PARIS – I met National Front leader Marine Le Pen at her Paris office on
Thursday on the Boulevard Malsherbes, the headquarters of the Support Committee
for her candidacy in the presidential election.
We met on the same day
she published an open letter to the two remaining candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy
and François Hollande, accusing both of “scorning” her 6.5 million voters. She
has said she will announce voting advice for her supporters on Tuesday at the
party’s annual “Joan of Arc Day” rally.
She welcomed me to her office
with a smile. On the wall was a blue oil painting, a reference to her first
name, which means navy blue. She said the painting had been given to her by a
When I arrived in Paris I saw Le Nouvel
Observateur with a photo of Sarkozy as Orpheus sinking below the waves. The
title was: Why does Marine Le Pen want him to lose? So I’ll ask you the question
myself. Why do you? Le Pen:
I have already said I was not hoping for the victory
of one or the other [Sarkozy or Hollande]. They are like two heads fighting each
other but they have the same body: Europeanism, ultra-liberalism, laxness, the
libertarianism of [the protests and strikes of] May 1968, the giving in to the
surrender of national sovereignty. But now is the time to be clear, to tell the
truth. Nicolas Sarkozy cannot address my voters simply by speaking against the
Socialist Party. He has to answer the question: In the coming general election, if there is a duel between the National Front and the
Socialist Party, from which would he prefer a member of parliament? My voters
will decide according to his answer.So you are the “divine surprise.” I
heard you during your post-election meeting when you said, “Here comes the navy
True, but I can see there is also another wave, red-glowing.
It will be necessary to surf between the two waves.Hollande has already
acquired the Left party votes, whereas Sarkozy will lose without you, so you
could contribute to his downfall.
It is his own fault; he betrayed my
voters and he should have kept his 2007 promises. He would have kept his
National Front voters. It is his choice, not mine... It is Nicolas Sarkozy who
will make François Hollande president of France. Personally, I do not want an
alliance. I don’t want to be prime minister.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, explained to me that in the case of a challenge at
the general elections, she will vote for the Socialist Party. In that case, he
has to pay the price.Sarkozy questioned the “compatibility” of National
Front voters with the republic, provoking indignation in Libération and
L’Humanité, which plastered him across the front page next to [Phillipe] Pétain
[who was later tried for treason]. But the National Front has not
Where is Nicolas Sarkozy’s right to decide if a 40-year-old
party is accepted or not accepted in the republic? Why wait until now, before
the second round of the election, when he already contributed to the vision of
National Front voters as social pariahs, with contempt and injustice, for
electoral reasons. This is called dishonesty.Your young niece, Marion,
is running for parliament from the southern French town of Carpentras, where the
National Front was accused of desecrating a Jewish cemetery years ago. Her
grandfather, Jean-Marie Le Pen, asked her to “clear his name.”
Carpentras is still a symbol of injustice. We were accused by the highest
authorities of the state of something we did not do. This wound, this slanderous
gossip was used as the basis for a war against us, a deeply unjust
attack.Your father has uttered some negative comments about the
I am not going to spend my life making comments about a phrase
uttered 25 years ago.But you do understand that our paper and our
readers have a particular interest in this question?
I have said a thousand
times that I did not possess Jean-Marie Le Pen’s vision about World War II; we
do not have the same references because we do not have the same age nor have we
followed the same career.
I think people are making unfounded accusations
against him. Our political adversaries have used this to create a make-believe
anti-Semitic threat from the National Front, where in reality the danger comes
from the catastrophic rise of the Islamic fundamentalists in our country. I have
been saying for years: Make no mistake, the danger is not where you think it is
and today we find ourselves confronted with the Merah Affair [the shootings last
month of three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children by a Muslim man].
That’s all.But you are aware of the link between negativism,
anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?
There is a transfer of the Israeli- Palestinian
conflict to French territory, in some districts, a reality negated for years.
Nicolas Sarkozy has granted visas every year to preachers from the UOIF [Union
of Islamic Organizations of France] congress who are people calling for the
murder of Jews and we had to point this out, right up to the last minute, until
he refused them visas.
When you see the relations between Nicolas Sarkozy
and Qatar, which supports him at the international level, the core support of
Islamic fundamentalism... Nicolas Sarkozy and the UOIF have built up together
the ‘Council of Muslims in France,’ which is representing the Muslim Brotherhood
and spreads its hate thought within French territory.Are you speaking
about Barcelona FC [football club], which is sponsored by Qatar?
I am talking
about Paris Saint-Germain FC. I have a very bad feeling about this takeover and
the importance it has in this country. They were allowed to buy some key parts
of our strategic enterprises, invest 50 million in French banlieues [suburbs]
for ethnic and religious reasons, and why do they buy a football team, PSG?
Because they know it is a way of having power over the young. To let this happen
is madness.Are you concerned about an Iranian nuclear bomb and an
Israeli attack to stop it?
I do not believe in that. When Israel talks about it,
it means that they are not sure they would do it. They will do it when they
don’t talk about it anymore. The principle of international relations is to
function with pressure, intimidation, leadership brawling.
One should not
minimize tomorrow’s role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia – maybe Iran is barking, but
the other two, they could bite.Do you believe there is an Iranian
nuclear menace to Israel?
I do not believe so. If one day Iran imagined using
the bomb, they would be liquefied in a second... but Iran has the right to civil
nuclear power. I worry when the United States maneuvers a situation, it has
always been bad with international affairs, a proper walking catastrophe, and it
has created conditions of danger in the world.
Remember Iraq: Is Israel
more secure after the Iraq war and the Arab Spring? All that did not improve
security for Israel, but I was the first one to say, be careful not to replace a
secular dictatorship with an Islamic one. I prefer the secular one.In
1990 your father was on the side of Iraq.
There was an analysis made
which since has turned out to be exact, the same for Libya. This assessment said
that Iraq is not a country, a nation, but a conglomeration of tribes, and Saddam
Hussein’s downfall – the same thing that happened later to [former Libyan leader
Muammar] Gaddafi – was not going to pacify but aggravate the situation, with
Islamic fundamentalism taking over in the country and the persecution of
More than 100,000 Christians fled from Iraq to
Libya. Where are they going now? Tunisia, Egypt, Mali and Syria, that is a bit
much! This brings me back to false friends: Who are the real friends, those who
make decisions that give you security or those who embark upon actions that put
you in danger? This is the real question Israel should ask itself.
have always thought our position was anti-Zionist. A mistaken analysis based
upon prejudice. Jean- Marie Le Pen fought at the side of the Israelis during
[the] Suez [Crisis] in 1956. The National Front has always recognized Israel’s
And now in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? If there is a
solution, it consists of separating the fundamentalists from the two sides in
order to arrive at a compromise. Regarding Jerusalem, we are not going to agree,
as not all my Jewish friends even agree with me on the subject: Jerusalem is the
heritage of humanity; it should be under international community
responsibility.You have never been there; you were refused entry into
I was prevented going, Israel has too many friends (laughs)... I
will only go if I am invited... you have seen what has happened to the Israeli
ambassador in the UN? The day after we met, the ambassador was saying he knocked
at the wrong door. Frankly, why create enemies where there aren’t any, hasn’t
Israel enough enemies already? It is incomprehensible.Your rise together
with other extreme right-wing parties in Europe creates strong
I am delighted! I am very happy, because the European
countries have understood that the real enemy of the EU is us, that’s true. I am
against European federalism; I support the sovereignty of the people.
people decide in any circumstance; it is not the technocrats nor the bureaucrats
nor the Europhiles, nor the European representatives, all that looks like
dictatorship to me.
From the moment my dispute with the EU attracted such
a number of votes, the commission realized that for the EU it was the beginning
of the end. The euro zone will implode, and we will move toward “intra-national”
relationships, the only hope for the countries of Europe.LE PEN INSISTED
on sending a message to the international press:
“The image constantly imposed
upon us as a party of the extreme right is insulting and pejorative. We are
formally contesting it. We are a patriotic party and consider that the future is
the nation-state, not the ‘Soviet European Empire.’ The austerity plans, we are
fighting against them; the transfer of sovereignty, we are fighting it... the
decay of identity, we are fighting it. Our program is eminently respectable,
because [there are] a lot of countries in the world that defend their
prosperity, that defend their security, that want to control their frontiers
[and] defend their identity.
If it is fine elsewhere, why isn’t it here,
at home?” She also had a few final words on Israel.
“[We] have always
defended the right of Israel to be a nation free to insure its own
”If only in France we could enforce only 10 percent of
Israel’s defense, defense of her identity, defense of her frontiers,” she added.
“I said to the French that the economic problem is reversible, but there are so
many thousands of children calling to have French nationality. There are 100,000
naturalizations each year, 200,000 foreigners arrive each year, and probably the
same amount illegally... this has to stop immediately.”When asked if she
was at least slightly pessimistic for the future of her country, Le Pen
concluded by saying,
“I am always optimistic for France, even on her knees; at
some point a burst of vital energy will arrive. France is not only an asset to
herself but also to the rest of the world...Like Israel... ?