French Far-Right Leader Hits Back at 'Cowardly' Daughter
A rift between the founder of France's far-right National Front party and his daughter, who is the current leader, widened Tuesday over an apparently anti-Semitic pun made by the father in a video.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, 85, stirred up controversy yet again in a video recently posted on the party's website, in which he vowed to put his critics in their place - including French singer Patrick Bruel, who is Jewish - using a pun suggesting Nazi gas chambers.
Speaking about Bruel, Le Pen said he would be part of "a batch we will get next time," using the word "fournee" for "batch," evoking the word "four" ("oven").
The video was immediately denounced by Le Pen's daughter Marine, who took over the FN's leadership in 2011, as a "political error."
It was the first time she criticized her father in public. The senior Le Pen has had multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred and denying crimes against humanity.
The video has been taken off the party's website. The FN's lawyer Walleyrand de Saint-Just said Tuesday this had been done for "legal reasons."
Le Pen strikes back
Jean-Marie Le Pen said Tuesday he was hurt by his daughter's criticism, and that he had had "no communication" from her.
"There has been no courteousness in this affair. As far as my feelings go, I am very hurt," he said. "I can take direct hits to the face but not cowardly ones in the back."
Marine Le Pen has been trying to de-toxify the image of the party as a racist and anti-Semitic group.
The party came first in France with 25% of the vote in European elections, and took around a third – between 23 and 25 – of France's 74 seats in the European Parliament.
Jean-Marie Le Pen has come out with a series of controversial comments over the years, such as saying that the gas chambers in World War II were a "detail of history," or more recently that the Ebola virus could address Europe's immigration issues.