UPDATE: This article is also now cross-posted at the excellent Philosemitism and Philosemitisme. UPJF and Juif also cover the story.
Standpoint Magazine carries an article this month chronicling the severity of antisemitism in the banlieues of Paris and in wider French society, and the attempts of Jewish communities in France to confront this bigotry. The murder of Ilam Halimi, in what appears to be an antisemitic murder, highlights the severity of the situation.
Whilst French Jews, and wider French society, worry about the rise in antisemitism, antisemitic French comedian Dieudonné is claiming that France is controlled by Zionism and Zionist interests.
Dieudonné is leading an “anti-Zionist” list of candidates for the upcoming Euro elections in Ile-de-France, consisting of Far Right Front National members. The French government have tried, and failed, to ban Dieudonné’s party. Dieudonné is linked with Holocaust deniers and the French Far Right.
Dieudonné’s candidates include French sociologist Alain Soral and Yahia Gouasmi, who claims that “behind each divorce, there is a Zionist.”
Gouasmi is trying to win Christian votes:
“Christians are strangers in their own homes. They are the Palestinians of France. Christians, wake up!”
Indeed, Dieudonné is winning support across French society. Some Christians, it seems, are taking Gouasmi’s advice:
Francis, who described himself as a “Christian student”, joined Dieudonne out of a hatred for “multiculturalism” after deciding he “could no longer identify with the values of French society.”
So, does Dieudonné’s anti-Zionist party really care about Christians? Alain Soral, talking about the persecution of Christians in Algeria, claimed:
“…yesterday, Phillipe Val criticized the Catholic Church for not drawing attention what’s happening in Algeria to the so-called “Christians” who are persecuted. But what he didn’t say was that it’s not Catholics who are being persecuted in Algeria, but Christian evangelists who are agents of the CIA; neoconservative agents.”
In 2008, BBC News reported that four Algerian converts to Christianity were fined by the state for “worshipping illegally”, and BosLifeNews reported the imprisonment of Christians in Algeria and the closure of churches.
Clearly persecution of Christians in Algeria is widespread, yet Soral only sees persecution of ‘evangelists’, whom he equates with CIA agents. To complicate matters further, Soral bemoans the US involvement in Serbia and praises Serbian “patriots”:
Serbia, the first Christian country to have been bombed by a “Christian” coalitian in Europe, since 1945, has still not finished healing its wounds. In the grip of American occupation, Albanian mafia and Saudi money, the Serbian patriots nevertheless continue to resist. Fiercely…
Soral sees Serbian Christians as patriots heroically fighting crime and corruption, but sees Algerian Christians as neocons, evangelists, and CIA agents. Gouasmi sees French Christians as the ‘Palestinians of France.’
Dieudonné’s candidates at best present a mixed message about Christians (and consider what kind of message he sends out to Jews and Muslims). Then again, Dieudonné’s campaign isn’t really about any of this – it’s about freeing France from the grip of the Zionists.
Whilst the pro-Palestine movement in France has commendably rejected Dieudonné, it is nevertheless important not to ignore the threat which Dieudonné poses in the upcoming European elections, and to listen carefully to what he is saying and whom he is campaigning with.