(JTA) — There is a “real danger” that France’s democracy will be destroyed by its next president, the leader of the country’s federation of Jewish communities warned ahead of Sunday’s presidential election.
“We are in a real danger of seeing the arrival to power of someone who will only use democracy to destroy it,” CRIF president Francis Kalifat said in a radio interview. “We are in a state of total chaos. There is a real sense of urgency that all should be aware of us, and we should all assume our responsibility to go and vote to exclude these candidates, these parties of hate from reaching power.”
Polls show Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in a tight race for the lead with the centrist independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, followed close behind by right-winger Francois Fillon and the communist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon. CRIF has flagged both Melenchon and Le Pen as “candidates of hatred.”
Le Pen recently said France “was not responsible” for the murder of Jews whom French police helped round up for the Nazis. She has also vowed to ban kippahs and the right of French citizens to have an Israeli passport – prohibitions she said were necessary to enforce similar limitations on Muslims.
Melenchon is a supporter of a blanket boycott of the Jewish state, and praised participants of violent protests against Israel, calling their behavior exemplary despite the fact that some of them tried to burn down several synagogues. He condemned French Jews who demonstrated peacefully in support of Israel, suggesting their actions were tantamount to taking up arms “for a foreign country.”