Jean-Marie Le Pen Slammed for Pun With Holocaust Overtones

Image: Getty Images

An apparent anti-Semitic pun by former far-right French leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has spurred calls for his prosecution.

Le Pen, the founder of the National Front party and currently a legislator, said in a video posted on the party website that “next time we will put him in an oven” when asked about French singer Patrick Bruel’s criticisms of the party. Bruel is Jewish.

On Sunday, Le Pen denied any racist overtones in the remarks, which were removed from the website over the weekend, though he reportedly has used similar wordplay in the past.

SOS Racisme said it would file a complaint “in the coming days” against Le Pen, according to the French news agency AFP. The Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples reportedly also said it will lodge a complaint and called Le Pen “an authentic anti-Semite,” according to AFP.

Le Pen, whose daughter Marine now heads the party, has a history of convictions for “inciting racial hatred” and Holocaust denial. He once described the gas chambers in Nazi death camps as a historical “detail.”

On Sunday, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor called on the European Union to strip Le Pen of his parliamentary immunity and for French authorities to charge him with incitement.

“Le Pen has unmasked the true face of the far-Right of Europe days after their electoral successes in the European Parliament,” Kantor said in a statement. “While some have tried to whitewash and mainstream these parties, Le Pen’s comments demonstrate that they still stand on foundations of hatred, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

“It is time for the European Union and European nations to raise the bar to what constitutes acceptable speech by anyone, Member of Parliament or not,” he said.

Written by


Your Comments

The 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 Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Jean-Marie Le Pen Slammed for Pun With Holocaust Overtones

Thank you!

This article has been sent!