'Marine Le Pen? Chip off the old block'

By Michel Zlotowski, December 22, 2010
Plus ça change:  Le Pen said last week that Muslims were ‘occupying’ France

Plus ça change: Le Pen said last week that Muslims were ‘occupying’ France

A regional leader of the Council of French Jewish Organisations (CRIF), Marcel Amsellem, has warned Jews not to be deceived by the National Front's possible new leader, Marine Le Pen, whose popularity is on the rise in France.

"Those who believed Marine Le Pen would be more acceptable than her father are unbelievably gullible and of bad faith," said Mr Amsellem.

A recent poll indicates that Marine Le Pen, 42, the youngest daughter of extreme-right wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, is due to get 12 to 14 per cent of votes in the 2012 presidential election.

Rather like the BNP, Marine Le Pen has made attempts to "de-demonize" the National Front, at least with respect to Jews. She repeatedly distanced herself from her father on the issue of the Second World War gas chambers.

On several occasions, Jean-Marie Le Pen publicly made denialist remarks, calling the gas chambers "a detail of the history of the Second World War".

"He is Jean-Marie, I'm Marine, I don't share his vision of this period. The National Front has nothing to do with Nazi ideology," she said last week.

Marine Le Pen triggered uproar last week when she publicly said that Muslims praying on the streets were a kind of "occupation". CRIF said it was "indignant at Marine Le Pen's statements aimed at stigmatising the Muslim community. It is a deceitful manipulation of history and of language."

Last updated: 1:44pm, December 22 2010