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Jewish groups praise French government’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism

Written by Yossi Lempkowicz
Friday, 10 January 2014 13:13
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France's Council of State overturned a ruling by the Nantes court and banned a show by anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala

NEW YORK/BRUSSELS (EJP)---Jewish groups have welcomed the decision by the Council of State, France highest administrative court, to uphold the French government bans on the new show of Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, an anti-Semitic French comedian.

The French Interior Ministry had recommended to local governments that they uphold their obligation to preserve public order by banning performances of Dieudonne’s new show, “The Wall,” which contains anti-Semitic statements against several Jewish individuals and “virulent and shocking attacks on the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.”

Several cities where Dieudonne’s performances were planned issued such decisions, and the controvesial comedian sued to overturn the ban in the city of Nantes, where the first public performance was to take place on Thursday.  The Nantes court ruled in favor of Dieudonne but the Council of State, delivering its verdict in a record time, overturned the Nantes court’s decision after it was appealed by Interior Minister Manuel Valls.

In a statement, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said : ‘’While we believe criminalizing hate speech is antithetical to the U.S. constitutional protection of speech, we understand and respect that different legal norms are prevalent in European democracies. The French government’s actions and the Court of State’s decision represent a forceful commitment to combat anti-Semitism.’’

‘’Standing up in the face of hatred is the best antidote in a democratic society.  We appreciate the many political and civil society leaders in France who have already done so,’’ Foxman added.

‘To remove a platfom for hate is a victory for democracy’

According to Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) ‘’this is a triumph for the values of democracy and for the French Republic.”

“To remove a platform for hate and a stage for racism is in the best interests of the state and its citizens,’’ he said, stressing that the French government and in particular the Interior Minister ‘’have shown immense bravery and vigilance in refusing to allow this anti-Semite to spread his hatred of Jews under the guise of entertainment.”

“The French Government must remain vigilant and continue to deny a platform for Dieudonné to spread his hate,” Kantor said. “Democracy does not mean that everything is allowed and hate, racism and Antisemitism should not fall under any cultural or comedic parameters in a civilized society.”

The French government declared it had won a victory in its battle with Dieudonne. "The republic has won," Valls declared after the decision of the Council of State.

"We cannot tolerate hatred of the other, racism, anti-Semitism, negationism, that's not possible, that's not France,’’ he strssed.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the decision "vindicates the government's position" of trying to tackle "anti-Semitic tendencies".

A poll published on Friday showed 71 per cent of respondents disapproving of the controversial comic.

The umbrella group of Belgian Jewish organizations, CCOJB, together with the Association of Sons and Daughters of Jews Deported will rally next Wednesday in front of the French embassy in Brussels to express support and solidarity with the French government's decisions on Dieudonne's performances.


Last Updated on Friday, 10 January 2014 13:50

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