Jewish French Lawmaker Blasts Le Pen Over Suggested Dual Citizenship Ban

Israel is 'insurance for Jews worldwide,' French-Jewish lawmaker says before 'reminding' far-right leader of her father's praise for Gestapo.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, during a presidential campaign news conference in Paris, France, January 26, 2017.
Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Meyer Habib, a Jewish member of the French National Assembly, lashed out at far-right leader Marine Le Pen over her promise to ban non-European dual citizenships, including Israeli ones, needling her over her father's frequent anti-Semitic comments and praise for Nazism.

Le Pen, a leading contender in the upcoming French presidential contest, told France 2TV last Friday that if elected, she will not allow French citizens to hold on to any citizenship in a non-European country. When asked specifically about Israel and Jews, who form a large community in France, the Front National party leader responded: "Israel isn't a member of the European Union, and doesn't consider itself as such," and therefore a dual French-Israeli citizenship will not be allowed.

Le Pen said that the ban will also apply to citizens of the U.S. and North African countries, but that dual citizens of the EU and of Russia, which she said is part of she termed the "Europe of nations," will be exempted.

In a column written by Habib for the Times of Israel website and published on Sunday, the lawmaker, a vice president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities and a personal friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called the measure unconstitutional and reminded Le Pen of the "imperishable debt Europe owes the Jewish people." 

Meyer Habib.
Tomer Appelbaum

Israel is a "certificate of insurance for Jews worldwide," Habib wrote, adding that had Israel existed at the time, the Holocaust wouldn't have happened. 

Habib pressed on by needling Le Pen over her father's support for Nazism and anti-Semitism. Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of Marine's National Front party, "praised the Gestapo and the German occupation," Habib wrote, adding that Le Pen senior was convicted by the court over these remarks. Habib noted that Jean-Marie was also recently charged over comments against the French-Jewish singer Patrick Bruel, whom he suggested should be sent to the ovens.

"No Madame Le Pen, you can never ask a Franco-Israeli to choose between his mother and his father, France and Israel," Habib concluded. 

Israel’s French community reacted with dismay and defiance to Le Pen's comments. Many French Jews who have immigrated to Israel told Haaretz that if France ban dual-citizenships they would choose to remain citizens of the Jewish state, but said they fear for the physical and financial safety of those who continue to live in France or who travel between the two countries.