SWC Commends French Interior Minister’s Ruling Whereby Convicted Anti-Semites’ Public Performances May be Banned

Fax: +33-147208401
E-mail: csweurope@gmail.com

“The ban is a first step against Dieudonné the man. But ‘Dieudonnéism’ menaces the structures and values of the Republic itself.”

Paris, January 8, 2014

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, on behalf of the Centre’s worldwide membership, commended French Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, on his ruling “that encourages Mayors and Police Chiefs to ban public appearances across France of convicted antisemitic stand-up comic, Dieudonné Mbala Mbala.”

“Dieudonné (pictured) is a recidivist Holocaust denier, fixated upon the classical tropes of anti-Semitism: conspiracy, money, power, who is also founder of the Anti-Zionist electoral list,” explained Samuels.

The Centre praised “the Minister’s initiative, which with the vocal support of President François Hollande, has proclaimed to the world that enough is enough," adding, "Already four major cities have forced the cancellation of those hatefests.”
Samuels claimed, “Dieudonné has provided a focal point for Jew-hatred from extremists across the political and social spectrum. He has succeeded in creating division between communities that once shared platforms of solidarity as victims of racism, as in the ‘Beur, Black, Juif’ (Arab, African, Jew) common ground campaign of SOS Racisme, in the 1980’s.”

The letter considered that, “The immigrant communities today are themselves divided and bereft of leaders to speak out against the dangers, not only of Dieudonné the man, but of ‘Dieudonnéism’.”

The Centre lauded the ban as “an important first step, for the rantings of Dieudonné are, as you have decreed, a threat to public order and a smear on the dignity of his target.”

Samuels stressed, however, “‘Dieudonnéism’ menaces the structures and the values of the Republic itself. Its gimmick - the 'quenelle' inverted Hitler salute, in going viral, has pretentions to a movement. We know from the 1930’s how quickly symbols and salutes can lead to violence on the road to genocide.”

The Centre urged “the Minister’s leadership as part of an inter-ministerial strategy to:

a) design judicial formulae to define symbols recognizably based upon the swastika and gestures based upon the Hitler salute, as illegal when used or adopted to target individuals or institutions in a context inciting to hate and/or violence.
b) the incorporation into civics education curricula an understanding that fascism/Nazism endangers every minority, thus binding once again ‘Beur, Black, Juif’ against their mutual enemies from all extremist parties and movements.
c) the ‘quenelle’ must be deemed a badge of shame to be vigorously condemned by leaders of each community, just as their silence must be deemed collusion.”
The Centre viewed the Minister’s initiative as “giving France a head-start in combating 'Dieudonnéism' and a model measure against its counterparts across the European Union”, but called on him “to go further, to expose ‘Dieudonnéism’ for what it is: pathological racism, gutter politics and miserable humour.”

“Dieudonné himself, in his film ‘The Antisemite’, exposed this bigotry as a disorder requiring psychotherapy. The condition's consequences can too easily become an epidemic”, concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels on 00(33)609770158. join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).