Anger over Marine Le Pen radio interview

By Michel Zlotowski, April 7, 2011

The leader of the Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), Richard Prasquier, has hit out at an Israeli radio station for broadcasting an interview with the National Front's new president, Marine Le Pen, last week.

Only two weeks ago, Jewish radio station Radio J cancelled an interview with Ms Le Pen after coming under heavy criticism from France's communal leadership.

Ms Le Pen told 90FM: "I'm fed up with this caricature of the party, fed up with those who fuel the suspicion that the National Front is an antisemitic party. It is not an antisemitic party, not a racist party and not a xenophobic party.

"When I was a candidate to become the president of the party, I clearly stated that those who appeared to take that line had no room within our ranks.

"The National Front is not a danger for Jewish Frenchmen, quite the opposite. I have Jewish friends, and I think their situation in some places in France is more than problematic and they count upon the National Front to have a protective attitude, just as it does for any other French compatriot."

CRIF's leader Richard Prasquier responded: "It is a pity that an Israeli radio station is handing Marine Le Pen the certificate of Good Republican.

"A lot remains to be done before the National Front rejects the thinking of its chief of 30 years and now Honorary President [Marine's father Jean-Marie Le Pen]."

France's Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim attacked the National Front, saying: "The values of Judaism are foreign to what this organisation viscerally is. The NF is trying to re-establish its reputation.

"Marine Le Pen's statements on the Holocaust, distancing herself from her father, are not sufficient. Fear of the foreigner, fear of the other are values opposed to Judaism."

Last updated: 12:25pm, April 7 2011