French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has provoked outrage after her statement that France was not responsible for the German-ordered 1942 Jewish roundup by French police. “I think France isn’t responsible for the Vel d’Hiv. I think that, in general, if there are people responsible, it is those who were in power at the time. It is not France,” Le Pen said.
Vel d’Hiv is Velodrome d’Hiver [Winter Cycling stadium] – the infamous location where 13,000 Jewish people were held before being deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Before that, the French police detained them, obeying the German officials’ orders.
“We have taught our children that they had every reason to criticize France, to see only the darkest historical aspects maybe. I want them to be proud of being French once more,” she said in the interview with several French media outlets: Le Figaro, RTL, and LCI.
Le Pen’s statement drew fire from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which lamented that anti-Semitism “is raising its head again today.”
Tel Aviv says the comment “contradicts the historical truth as expressed in repeated statements by French presidents who recognized the country’s responsibility for the fate of the French Jews who perished in the Holocaust.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry also drew attention to the fact that the French government’s acknowledgement of the 1942 events is confirmed by “annual events dedicated to the anniversary of Jewish deportation from France, as well as studies of the Holocaust in the French educational system.”
The Israeli authorities were not the only ones to slam Le Pen’s words – one of her rivals, Emmanuel Macron, pointed out the far-right leaning attitudes the Le Pen family has always expressed.
“Some people had forgotten that Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen. They haven’t changed and we shouldn’t indulge or minimize what the National Front is nowadays in our country,” Macron told BFM TV, as cited by Reuters.
Twitter users also expressed their indignation with Le Pen.
— Andy Goldman (@agoldmanlinked) 10 April 2017
#LePen‘s falsification of history is outrageous. Though Germany was def the main perpetrator of the holocaust, parts of France participated.
— Corinna Leppin (@CSLeppin) 10 April 2017
— RM Snow (@symphonydog) 10 April 2017
According to the latest polls, Le Pen is in the lead in the presidential race, with the latest polls showing about 24 percent supporting her, with Macron closely following with 23 percent, and Fillon getting 19 percent.
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