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Rare Video Interview of Anti-Semitic French Comic

British news source tracks down Dieudonne to ask about his inverted Nazi salute 'quenelle,' is told 'it's not racism, racism is bad.'
By Ari Yashar and Ari Soffer
First Publish: 1/23/2014, 10:51 PM

Dieudonne with former far-right National Front Party political advisor Alain Soral
Dieudonne with former far-right National Front Party political advisor Alain Soral
Reuters

Britain's Sky News managed to track down anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, and ask him about his controversial signature gesture the "quenelle," an inverted Nazi salute.

The salute raised an uproar after French soccer player Nicolas Anelka, a friend of Dieudonne, made the gesture after scoring a goal last December for West Bromwich Albion.

The Football Association announced Monday it will charge Anelka, threatening him with a minimum five game ban over the "abusive, indecent, insulting and improper" salute, which it called "an aggravated breach in that it included a reference to ethnic origin, race, religion or belief."

In the rare interview, Dieudonne said of Anelka "we are above all proud of him because of his noble position. To us, he is a prince." Dieudonne added "there's no hint of racism, racism is a bad thing. ...It's a gesture against the system ...a gesture of (African slave) emancipation."

Despite his dismissal of the salute's anti-Semitic connotations, it has been adopted by all manner of extremists, with many posing at Auschwitz, Holocaust museums and other sensitive Jewish sites to make the gesture.

And despite Dieudonne's purported rejection of racism, the comic has a long history of anti-Semitism, including a recent remark in which he expressed regret that gas chambers don't exist anymore. His comedy tour "The Wall," in which he mimes urinating on the Kotel (Western Wall), was banned.

The interview can be seen here:

In it, Dieudonne protests his innocence, denying harboring any anti-Semitic sentiments - despite having a string of deeply anti-Semitic performances, including a collaboration with Iranian producers entitled "The Anti-Semite" which, far from mocking anti-Semitism, actively promotes it:

Dieudonne caused yet more controversy on Wednesday when he was reported to have assaulted a bailiff who came to his house to collect taxes and various fines he owes earlier in the week. The bailiff complained of being shot by rubber bullets as well.

The comic is in tight financial straits. The cancellation of his show left him with losses worth millions of euros (a million euros is $1.4 million). He also allegedly owes 887,000 euros ($1.2 million) in taxes, and reportedly tried hiding money by sending more than 400,000 euros ($544,520) since 2009 to family in Cameroon. He has also been fined in the past over charges relating to anti-Semitism.