WASHINGTON - Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front party and a contender in France's presidential elections next year, will not receive special treatment when she visits the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Le Pen, the daughter of Jean Marie Le Pen, the founder of the party who has a conviction for Holocaust denial, said in a statement that she would visit the museum while she was in Washington this week. Museum spokesman Andrew Hollinger told JTA that the museum had no formal notice of her arrival and that she would be treated as any other visitor.
"If she comes to the Museum, Ms. Le Pen will not be given any special tours or treatment while she is here," Hollinger said. "She will be a museum visitor."
The Holocaust Museum endured controversies in 1993 for inviting to an
inaugural ceremony Franjo Tudjman, the Croatian leader who had denied
the extent of the atrocities carried out by Nazis and their
sympathizers; and in 1998, when it refused special treatment for Yasser
Arafat, the late Palestinian leader.
The younger Le Pen has tried
to erase some of her party's associations with extremism and Holocaust
denial, and the announcement of her visit said she "stands with the
nation of Israel and strongly repudiates Neo-Nazism, radical jihadists,
and other efforts that deny Israel’s right to exist and thrive."
French Jews, however, still perceive the party and some of the anti-Muslim rhetoric it peddles as dangerous.
presidential candidates shore up US bona fides ahead of their campaigns
to demonstrate influence with the world's largest superpower.
reports have said that Le Pen has been frustrated in her attempts to
set up meetings in Washington. Her announcement lists meetings only with
Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Ron Paul (R-Texas), both outliers in