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December 18, 2013 7

The Quenelle: Fascist or Fad?

What is the “quenelle”?  In addi­tion to being sort of a French ver­sion of gefilte fish, is it also a mod­ern ‘Nazi salute’ sweep­ing Europe?  Con­text matters.

“An anti-Semitic ges­ture for some, an anti-establishment sym­bol for oth­ers, the mean­ing of the ‘quenelle’ is still vague.”  So reports French news­pa­per Le Figaro in a story on Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a French come­dian and “pro­fes­sional anti-Semite” in the words of Roger Cukier­man, Pres­i­dent of the French Jew­ish rep­re­sen­ta­tive orga­ni­za­tion, CRIF.  ADL has con­demned Dieudonne’s anti-Semitism on many occa­sions, most recently for his par­tic­i­pa­tion in an Iran­ian anti-Semitic con­fer­ence on “Hol­ly­wood­ism” and for his anti-Semitic polit­i­cal activ­ity.

Dieudonne was dragged back to a French court this week for fail­ing to pay an ear­lier fine levied on him for anti-Semitic remarks.  In the pre­vi­ous inci­dent, Dieudonne had called Jews “the world’s biggest crooks,” mocked the Holo­caust, and called for the release of Yous­souf Fofana, whose Gang of Bar­bar­ians had kid­napped, tor­tured, and mur­dered Ilan Hal­imi in 2006.

Even French Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande yes­ter­day referred indi­rectly – but clearly – to Dieudonne, con­demn­ing “those who claim to be come­di­ans but are just plain anti-Semites.”

Dieudonne is thought to have invented the “quenelle,” a salute with one arm down and the other bent at the elbow with an open hand on the oppo­site shoul­der, in 2009 as part of the elec­toral cam­paign of his Anti-Zionist Party.

When done in a Jew­ish con­text, anti-Semitic intent is obvious.

Alain Sorel, an anti-Semitic French filmmaker and writer, posed doing a quenelle at the Berlin Holocaust memorial.

Alain Sorel, an anti-Semitic French film­maker and writer, posed doing a quenelle at the Berlin Holo­caust memorial.

Or in front of the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, where Mohamed Merah mur­dered a rabbi and three children.

Judg­ing from the numer­ous arti­cles in the French press, there is no ques­tion that the quenelle is a spread­ing fad.  Less clear is whether those who “slip a quenelle,” as the expres­sion goes, in non-Jewish con­texts under­stand its ori­gin and meaning.

French soc­cer star Mamadou Sakho and TV jour­nal­ist Yann Barthès were pho­tographed mak­ing the ges­ture, but when ques­tioned, said they had no idea of its sig­nif­i­cance.  And the fad­dish ele­ment appears the most likely expla­na­tion when groups are shown giv­ing the salute in a non-Jewish con­text, as with this den­tal clinic.

How­ever, French uni­formed ser­vices have drawn a clear line, regard­less of con­text.  The army pun­ished two sol­diers for “slip­ping a quenelle” in front of a Paris syn­a­gogue in Sep­tem­ber, and yes­ter­day an inves­ti­ga­tion was launched into three fire­fight­ers pho­tographed doing the salute.

While this ges­ture has not yet sur­faced in the U.S., French ath­letes com­pet­ing here, enter­tain­ers per­form­ing here, and oth­ers vis­it­ing from France may bring it to our shores.

 

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February 5, 2013 1

Iran “Hollywoodism” Conference Partners With U.S. & International Anti-Semites, Conspiracy Theorists

Iran’s third “Hol­ly­wood­ism” con­fer­ence, cur­rently under­way in Tehran, is part­ner­ing with a num­ber of Amer­i­can and inter­na­tional anti-Semites and con­spir­acy theorists.

The con­fer­ence, part of Iran’s annual Fajr Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, includes ses­sions on how Zion­ists and their allies in the West use the film indus­try to pro­mote neg­a­tive views of Iran and pro­voke reli­gious con­flicts around the globe.

The offi­cial logo for the con­fer­ence, which fur­ther strength­ens alliances between anti-Semites and con­spir­acy the­o­rists and the Iran­ian regime, com­bines the Star of David with Masonic imagery.

Iran’s “Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Hol­ly­wood­ism and Cinema”

Iran­ian Deputy Min­is­ter of Cul­ture and Islamic Guid­ance Javad Sham­agh­dari said in his open­ing state­ment at the con­fer­ence on Feb­ru­ary 2 that since before World War I, some Hol­ly­wood films “have been formed and pro­duced” from the “Zion­ist point of view, whose doc­trines and beliefs have been institutionalized.”

Sham­agh­dari also invoked the con­spir­a­to­r­ial claims that Hol­ly­wood is “prac­ti­cally in the duty of the Zion­ist and White House.”

In a sep­a­rate state­ment, the Min­is­ter of Cul­ture and Islamic Guid­ance Moham­mad Hos­seini warned the Amer­i­can peo­ple of their alliance with Zion­ism, and claimed that the “White House’s lead­ers play a main role in the artis­tic pol­icy for Hol­ly­wood.” Hos­seini also said that he believes Hol­ly­wood and the film indus­try is under a “hid­den man­age­ment that is lead­ing the eco­nomic, busi­ness, research­ing and the­o­riz­ing centers.”

A promi­nent par­tic­i­pant in the con­fer­ence is French come­dian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, whose acts rou­tinely include Holo­caust denial, praise for Adolf Hitler, Nazi salutes and other anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The con­fer­ence web­site iden­ti­fies a list of “part­ners” that includes sev­eral Amer­i­can and inter­na­tional anti-Semites and anti-Israel activists and orga­ni­za­tions. The list includes:

  • Amer­i­can Free Press (AFP): A Wash­ing­ton, DC-based conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic news­pa­per pub­lished by long-time anti-Semite Willis Carto.  He also pub­lishes The Barnes Review, a Holo­caust denial journal.
  • Amer­i­cana Pic­tures: A Tennessee-based film com­pany run by Mer­lin Miller, who ran as the 2012 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date for the Amer­i­can Third Posi­tion (recently re-named the Amer­i­can Free­dom Party), a white suprema­cist polit­i­cal party. Miller has par­tic­i­pated in pre­vi­ous Iran­ian film festivals.
  • Mike Gravel: A for­mer sen­a­tor and con­gress­man from Alaska who was a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 2007. Gravel has some ties to AFP. He par­tic­i­pated on a panel at the June 2003 AFP/Barnes Review con­fer­ence. In addi­tion, Gravel has ques­tioned the role of the U.S. gov­ern­ment in the 9/11 attacks.
  • Truth Jihad: A web­site and Inter­net radio show run by Kevin Bar­rett, a for­mer instruc­tor at the Uni­ver­sity of Wisconsin-Madison, and an anti-Semitic 9/11 con­spir­acy the­o­rist. He is a co-founder of Mus­lims for 9/11 Truth, which con­sists mostly of a blog that refutes the idea that any Mus­lims were behind the 9/11 attacks.  Bar­rett uses his radio show to offer a plat­form to 9/11 anti-Semitic con­spir­acy theorists.
  • James Fet­zer: One of the co-founders of Schol­ars for 9/11 Truth, an orga­ni­za­tion that is com­posed of aca­d­e­mics and oth­ers who believe that the U.S. gov­ern­ment played a role in the 9/11 attacks. He is also another colum­nist for the anti-Semitic web­site Vet­er­ans Today and has writ­ten  two arti­cles for the Op-Ed News site in which he pro­motes anti-Semitic 9/11 con­spir­acy theories.
  • The Coun­cil for the National Inter­est (CNI): CNI is anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion that opposes U.S. aid to Israel and dis­sem­i­nates demo­niz­ing pro­pa­ganda about Israel to aca­d­e­mic, politi­cians, and other audi­ences. CNI is led by Ali­son Weir, a promi­nent voice in the anti-Israel move­ment who often char­ac­ter­izes the Jew­ish state as a vio­lent aggressor.

The con­fer­ence demon­strates, once again, that Iran at the fore­front of pro­mot­ing clas­si­cal anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries.

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May 23, 2012 0

Anti-Semite Dieudonne In the News in France

Update: Dieudonne ran unsuc­cess­fully for French Par­lia­ment as the Anti-Zionist Party can­di­date from Dreux. He was elim­i­nated in the sec­ond round of the elec­tion, receiv­ing just 1.14% of votes castHis film, L’Antisémite, has been banned from the Cannes film fes­ti­val for vio­lat­ing the festival’s pol­icy of not “threat­en­ing pub­lic order or insult­ing reli­gious beliefs.”

Anti-Semitic per­former Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala has gar­nered some media atten­tion in France since he announced on May 18 that he will be run­ning for Par­lia­ment as a mem­ber of the Anti-Zionist Party (Parti Anti-Sioniste or PAS) in upcom­ing elec­tions. Dieudonne is known for his per­for­mances which rou­tinely include Holo­caust denial, praise for Adolf Hitler, Nazi salutes, slurs against the Tal­mud and other anti-Semitic language.

This is not Dieudonne’s first time run­ning for polit­i­cal office. Most recently, he stood as a can­di­date for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in 2009 with the Anti-Zionist Party, receiv­ing 1.3% of the vote. Accord­ing to its web­site, the Anti-Zionist Party’s pri­mary goal is to remove the “Zion­ist inter­ven­tion” from the pub­lic affairs of France.

Dieudonne, one of four PAS mem­bers run­ning for Par­lia­ment, hopes to rep­re­sent the city of Dreux, 50 miles west of Paris. The other PAS can­di­dates are run­ning in the 8th and 13th dis­tricts in the North as well as the 14th dis­trict in the Rhone region.

While Dieudonne has repeat­edly been pros­e­cuted for his racist and anti-Semitic per­for­mances and com­ments, none of his crim­i­nal con­vic­tions ren­der his can­di­dacy ille­gal. Accord­ing to an arti­cle in the French edi­tion of The Huff­in­g­ton Post, even if his cam­paign mate­ri­als incite hatred or racial vio­lence, the penal­ties would be sig­nif­i­cant (€45,000 fine and five years in prison) but would not make him inel­i­gi­ble for Parliament.

As a 501©(3) orga­ni­za­tion, ADL does not endorse or oppose can­di­dates for office in the United States or abroad.

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