Elie Hatem, a political adviser to former French National Front party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, accused “Zionists and Freemasons” of controlling “public opinion” and the media in France.

Le Pen was removed from leading the party he founded in 2011, and the reins were taken by his daughter Marine.

“We know that Marine Le Pen got closer to some movements that control public opinion in France,” Hatem, a Maronite Christian of Lebanese descent, told Al Arabiya TV last week. A transcript of the interview was translated from Arabic by MEMRI.

“She did so in order to whitewash the National Front. These movement include Zionist movements and Freemasonry which control the press and the government in France,” Hatem said.

The Al Arabiya interviewer interrupted Hatem, saying it was up to the French authorities responsible for the media to answer the allegations.

Hatem replied: “Even some Zionists say so, this is well known in France, that is why everybody is afraid to talk about this. This is a sort of dictatorship.”

Hatem said he was a member of the French national movement L’action Francaise, “a royalist movement founded by Charles Maurras.”

“I am against the idea of secularism espoused by Marine Le Pen, as I told her on several occasions,” Hatem said.

“The Freemasons were behind the secularism and they founded the French republic government on the three principles defended by Freemasonry: liberty, equality and fraternity,” he said.

In 2014, Hatem was the National Front’s candidate for mayor of the 4th arrondissement of Paris. He was a curiosity of sorts at the time, being the first Action Francaise member to stand for election in any capacity in 20 years.

Action Francaise is a far-right monarchist movement established in 1899 in reaction against the support of left-wing intellectuals of Jewish French army officer Alfred Dreyfus.

Maurras, mentioned by Hatem, became the movement’s ideologue and steered it in a Catholicist, anti-secularist direction. Maurras called for the reversal of the principles of the French Revolution.

Maurras was imprisoned after World War II and the movement’s popularity waned. Its ideas, however, remain influential in some circles of the French far right.

When Hatem ran for election, his colleagues in the National Front tried to play down his ties to Action Francaise, presenting the movement as a stream with the National Front more than a political entity in its own right.