Double standard in controversy over banned satirist Dieudonné

Michael Hoffman — Revisionist Review March 11, 2014

Dieudonne with the quenelle gesture. Click to enlarge

In the article below, from the front page of today’s New York Times, “For Hateful Comic in France, Muzzle Becomes a Megaphone,” we find almost all of the tiresome and monotonous tropes and memes that are familiar to students of Talmudic-inspired megalomania, whereby Judaic persons, in this case in France, accuse and judge the gentiles, while Judaic bigotry and prejudice are immune from the hate laws they demand for others.

The worry over French-African satirist Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is that the French government’s preventive ban on his theatre performances will establish a judicial precedent that will be used by conservative groups, such as the traditional Catholics who turned out in large crowds in Paris to protest a play that mocked Jesus Christ. The New York Times writes:

“The notion of violating human dignity is claimed by certain pressure groups who want to forbid performances for moral reasons,” she said, noting that a similar argument could be used by the far right to try to prohibit art shows or theater even before a performance because those groups view them as immoral. So far, the French government has refrained from bowing to such pressure, even going so far as protecting audiences from protesters when they object to artistic performances.”

This is a veiled reference to Romeo Castellucci’s “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God,” a drama which depicted an image of Christ’s face covered in excrement, which is reminiscent of the passage in the Babylonian Talmud that states that Jesus is in hell being boiled in excrement.

The French government not only did not ban Castellucci’s Talmudic play, it protected it and the audience that attended it while suppressing protests by crowds of traditional Catholics. The worry for the Judaic establishment in France, which would like to see more ritual degradation of Christ, is that if Dieudonné’s satire against the gods of Zionism and Holocaustianity is banned, it may lead to bans on “artistic expression” of which they approve, such as the aforementioned play by Castellucci.

The Times article invokes the “Holocaust” and even Louis Ferdinand Céline, the finest French novelist of the 20th century. (According to Peggy Guggenheim,  Samuel Beckett considered Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night as the greatest novel ever written). Because he was a former combat soldier in World War I who became a pacifist opposed to a fratricidal war with Germany, and a merciless satirist of all things Talmudic, his ghost is invoked in order to haunt the mise-en-scène with the terrifying (to the Zionists) possibility that Dieudonné could become the next Céline.

The Times concludes their report as follows:

“Dieudonné’s got this constituency out in the banlieues and he speaks to them in code, he doesn’t have to say, ‘The Holocaust never happened,’ ” Professor Hussey said, referring to the poor suburbs often populated by immigrants. “Instead he makes a joke about the Shoah, but the joke is testing the limits of French law.”

The excrement on the face of Christ does not “test the limits of French law.” In fact it was protected by that law, so now we know what is sacred in France and what is, in the word of the Freemasons, “profane.”

For Hateful Comic in France, Muzzle Becomes a Megaphone

By Alissa J. Rubin — March 11, 2014, page A1, New York Times

Thirty-eight times in recent years the French authorities have charged the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala with violating anti-hate laws. The government has urged cities and towns to ban his performances, and some have done so, canceling his sold-out shows. Senior officials have condemned him as an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier who is inciting hatred.

Yet the campaign against him shows few signs of succeeding. Not only has he escaped conviction in many of the cases brought against him or, at worst, had to pay fines, he has easily circumvented limits on his public appearances via the Internet and social media. One of his videos, posted just in February, a riposte to the Interior Ministry and specifically Manuel Valls, the interior minister, received almost two million views in the first week it was up.

Perhaps more important, the attempts to silence Mr. M’bala M’bala seem to have fueled support for him among his core audience: a social and racial cross section of French people who feel shortchanged by a ruling elite.

With anti-Semitic jokes and songs and routines, Mr. M’bala M’bala, who is of French and West African heritage, reaches both French Muslims and some supporters of the far right who share his views and sometimes appear with him at performances. He is credited with inventing an inverted Nazi salute known as the quenelle to satirize the French elite, which he claims is dominated by Jewish interests. When a leading European soccer player made the salute after scoring a goal, it attracted a wave of attention to Mr. M’bala M’bala.

Determining how far to go in trying to keep the comedian from spreading his vision and assessing how to gauge when those efforts are counterproductive are among the tricky tasks facing the French authorities. At the same time, right-wing populists, some of whom similarly hold anti-Semitic views, seem poised to make electoral gains across much of Europe — and not least of all in France, where the far right National Front has a higher approval rating than the other two major parties.

Freedom of speech is less protected in France than in the United States, and there is widespread support for seeking to muzzle Mr. M’bala M’bala. But his case has set off a new debate over the limits of free expression, with advocates for civil liberties asserting that the government risks overreacting and endangering basic freedoms as well as adding to his luster by making him into a martyr. Lawyers say they are particularly concerned that the government has pre-emptively banned his shows.

“These preliminary injunctions that have been pronounced against his shows are dangerous not for Dieudonné, but because citing ‘a risk to public order’ opens the way for other similar injunctions,” said Agnès Tricoire, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property and freedom of expression and represents the French League of Human Rights, a group that has a more American and British view of freedom of expression.

Ms. Tricoire noted that two of the legal grounds for complaints against Mr. M’bala M’bala are highly subjective: that he is a threat to public order and that his performances defame the humanity of a group or community. He has also been accused of denying the Holocaust — a crime in France — and of inciting hatred.

“The notion of violating human dignity is claimed by certain pressure groups who want to forbid performances for moral reasons,” she said, noting that a similar argument could be used by the far right to try to prohibit art shows or theater even before a performance because those groups view them as immoral. So far, the French government has refrained from bowing to such pressure, even going so far as protecting audiences from protesters when they object to artistic performances.

Others worry that the “threat to public order” charge could be used more to repress dissent, as it is by some authoritarian governments.

Groups that represent Jews, who have been the chief targets of Mr. M’bala M’bala’s routines, staunchly defend the government’s measures, arguing that the poisonous message harms society and undercuts a goal revered by the French — at least in theory — of people from all races and religions living together.

Jewish groups also cite the rising number of anti-Semitic crimes in France as good reason to squash Mr. M’bala M’bala’s message. There were more than 600 anti-Semitic acts in 2012, according to the Interior Ministry, an increase of nearly 60 percent over 2011. The sharp rise came after Mohammed Merah, a French Muslim, shot three Jewish children and their teacher, a rabbi, at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March 2012. The numbers for 2013 declined somewhat, according to the ministry.

There are also ever more anti-Islamic crimes — there were about 200 in 2012, according to the Interior Ministry, up from about 160 in 2011.

Some nongovernmental agencies that track anti-Islamic acts cite more than twice that number. One of the most recent occurred in February in a town near Paris, when a pig’s head and what appeared to be pork were thrown into a mosque courtyard. Pork is considered unclean under Muslim law.

Recent years have been marked as well by vitriol against other groups besides Muslims and Jews — such as Roma (gypsies); blacks, including the Justice Minister Christiane Taubira; and gays — suggesting a fraying in the social fabric and a rising intolerance.

The French are particularly sensitive to anti-Semitism because of the country’s collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II. “In a country where you had the Holocaust on its soil, we have a very different way of dealing with it,” said Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, the head of the American Jewish Committee in France.

But she admitted that just prohibiting anti-Semitic speech can go only so far. “If society at large doesn’t ask itself questions about the values of French society and how it can combat hatred of minorities, it will be in vain,” she said.

Mr. M’bala M’bala, who has previously denied that he is an anti-Semite, could not be reached for comment. In one of his videos that recently was the subject of a court case, he provocatively called for the release of Youssouf Fofana, the convicted killer of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jewish man who was kidnapped in 2006 by a group known as The Barbarians, who tortured him for a week before mutilating him and leaving him bleeding on a road.

Mr. M’bala M’bala charged that Jewish youths caused the death of a Muslim man in 2010, and that there was far less of an outcry than in Mr. Halimi’s case.

In another of his popular routines he performs a song called “Shoahnanas” — a pun that in French sounds like the words “hot pineapple.” The word Shoah refers to the Holocaust, and Nana is a slang term for a woman akin to the English chick. The video features a thin, bedraggled man in the kind of uniform that was worn by prisoners in concentration camps, with an oversize yellow Star of David on it; the man jumps around the stage — a puppet on a string to Mr. M’bala M’bala’s satirical commentary.

The difference between Mr. M’bala M’bala’s phenomenon and some previous far right anti-Semitic writers is his ability to reach a wide audience. Anti-Semitic views “are not that important until it connects with the masses and that’s what Céline did in the ’30s and that’s what Dieudonné is doing now,” said Andrew Hussey, the dean of the University of London in Paris and a specialist in the history of anti-Semitism in France. Louis-Ferdinand Céline was a celebrated French writer and pamphleteer in the first half of the 20th century who also espoused virulently anti-Semitic views.

“Dieudonné’s got this constituency out in the banlieues and he speaks to them in code, he doesn’t have to say, ‘The Holocaust never happened,’ ” Professor Hussey said, referring to the poor suburbs often populated by immigrants. “Instead he makes a joke about the Shoah, but the joke is testing the limits of French law.”

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