BRUSSELS (Nov. 8)
The political isolation of French right-wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen continued to widen last week when 265 of the 464 members of the Strasbourg-based Parliament of Europe signed a statement denouncing his denial of the Holocaust.
Le Pen leads the ultra-rightist National Front in France and has declared himself a candidate for president in next year’s elections. He also heads a far right-wing bloc in the European Parliament consisting of 10 National Front deputies, five Italian neo-fascists and two other right-wingers from Greece and Northern Ireland.
Le Pen shocked and angered Jews and non-Jews all over the continent when, in a Sept. 13 interview on Radio Luxembourg he referred to the Holocaust as a “mere detail” in the history of World War 11 and suggested that the gas chambers never existed.
On Sept. 17, thousands of people demonstrated in Paris demanding that Parliament lift Le Pen’s immunity so that he can be tried for incitement to race hatred and defense of Nazi war crimes. On Sept. 20, the International League Against Anti-Semitism announced it would press a civil suit against Le Pen for “spreading racial hatred.”
Subsequently, Le Pen was forced to cancel a visit to Britain when leaders of the Conservative Party denied him permission to address a fringe group at its annual conference in Blackpool. He had been invited by Sir Alfred Sherman, a prominent Conservative of extreme right-wing views, who is Jewish.
Last month, the authorities of the canton of Geneva announced that Le Pen would be barred from fulfilling a speaking engagement there on Nov. 26.
The European Parliament statement, signed by more than half of its members, condemned in general the pseudo-scientific theories of the so-called revisionist historians on the subject of the Holocaust.