Jean-Marie Le Pen charged with inciting hatred for anti-Semitic statements
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Jean-Marie Le Pen charged with inciting hatred for anti-Semitic statements

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen looks on at the foot of a statue of Joan of Arc during the party’s annual rally in honor of Joan of Arc in Paris, May 1, 2015. (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the far-right National Front party in France, has been charged with inciting hatred for anti-Semitic statements he made in 2014.

His lawyer Frederic Joachim announced the charges on Saturday, the French news agency AFP reported. Joachim said Le Pen’s comments had been cut during editing and misinterpreted.

Le Pen, 88, said in a video posted on the party website in June 2014 that “next time we will put him in an oven” when asked about French singer Patrick Bruel’s criticisms of the party. Bruel is Jewish. In the video, Le Pen attacked a number of party critics.

Le Pen, who reportedly had used similar wordplay in the past, has a history of convictions for “inciting racial hatred” and Holocaust denial. He once described the gas chambers in Nazi death camps as a historical “detail.”

Le Pen’s daughter, Marine Le Pen, currently heads the party and is running for French president. She has sought to gain mainstream acceptance for the National Front by distancing herself and the anti-immigrant party from her father’s anti-Semitic rhetoric.

In May 2015 Jean-Marie Le Pen was suspended from the party, and later expelled for his Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic speech. A court in November said the party must allow him to retain the title of honorary president, however. Jean-Marie Le Pen has since disowned his daughter.