Alarm bells ring in France as pro-Vichy book by a Jew is a bestseller

Eric Zemmour is, without a doubt, the superstar of right-wing journalism in France.

The 56-year-old is a columnist for weekly magazine Figaro and a news pundit for RTL, a major private radio station, as well as a frequent guest on political talkshows.

In 2010, when rumours emerged that Figaro was firing him after he allegedly made racist remarks – he had stated on a TV show that “most drugs traffickers are Arabs or blacks” in France – crowds of supporters demonstrated day after day in front of the magazine’s office until it became clear that he would keep his job.

Mr Zemmour, who is Jewish, recently published an essay entitled Le Suicide Français (“French Suicide”), a vitriolic attack on both socialists and political conservatives. He turned the piece into a book, and it now tops France’s bestseller list, ahead of the latest novel by Patrick Modiano, the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The book is clearly provocative by design, but in one particular assertion Mr Zemmour appears to have gone too far: he writes that the Vichy regime tired to save as many Jews as possible…