PARIS (Jul. 1)
An anti-Semitic remark by Jean-Marie Le Pen has resulted in formal charges being brought against the leader of the National Front, an extreme right-wing party in France.
Le Pen was quoted in a recent interview as saying that “international Jewry is partly responsible for reducing national patriotism.”
He is expected to go on trial in a Paris court this fall for slander and spreading racist propaganda.
Prosecution of Le Pen was made possible earlier this year, after the European Parliament stripped him of the immunity he enjoys as a deputy to the 12-nation legislative body.
Le Pen, who has frequently denied he is anti-Semitic, has demeaned the Holocaust as a “footnote” to history and claimed in a Radio Luxembourg broadcast several years ago that gas chambers never existed.
The right-wing leader suffered a political setback in Nice last week when his former ally, Mayor Jacques Medecin, refused to approve the nomination of two National Front members to the City Council. Nice is a National Front stronghold.
In addition to voting against the two National Front members, the mayor issued a statement condemning racism and affirming his friendship for the Jewish community.
Medecin apparently was trying to mend fences after two Jewish aldermen, Andre Sfar and Jill-Patrice Cassuto, resigned in April to protest the reception he held for delegates to the National Front’s convention in Nice.
That incident became a national scandal after Medecin made a number of statements thought to contain veiled anti-Semitic references.