Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Dieudonné Backers Mock Jewish Martys of the Nazis and Islamic Murderer Mohamed Merah.

with 7 comments

Des partisans de l'humoriste Dieudonné M'bala M'bala font des "quenelles" devant le Théâtre de la Main d'or, le 28 décembre.

On 12 January 1944, the Gestapo occupying the French city of Bordeaux dispatched its Jews, who had been rounded up and imprisoned in their own majestic synagogue, to the death camps.

Fast-forward exactly 70 years and a photograph shows a group of youngsters standing outside the same synagogue, performing the now infamous quenelle gesture invented by the controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala in 2005 and exported to Britain by footballer Nicolas Anelka.

The backdrop of the picture is a large stone plaque engraved A Nos Martyrs (to our martyrs) and bearing the names of the 365 people deported from inside the synagogue. In all, 5,000 Bordeaux Jews – out of a community of 6,200 – perished at the hands of the Nazis.

The Obsevrer.

During the week Le Monde announced that the LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme) and SOS racisme were bringing a court action for this.

At the end of December a ‘quenelle’ was made outside of the Jewish school,  Ohr-Torah (ex-Ozar-Hatorah), where Islamist Mohamed Merah murdered three Jewish children and rabbi.

L'homme photographié devant le lycée collège Ohr Torah © DR

More in Libération.

There is a fine debate in the Observer today on the issues behind this.

Comrade Andrew Hussey, dean of the University of London Institute in Paris introduces this,

I suppose my starting point has to be that there is no doubt that Dieudonné is not so much a comedian but, rather, an attention-seeking racist and an antisemite. He certainly isn’t funny any more, if he ever was. He is, however, an expert in provocation, and that’s what his latest acts and statements, including the famous “quenelle”, are all about. More to the point, what he is really doing is testing the limits of French law – specifically the Loi Gayssot of 1990, the so-called loi anti-négationniste, which, among other things, effectively makes Holocaust denial (négationnisme in French) a crime. The belief system of Dieudonné and those of his followers is that the “French establishment” uses the memory of the Holocaust to exercise power over the marginalised populations of France and to reinforce Jewish interests. No one is trying to stop him believing this or expressing his views. The Loi Gayssot does, however, place limits on how far an individual can claim that crimes against humanity, as defined at the Nuremberg trials, did not happen – and that is the point of law that Dieudonné is challenging with his propaganda.

One may or may not agree with the Loi Gayssot – there is no such law in England – but from the Dreyfus affair, to the second world war, to the 2012 killings in Toulouse, there is hardly a more divisive, emotive, even lethal, issue in French society than antisemitism. That is why the Loi Gayssot exists, and why I sympathise with the exasperation of the French government, which is trying to act decently, if somewhat clumsily, in the face of the provocations of this rabble-rousing clown.

Padraig Reidy, senior writer at Index on Censorship continues

I’m glad neither of us is going to attempt to describe Dieudonné as anything other than what he is – a rabble-rousing bigot. Too often in discussions on free speech issues, people will attempt to downplay or deflect attention from the ugly facts, or attempt to rationalise other people’s bigotry. I hope I don’t fall into that trap.

See site for the rest of the article.

Dieudonné has responded, calling for the dissolution (loss of any legal status)  of the LICRA

This is his public petition, (147,000 signatures to date)

Pouvoirs publics: Dissoudre la LICRA (Ligue Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme)

La LICRA, Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme, au contraire de lutter contre ces idéologies fascistes qui portent atteinte à la notion même de la Nation, comme à celle d’Humanité, la LICRA, par ses actes est un trouble à l’ordre public perpétuel, perfide, et nocif au possible aux valeurs fondamentales garanties par les lois de la République, le venin despotique que ses dirigeants et membres veulent insuffler dans la veine démocratique, au profit de l’hégémonie esclavagiste américano-sioniste, imposée au peuple au niveau planétaire sous l’intitulé revendiqué « du nouvel ordre mondial »

The LICRA instead of fighting against fascist ideologies which harm the very essence of the Nation, indeed of Humanity itself, the LICRA by its acts has created public disturbances. It  is insidious, and a danger to the fundamental values of the Republic, guaranteed by law. The despotic venom of its leaders has brought poison into the veins of our democracy, to establish the hegemony of the slave-drivers of American-Zionism, imposed on the peoples of the Planet to maintain the “new world order.”

Hussey and Reidy note the importance of anti-Semitism in French history.

But one should add, our beloved martyr, Jean Jaurès fought anti-Semitism tooth-and-nail.

As this short summary of his life indicates,

French socialist leader. Entering parliament (1885), his campaign on behalf of Dreyfus and against anti‐Semitism strengthened socialist support in France. In 1905 he formed the United Socialist Party, which put pressure on the radical governments in order to achieve reforms for the working class. He opposed militarism, but tried to reconcile socialist internationalism and French patriotism. He was assassinated by a French nationalist in 1914.

I note that Mélenchon calls this present fight  a political and ideological  battle and not a legal one.

The NPA also states that simply banning the shows is not the answer.

There is extreme doubt about the wisdom of a ban on his performances.

But…making such gestures of hate outside a synagogue….


Written by Andrew Coates

January 12, 2014 at 5:16 pm

7 Responses

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  1. So why aren’t French anti-fascists demonstrating in their thousands against Dieudonné?


    January 14, 2014 at 4:33 am

  2. Good question Gene and the answer is probably the same as why it is a non issue for the left in this country. It involves Jews now and not during and just before the Second World War and is therefore bound up with the existence of the state of Israel. Jews with no Israel equals good, with equals bad. It also highlights the endemic anti-semitism of the left which now markets a different package with the same contents called anti-Zionism.


    January 14, 2014 at 10:05 am

  3. The long-standing French anti-racist organisation, the MRAP (English http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRAP_(NGO))
    is involved in the legal process against Dieudonné:

    “Le MRAP sera de tous les combats judiciaires contre Dieudonné, Soral et plus généralement tous ceux et celles qui exprimeront d’une manière ou d’une autre – par la parole, les gestes ou les actes – des incitations à la haine et à la violence antisémites. ”


    Andrew Coates

    January 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm

  4. themadmullahofbricklane is taking the piss and this shows how the ‘decent’ Israeli supporting ‘left’ play down Islamophobia (and often contribute to it). The Muslims are the zeigeist of the far right, the far right are obsessed with Muslims and the threat they pose to a far greater extant than any other group in society.

    If Muslims had complained about a comedian the story would not have been sympathy for the Jews but look at those crazy head banging Muslims who don’t allow freedom of expression.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    January 16, 2014 at 7:07 pm

  5. Interesting how some people can’t even *mention* anti-Semitism without playing the “whataboutery” card and clouding the issue as a technique. Nobody had even mentioned Muslims, let alone expressed prejudice against them en masse.

    It’s been said many times, but it’s never been truer: just because the Daily Telegraph discovers something doesn’t *in itself* make it untrue.

    The best way to defeat the “Islam vs. the West” narrative of some parts of the Right is to completely transcend it, not to play along with it from the other side (and therefore implicitly accept it).

    Robin Carmody

    January 16, 2014 at 10:06 pm

  6. Pinkie:

    “It also highlights the endemic anti-semitism of the left which now markets a different package with the same contents called anti-Zionism.”

    I guess people will still keep saying this kind of thing. It’s not true, of course, but people will keep saying it.


    January 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm

  7. Very true Pinkie, there was a good article in Le Monde a few days ago describing how the entire French left, from the Socialists to the far left had very strongly denounced Dieudonné and anti-Semitism.

    “Au Parti de gauche, donc, mais aussi chez les socialistes, les écologistes et les communistes, dans les galaxies trotskistes ou libertaires, un travail de prévention et de pédagogie a été effectué pour réaffirmer une même idée : les amis de Dieudonné sont les ennemis de toute émancipation.”


    Andrew Coates

    January 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

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