The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Sarko and French Arabs

Interesting post at Aqoul on the fury of French Arabs at Nicholas Sarkozy's pro-Israel comments during this war:

So Sarkozy bridged part of the gap between conservatives and xenophobes that weakened the classical French right. By doing so, he's built a voter base large enough to make him the likely next conservative president. And unlike Jospin who lost Arab votes precisely after infuriating them by his statements against Hezbollah - the Sarkozy right-wing base is strong enough not to need Arabs as referees and there will probably be no conjunction of factors which could make Arab votes such a key factor again for the 2007 elections. All the talk about an Arab voter base which suddenly appeared in the aftermath of the 2002 election and on which Arabs could have capitalized is gone. Despite more Arab-related arguments against Sarkozy in 2007 than against Jospin in 2002, Arabs will be virtually powerless. Probably a proof that a spontaneous success gotten by luck more than by political organization and maturity dies away as quickly as it comes.
I tried to leave a comment but got an error message, so here it is (it makes more sense if you read the full article):

I am not so sanguine about the CFCM - it puts Islamists and people who are essentially agents for the Moroccan and Algerian governments in charge of representing the entire Maghrebi-Arab community.

I interpret Sarko's pro-Israel stance not as an appeal to the far-right (which is not necessarily pro-Israel, sometimes for anti-Semitic reasons) but rather the mainstream Atlanticist right and part of the hawkish left. Basically his position dovetails nicely with the growing number of French intellectuals who are taking a pro-American stance, such as BHL, Alain Finkelkraut, and others. This is the fundamental split between the Chiracquistes and Sarko: it's about their position on the US as an ally and as a model to change French society.

As for an "Arab vote" in France, as far as I can see it is not organized, so it's hard to predict its impact.