PARIS – French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala was fined 22,500 Euros ($24,000) on Thursday for a jibe against a radio journalist in 2013.
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In this latest case, he risked up to one year in prison and a 45,000 euro fine for incitement to racial hatred.
“When I hear Patrick Cohen speaking, I say to myself, you see, the gas chambers … too bad,” said Dieudonne, the Paris-born son of a Cameroonian father and French mother.
France has Europe’s largest Jewish minority, estimated at about 600,000, but is also seeing a steady emigration to Israel of Jews who say they no longer feel safe.
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 it as a blatant variant of the Nazi salute. (Reuters/NAN)