century. (Imagine, under British imperialism, someone in sub-Saharan Africa wearing a suit, carrying an umbrella and wearing a homburg, and calling himself Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper.) They wanted the prestige of being thought “Arab.” In Pakistan, to take an extreme case, millions now claim to be “Sayids” – that is, descendants of the Quraysh, the Prophet’s tribe.

    These facts, impossible to deny, and now made difficult to overlook, can be spread far and wide in the West, and though many non-Arab Muslims will try to ignore them, many others will hear, take in, and recognize, despite themselves, the truth of these observations. Some of those non-Arab Muslims, as they inwardly acknowledge the accuracy of the charge that “Islam is a vehicle for Arab imperialism,” may find their faith affected. It’s a lapidary description that ought to be repeated on every possible occasion, and especially in debate with Defenders of the Faith. It will cause them to sputter in rage, but they have no effective rebuttal, because it is so undeniably true.

    Those non-Arab Muslims most recently mistreated by Arab Muslims, such as the Kurds (182,000 killed by Saddam Hussein’s Arabs) and the Berbers (subjected to the Arab cultural imperialism in North Africa that for a time made it illegal even to use Tamazight, the Berber language) may be among the first to recognize that Arab supremacism is not tangential, but central to Islam, and Islam’s hold over them might weaken. Ibn Warraq reports that the Berbers now “speak their own language, and have in recent years tried to reclaim their pre-Islamic Berber culture and identity, and resent being called ‘Arab.’” Some may jettison Islam altogether, as has already happened with tens of thousands of Berbers both in North Africa and in France. The French state could help support the efforts of those Berbers who want to “reclaim their pre-Islamic Berber identity” by spreading information about the forced “arabization” that followed upon islamization.

    But Fillon makes none of those suggestions in his book about “conquering” Islamic totalitarianism. He doesn’t want to take Islam itself head-on, to try to reduce its appeal and the number of its adherents, by undermining the hold of Islam itself on so many millions of minds. His proposals are directed at more effectively fighting not Islam, but terrorism. Fillon is a Conservative Catholic. He sees Bashar al-Assad, for all his faults, as the protector of Christians in Syria, and certainly far preferable to the Islamic State. He has spoken of the need to collaborate with Russia because of its willingness to fight not just the Islamic State but also, through its support of Assad, other Sunni takfiris. Russia may be an enemy to the West in all sorts of ways, but Fillon is not the only Western leader who sees Russia as an ally against the most fanatical Muslims and, in Syria, willing to fight to protect the Alawites, who in turn protect the Christians.

    When it comes to Islamic terrorism and immigration, Fillon rejects the modish prattle about multiculturalism, the assertions that “Islam in no way contradicts the values of the Republic,” and instead promotes “assimilation” to the French identity: “France has a history, a language, a culture. Of course this culture and language have been enriched by the contributions of foreign populations, but they remain the foundation of our identity.” When asked if France is already a multicultural nation, Fillon has been unequivocal. “No. In any case, that is not a choice we made. We did not choose communitarianism (social division) and multiculturalism.”

    On Islam, he is certainly on the right track, but needs to be bolder in his suggestions, going beyond better methods of investigation, and swifter means of punishment. He should unembarrassedly discuss how to reduce Muslim numbers. both in France, and in Muslim lands, by identifying and exploiting pre-existing fissures, especially that — I intend to repeat on every conceivable occasion — between Arab and non-Arab Muslims. At this point, there is nothing to be gained by staying away from such topics; solicitousness for Muslim sensibilities has gained us nothing. The propaganda war is on, and one-sided; the West still has not gone on the offensive to weaken and diminish the Camp of Islam. In the war with the forces of Islam, for the West it’s time to enroll the truth.

  3. Hugh Fitzgerald: Introducing François Fillon (Part III)

    JANUARY 11, 2017 BY HUGH FITZGERALD

    On the matter of Israel, French Jews, and the “Palestinians,” Fillon has made various remarks, some of which have disturbed, and some of which have pleased, France’s Jews. He did say at one point that Muslims in France were being held “hostage” by fundamentalists, who wanted Muslims to ignore French laws whenever they conflicted with the laws of Islam, and that in the past, Catholics, and Jews too, had obeyed their own laws and not those of the Republic, but then, Fillon noted, they had come round, and he hoped that Muslims could, too. He was quickly answered by the Representative Council of French Jews (CRIF), that explained that his assertion was not true, that Jews in France had always obeyed the laws of France: “The law of the land is the law: this Talmudic adage has been imposed on Jews since ancient history and requires them to respect the laws of the country in which they live,” the organization declared. Fillon claimed he had been misunderstood. “I never meant to call into question the Jewish community’s attachment to our common values and its respect of the rules of the Republic. This attachment is old and sincere. I therefore regret that some people dared to twist what I said.”

    There have been other remarks, worrisome at the time. Last July, Fillon said in support of letting Muslim students postpone their baccalaureate exams, to avoid a religious conflict, that “the main beneficiaries of this [allowing such a postponement] have never been Muslims, but French Jews, who are very ‘intransigeant’ on this issue. The truth is that very few Muslims ever took advantage of this amendment.” Why mention the Jewish attitude as “intransigeance” at all? This comes close to the old charge of being “stiff-necked.”

    Another remark by Fillon that worried French Jews was his soft-pedaling of Hizballah’s ties to terror, so eager has he been to support Hizballah in Syria in its fight against the Islamic State. In November 2015, following the Paris terror attacks, Fillon declared that he was in favor of a “global coalition” to fight against the Islamic State (IS), which would include the Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian governments, Kurdish movements and the Shiite terrorist organization Hizballah, whose senior officials he had met in July 2013. And similarly, he has been perfectly willing to work with the country that is at present the greatest threat to Israel: “We must support Iran, which is committed to combating IS,” he said on France Inter Radio. (It is also, and mainly, committed to destroying Israel.) “I know many will comment on this point of view, especially in Israel. But for a question of survival, Israel has always known how to ally with people who do not respect international morals. And no one can blame them.” This is surely a bizarre remark, and one wonders which allies of Israel he is thinking of – the U.S.? — that “do not respect international morals.” But at least he ends on what appears to be a pro-Israel note: “no one can blame them” for the allies they sometimes need. Still, one is left distinctly uneasy.

    It should be said that Fillon has spoken out forcefully against the viciously anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement, and he has also denounced the anti-Israel votes over Jerusalem in UNESCO. He has insisted that the two parties – Israel and the “Palestinians” – negotiate directly, and that no attempt be made to force Israel into negotiations. That also put him at odds with the official French position, and in agreement with the Israelis. But more recently, he has sounded as if he does want pressure put on Israel to negotiate; it’s hard to know exactly where he stands.

    Fillon is willing to ally with Hizballah, but “only” for its war against ISIS; it’s a limited forbearance. When journalist Patrick Cohen reminded him that “Hezbollah’s vocation is to annihilate Israel,” Fillon replied that “letting Hezbollah threaten the State of Israel is out of the question.” Apparently he thinks that Hizballah can be supported, but “only” in Syria as part of a Shi’a coalition against ISIS, and without at the same time strengthening it for its endless war against Israel. How exactly this strict compartmentalization of support might be achieved is entirely unclear. If Hizballah is supplied with weaponry for use in Syria, there is no way to prevent that weaponry from also being used against Israel.

    In January 2014, Fillon paid a three-day visit to Israel. His remarks were heartening, and heartfelt:

    “I feel very honored to be your guest and to talk to the Israeli youth who are the soul of your amazing nation,” he said. “Israel’s fate and the region’s stakes have always fascinated me. This is where the earliest and the most intense pages of humanity were written. I trembled for Israel during the Yom Kippur War. All nations have had to overcome issues to exist and to unite, but Israel is not a nation like any other.”

    After referring to the Holocaust, he explained that “the French Republic is and will always be uncompromising with anti-Semitism, as was recently the case with that antisemitic ‘humorist’ [Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala] who has made offensive remarks. In France, anti-Semitism is not an opinion, it is an offense. Things are very clear for me: opponents of French unity and rapists of memory cannot exploit freedom of speech.”

    “Because Israel has strong historical and moral ties with France and Europe, what affects you, affects us, and what torments you, torments us,” he continued. “The existence of Israel is not debatable and its security is therefore not negotiable. Israel is our friend and ally and whoever threatened its existence would expose itself to our toughest response. To have peace, you need to know that France will always be on your side regarding your safety. Israel is the gateway to our own history. It is old Europe’s friend and confidant,” he concluded.

    This sounds very good, and yet, in November 2014, Fillon took quite a different tone on BFM TV. He explained that Israel was “threatening world peace [!] because it was delaying the creation of a Palestinian state” — a state that Fillon had expressed his desire to create since 2011.

    “I am telling the Israelis that if they do not accept and if they do not understand that the creation of the Palestinian state is a sine qua non condition for peace in Middle East, they are not only taking risks for their long-term future, but they are also creating instability for the whole world. I think the situation in the Middle East is a threat to our own country’s internal security,” he said. In other words, Fillon wants France to always be on the side of Israel when it comes to “security,” but at the same time Fillon believes that a “Palestinian” state will make Israel more secure and sate, not whet, Arab Muslim appetites. He does not understand that such a state would promote the very instability he claims to deplore, and the risks Israel now runs in preventing such a state are far less than those it would be taking if it allowed its creation, even with Arab promises – easy to break – of “demilitarization.”

    And is Fillon suggesting that in not yielding on this matter, Israel is endangering French security (“the situation in the Middle East is a threat to our own security”), presumably because the Arabs and Muslims in France will be deeply dissatisfied if a “Palestine” is not created and will express that dissatisfaction through unrest on French streets, or even by acts of terrorism in France? This is surely a terrible accusation to make against Israel. And haven’t the Muslims in France shown they need no act by Israel to attack French Infidels, at Charlie Hebdo, Hyper Cacher, Bataclan, Toulouse, the promenade in Nice? Isn’t it dangerous to presume to dictate to Israel what it must do, on the preposterous grounds that if it doesn’t, it will endanger “world peace”? While Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, all burn, and a dozen other Muslim countries simmer, and Muslim terrorism affects non-Muslims from Myanmar to India to Nigeria, is it really Israel that “threatens world peace? Isn’t the best keeper of the peace in the whole Middle East the IDF?

    At the same time, however, as Fillon made these disturbing statements, he announced that he would oppose a referendum proposed by ecologists and socialist leaders who wanted the French government to recognize the state of Palestine. He considered that this “would have no effect, except perhaps to complicate the situation in the Middle East.” He wants Israelis, of their own free will, to recognize that a “Palestinian state” is in Israel’s best interests. But many in and out of Israel do not agree. What if the Israelis decide differently from what Fillon thinks is best for them?

    So which is the real Francois Fillon? He seems to understand that Israel is a special case, with special needs. He recognizes the historic links of Israel to France, of Israel to the Western world. He is against BDS, against the blatantly biased UNESCO votes on Jerusalem. His sympathy seems genuine for Israel’s difficulties; he doesn’t want France to simply recognize a “state of Palestine” which he thinks would be a useless gesture. He wants to convince the Israelis that they will be better off with a “Palestinian state” whose borders he refrains from delineating, so we can assume he understands that those borders will have to be different from the pre-1967 armistice lines. But he cannot conceive of Israel’s safety being best achieved by preventing, rather than allowing, a “Palestinian” state. He is so used to the received idea that of course a “solution” exists, which will require that Israel give up most of the territory it won in 1967 that he does not allow himself to consider that a better outcome – instead of a will-o’-the-wisp “solution” – would be to support the current situation between Israel and the Arabs, that is an absence of major war or threat of war, and terrorism brought to a low level (lower than in Western Europe), a situation which can be maintained only if the IDF remains strong and continues to exercise military control of the “West Bank.”

    In October 2015, on a television program, Fillon renewed his call for Israel to make peace with Palestinians, as if Israel hadn’t been trying to do that for decades. Israel “is not going to be safe from the chaos that is taking hold of the Middle East,” he said. “The idea that Israel could remain a peaceful and prosperous islet in the midst of this chaos is a crazy and false idea.” Really? Actually, at this very moment Israel is precisely that, an island of comparative peace and high-tech prosperity in the midst of Arab Muslim chaos all around it. “We have to put pressure on Israel to resume the negotiation process and to let Israel liberate occupied territories. There will never be peace in Palestine if they are not willing to do this. Some settlements were established in total contradiction with commitments which were stated in previous agreements.” Which settlements, and which commitments, is Fillon thinking of? Any commitments made by Israel depended on reciprocal commitments by the Arabs and “Palestinians,” commitments that the Arabs never met. And what about the still-relevant Mandate for Palestine? Having for so many years maintained that Israel should not be forced to negotiate, but should come to the table of its own free will, Fillon now says precisely the opposite, that “we have to put pressure on Israel to resume the negotiation process,” and he even talks about Israel “liberating” (!) “occupied territories.”

    What shall we make of this? Fillon’s statements are contradictory; it is hard to figure out exactly where he stands. Quite possibly he does not know himself. But at least Fillon needs to be made aware that Israel has a perfect legal right to build settlements on “waste and state” lands in all the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, according to the Mandate for Palestine, and that it has a perfect right, too, to territorial adjustments in the “West Bank” that would give it “secure and defensible borders” as required by U.N. Resolution 242. If Israel decides not to fully exercise those “rights” in the light of other considerations, that is for Israel, and no other party, to decide. Fillon might also be asked, too, if he is aware that the “Palestinian people” for whom he has such solicitousness were invented, for obvious reasons, after the Six-Day War, to present the Arab and Muslim war against Israel as a struggle “between two tiny peoples, each wanting its own homeland.” Finally, he ought to be asked if he really thinks, if Israel were to disappear tomorrow, that the observable behavior of Muslims in the West, including acts of terrorism, would change for the better.

    In November 2015 on Radio Monte-Carlo, Fillon again declared that “I am not against Israel but I am committed to the creation of a Palestinian state. I want peace. There is a tendency to be tougher with Israel because it is a strong, organized and powerful country.” (But this is dangerous praise — is Israel stronger than a coalition of several dozen Arab and Muslim states? Aren’t we expecting too many miracles of Israel?) And in the very same interview, he also declared he was now opposed to the labeling of Israeli products, which is one of the main weapons of the BDS movement.

    In short, Fillon wants “security” for Israel, but also wants a “Palestinian” state. This is the position of a great many people who insist that there must be a “solution” to the Arab Muslim war against Israel. They cannot allow themselves to believe that there is no solution, and that the best one can hope for is to manage the conflict, by maintaining Israel’s military superiority sufficiently to deter an Arab attack. Starting with the U.S. Joint Chiefs in 1967, military men have largely agreed that from Israel’s point of view, “security” requires continued control of the West Bank, whether or not Israel decides to formally incorporate part or most of that territory into the Jewish state, or to continue with the current arrangement. Fillon needs to see the military challenge on the ground, needs to stand at Qalqilya, in the pre-67 lines, and perhaps even walk the eight miles that separate that Arab village from the Mediterranean, and to scale the heights of the Judean and Samarian hills, in order to have brought home to him how command of those heights is necessary to block, as a military matter, the invasion route from the east. Fillon needs to understand that the soothing words of Mahmoud Abbas to Western visitors, and what he says to his own people, are quite different. A “peace treaty” is not the same thing as “peace,” and may indeed get in the way of, even make more difficult, a long-term peace. The surest guarantor of peace between Arabs and Israelis is the IDF, able to ensure that the Arabs will not engage in another attack, like that of October, 1973. For deterrence to work it is not enough for Israel to be strong; it must also be perceived by the Arabs as strong enough to defeat any conceivable coalition of enemies.

    Francois Fillon needs to realize that Arab leaders, even when they do not want war, can not always withstand pressure put on them to join a conflict. One example of this was hapless King Hussein of Jordan, forced into the Six-Day War by the Egyptians who assured him, in a famous phone call from Marshal Amer that the Israelis recorded, that Israel was being defeated, that Egyptian planes ruled the skies and Egyptian troops were marching into Israel (in reality, the Egyptian Air Force had been wiped out while still on the ground). King Hussein had no excuse not to join in if Israel was really on the ropes; the only valid excuse for not going to war would have been the certainty of an Arab loss. The principle of “Darura,” or Necessity, could then be invoked to justify not joining in. If Israel were to give up control of the West Bank to a “Palestinian state,” it would then be appear to be much more obviously vulnerable, and Arab leaders would have no excuse to invoke “Darura”; war would be more, not less, likely.

    If Francois Fillon wants, as he claims, real “security” for Israel, he must come to understand that a “Palestinian state” would lessen that security, and serve as a launching pad for future Arab attacks on a much-reduced Israel. Fillon needs to return to Israel, walk its valleys and hills, feel keenly how small it is, and what, as a military matter, that little country must continue to control. And he might re-read both about Israel’s rights under the Palestine Mandate (1922), and U.N. Resolution 242, which the U.N. seems to be forgetting, and also study the Palestinian National Charter (1964) and the Hamas Covenant (1988) as well, which clearly show a determination never to accept the Jewish State. That might lead Fillon to change his mind about the wisdom – not to mention the morality – of a “Palestinian state.”

    In the meantime, Jews in France, and in Israel, will just have to hope that when the real Francois Fillon, having cleared his head, finally stands up, that he stands up for the only state in the whole Middle East that helped to create, that continues to contribute to, and that stands in the first line of defense for, the now-threatened civilization of France, and of the West – that is, Israel.

  4. French presidential candidate Le Pen criticizes rival Fillon for emphasizing Catholic faith

    Catholic World News – January 11, 2017
    Maxine Le Pen, the presidential candidate of France’s populist National Front, has assailed her leading rival, Francois Fillon, for making frequent references to his Catholic faith during the campaign.

    Le Pen told a television audience while she respects religious beliefs, “the opportunistic use of that faith” violates the principle of secularity that has governed French political affairs for generations.

    Le Pen, whose party has opposed Muslim immigration, said that if Catholics brings their religious beliefs into the nation’s political life, it will difficult to oppose those “who want to pursue their politics in the name of some other religion, for instance Islam.”

    Fillon, whose unabashed invocation of Catholic principles helped him to an upset win over Alain Juppé in a primary contest, is Le Pen’s leading rival in the presidential contest that will take place in April.

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