PARIS (Oct. 13)
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the French extreme right-wing National Front, has filed a libel suit against a Jewish leader for tying him to racial violence.
His suit against Jean Kahn, president of CRIF, the umbrella structure of the Jewish organizations in France, arose from remarks Kahn made to the influential French daily Le Monde.
In his comments on recent racial and anti-Semitic acts in Europe, Kahn said, “One cannot but link the desecration of the Jewish cemetery of Herrlisheim to the racist events of Rostock in Germany.”
He said that Le Pen’s declarations “are also an incitement to racial hatred.”
Kahn was referring to the vandalism last month at a Jewish cemetery in the Alsace region of France, in which some 200 graves were vandalized, and the attacks in the northern German port city of Rostock, in which right-wing youths torched a hostel for asylum-seekers.
He was alluding to remarks which Le Pen made on Aug. 23 during an address in his hometown in Brittany, in which he lashed out against those “in favor of secure borders for Israel” and in favor of destroying those of France.
Le Pen made the remarks during a campaign against ratification of the Maastricht Treaty on European unity.
He is suing Kahn for 100,000 francs — over $20,000 — plus the same amount for expenses.
Given the attitude of the Paris judiciary on other occasions in cases of this sort, observers give Le Pen and Kahn equal chances of winning.
Kahn refrained from any comment for the time being.