Le Pen signs off with joke about Jew's nose

16th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

French far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen handed control of his party to his daughter Sunday with a parting shot that maintained his reputation for controversy, joking about a Jewish reporter's nose.

Le Pen was responding to journalists' questions about a reporter who had said he was violently thrown out of a National Front dinner by party security guards on Saturday for allegedly attending without authorisation.

"He complained it was because he was Jewish he was thrown out. You couldn't tell by looking at his identity card, nor at his nose," Le Pen retorted, evoking a physical sterotype that was notably used in Nazi proaganda.

In a report on his network, France 24 reporter Mickael Szames said he had been beaten, kicked, knocked to the ground and racially abused by Le Pen's security team as he left a National Front drinks party at its congress.

He said he and France 24 had made a formal complaint to the police and the network refused to broadcast new Front leader Marine Le Pen's first speech as leader live in protest at his alleged treatment.

While controversial, Le Pen's off-colour aside was mild compared to many of his outbursts, which have seen him convicted of racial hatred, and he caused outrage in 1987 when he dubbed Nazi death camps a mere "detail of history."

Le Pen handed over the leadership to his youngest daughter Marine who has officially named his successor. In his farewell speech Saturday he rejected criticism of his outspoken comments over his 40 years as FN leader.

© 2011 AFP

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