(JTA) – Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, criticized her father, the party’s founder, for a pun about a French-Jewish singer seen as anti-Semitic.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, currently a legislator, said in a video posted on the party website that “next time we will put him in an oven” when asked about Patrick Bruel’s criticisms of the party. Jean-Marie Le Pen has denied any racist overtones in the remark, which was removed from the website over the weekend, though he reportedly has used similar wordplay in the past.
For her father “not to have foreseen how this phrase would be interpreted is a political mistake the National Front is paying for,” Marine Le Pen said.
She told the Le Figaro daily that calling her father’s comments anti-Semitic was a “malicious interpretation.” She added that the incident “allows me to reiterate that the National Front most firmly condemns every form of anti-Semitism, in whatever form it takes,” Reuters reported.
The senior Le Pen has a history of convictions for “inciting racial hatred” and Holocaust denial. He once described the gas chambers in Nazi death camps as a historical “detail.” His daughter has worked to rehabilitate the party.
Jewish groups and European human rights groups have condemned Jean-Marie LePen for his remark and threatened prosecution.