JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations said he attended a luncheon for the head of France’s extreme right party, Marine Le Pen, "by accident."
Ron Prosor reportedly attended the Nov. 3 event for Le Pen, the leader of the National Front party founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Marine Le Pen has been trying to distance the party from the anti-Semitic and xenophobic opinions expressed by her father.
Prosor said he left the room immediately after realizing his error, but French newspapers published a photograph of him with Le Pen. Prosor told the Israeli daily Haaretz that he did not speak to Le Pen or hear her briefing. Television cameras captured Prosor on film as he left the room saying that he had spoken with Le Pen.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told the Israeli media over the weekend that Prosor’s entering the meeting “was an error of judgment.” Palmor said Prosor tried to leave the room quietly but was stopped by Le Pen, who shook his hand and spoke with him.
Meanwhile, Le Pen skipped a planned visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The visit reportedly was supposed to make some amends to the international Jewish community and to draw a distinction between her and her father’s views.
Jean Marie LePen once called the Nazi’s gas chambers a “detail of World War II.” He was convicted in Germany for inciting racial hatred for the statement.