The Citizen (KZN)

Israel pounces on Le Pen

- Jerusalem

– Israel yesterday condemned French far-right presidenti­al candidate Marine Le Pen for denying her country was responsibl­e for the war-time roundup of Jews later sent to Nazi death camps.

Le Pen said on Sunday that “I don’t think France is responsibl­e for the Vel d’Hiv,” referring to the round-up of more than 13 000 Jews at the Vel d’Hiv cycling track ordered by Nazi officers in 1942.

“We condemn the declaratio­ns by Marine Le Pen stating that France is not responsibl­e for the deportatio­n of Jews from its territory during the Holocaust,” Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “The declaratio­n is contrary to the historical truth, which has been expressed by French presidents who have recognised the country’s responsibi­lity for the fate of French Jews who died in the Holocaust.”

Speaking ahead of the first round of France’s presidenti­al election on April 23, Le Pen said: “Generally speaking if there are people responsibl­e, it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France.”

Charles de Gaulle, leader of the free French forces, was in exile during World War II while France’s Vichy regime collaborat­ed with Nazi Germany.

Opinion polls show a tightening race between the top four candidates in the election, with support for frontrunne­rs Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron slipping back and conservati­ve Francois Fillon neck-and-neck with Jean-Luc Melenchon of the far-left. – AFP

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