Posted on October 22, 2013

French Justice Minister: Front National Sees ‘Blacks into Branches of the Trees, Jews into the Ovens’

Rory Mulholland, Telegraph (London), October 22, 2013

The black French justice minister, who was compared to a monkey by a Front National party member, is being sued by the party over the ‘outrageous’ claim that it is racist and homophobic.

Marine Le Pen’s far-Right Front National (FN), which had to jettison a party member for comparing Christiane Taubira to a monkey, now plans to sue the minister for her “outrageous” claim that the FN is racist and homophobic.

The monkey comparison was made by Anne-Sophie Leclere, an FN candidate for France’s spring’s municipal elections in a small town in the northeastern Ardennes region.

She posted a photomontage on her Facebook page of a baby monkey, with the caption: “At 18 months”, next to a photo of Miss Taubira, with the caption: “Now”.

She denied any racist intent but last week told the investigative TV programme that unearthed the montage: “I’d rather see her (Taubira) in the branches of a tree than in the government.”

The revelation provoked a storm of outrage and on Friday prompted Miss Le Pen, who has tried to ditch her party’s image as a movement of bigots and anti-Semites and who recently threatened to sue anyone who calls it “extreme right”, to drop Miss Leclere as a candidate.

Miss Taubira, France’s justice minister, said in response to the monkey slur that it showed the FN’s “lethal and murderous” views could be summed up as follows: “It’s the blacks into the branches of the trees, the Arabs into the sea, the homosexuals into the river Seine, the Jews into the ovens and so on.”

The FN quickly denounced her response as “violent and outrageous”.

“Nothing justifies the expression of such hatred towards an entire party and its millions of voters,” it said in a statement. The party said it plans to sue the minister. to force her to “respect the rules of democratic and republican debate”.

The controversy comes as the FN is enjoying a surge in the opinion polls, with one suggesting it could reap 24 per cent of the vote in next May’s European elections in France–the highest of any party.