France: Jean Marie Le Pen accused of anti-Semitism
Monday, June 09, 2014
PARIS - Jean Marie le Pen, the founder of the French Far-Right party Front Nationale, is facing fresh allegations of inciting racial hatred after he allegedly made anti-Semitic comments.
Le Pen, the father of the party's leader, Marie le Pen, attacked celebrities who criticized the far-right, such as U.S. singer Madonna and tennis player and musician Yannick Noah, in a video posted on the FN’s website on Friday which was later removed.
When asked for his views on popular French Jewish singer Patrick Bruel, 85-year-old le Pen responded: "On fera une fournée la prochaine fois," meaning in English: "Next time, we'll make a batch."
Although the word "fournée" means "a batch" in English, it can also be interpreted as meaning to "cook a batch", as in using an oven, from the French word "four".
- 'Political error'
The perceived double-entendre was seized on by French anti-racist group SOS Racisme and Jewish associations, who denounced the remarks as being anti-Semitic, claiming they alluded to the crematoria used by the Nazis to kill Jews and other peoples and social groups during the Holocaust.
Le Pen's daughter Marine, the current leader of the French Far-Right party Front Nationale, called her father’s comments a "political error", according to French daily Le Figaro.
But she said in a statement posted on the FN website that the French word "fournée" had no anti-Semitic connotation.
The president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, called on Le Pen to be stripped of his parliamentary immunity as an MEP.
- Race convictions
Patrick Bruel, 55, said on his Facebook page: “I'm not distressed for myself. I am distressed for the memory of six million (victims of the Holocaust).”
Jean Marie Le Pen has convicted several times for racism, inciting racial hatred and denying or minimizing the Holocaust, which are crimes in France.
Led by Marine Le Pen since 2011, the Front Nationale won 25 percent of the vote in the European elections in May.
The party holds 24 seats in the European Parliament.
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