Students battle YouTube over quenelle video

By Natasha Lehrer, February 5, 2014
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In the wake of the international uproar over French comedian Dieudonné’s popularisation of the Nazi-style quenelle gesture, the French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) is seeking to force YouTube to remove a video featuring the antisemitic entertainer.

The UEJF filed a petition to the Paris Court of Grands Instances last week requesting that it order the video-sharing website to take down “2014, year of the Quenelle”, in which Dieudonné performs the salute.

According to the Stéphane Lilti, a lawyer for the UEJF, five elements of the video contravene French race-hate laws: “The denial of crimes against humanity, racial defamation, provocation of racial hatred and public abuse.”

“Robert” and “gas chambers” are repeated throughout the video, clear references to Holocaust-denier Robert Faurisson, who is shown in a clip performing one of Dieudonné’s past shows.

He attacks the ‘thugs and the bankers’ who make ‘slaves’ of French people

Dieudonné does not make any overt references to Jews but attacks the “thugs and bankers” whose plotting means “we’re all slaves in this system” — arguably elements of the classic antisemitic conspiracy theory.

On Interior Minister Manuel Vals’s supposed presidential ambitions, he says: “You have to keep the bankers happy so that they’ll slip you some cash and make sure you get crowned.”

Since it was posted by the comedian on December 31, 2013, the video has been watched well over three million times.

The court action by the UEJF follows their victory against Twitter last year when a French court forced the social media site to hand over data on users who had posted antisemitic messages with the hashtag “unbonjuif”.

Last updated: 1:45pm, February 6 2014