French Far-Right Candidate Bounced for Downplaying Holocaust

National Front Struggles With Anti-Semitic Image

By Reuters

Published November 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A candidate for the far-right National Front has been banned from its election ticket for belittling the Holocaust, another sign of racism in its ranks jeopardising its bid to enter town halls across France in next year’s local elections.

Joris Hanser, 20, from the eastern town of Rixheim, was the latest to be dropped by Marine Le Pen’s party after local media exposed comments he posted on social media making light of the Nazi mass murder of Jews, a crime in France.

Another National Front candidate was barred last month for comparing France’s black justice minister to a monkey. A third candidate of Algerian origin quit the party this week after alleging that one National Front official had told her that she and her children should be “put in an oven”.

Polls show the FN gaining ground against Socialist and centre-right rivals in the town hall elections next March at a time when France’s economic difficulties and disillusionment with mainstream parties are deepening.

One poll also showed Le Pen’s party winning more votes than any other in European Parliament elections two months later.

Its strong survey showing has prompted Le Pen, who has sought to build a more mainstream image for the party than it had under her father Jean-Marie, to predict that it could win up to one thousand counsellor posts in town halls across the country, plus take overall control in at least 10 town halls.

But analysts said the repeated scandals over unfit candidates already suggest the National Front is struggling to find ones able to credibly project the party’s new image.

NEED FOR SUITABLE CANDIDATES

“Their real issue is finding candidates,” said Jean-Francois Doridot, an analyst at pollster Ipsos. “They don’t have enough people, so they are less scrupulous about background checks, even if they immediately ban candidates exposed as racist.”

Legal obligations to field equal numbers of female candidates as male ones has caused further problems in a traditionally male-dominated party, he added.

Marine Le Pen’s image revamp has helped the National Front gain wider acceptance in Brignoles, a town in Provence in the south where its candidate won a by-election last month.

Yet Le Pen herself fuelled debate about alleged bias when she questioned beards and scarves worn by four French hostages on their homecoming last week after three years as hostages of Islamist militants. She later said the quip was “unfortunate”.

Some critics argue that while Le Pen has cleared bigots from her party’s leadership, its members have changed little overall from the time when her father, Jean-Marie, ran the party until 2010.

Harry Roselmack, the first black man to host nightly news on French public television, argues that various incidents - such as when children waved bananas at Justice Minister Christiane Taubira and insulted her on a visit to the city of Angers - point to creeping racism in a society increasingly confused about its identity.

“They are not slips of the tongue; they are the unvarnished expression of a world view widely shared in the National Front,” he wrote in an op-ed published last week in Le Monde daily.

“While it’s false to say that all National Front supporters and officials are racist, it is just as false to say there is no racism in this party: racism and xenophobia are the cement that keeps it together.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.