Jewish leaders decry French National Front founder's anti-Semitic remarks

Jean-Marie Le Pen made a joke about crematoria when asked to comment on a Jewish entertainer.

Jean-Marie le Pen (photo credit: REUTERS)
Jean-Marie le Pen
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s National Front, should be stripped of parliamentary immunity and prosecuted for incitement after making an anti-Semitic remark, the European Jewish Congress demanded on Sunday.
Le Pen who is a member of the European Parliament for the euroskeptic party, which his daughter Marine now leads, made a pun about “ovens” when asked to comment on Jewish singer Patrick Bruel.
“Le Pen has unmasked the true face of the far Right of Europe days after their electoral successes in the European Parliament,” said Kantor. “While some have tried to whitewash and mainstream these parties, Le Pen’s comments demonstrate that they still stand on foundations of hatred, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.
“The European Union should fight back against these far-right and neo-Nazi parties by demonstrating zero tolerance for racial incitement and it can begin by stripping Le Pen of any immunity for prosecution he might hold as an MEP for these comments,” Kantor said.
Also on Sunday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, called on authorities in Romania and Bulgaria to “severely punish the perpetrators” of attacks against synagogues.
“Unfortunately, it appears that the gains by racist and anti-Semitic parties in the recent elections for the European Parliament have emboldened anti-Semitic vandals in Eastern Europe. We urge the local authorities in Bulgaria and Romania to quickly apprehend those guilty of committing these crimes and punish them severely, thereby sending an unequivocal message of zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia,” Zuroff said.
“Death to Jews” and a swastika were painted on the notice board of the Central Synagogue in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The vandalism took place June 4, the first day of Shavuot, the Sofia Globe reported.
Security cameras located outside of the synagogue recorded the vandalism. The recordings were turned over to local police, according to the newspaper.
Four people, ages 19 and 20, were arrested in connection with the vandalism, the World Jewish Congress reported over the weekend, citing the Bulgarian Jewish umbrella body, Shalom – the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria.
Shalom said in a statement in reaction to the incident: “The Shavuot holiday is dedicated to the time when Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai and transmitted them to the Jewish people after the Exodus from Egypt.
The transmission of the Ten Commandments is the biggest act of God and a gift to the people to learn how to live in this world. Encroachment on one of the symbols of Judaism in Bulgaria is a fact that proves once again that we must all urgently start a dialogue against these acts of hatred, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in order to preserve the universal human values.”
Sofia’s Central Synagogue is one of two synagogues still operating in Bulgaria, according to the World Jewish Congress.