A virulently anti-Semitic black “comedian” in France may be banned from performing because of his repeated use of a gesture recalling the Nazi salute as well as his repeated anti-Semitic actions. Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday he is calling for a legal review of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has been fined over and over for hate speech, and ran in the 2009 European Parliament elections at the head of an “Anti-Zionist List.”
Jewish groups had protested to President Francois Hollande about Dieudonne’s trademark straight-arm gesture, which they see as a “Nazi salute in reverse.” Valls himself said, “Dieudonne M’bala M’bala doesn’t seem to recognize any limits any more. From one comment to the next, as he has shown in several television shows, he attacks the memory of Holocaust victims in an obvious and unbearable way.”
600,000 Jews live in France, more than any other country in Europe, but they are feeling increasingly endangered, and were traumatized last year when a French Islamist killed a rabbi and three pupils at a Jewish school last year in Toulouse.
Dieudonne’s gesture is a downward straight arm touched at the shoulder by the opposite hand, which he claims stands for his anti-Zionist and anti-establishment views. Social media has fanned the flames by helping it go viral, with youths emulating it at parties, sports events and live television shows.
In September, two French soldiers were sanctioned by the army after they made the gesture in front of a Paris synagogue.
Roger Cukierman, head of the CRIF umbrella group of Jewish organizations, said, “It’s the Nazi salute in reverse. Very clearly, Mr Dieudonne is developing a nearly professional anti-Semitism under the cover of telling jokes.”
Dieudonne, 46, started with anti-racist left-wing groups, but in 2002 he started vilifying Jews and Israel in 2002 and ran with a pro-Palestinian party in 2004 in the European elections. His hatred was evidenced last week when Radio France’s Patrick Cohen asked if the media should make an issue of what he does, and Dieudonne responded, “When I hear Patrick Cohen speaking, I say to myself, you see, the gas chambers … too bad.”