French rapper accused of antisemitism asked to talk at three left-wing political events

Médine Zaouiche, who has been pictured making the controversial 'quenelle' gesture, receives invitations from France Unbowed, the Greens and the Communist Party


A new chapter may have opened in French politics after a rapper accused of antisemitism was invited to talk at three left-wing political events.

Some MPs from the radical-left France Unbowed party said they were “honoured” that Médine Zaouiche, known as Médine, attended their rallies, while others accused critics of the rapper of having a racist narrative.

The invitation to Médine came from France Unbowed and the Greens, and the Communist Party has invited him to its annual festival on September 16.

Médine, who is popular among French youth, has been pictured making the antisemitic “quenelle” gesture made popular by Dieudonné, a former comic.

He is linked to several antisemitic public figures and is reported to have had links with the Muslim Brotherhood. He made headlines when he wanted to sing his album Jihad in the Bataclan concert hall, where terrorists carried out a deadly attack in 2015.

When Rachel Khan, a writer of Jewish descent, attacked him on X/Twitter, saying Médine is like “waste” that needs to be recycled, he replied that Khan was a “ResKHANpé”, mixing the word “survivor” or “rescapée” with the writer’s name.

This was seen by many as an antisemitic comment, because Khan’s mother escaped deportation in the Second World War and her grandfather is a death camp survivor.

Médine replied that he overreacted: “I was replying to her insult, which no one found offensive. She called me ‘waste’. I admit I overreacted. I didn’t realise that the word ‘rescapé’ was so historically and emotionally charged. I didn’t mean to offend anyone.”

“This controversy does not come as a surprise because Médine has had a string of antisemitic attitudes and actions,” Yonathan Arfi, leader of Jewish umbrella group CRIF, told a Jewish radio station.

“This moment is important because it’s a turning point. The positions these political leaders are taking today will crystallise and bring a new political reality. There is deep division in the French left.”

Historian Sébastien Ledoux wrote in Le Monde: “A part of the left is constantly drifting, when it comes to antisemitism. Their statements are part of an atmosphere that encourages antisemitism.”

Observers say France Unbowed and the Green Party have tried to woo Muslim voters, including those with extremist views.

“We wanted to create a media frenzy and we got it in the worst possible way,” said Marie Toussaint, who leads the French Green Party’s list in next year’s EU elections. “We made a mistake.”

But the party refused to cancel the invitation. Some of its leaders said Médine has changed in recent years and that he now fights all forms of antisemitism.

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