Whenever The New York Times profiles Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National (FN) which is the third-largest political party in France, it always takes care to remind readers that her father and the founder of the FN, Jean-Marie Le Pen, flirted with fascism and occasionally made anti-Semitic remarks.
Although the FN now includes Jewish members and has won the support of Jewish voters, Le Pen is still asked by media to distance herself from anti-Semitic sentiments and express her support for Israel.
The media also presses other leaders of right-wing political parties in Europe, that in many cases evolved out of radical nationalist and fascist movements, to unequivocally renounce anti-Semitism. After all, the shadows of World War II and the Holocaust continue to hang over Europe, and the views of politicians on these issues remain relevant topics of discussion.
Thus, the emergence of the radical nationalist movement Jobbik, described by critics as neo-fascist and anti-Semitic, as Hungary’s third largest political party, generated wide coverage in the European and American media. Similarly, after the anti-immigration Freedom Party in Austria, whose then-leader Jorg Haider once referred to the “decent employment policy” of Nazi Germany, emerged from the 1999 legislative election as Austria’s third largest party and joined the governing coalition, Western media warned of the re-birth of fascism in Austria. The Israeli government threatened to recall its ambassador from Vienna.