(JTA) — Jean-Marie Le Pen denied making anti-Semitic statements on his blog and asked his daughter, Marine Le Pen, to repost the blog on the website of the far-right National Front party which she heads.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is the party’s honorary president and founder, made the request Wednesday in a letter he wrote to his daughter, protesting the removal of his 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 he would make the letter publicly available on Thursday.
In the video, Jean-Marie 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.”
In the letter, Jean-Marie Le Pen asked 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, Jean-Marie 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. 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.” He also listed a number of human rights groups he said were responsible for creating this reality, including SOS Racisme, MRAP, LICRA and the Jewish umbrella group, CRIF.
On Monday, Jean-Marie Le Pen told RMC, the French broadcaster, that he “didn’t know he [Bruel] was Jewish.”