A far-right, pro-Israel France? Expert says this is where all of Europe is heading
-Michelle Malka Grossman
France went to the polls on Sunday in regional elections and the far-right National Front party, formerly known for its anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant stances but now known for its support of Israel and opposition to radical Islam, came out as a winner across the country.
The regional election outcomes are taken seriously since they are thought to be a bellweather for what will come when France votes in the 2017 national elections.
Though some have pinned the party's success on its occurrence so soon after the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, one Israeli expert told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that France has been moving to the right for years and is part of an overall trend in Europe of far-right parties becoming the mainstream.
Dr. Esther Lopatin, director of the European Studies program at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said that Europeans are frustrated by leaders who have ignored their concerns about rapid immigration and radical Islam on the continent.
"Europe is going through a makeover," she said, noting that overall voters are moving to the right politically because "the public is not happy." The voters for far-right parties, Lopatin said, used to be only racists but now include the average French voter "the type that would have voted for [former French president Nicolas] Sarkozy"
"They have the feeling that they have been deserted by the leadership who didn't take their concerns [about immigration and radical Islam] seriously," she said.