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.