As his native France cooled in recent years to his increasingly publicly strident criticism of Jews, the French comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has been able to count on Quebec for a soft landing. He has been the toast of French-language comedy festivals in the province and in 2008 chose to debut his latest show in Montreal. “Dieudonne: the clown isn’t funny anymore,” read a headline in Saturday’s Le Devoir. A senior aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week mused about having Dieudonne’s party and its “overtly anti-Semitic manifesto” barred from running in the election. Dieudonne is also facing legal action under French hate-speech law for a show in December 2008 in which he brought on stage notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and awarded him a prize for “unrespectability.”
The French government is looking for ways to bar a prominent comedian from fielding candidates for European Parliamentary elections because of his anti-Semitic proposals. The comedian is on trial on charges of inciting hatred against Jews.
French comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala has long been a controversial figure. He is a longtime friend of far-right French politician Jean Marie Le Pen. And he has long been known for his anti-Semitic remarks as an entertainer. He has also tried and failed twice to run for presidency. Those remarks have landed him in court on charges of inciting hatred.
But now he is taking on the political arena as his leftist party hopes to field candidates for June elections to the European Parliament. Dieudonné denies he is anti-Semitic. Rather, he said, he is fighting against a powerful Zionist lobby.
Ilan Halimi was kidnapped Jan. 20, 2006, tied up in a cellar and tortured for 24 days in the suburb of Bagneux. His kidnappers tried unsuccessfully to extort a $600,000 ransom from his family. Halimi was found naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks south of Paris Feb. 13, 2006. He died en route to a hospital.
His murder case went to trial in Paris last week, with 27 people charged with participating in the abduction, torture and killing of Halimi, a 23-year-old mobile-phone salesperson. The lead defendant, Youssouf Fofana, is said to have admitted that he set out to kidnap a Jew and hold him for ransom. There are 27 accused in the case. On April 30 Halimi’s family walked out after Fofana made intimidating comments, saying he had friends in the courtroom who would “take pictures to identify people.” The case has been called a symptom of growing anti-Semitism in the suburban ghettos where the defendants, most of them the children of black and Muslim immigrants, live. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.
Former French President Jacques Chirac has emerged as a spokesperson of sorts for Holocaust instruction in Muslim countries. Chirac’s popularity in parts of the Arab world and his history of making clear statements about France’s responsibility in the World War II destruction of Europe’s Jews accords him, according to this IHT feature, a unique place in talking about the relationship of racism and anti-Semitism to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Chirac said he had no intention “to place on Muslim countries a responsibility” for the Holocaust “that isn’t theirs” but stressed the importance of “making the Shoah known while removing it from the silence that people have built up around it in many countries.” “It’s been hidden,” Chirac said, “because referring to the Shoah in these countries has risked creating sympathy for the Jews and Israel.”
Paris judicial officials have decided that an attack on three Jewish youths on September 6th in eastern Paris (the same street where a Jewish teenager was beaten in June) did not have anti-Semitic motives. The five suspects were charged with simple voluntary violence. The three young yarmulkes-wearing Jews were attacked after demanding an explanation from other youths who allegedly threw a chestnut at them. One suffered a broken nose, and another a fractured cheekbone.
Full-text article available here. (Some news sites may require registration)
Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise across Europe, according to a survey of global opinion released yesterday. In contrast to the US and Britain where unfavourable opinion of Jews has been stable and low for several years at between 7 and 9%, the Pew Survey of Global Attitudes found that hostile attitudes to Jews were rising all across continental Europe from Russia and Poland in the east to Spain and France in the west. The survey found that suspicion of Muslims in Europe was considerably higher than hostility to Jews, but that the increase in antisemitism had taken place much more rapidly. “Great Britain stands out as the only European country included in the survey where there has not been a substantial increase in antisemitic attitudes,” the survey found.
Antisemitism has more than doubled in Spain over the past three years, with a rise from 21% to 46%, the survey of almost 25,000 people across 24 countries found, while more than one in three Poles and Russians also had unfavourable opinions of Jews. In the same period antisemitism in Germany and France also rose – from 21% to 25% in Germany and from 12% to 20% in France among those saying they had unfavourable opinions of Jews. “Opinions of Muslims in almost all of these countries was were more negative than are views of Jews,” analysts said. While Americans and Britons displayed the lowest levels of antisemitism, one in four in both countries were hostile to Muslims. Such Islamophobia was lower than in the rest of Europe. More than half of Spaniards and half of Germans said that they did not like Muslims and the figures for Poland and France were 46% and 38% for those holding unfavourable opinions of Muslims. Ian Traynor reports.
See full-text articles:
French authorities are filing preliminary charges of “attempted murder with anti-Semitic motives” against three suspects charged with beating a Jewish teenager on June 21st in Paris, who later spent two days in a coma. Libération newspaper claims that such altercations are on the rise among youth gangs in the 19th district of Paris.
The June attack was immediately condemned by President Sarkozy, who was on a three-day visit to Israel at the time and “assure[d] the victim and his family of his support and renews his total determination to fight all forms of racism and anti-Semitism.” Mohamed Moussaoui, the new president of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) stated in Le Figaro that he was concerned about the attack like “All other French people. Not especially as Muslims. We live in harmony with the other religions. The isolated incidents of anti-Semitism carried out by Muslims should be not over generalized.” France has the largest populations of Muslims and Jews living in close proximity outside of the Middle East.
See full-text articles:
More details on the attack here.
Moussaoui’s comments in Le Figaro available here .
Labour peer Lord Greville Janner QC has urged Jewish people to join with Muslims in Leeds to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. At a talk in Moortown he told 200 people the Jewish community could not cope without non-Jewish allies and joining forces with the Muslim community was crucial. “If we work together we will live together and if we don’t live together we will die together,” he said. Lord Janner, who is the founder and president of the Inter-Parliamentary Council against Anti-Semitism, said that together with Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan he recently founded the Coexistence Trust bringing together Muslim and Jewish political leaders. “The organisation provides a unique bridge across the world of politics and since forming its membership has spread to leaders in almost 40 nations,” he explained.http://themuslimweekly.com/(X(1)S(cl2oemukrtvlwfbsqnhuml45)F(AoLuxuBkQTj47tuZ-0EiO4irprelMISZ3n1JOR_d3CwuSE4Z2BQmvwFP29KbSdHiflghrjtLryrTFP1EAjISuYrbLeN_TX5WnpDovRI4QM7Nn2q7aFSPhPEBn23DqI1p0))/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=AED230E56EF52C594B08EAE6&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
The anti-racism movement MRAX (Movement Against Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Xenophobia) plans to launch a complaint against TVBrussel. The association blames the Brussels regional broadcaster for a broadcast with Dutch journalist Arthur Van Amerongen, who used racist language in the program, according to MRAX. In his book _BXL Eurabia,’ Van Amerongen paints a picture of Moroccan life in Brussels, wherein Moroccans hold hatred for Belgians, are depicted as highly dangerous, and a terror attack is anticipated. According to MRAX, TVBrussel aired the interview of Amerongen without any counter opinion to balance out the writer’s racist and xenophobic comments.