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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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January 2, 2014

Quenelle Embraced By U.S. Holocaust Denier

The “quenelle,” the anti-Semitic gesture created by French anti-Semitic performer Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, has been gaining a following among anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and has even been flashed by some professional athletes.gordon-duff-press-tv-anti-semitism

The latest show of support for the quenelle has come from Gordon Duff, a senior editor of the anti-Semitic and conspiratorial Veterans Today. In a January 2, 2014 article published by Press TV, the Iranian government’s English-language propaganda station which frequently provides a platform for American anti-Semites, Duff describes the modified Nazi salute as an “international, inclusive, non-sectarian” symbol that serves as an “antithesis” to Zionism.

In this article, titled “Quenelle: Courage or reverse Nazi salute?” Duff also states that Jews are not a Semitic people, therefore, the quenelle being labeled “anti-Semitic” is false. He also denies the existence of gas chambers at the notorious Nazi death camp Auschwitz in Poland. Duff claims that this history that Jews were gassed is taught in Europe “virtually at gunpoint.”  

Duff goes on to claim that the intelligence organizations of “dozens of nations” including “Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Britain, India and, especially, the United States” are “managed” by Israel. He also describes Zionists as “monsters” that act “for money and power.”

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