Greta Thunberg spent her weekend in France supporting two environmental campaigns. On Sunday she appeared at a rally in Bordeaux against an oil drilling project; 24 hours earlier the 21-year-old Swede was further east, adding her voice to those activists opposed to the construction of a new stretch of motorway between Toulouse and Castres. ‘We are here in solidarity with those who are resisting this project and this madness’, said Thunberg in English, her now familiar keffiyeh round her neck.
Some French media described Thunberg as an ‘anti-global warming icon’ and the ‘figurehead in the fight to protect the planet’. She might have been once.
Now, however, in her ubiquitous keffiyeh, appearing to chant ‘Crush Zionism’ or endorsing slogans such as ‘Palestine will be free’ she has become – perhaps unwittingly – the figurehead for what conservative commentators in France call ‘the green alliance’.
Three years ago Jean Messiha, the spokesman for Eric Zemmour during his 2022 presidential campaign, wrote of this strange coalition between Islamists and ecologists: ‘They share one colour: green. But not only that. They also share a totalitarian approach to society.’
Among those present at the weekend’s protest rallies was the environmental campaign group Soulèvements de la terre (Earth’s uprising). There is no ambiguity about whose side they are on in the Gaza conflict. In a press release published three weeks after the slaughter of 1,200 Israelis, they described the terrorists who carried out October’s pogrom, as ‘Palestine fighters’, saying ‘The murderous attacks of Palestinian fighters against Israeli civilian populations cannot justify joining those of the Netanyahu government against Palestinian civilian populations.’ They added that Palestinians ‘have been crushed for more than half a century by the colonisation that has deprived them of their land and their right to self-determination.’ Israel was accused of being an ‘apartheid regime’.
Last March Soulèvements de la terre made headlines when one of their protests – against a large water basin in western France – turned extremely violent.