France's far-right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a political rally in Six-Fours, near Toulon.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An organization representing French Jewry on Sunday slammed efforts by France’s far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, to ride the wave of US President-elect Donald Trump’s success.
Le Pen described Trump’s election as a victory of the people against the elite, expressing hope that the French would follow suit next year and make her president.
“We believe there is no parallel between the candidacy of Marine Le Pen and that of Donald Trump,” Robert Ejnes, executive director of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, told The Jerusalem Post.
Asked during an interview on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show if Trump’s victory made her own election win more likely, Le Pen said: “He made possible what had previously been presented as impossible, so it is really the victory of the people against the elite.
“So if I can draw a parallel with France, then yes, I hope that also in France the people up-end the table, the table around which the elites are dividing up what should go to the French people,” she said, according to a translation into English provided by the BBC.
But Ejnes said that while Trump was the candidate of the Republican party, Le Pen is the leader of the National Front, which has never before governed the country. Describing the National Front as a “racist, xenophobic party,” Ejnes said Le Pen has “no serious team to make a government.”
Opinion polls show Le Pen is likely to win the first round of voting next April but will lose the runoff in May to whomever will be her opponent.
Le Pen has said that as president, she would ban all public displays of religious symbols and clothing and has also ruled out offering alternatives to pork on school menus.
“Le Pen is a racist – there is no other way to describe her,” said Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. “Her attempts to gain respectability are transparent and frankly, pathetic.”
Marion Le Pen, Marine’s niece and the youngest member of the modern French parliament, has agreed to work in the future with Stephen Bannon, the former CEO of Trump’s campaign and executive chairman of Breitbart News.
The UK’s Sunday Express reported Bannon as saying, “France is the place to be, with its young entrepreneurs, women of the family Le Pen,” and that “Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is the new rising star.”
On Saturday evening, Marion wrote on Twitter, “I answer yes to the invitation of Stephen Bannon, CEO of @real- DonaldTrump presidential campaign, to work together.”
In response to this development, European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor said he would recommend against anyone working with senior officials in the French National Front. Echoing the sentiments of his British and French colleagues, he denounced the party as racist, xenophobic and antisemitic.
“There should be no place for the hate and intolerance that emanates from the Le Pen family, however it is packaged or presented,” he said.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.