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Civil Suit Against Le Pen

The International League Against Anti-Semitism (LICRA) will press its civil suit against Jean-Marie Le Pen for “spreading racial hatred” despite the rightwing leader’s claim that his public remarks denigrating the Holocaust were “misunderstood,” Jean-Pierre Bloch, president of LICRA said Friday.

Le Pen, whose National Front won 34 seats in the Chamber of Deputies in the last elections, enjoys parliamentary immunity. He cannot be criminally charged for his statement in a nationally broadcast radio interview September 13 that the gas chambers were a “minor point” in the history of World War II and the Holocaust itself was exaggerated if it indeed occurred.

Le Pen called a press conference Friday where he complained he was unfairly accused of anti-Semitism. He read a message addressed to “my Jewish compatriots,” saying that “France bears the same love for all her sons, whatever their race or their religion.” He did not retract his earlier remarks. He said their meaning was that Jews were among the millions who died in Europe during the war and “the methods used to kill them are a chapter, a point of history.”

Jewish spokesmen said they would continue to fight Le Pen and “his sick ideology and his methods.”

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