French far-right leader Marine Le Pen drew the ire of Israel and Jewish groups over the weekend when she said that her country was not responsible for the Vel d’Hiv roundup of July 1942, a wartime raid in which French police arrested 13,152 Jews in Paris.
“If anyone is responsible, then it is those in power at the time, not France as such. It wasn’t France,” Le Pen declared in an interview.
This declaration came less than two weeks before the first round of the presidential election.
For years, the president of the National Front (FN) has tried to polish her party’s image and get rid of overt anti-Semitic references. But the FN has yet to come to terms with its nefarious reputation. Here’s 5 of the worst anti-Semitic moments in recent FN history:
In a TV documentary aired last month, a local representative of the FN in southern France was shown questioning the reality of the Holocaust. “It’s complicated,” he said.
Last week, French newspapers revealed that Marine Le Pen’s treasurer, Axel Loustau published pro-Nazi posts on Facebook for years — and gave a Nazi salute at his birthday party.
In June 2014, honorary chairman Jean-Marie Le Pen used the French word “fournée” (literally, the products baked in an oven) in a squalid reference to the gas chambers in the Nazi concentration camps. For the first time in her political career, Marine Le Pen publicly disavowed her father.
In April 2015, Jean-Marie Le Pen defiantly said that he had no regrets about calling Nazi gas chambers a “detail.”. He later said Marshal Pétain, France’s chief of state under the Vichy collaborationist regime, was no traitor.
In late March, the campaign manager of an FN candidate running for legislative office in southeastern France was ousted after local media revealed anti-Semitic messages he posted on Twitter.