Diaspora Jewish leaders Sunday condemned remarks made by the founder and long-time leader of the French National Front party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who, referring to Jewish singer Patrick Bruel in video, said: “We will organize an oven for him next time” (“On fera une fournée la prochaine fois.”)
Le Pen’s use of the word “fournée” was an attempt at a word-play on “tournée,” which means concert tour. Fournée can mean “baker’s oven” or “batch” – but “oven” is the only word the makes sense in the context.
“For the umpteenth time, Mr. Le Pen has made unacceptable, sickening statements with respect to the Holocaust,” said World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder. “Clearly, he is an unrepentant anti-Semite who is poisoning French politics.”
European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor called on the European Union to strip Le Pen of his parliamentary immunity and for the French authorities to charge him with incitement to racial hatred.
“Le Pen has unmasked the true face of the far-right of Europe days after their electoral successes in the European Parliament,” Kantor said. “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The video was withdrawn from the party’s website on Saturday night and its vice-president, Louis Aliot, described Le Pen’s use of the word as “politically stupid and disturbing.”
SOS Racisme, a French pressure group, described Le Pen’s statement as not a “simple overstepping of the mark but an example of the filthiest anti-Semitic thinking,” and said it would be making a criminal complaint against him.
The National Front, which has been led by Le Pen’s daughter Marine since 2011, polled 26 percent in the European Parliament elections in France last month, the strongest showing in the country.
Le Pen senior founded the FN in 1972 and led it for nearly four decades until his daughter took over. Le Pen was convicted several times of racism and incitement to racial hatred. In 1987, he called the Nazi gas chambers “a detail in the history of World War II.”