A once-admired champion of anti-racism, the French-born West African comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala recycled his image to become a Holocaust denying, Israel-bashing, self-styled “anti- Zionist” and supporter of Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, Carlos Illich Sanchez, Lyndon LaRouche, Thierry Meyssan (the 9/11 denier) and Jean-Marie Le Pen (godfather to Dieudonné’s daughter).

The only common denominator among this gallery of Islamists, far-rightists and leftists, conspiracy theorists, Holocaust deniers, racists and terrorists is their attitude to Jews, the Holocaust and Israel.

Breaking with his longtime stage partner, Elie Semoun – thereby ending his Black-Jewish anti-racist duo act – Dieudonné has been marginalized on the French thespian scene.

He has continued, however, with publicized provocations from his shoebox-size Paris theater, La Main d’Or (the Golden Hand) and an un-Islamic, alcohol-serving, extreme-right bar, the Hizbollah Club.

It was at La Main d’Or that he received Neturei Karta anti-Zionist rabbis in a demonstration against the French ban on Hizbollah Al-Manar television broadcasts.

A close friend of the late Robert Faurisson, a serial offender for historical revisionism, Dieudonné was also frequently condemned for public defamation in calling the Holocaust “memorial pornography” and other such outbursts.

A generous judge acquitted his 2003 television antics on France 3 television, parading as a Hassidic rabbi/Israeli settler, goose-stepping, arm raised in a Hitler salute, and heard by many to be screaming “Isra-heil.” Insisting that this was “Israël” (in French, the umlaut over the “e” requires an intake of breath. A tad of too much aspiration resonates as an “h”).

The judge viewed the skit, not as an attack against Jews in general, but against a type of person “distinguished by their political views.”

Later examples of his intent were not judged so lightly. He has been sued in France for “apology for crimes against humanity,” “provocation to discrimination, hate and violence” and “bringing injury to a group of persons under the cover of humour.”

Another court judgement argued that Dieudonné’s object was to offend the memory of the Jewish people, in “turning the deportation and extermination of the Jews by the Nazis in the Second World War into a derision that constitutes an outrageous and contemptuous expression regarding the Jewish community.”

As a co-founder of the French Anti-Zionist Party, he campaigned in regional elections and, as a candidate of the Euro-Palestine party in the European elections, on a platform to combat “Zionist domination in Western societies,” and “submission to the Shoah, which has become a new religion.”

Without giving undue importance to Dieudonné’s latest film, the 90-minute, tedious L’Antisemite proves two arguments:

a) that Judeophobia, anti-Zionism, Holocaust denial and Protocols-like conspiracy theories are not stand-alone ideologies that may or may not contain elements of anti-Semitism. They are the building blocks of anti-Semitism itself.

b) that anti-Semitism is a self-destructive disease which is contagious, and, at a certain point, becomes incurable.

THE FILM opens in black and white, with Dieudonné, as a US marine sergeant, “discovering” Auschwitz and feeding a morsel of bread through the barbed wire to an emaciated inmate, who takes him on a tour of a “gas chamber” with bathroom-type hand showers. The human bone fragments in the crematoria are presented as if they were the remains of a barbecue.

Fast forward to present “reality.” Dieudonné’s film wife, suffering from terminal cancer, begs him to seek psychiatric treatment for his obsessive-compulsive anti-Semitism, while Dieudonné himself stomps around in Gestapo leather coat and Star of David. Faurisson gets a walk-on, as does Alain Soral – a Swiss former Communist defector to the farright National Front.

Dieudonné physically abuses the cast including his wife, his psychoanalyst (Dr. Goldstein) and his homosexual film director – for all are apparently Jewish – thus justifying his anti-Semitic paranoia.

The bottom line is “the Jews control everything; media, finance, politics – we have no choice, we must exterminate them!” Filmed within a film in the Main d’Or theater, it ends with a mad party of the audience dancing with the so-called “Shoahnanas” (Shoah girls).

The film, ostracized by cinema chains and television channels, can only be purchased online. The sleeve claims an award nomination at the Fajr-Tehran film festival, while Le Monde reported it as co-produced with Iran, with The New York Times claiming it was co-produced by the Iranian Documentary and Experimental Film Center.

Cannes film market Director, Jerome Poullard, rejected a public screening as would be the case “for any movie that affects public order and religious conventions.” It was similarly dropped from programs in Montreal, Brussels and London.

Dieudonné has even claimed Zionist implication in the African slave trade. Nevertheless, he was heavily criticized by an African group for betraying their history of suffering and as current victims of discrimination. His alliance with the anti-immigrant National Front led him to be called “the Uncle Tom of Le Pen.”

A neurologist described his anti-Semitism as “a complex chemical process in the vast synaptic network, that, in his case, is overheating to the point of explosion.”

In sum, Dieudonné is not influential nor is his film. It is what he and his film stand for – in their tedium and depravity – the holistic, integrated nature of the anti-Semitic matrix.

Especially in France, where deconstructionist influences of Derrida, Chomsky and their acolytes have encouraged the explosion of all official histories into multiple and even contradictory versions of “truth.” Thereby, in a world without the “truth,” the most extreme lies can be accepted.

Perhaps Dieudonné should be thanked, that his dreadful waste of celluloid ends all debate on the fine distinctions between the unacceptable anti-Semitism and the so-called legitimate anti-Zionism among genteel society.

L’Antisemite has torn away the pretextual camouflage. Now it is finally clear: cocktail chitchat against Israel leads directly to cocktail Molotovs against neighborhood synagogues and, most recently, a Jewish school massacre.

The writer is director for international relations, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Paris.

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