Dieudonne Seeks Accord with French Jewish Leaders

Comedian, Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, known for explicitly anti-Semitic shows, is now seeking accord with French Jewish community.

Cynthia Blank,

Dieudonne
Dieudonne
Reuters

Anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala has announced he wants to meet with representatives of France's Jewish community, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. 

In an open letter sent by Dieudonne's lawyers last week, a request was made to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Gilles Clavreul, the French government's interministerial delegate in the fight against anti-Semitism, to organize such a meeting. 

A meeting is necessary, the comedian's lawyers stressed in the letter, to “determine the terms of an accord which would allow both parties to respect the other.”  The letter adds, “In this affair, there have been too many damages and injuries.”

Dieudonne, who denies claims he is a virulent anti-Semite, has been convicted ten times in France for inciting racial hatred against Jews. Public authorities say he owes more than 65,000 euros ($84,000) in fines related to past convictions.   

Dieudonne is the inventor of the quenelle gesture - a reverse Nazi salute, that has become extremely popular in anti-Semitic and extremist circles across the French-speaking world and worldwide.

Despite Dieudonne's insistence it is a gesture of discontent against the establishment, French Prime Minister Manuel Vals has called it a “gesture of hatred” and “an anti-Semitic gesture.”

The comedian is also the inventor of the term “shoananas" - a mashup of the Hebrew word for the Holocaust and the French word for pineapple - used to suggest the genocide never happened. 

Diedonne is considered a symbol of France's rising anti-Semitism thanks to his explicitly anti-Semitic performances and comedic gags. 

Currently, Dieudonne is preparing to launch a nationwide tour of his show, "The Impure Beast," which includes jokes about Ilan Halimi, a French Jew murdered in 2006. The tour is scheduled to begin on December 27. 

In addition to convictions, Dieudonne has also been the subject of government searches, financial inspections, subpoenas, and bans on his performances by multiple municipalities. 

“We are able to resist all the attacks on our client,” his lawyers wrote in reference to police and governmental measures taken against the comedian. “But Dieudonne wants to move forward. Beyond respect for the rule of law, to peace.”

Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, has not issued a reaction to the letter.  

Recently, CRIF condemned the 20 theaters in France planning to host Dieudonne on his new tour. 

“CRIF deplores the many theaters that chose to offer him a podium to disseminate to an instrumentalized audience his hatred of Jews and of those who dare criticize him,” the umbrella organization said in a statement. 




top