On 10 May 1990, the Carpentras Jewish cemetery was desecrated. A two week old grave was dug up and the body impaled on an umbrella. In a wave of public revulsion, Socialist President Francois Mitterrrand led more than 250,000 demonstrators through Paris in a march against antisemitism, racism and the extreme right.
29 January 2014
Sunday 26 January, another march through Paris by many political groups against the policies of Socialist President Francois Hollande, was hijacked by crowds screaming: “Jews, France is Not Yours”, “Jews, get out of France”. The organizers claimed 100,000 demonstrators, the police 17,000. Though the statistical number of anti-Semites among the protesters cannot be calculated, marchers were seen giving the quenelle version of the Hitler salute throughout the demonstration.
The rage of the Banlieue slum suburbs around Paris had been building throughout the Sarkozy Presidency, while new phenomena were brewing These include a meeting point between the anti-immigrant National Front under its new-look leader, Marine Le Pen, and the frustrated unemployed North African and Black African children of migrants; and the seeding of a Shiah Muslim presence by Imams supported by Iran, who are cheerleaders for Hezbollah and are even embraced by figures on the extreme left.
The catalyst for the gathering of such strange bedfellows is the self-proclaimed humorist, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. First a Socialist party candidate, then founder of the Anti-Zionist List for the last European Parliamentary elections, serially convicted for Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic incitement, and now father of the quenelle. Along the way, he has vaunted his close relationship with National Front founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen and former Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
He has explained the quenelle as representing the unchained arm of the liberated slave, from whom he claims personal descent. The kicker comes with his description of the “slave-trader” against whom the quenelle is directed – the unutterable identity is clear to all: the Jew.
The night of the 25 July 2011 Algerian football victory over Egypt, brought thousands of jubilant suburban North Africans into the empty centre of a summer vacationing Paris. A colleague noted how this Twitter call could be a precedent for a political assembly.
As France approaches municipal elections in March and ballots for the European Parliament in May, the gauge will be the protest vote for the National Front, supported by many Dieudonné followers.
The 2006 anti-globalization leftist and pro-Palestinian European Social Forum meeting in Athens, saw members of the then unknown Greek neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, hawking their journal. The front cover showed the historic 1941 meeting between Hitler and the Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin-el-Husseini. The caption was “We were allies then. We must again unite against the common threat of international Jewry”.
“Dieudonnéism” is ideologically malleable and mutates to support extreme-left and extreme-right, Islamism – whether Sunni or Shiah. Its glue is antisemitism. Above all, it fills a vacuum for embittered and dispirited youth without a cause or a charismatic leader.
A boil has burst and the French body-politic is festering. The authorities are taking measures, but no one — as yet — has condemned yesterday’s march. One reaction today from a prominent Jewish journalist was to announce his “aliya” to Israel.
Perhaps Dieudonné will be remembered as a Zionist agent for sending the Jews home.