Jan 112018

France’s most famed publishing house has bowed to pressure and suspended plans to reissue a collection of violently antisemitic pamphlets by novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline.

Gallimard sparked an outcry last week when it revealed it intended to publish a 1,000-page compendium of the controversial writer’s essays from the late 1930s.

The French lawyer and Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld threatened legal action to stop them, saying that Céline had “influenced a whole generation of collaborationists who sent French Jews to their deaths”.

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 Posted by at 8:44 pm
Jun 282016

The Islamic State rose to power so quickly because the Arab world falsely believed it had escaped the influence of the Nazis, France’s leading philosopher has claimed.


Bernard-Henri Levy, whose documentary about Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers battling Isil will soon be screened in Britain, said he believed the jihadist threat was “the last pearl to be released from the Nazi oyster.”

“We are facing a world wave that started early in the early twentieth century, arriving at its peak now,” said the so-called “warrior-philosopher,” who visited the frontlines of northern Iraq during filming.

He described the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) as “a wave of radical Islam, which is a sort of fascism that is an Arab version of the Nazi revolution.”

 Posted by at 10:42 pm
Sep 232012

European lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit

revoked his membership of the French Greens on Sunday in protest at the party’s decision to oppose the ratification of the European Union’s budget discipline pact.

The move threatens to rob the Europe-Ecologie Party of one of its most recognisable deputies – known for his rabble-rousing during 1968 student riots in Paris – and may exacerbate tensions within the group, which supports France’s Socialist-led government and has two ministerial posts.

The French Greens voted overwhelmingly against the terms of the pact at a grassroots assembly on Saturday, concluding that it would not provide long-term answers to the EU crisis nor help foster environmentally friendly policies.

France is expected to ratify the pact early next month, though a major revolt within the coalition could force the Socialists into an embarrassing reliance on the conservative opposition.

“Yesterday’s federal council was dramatic. Dramatically pathetic,” Cohn-Bendit told French television station i-Tele.

“I’ve decided to suspend my participation in this movement. It’s clear to me that deep down, things are finished between me and Europe-Ecologie.”

Cohn-Bendit, nicknamed “Danny the Red” for his student activism, has served as deputy for French Green parties since 1999 and is co-president of the European Parliament’s Greens group.

 Posted by at 3:55 pm
Sep 122012

France’s ruling Socialists said on Wednesday a long-serving party member who was convicted of financial misdemeanours in the 1990s has been nominated to succeed former minister Martine Aubry as leader.
France’s Socialist party politician Harlem Desir attends the summer meeting of the French Socialist Party in La 

Harlem Desir,

a member of the European Parliament and former president of rights group SOS Racisme, is seen as a safe choice for President Francois Hollande at a time when party hardliners are protesting against his plans for major cuts in the deficit.

The 52-year-old, a Socialist Party veteran who has never been a minister or member of the national parliament, fended off competition for the post from another veteran who has also been convicted of financial misconduct, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis.

Desir was fined and given an 18-month suspended jail term in 1998 by a court that found him guilty of taking illicit payment from an organisation that provided immigrants with professional training.

Rival Cambadelis was convicted twice on similar grounds in two other Socialist Party affairs.

Three months after elections that swept the left to power after a decade in opposition, Desir’s nomination, announced in a statement by Aubry and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, sparked scathing reactions from opposition parties.

The far-right National Front led the charge, with party vice-president, Louis Aliot, decrying in a statement what he called a nomination contest between “two ex-convicts”.

More moderate adversaries within the centre-right UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy denounced Desir’s nomination as a stitch-up rather than a contest worthy of the party that struck a chord with voters last year when it held France’s first-ever open primary to pick a presidential runner.

While Desir’s appointment still has to be endorsed by party members in an October vote, the duel with Cambadelis was settled in negotiations behind closed doors between Aubry and Ayrault, and – according to some media reports – Hollande himself.

UMP member Valerie Rosso-Debord said the Socialist Party had reverted to “the methods of the ancient regime” of pre-revolutionary monarchy-ruled France.

“Two people nominate Desir and the Socialist Party wants to give us a lesson in democracy,” tweeted UMP Senator Roger Karoutchi.

Beyond the controversy over the nomination process and the court conviction dating back to an era when murky funding was much more part of the fabric of French political life, Desir is regarded as a Hollande-friendly choice at a tricky moment.

One of his main challenges will be to limit dissenters on the party’s left who reject a European budget responsibility pact Hollande hopes to ratify next month and deficit-cutting plans that some hardliners say amount to dangerous austerity.

Desir, like Hollande, carved his pro-European credentials in stone when he fought unsuccessfully in 2005 to convince the Socialist Party to back a new European constitutional treaty.

 Posted by at 2:44 pm

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