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October 1, 2014

Iran New Horizon Conference Draws U.S. Anti-Semites, Holocaust Deniers

medea-benjamin-iran

Medea Benjamin participating in the 2nd New Horizon Conference in Tehran

Update — 10/02/14: Read more about the 2nd New Horizon Conference and its U.S. and international participants.

Iran kicked off its anti-America and anti-Israel New Horizon Conference as the final part of the 13th International Resistance Film Festival in Tehran. The three-day conference opened on September 29 and marks the second time Tehran has hosted the event. According to organizers, the event will include “tens of elite thinkers, philosophers, activists and politicians worldwide” who will discuss and “expose” Zionist control of the film industry and the influence of the “Zionist lobby in America.”

As in the previous conference, this year’s New Horizon Conference has drawn the participation of several anti-Israel activists, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers. A new presence at the conference is the participation of a so called American anti-war activist, Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of CODEPINK.

In addition to Benjamin, the conference’s official website published the names of several American and international anti-Semites, anti-Israel activists and Holocaust deniers that are expected to be in attendance, including Maria Poumier, a French conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier; Claudio Moffa, an Italian Holocaust denier; Kevin Barrett, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist and frequent contributor to Iran’s English language propaganda news network, Press TV; Garth Porter, an anti-Israel journalist; Pepe Escobar, a Brazilian anti-Israel journalist; and Art Olivier, a former elected official from California and 9/11 conspiracy theorist.

Moreover, Iranian news agencies have reported that a number of other individuals are scheduled to also attend the three-day conference in Tehran. Iranian news agencies have reported the expected participation of Alison Weir, the  director of If Americans Knew and the Council for the National Interest, two grassroots anti-Israel organizations; Ken O’Keefe, an anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist former U.S. Marine and a regular contributor to Press TV; Wayne Madsen, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist; Cyrus McGoldrick, the former Civil Rights Manager for the New York chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations; Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the French anti-Semitic comedian and the creator of the anti-Semitic “quenelle” gesture; and Mark Siljander, a former U.S. Representative (R-MI) who was found guilty in 2010 of two federal charges relating to his ties to an Islamic charity alleged to have funded terrorist groups.

The conference was opened with remarks by the personal advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mohsen Ghomi, who boasted that the conference itself is “the biggest threat to Zionists,” and that “American officials are puppets of the Zionist lobby who are taking advantage of American ignorance.” Anti-Israel journalist Garth Porter said during his presentation on Monday that the Mossad and CIA are responsible for manufacturing the nuclear crisis with Iran.

The 2nd New Horizon Conference comes on the heels of the 13th annual International Resistance Film Festival that ran in Tehran from September 22-29. The film festival included submissions from dozens of countries, including Iran, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, and was organized by the Cinematic Community of the Islamic Revolution and Sacred Defense and the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.

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February 4, 2014

Counter-speech Against a French Anti-Semite

Counter-speech is a vital tool to combat hate speech, and ADL’s counterpart in French-speaking Switzerland, CICAD, provided an excellent example of counter-speech last night against the anti-Semitic French comedian, Dieudonné.

CICAD stand near the Nyon theater, featuring Dieudonné quotes like, “For me, the Jews are a cult, a fraud.”

CICAD stand near the Nyon theater, featuring Dieudonné quotes like, “For me, the Jews are a cult, a fraud.”

Dieudonné, who has been convicted and fined multiple times for anti-Semitic speech in France, scheduled several performances in Nyon, Switzerland, a town just four miles over the border.

Last night’s performance coincided with the British government’s decision to declare Dieudonné persona non grata, forbidding him entry into the UK.  During the performance, Dieudonné referred to Queen Elizabeth II and made his often anti-Semitic quenelle gesture.

The Nyon municipality decided on January 13 not to ban Dieudonné’s performances, while “firmly condemning any racist and/or anti-Semitic statements.”  Following that decision, CICAD sought and received permission from the Nyon municipality to set up an information booth next to the theater to provide audience members with documentation of Dieudonné’s anti-Semitic hate speech, including Holocaust denial.

ADL champions counter-speech and education to address hate speech, and this approach is a central theme of Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet, the most recent book by ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman and Christopher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair.  CICAD reminds us that this strategy works well on the ground too.

CICAD will be presenting a French-language version of ADL’s Confronting Anti-Semitism: Myths and Facts at the Geneva International Book Fair, April 30-May 4, one of the most important in Europe with almost 100,000 visitors each year.

 

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January 8, 2014

Speaking Out Against Dieudonne

Update: According to France 24, Dieudonne was taken into custody on Jan. 22 for allegedly assaulting a bailiff who came to collect fines Dieudonne owes for “inciting racial hatred.”

Alongside French government actions to ban performances of Dieudonne’s new show, concerned and responsible officials and civil society leaders are publicly voicing outrage at the behavior of the anti-Semitic comedian and the growing use of the quenelle gesture he invented.dieudonne-speaking-out

The Representative Council of France’s Black Associations (CRAN) issued a statement, saying “For a long time, Dieudonne fought against racism and the far right.  We still remember with emotion his actions in the town of Dreux. But for several years his main fight seems to be against the Jews of France, and he is closer and closer to the far right, his former enemies. The CRAN has noticed this evolution with dismay and can only deplore it. (…) The CRAN calls on the Blacks of France not to accept the quenelle or the appeals to anti-Semitism…”

Commenting on the quenelle gesture, popularized by Dieudonne, the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) Dalil Boubakeur condemned its use by the French soccer player, Nicolas Anelka, saying he opposed “all anti-Semitic or racist acts or statements in sports.”

Even the owners of Dieudonne’s home theater, La Main d’Or, are looking for legal means of breaking his lease.

President François Hollande said, “No one should be able to use this show for provocation and to promote openly anti-Semitic ideas.”

Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who issued the request to local officials to prevent the performances, said, “Dieudonné is deeply anti-Jewish.  We must carry out a political campaign to mobilize society against him.”

Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti said, “Mr. Dieudonne is no longer a comedian.  He has become a Holocaust denier and revisionist.”  And Justice Minister Christiane Taubira called him a “pitiful buffoon” and “recidiviste anti-Semite.”

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