(JTA) — Jean-Marie Le Pen denied his recent blog on the National Front website was anti-Semitic and asked his daughter — party leader Marine Le Pen — to return the deleted post.
Le Pen, the party’s founder and honorary president, made the request Wednesday in a letter to his daughter protesting the removal of the blog because of a statement he made in a video posted there on June 6, he told the daily French newspaper Le Monde. He added that he would make the letter public on Thursday.
In the video Le Pen, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews and hate speech about the Holocaust, said of the French-Jewish singer Patrick Bruel, “We will put him in an oven.”
His letter asks his daughter “to restore the situation to as it was before” and called the removal “an injustice,” he told Le Monde. “This is an illegitimate action and there is no reason that I should tolerate it,” added Le Pen, who has posted 366 blog posts on the party’s website.
In the Le Monde interview, Le Pen insisted that his reference to Bruel — one of France’s most famous Jewish artists and a vocal critic of the National Front — was not anti-Semitic.
“Criticizing a Jew or replying to a Jew is not anti-Semitism,” Le Pen said. “They are citizens like everyone else. When they attack you, we reply without any problem.”
Marine Le Pen also said her father’s statement was not anti-Semitic, but added that his failure “not to have foreseen how this phrase would be interpreted is a political mistake.”
The National Front under Marine Le Pen, her father told Le Monde, “is afraid of being accused or associated with the ultimate crime of anti-Semitism.” Le Pen also listed a number of human rights groups — including the Jewish umbrella group, CRIF — for overly playing the anti-Semitism card against him.
On Monday, Le Pen told the French broadcaster RMC that he “didn’t know he [Bruel] was Jewish.”