Le Pens at odds as Jean-Marie stands by gas chambers remark
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Le Pens at odds as Jean-Marie stands by gas chambers remark

France’s National Front party leader says father’s racist words are his own, indicates profound disagreement

French far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen speaks at party headquarters in Nanterre, west of Paris, on May 27, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Jacques Brinon)
French far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen speaks at party headquarters in Nanterre, west of Paris, on May 27, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Jacques Brinon)

French politician Marine Le Pen distanced herself from her father, the founder of the party she now heads, after Jean-Marie Le Pen defended his description of the Nazi gas chambers as “just a detail of WWII.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, the longtime leader of the National Front, on Thursday told French TV that he does not regret the statement he made in 1987.

“I continue to uphold the view because I think it is the truth and it should not shock anyone,” he told BFM. “They have exploited this affair against me, implying this is about anti-Semitism. But I defy anyone to quote me on anything anti-Semitic I have said in my political career.”

Marine Le Pen told Europe1 radio on Thursday that she “profoundly disagrees” with her father. She also criticized her father for his repeated attempts to draw attention to himself and the party.

Jean-Marie Le Pen in May 2011. (Photo credit: Jean-Marie Le Pen image  via Shuttershock)
Jean-Marie Le Pen in May 2011. (Photo credit: Jean-Marie Le Pen image via Shuttershock)

“His words are just his own,” she said. “He purposefully provokes and looks for controversy.”

In recent years, Marine Le Pen, 46, has rejected her father’s revisionist views and courted French Jews in a move that many observers said was designed to rehabilitate the party’s name. Since she took the helm in 2011, the once-isolated party has achieved victories in some town and county legislatures. Marine Le Pen has flirted with the idea of a presidential run.

Jean-Marie Le Pen was convicted of racial hatred for his observation about the gas chambers and fined.

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