Comic seeks anti-Zionist vote

By Natasha Lehrer, Paris, June 2, 2009
Dieudonné: campaigning for an end to “Zionist interference” in France

Dieudonné: campaigning for an end to “Zionist interference” in France

A leading French comedian is running in this weekend's European elections as head of the Anti-Zionist Party.

The party, founded by Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, is campaigning particularly heavily in Parisian suburbs with large Muslim populations. Its official programme calls on the parliament to “Stop Zionist interference in the Nation’s public affairs" and "Free our state, our government, our institutions from the possession and pressure of Zionist organizations.”

It is fielding 20 candidates in five regions, including Alan Solal, a former Marxist who turned to the far-right and is now a member of the central committee of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National Party. 71-year-old Jewish-born Ginette Skandrani, one of the founders of the Green Party in France, who was thrown out of the party after being accused of Holocaust denial, is another candidate, alongside less well-known figures such as Nadia, a 31-year-old administrative assistant, who declared herself “Proud to be a member of the antisemitic party” at a press conference at the beginning of May.

Dieudonné, as he is known, has become a controversial figure for his increasingly vocal and virulent antisemitism, both in his career as a comic and his attempts to gain political respectability. He faces legal action under French hate-speech law for a performance last year in which he brought on stage notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and awarded him a prize for “unrespectability”. The prize was awarded by a performer dressed up as a concentration camp prisoner. He has also used the murder of Ilan Halimi as material for comedy in his one man show.

Claude Guéant, a senior representative of the French government, announced last month that the government was looking into whether it would be possible to ban Dieudonné’s party from the elections. But it appears that the party remains within the law, and the posters, which show the comedian flanked by three middle-aged white men, one of whom is dressed as an Orthodox Jew, have continued to go up all over France.

Last updated: 5:53pm, June 4 2009