Paris, 24 April 2022

Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, in the name of the Centre’s 400,000 membership and senior officials, Founder and CEO Rabbi Marvin Hier and Director for Global Social Action Rabbi Abraham Cooper, congratulated President Emmanuel Macron on his re-election and wish him success over the next five years.

Samuels lists below some of the lesser known dangers had there been a Le Pen victory, which could possibly have become a ‘kowtow’ to Moscow and its African designs.

Russia is growing in influence, from South Africa to Libya, from Angola to Mali. Foreign Minister Lavrov has called for a “New World Order” – language reminiscent of German Nazism and Italian Fascism of the 1930s. Lavrov now recreates an ‘Axis’, by inviting China to join in “the beginning of a new era in international relations.”

The UN General Assembly voted on suspending Russia from its Human Rights Council, due to war crimes committed in Ukraine. The Africans mostly abstained or voted against the resolution. This was due to Putin’s 2019 Russia-Africa Summit, drawing 43 leaders dependent on Russian arms supplies and strategic support.

A MEMRI article of 20 April noted that “Moscow increases its presence in the Sahel region, to France’s detriment.” It claimed a growing “anti-French sentiment”... in Mali and Burkina Faso, where there are calls for collaboration with Russia, while breaking cooperation with France.

Marine Le Pen, as President, would perhaps have invoked her personal relationship with Vladimir Putin, to feasibly programme a departure from the sixty year old French bases in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. As a result, France would have lost its role in the campaign against Jihadi terrorism in the Sahel. MEMRI suggested that the French loss would be taken up by Russia, China and North Korea.

Even more painful would have been the blow against the “Francophonie,” the French version of the British Commonwealth. While Britain divested itself in the 1960s, France was at war with the Algerian National Liberation Front, as also sowing the establishment of a cultural and financial network with its other former colonies.

Yet another scenario was unveiled by the 19 April learned journal ‘Nature’: “Le Pen election win would be disastrous for research in France and Europe.” Its editorial claims that her RN party reportedly expects to violate European regulations, restricting employment for EU citizens from outside France, thus “impeding academic freedom.”

As President, Madam Le Pen would have been a catalyst to the abyss.

Nevertheless, though Le Pen lost the Presidential ballot, the battle will now move on to the legislative elections of June. The moderate camp, represented by Macron’s “Ensemble Citoyens” (Citizens Together) coalition and a handful of smaller parties, must gain momentum, as the alternative combination of polarized extremes – left or right – would tear apart about 60% of the electorate.

The extreme left leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is already beating the campaign trail, proposing himself as an alternative for the 30% undecided and abstentionists of the Presidential ballot. The extreme right – Le Pen and Zemmour – focus on popular dissatisfaction in times of crisis... Macron and his coalition will need to address the grievances raised by the extremes, instil hope and stability, but also uphold the values that are the strength of France, Europe and the West: freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.