Far-right toxicity strikes again
At the beginning of this week, Marine Le Pen temporarily resigned the leadership of the Front National (FN) to focus on her bid for the French presidency — and to distance herself from the party’s toxic reputation.
Unfortunately, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial have a way of catching up with you. Just days into his tenure as interim FN president, Le Pen’s replacement has been forced to step aside over allegations that he denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers.
Back in 2000, Jean-François Jalkh reportedly said in an interview that he considered it ‘impossible’ that Zyklon B had been used for mass extermination.
This is a further blow to Le Pen’s efforts to move her party on from its anti-Semitic and revisionist past. Many believe that her ‘detoxification’ efforts — including the expulsion of her father and predecessor Jean-Marie Le Pen — have inspired the FN’s growing popularity.
But repeated scandals — including Le Pen’s own claim that France was not to blame for atrocities committed against its Jewish population — have weakened her claim to having built a different kind of far-right party.
On Sunday, Le Pen will face off against centrist Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election, and is expected to lose by a significant margin.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.