French comedian fined for anti-Semitic jibe




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PARIS – French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala fined 22,500 Euros ($24,000) on Thursday for a jibe against a radio journalist in 2013.
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suggested hearing the broadcaster speak made him think Nazi gas chambers.

The creator the controversial “quenelle” gesture went viral on media two years ago, Dieudonne this week already received a suspended jail sentence for condoning terrorism.

The joke about January’s Islamist attacks on a satirical magazine and a Jewish foodstore in Paris killed 17.

In this latest case, he risked up to one year in prison and a 45,000 euro fine for incitement to racial hatred.

The provocative humour in his shows has long put Dieudonne at the centre a fierce debate about freedom expression.

When Radio France’s Patrick Cohen asked on air in 2013 whether the media pay so much attention to Dieudonne, he retorted that the journalist consider emigrating.

“When hear Patrick Cohen speaking, to myself, you see, the gas chambers … too bad,” said Dieudonne, the Paris-born son of a Cameroonian father and French mother.
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France has Europe’s largest Jewish minority, estimated at about 600,000, but is also seeing a steady emigration to Israel of Jews who they no longer feel safe.

Statistics show a rise in anti-Semitic acts, and President Francois Hollande last month Internet companies like Google and Facebook to help fight hate speech .

The 49-year-old comedian began his career with a Jewish sidekick in the early 1990s and appeared in several films.

Originally active with anti-racist, left-wing groups, he began openly criticising Jews and Israel in 2002, and ran in the European elections two years later with a pro-Palestinian party.

Dieudonne argues that his trademark “quenelle” sign is a gesture of non-conformism and anti-Zionism. Critics see as a blatant variant of the Nazi salute. (Reuters/NAN)