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Sunday, January 22, 2006 

Cal Thomas whitewashes Le Pen

It's a very serious shame whenever a would-be conservative goes around whitewashing the deeds of other bad would-be conservatives. But that's exactly what Cal Thomas did when writing about Jean-Marie Le Pen the other week. And, there's also a few other things about what Le Pen says that warrant some closer examination:
Le Pen, who has been called a fascist, racist, xenophobe and other things that cannot be printed here, says, "We are currently subsidizing everybody, including the illegals. It is costing us the equivalent of $500 billion annually."
But Thomas, the reason Le Pen's been called those things is because of something else that you haven't even mentioned here: Le Pen's anti-Semitism. It's fairly well known that Le Pen is a Jew-basher, and this blog here provides some beginning detail from Slate magazine to what he's like:
If the government doesn't deal with the root causes of the riots, the next presidential election risks being a repeat of 2002, when far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen—who has called the Holocaust a "detail of history" and says that France is in danger of being "submerged" by immigrants—won an unprecedented 20 percent of the vote.
In other words, what Le Pen was saying is that the Holocaust is not important. Is this the kind of person whom Thomas considers worthy of being leader of France?

Here's another something from Haaretz:
An encounter with Le Pen can be a bit of a culture shock. The man is blessed with a rare, intoxicating charisma. Not for nothing did one Jewish political activist in Paris tell me that, if it weren't for the anti-Semitic overtones, he might well have been persuaded by Le Pen and ended up casting his vote for the man. He looks different from up close. His features are softer. His eyes (including the artificial one) are bright. He is wearing a black suit and a blue and gray striped tie, with a matching handkerchief in his jacket pocket. He continuously breaks into raucous laughter that all the other people in the room find infectious.

[...]

These days, Le Pen is trying to portray himself as more moderate in an effort to distance himself from the scandals of the past. He is still an avowed opponent of immigration. He still holds extreme nationalist, Euro-phobic and anti-American views, but he is careful to avoid saying anything that could get him pinned once again with the anti-Semitic label and tie him to the current wave of attacks in France. He watches the anti-Semitic events from afar and agrees with the consensus that says they are an import of the conflict in the Middle East.

"There has definitely been a rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic acts in the past year and a half," he says. "Curses and graffiti have given way to attacks and incitement. It's all an outgrowth of what's happening in the Middle East now. The height of the flames depends on how the conflict develops, on the parties' readiness to reach a compromise."

It is very comfortable for Le Pen to observe all the anti-Semitic incidents from the sidelines, explains Jean Daniel, editor of the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur. He no longer needs to sully himself. The "Arabs" are doing the job for him, say other analysts. They are "the real anti-Semites" and, at the same time, they are earning the public's hatred. Moreover, says the analysts, Le Pen is killing two birds with one stone: He believes the Muslim immigrants are "a grave phenomenon," perhaps the biggest problem facing France at the start of the 21st century. "There is a general problem of gangs that live in the suburbs of the big cities. They are using the events [in the Middle East] as ideological cover for their actions," he says.
Yes, it's possible. Le Pen can certainly be clever, I'll grant him that much. Which is exactly why he's dangerous.

Now, here, from the European Jewish Press, is an article on a lawsuit filed against Le Pen for the gas chamber statements he made back in the mid-1980s (and here's something from Opinion Journal as well). Need I continue? What that awful man did back then was throughly inexcusable, and, a few years ago, he went to visit Saddam in Iraq, and is certainly quite a fan of his, which puts his low opinion of the Islamofascists under a question mark. Mainly because, let's say that dictators like Saddam objected to deporting a lot of the Islamofascists littering up the country. Would Le Pen really want to alienate his best friends in the Arab League? Somehow, I doubt it.

That aside, his opinion of Arab/Muslim women is also offensive. Four years ago, he told the UK Guardian that the Islamic veil "protects us from ugly women." Pardon? Did it not occur to him that not only are not all women under that veil "ugly" as he calls them, but that quite a few of them are indeed miserable about the oppression they suffer by being put beneath it too? Clearly, Le Pen knows no shame. Instead of helping Arab/Muslim women, he's only hurting them even more. Whatever their physical looks, do they deserve to have to suffer under a garment that provides them with very little sunlight? No way.

(In fact, where was Le Pen during that train ride of terror between Nice and Lyon a few weeks ago? If he had any condemnation to make, I have yet to hear it.)

So it comes as an absolute shock for me that Thomas is going around whitewashing a man with a most vicious record as Le Pen's. Cal should be ashamed of himself.

It's also utterly hilarious that Thomas should be going around shilling for a man who's already getting close to eighty years old, and thus, is already reaching past the point of being qualified for a job that works best when you're young and in really good health. What in all due honesty is Thomas trying to prove by promoting him? Sorry, Cal, but that's crossing a line, and for that, you owe more than a considerable amount of people an apology.

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Hi! Thank you for your insights. I like Cal Thomas in general, although we disagree on various things. I think that, unfortunately, in the case of Le Pen, Thomas is simply ignorant (as I was, until reading your piece). As you know, the US media seem to hide key details of political leaders -- particularly foreign political leaders -- usually out of sheer laziness on the part of the reporters. When i read of Le Pen's attitude towards Islamic invaders, I was impressed. Now that have shown me that he is a confirmed anti-Semite, I am very disappointed, and, therefore must -- with you -- rightly reject him. Thank you for the background info! Your treatment of Le Pen is very balanced, also. -- gunjam

gunjam is right about how the US media "hide key details of. . . foreign political leaders." There is a lot that they hid about arafat [the unlamented and belatedly departed], and that they now hide about abu mazen [mahmud abbas]. Abu Mazen, for instance, got a doctoral degree in Moscow [!!of all places!!] in the Communist period and wrote a doctoral dissertation denying the Holocaust. The MSM made a big fuss over a fellow named Yushchenko in the Ukraine back in late 2004. He made the orange revolution and was going to bring democracy, prosperity, and all the goodies. Now, most people there hate him. He is seen as another corrupt politician. And this was a hero of the MSM.
If you back many years, Castro was portrayed as a swell fellow, a real democrat by the NYTimes back in 1959. Even worse, Khomeini was portrayed as a good guy compared with the Shah of Iran back in 1978. The Nation magazine claimed at the time that Khomeini was going to bring civil liberties to Iran.
This may be unbelievable but it is true. Ramsey Clark, then chairman of the National Council of the American Civil Liberties, also championed Khomeini at the time, blaming the American Jews for Khomeini not being welcomed officially by Washington.

Thanks, everybody. I've been thinking that it's possible that one of the reasons why the MSM is giving attention to shady people of Le Pen's standing could be because they're trying to draw attention away from better politicians like Sarkozy (and no, the MSM hasn't exactly been favorable to him) and Philippe de Villiers. The same arguments could also apply to the situations surrounding Castro, Khomeini, and even Ramsey Clark, with the MSM trying to depict them favorably in order to draw attention away from better politicians in those cases as well, and totally obscuring many of the more in-depth details about them. It's a shame that these kind of whitewashes are still going on, but, that's the MSM, and it's unlikely that the MSM will change for the better in the forseeable future.

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