“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 is a recidivist Holocaust denier, fixated upon the classical tropes of antisemitism: conspiracy, money, power, who isalso 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 worldthat enough is enough",adding, "Already four major cities have forced the cancellation of those hatefests.”
Samuels claimed that “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 thedangers, 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 publicorder and a smear on the dignity of his target.”
Samuels stressed, however, that “‘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 toviolence 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 illegalwhen 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 bedeemed collusion.”
The Centre viewed the Minister’s initiative as “giving France a head-start in combating 'Dieudonnéism' and a model measure against itscounterparts 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 consequencescan too easily become an epidemic”, concluded Samuels.