Canada prevents anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne from entering country


Border services agents in Montreal sent convicted anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala back to France on Tuesday after he landed in the city for a series of 10 sold-out shows in Canada.

Hours earlier, Dieudonne had been convicted again in France for breaking hate speech laws, for which he was fined $11,400.

Jewish groups had pressured Ottawa for two weeks to keep Dieudonne from entering Canada based on his numerous convictions in Europe over the last decade for hate speech and Holocaust denial.

“It would seem that the [Canadian Border Services Agency] made the right decision today,” said David Ouellette of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “Through his incitement to violence, glorification of terrorism and anti-Semitic vitriol, he was clearly not admissible to Canada.”

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre had said Dieudonne was not welcome.

Dieudonne confirmed he had to depart Canada, “but I will return,” he said on his Facebook page. “I will be in Montreal tomorrow ‘in peace,’” he wrote, using the name of his planned show.

The comment led some news reports to speculate that he might try to return and enter Canada again on Wednesday for his first show.

Dieudonne, 50, had sold out shows in three Quebec cities, including the Montreal art gallery that was vandalized in apparent anticipation of his appearance there. He was slated to perform in Montreal starting Wednesday, then move on to Trois-Rivieres and Quebec City.

After his arrival in Montreal, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette, he was detained in the airport’s customs area until the decision was announced not to let him in.

Dieudonné has been popular in Quebec since 2004, but less so in recent years. He had shows canceled in 2012 because of the controversy surrounding him.

Countries that have barred the comedian include Great Britain and Hong Kong.

The show he was set to perform in Quebec was described by promoters as tame, but that did not allay the concerns of those opposed to his appearance.

Dieudonne and Ahmadinejad trade mutual admiration


 Iranian ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Dieudonne M’bala M’bala a “great artist” during a meeting in Tehran with the French comic who is a repeat inciter of hate against Jews.

Dieudonne visited the Islamic Republic last week, the news site fararu.com reported, and presented Ahmadinejad with a golden statue of a man performing the quenelle — a gesture reminiscent of the Nazi salute that Dieudonne is promoting as a sign of discontent with the establishment but that French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called a gesture of “anti-Semitic hate.”

Dieudonne calls the statue a “golden quenelle” and has presented a number of them to personalities he defines as anti-Zionist. Ahmadinejad is a noted Holocaust denier who during his presidency expressed his wish that Israel would disappear.

On his official Twitter account, Ahmadinejad wrote about the encounter: “Visiting an old friend, a great artist.#Dieudonne #all4Palestine.”

During his eight years in office through 2013, Ahmadinejad ran competitions of cartoons on the Holocaust, soliciting drawings that suggested the genocide never happened or is happening to the Palestinians.

Dieudonne has more than 10 convictions for inciting hatred against the Jews, including through ridiculing the Holocaust and suggesting it is fabricated.

Dieudonne, whose shows are regularly banned in France and who is facing accusations of tax evasion in addition to ongoing probes into anti-Semitic speech, is the inventor of the word “shaonanas.”

A mashup of the Hebrew word for the Holocaust and French for pineapple, it is widely understood to be a codename suggesting the Holocaust never happened without violating France’s laws against denying it.

Dieudonne trial over ‘gas chambers’ remark starting


The French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala is standing trial for saying that a Jewish journalist should have died “in the gas chambers.”

The trial in criminal court begins Wednesday for Dieudonne, who has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews.

He was filmed with a hidden camera in 2013 making the comment about Patrick Cohen, according to The New York Times. The footage, which was broadcast on French television, led the French government to investigate Dieudonné and ban his show.

If Dieudonne is found guilty of violating France’s laws banning racist speech, he faces a fine of up to $45,000 and one year in prison. He has been charged almost 40 times under hate-speech laws.

Dieudonne stirred controversy recently by posting comments on social media sympathizing with Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four Jews at a Paris-area kosher supermarket in early January.

Stay or go? French Jews face a growing – and emotional – dilemma


Israel? The United States? Canada? South Korea, India, Singapore or Japan? French Jews have intensified their search for a new home, and they’ve diversified their potential destinations. For the past 15 years, anti-Semitism has become more and more common, more and more violent, and no one wants to see what it will be like in 10 or 20 years. 

When the “new anti-Semitism” began some 15 years ago, Jews were attacked almost exclusively in certain impoverished Parisian suburbs and neighborhoods. Young men would insult, spit and hit the easily identified pious members of the community. They wrote graffiti on synagogues, threw eggs at and stoned Jewish schools. The Jewish community complained about these attacks perpetrated “mainly” by young Muslims hostile toward Israel and Jews, but few of the French cared. Jewish leaders’ attempts to reverse the situation through interreligious dialogue failed.

Gradually, broader segments of the community started to face assaults. In 2003, 23-year-old DJ Sebastien Selam was murdered by his Muslim neighbor, who told police he would go to heaven because he had killed a Jew. In 2006, cell-phone salesman Ilan Halimi was abducted, held captive, tortured and set on fire by the self-proclaimed Gang of Barbarians. But the attack that convinced most Jews they were no longer safe in France was Toulouse 2012, when terrorist Mohammed Merah went on a killing spree at the Jewish school Ozar Hatorah, murdering three children and a teacher. The violence of that attack on such young children, and the fact that it happened in the traditionally open and quiet southern city of Toulouse, proved no place in France was safe any longer. Many of France’s 200,000 practicing Jews (out of the country’s estimated community of 550,000 to 600,000 ) started calling the Jewish Agency for Israel, to plan their departure. 

But for many French Jews, the situation wasn’t desperate enough to make aliyah

“There’s much more violence in Israel than here. I’m not going anywhere,” I was told by a friend I see at various Jewish events. 

As some community members immigrated to Israel, others preferred to move within their cities to safer neighborhoods. With every new attack, they re-examined their situation: Is staying in France still the right choice? Is it more dangerous to send children to public schools, where some have been attacked by schoolmates, or to Jewish schools, which have been stoned and could become a target for terrorists?

“The situation is complicated. My little brother goes to a Jewish school and a car drops him off five meters away from our building’s entrance, and yet, even in these five meters, he has been insulted. Men took his kippah away from him. What can we do? We take every precaution, and yet the problem is still there,” a 20-year-old Jewish student told me.   

In the summer of 2014, following the protests against Israel’s war with Hamas, French Jews saw for the first time whole groups of people attacking synagogues and Jewish businesses with firebombs and stones.

When the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher, located in one of France’s calmest bourgeois neighborhoods, was attacked on Jan. 9, two days after the murders at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, it became obvious that anyone could be hit anywhere.

Community members now have to choose: Will they stay in France and fight for their rights? Stay and conceal their religion? Or will they seek shelter abroad, perhaps in a country where people care as little as possible about Jews and the Middle East. 

Many in the community refuse to leave, as they feel strong attachments to France, the first country to recognize them as equal citizens, under Napoleon.

“If we don’t resist, no one will, and then it would all be over. The terrorists would have won,” I was told by a young man who had gone to a tribute to the victims killed at Hyper Cacher a day after the attack. 

Many French nationals appreciate this attitude.

“Please don’t leave! We’re with you!” several demonstrators at the Jan. 11 “Je Suis Charlie” march told a Jewish protester.

“We’re not leaving!” the protester replied.

Other Jews would rather avoid confrontation by hiding their identity, denying being Jewish, and presenting themselves as Christians. Others have made the decision to leave. 

Some have created groups to plan their departures and make them easier. People who wouldn’t ever have thought of leaving France had the situation not deteriorated are holding information meetings similar to ones organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel, but for other destinations. French migrants who have already settled in Jewish-friendly countries help them out by giving as much insight and assistance as possible.

Touring with my family in Canada, hoping to find our new land of milk and honey, I met a Vancouver, British Columbia, resident who had analyzed the situation. 

“You need to get as far away as possible from France, where many in the Muslim community are hostile toward Jews and Israel. Coming to America isn’t enough. Don’t settle in Montreal; it’s too European! Go West!”

Figures show many French Jews are moving to Israel. A record 7,000 made aliyah in 2014, twice as many as the previous year. This means that approximately 1 percent of France’s Jewish community moved to Israel alone. At the same time, about 0.4 percent of all French nationals moved abroad.

Over the past week, the Jewish Agency beat another record, getting calls from 2,000 people asking to join information sessions. As French Jews start panicking, the agency is forecasting that it could bring 10,000 olim (those who make aliyah) to Israel this year.

Most of those who emigrate undoubtedly want to keep their families as far away as possible from any future terror attack, but many also may be concerned by a less bloody phenomenon — the widening rift between them and France’s growing Muslim community. After the shooting in Charlie Hebdo, people have again started pointing fingers at the Jewish community, saying Charlie Hebdo never criticized Jews, only Muslims.

“When a cartoonist criticized former [French] president [Nicolas] Sarkozy’s son when he married a Jew, the cartoonist was fired, but nobody cares when these people represent Prophet Mohammad,” several people wrote on Facebook.

“There are obvious double standards in this country,” one of my colleagues wrote.

For Jews, it’s well-known that Charlie Hebdo repeatedly criticized all religions, or all religious extremists and hierarchies, and, if anything, Muslim fundamentalists were criticized less than others. Some see this as an alteration of facts at their expense.

The growing support as well for the controversial comedian Dieudonne (his real name is Dieudonne M’bala M’bala), who has been condemned numerous times for anti-Semitism and inciting hatred, also has increased Jews’ concern for the future.

French law protects the right to criticize religion but bans incitement, which suits perfectly the local Jewish community. But this balance could change.

As Dieudonne wrote on Facebook that he felt like “Charlie Coulibaly,” combining the names of Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly — the man who attacked the kosher supermarket — French authorities and many nationals saw the move as a new incitement. But to many Muslims, his words were far more tolerable than a drawing representing their prophet.

Some fear that pressure from them and from abroad could lead to a change of French values and laws, which currently protect free speech as it exists in France, and ban racism and anti-Semitism. These are values that many Jews believe are vital for them to be able to live in France, especially now, as they face growing hatred.


Shirli Sitbon is a journalist from Paris working for French TV station France 24 and Haaretz.

Hitler’s e-book blitzkrieg


France is agog over whether to ban Dieudonné, the comedian who invented the 'quenelle' reverse Nazi salute to give the anti-Semitic finger to decent society.

But why settle for a second-rate knockoff when you can sample the real thing – in the privacy of your home, work cubicle, or airline seat – for under two bucks? That's the going rate for the e-book topping all sales – the unexpurgated versions of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf – the Fuhrer's very own “how to” manual for exploding Europe while doing away with the Jewish people.

Is this just an inexpensive indulgence in the voyeurism of ultimate evil by young people who don't know better and not a few of their elders who should? Yes, and more.

Hitler's posthumous e-book blitzkrieg does not come out of the blue. It exploits pent-up demand in Germany where print versions have been verboten, but cyberspace again makes a joke of the Maginot Line of censorship laws. The appeal extends across Europe where respected author Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, offers a statistical analysis that 150 million people harbor serious anti-Semitic and/or “demonic view of Israel.” 

“Hitler as Hero” is also increasingly expressed among Muslims and Arabs:

In The Netherlands, Dutch social worker, Mehmet Sahin, a Moslem, was asked to interview troubled youth from his community on national TV. When the discussion got around to Anne Frank and the Holocaust, the Dutch Muslim teens' comments included, “What Hitler did to the Jews is fine with me,” said one, and “Hitler should have killed all the Jews,” smirked another. When Mehmet vowed to do all in his power to dissuade the youngsters from their hate, he was threatened by fellow Muslims and was forced to relocate by Dutch authorities to a tiny village.

Lebanese superstar singer Najwa Karam and a judge on the wildly popular version of American Idol and Arabs Got Talent, told Lebanese TV's Talk of the Town she chose Hitler first among six famous men to create her “ideal man”.

In Turkey, Mein Kampf  has been on the best-seller list since 2005.

In Iran – where Ayatollah Khomeini's Holy City of Qom was abuzz during World War II with rumors that the Twelfth Imam has been sent into the world by God in the form of Adolf Hitler, translations of Mein Kampf  are widely available in Farsi.

On the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) refuses to censor an Arabic translation of Mein Kampf  and has yet to criticize a Palestinian girl's essay in a youth magazine day dreaming about encounters with role models including a ninth-century Persian mathematician, an Egyptian Nobel laureate, the historic leader Saladin–and Hitler. 

In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood's Spiritual Head Yusuf el-Qaradawi never retracted these words: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place.”

Though the Egyptian military has shut down the Brotherhood, a Cairo boutique named, “Adolf Hitler” with a swastika on its logo is still in business.

“Hitler Chic” extends even to Asia where populations that suffered under Imperial Japan seem unable to connect the dots and empathize with Hitler's victims.

In Thailand – a Buddhist country of 64 million with less than 1000 Jews – there was a disgraceful parade at the exclusive Catholic Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Chiang Mai was led by students who gave the “Sieg Heil” salute carrying Nazi flags, accompanied by mock gun-toting adults.

In Japan,  the popular rock group Kishidan appeared on MTV Japan wearing SS-like uniforms.

In India, there was the “Hitler Crossing Café” in Mumbai and a publisher who has a smash best-seller marketing Mein Kampf to grad students as a “must have” example of a highly organized mind.

In South Korea, with its Hitler-themed sports bars, an advertising firm produced a campaign with a Nazi soldier and Hitler symbolizing the “revolutionary” moisturizing and calming effects of a skin lotion.

Meanwhile North Korea's “youthful” leader, Kim Jong-Un reportedly distributed, “a hundred copy” mint edition of a Korean translation of Mein Kampf to high-ranking military officers. This in a regime already using gas chambers to experiment on and murder selected political prisoners and that is incarcerating as many as 200,000 citizens in inhuman forced-labor camps.

In the 21st Century, there is no way for those who apply democratic rules and values to the Internet to ban any book. But e-sellers, large and small, should at least sell only annotated versions of Mein Kampf. Perhaps, there would be some hope that young readers – including all people of color – would come to understand the evil and still potent threat that Hitler and his genocidal ideology pose to the world.


Rabbi Abraham cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Quebec promoter nixes performances by anti-Semitic comic Dieudonne


A series of performances in Montreal by the French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, whose act has included anti-Semitic references, has been canceled.

Quebec’s largest concert promoter pulled the plug on the four shows scheduled for this week by Dieudonne, whose routine has included Holocaust denial and joking praise for Adolf Hitler. Dieudonne has been found guilty of inciting hatred in France.

In a statement issued May 11, the promoter cited “contractual conflicts.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs had complained about the comic to the promoter, Evenko, which last week replied that it had no choice but to honor its agreement with him.

“It is well-known that Dieudonne’s trademark is not humor but hatred toward Jews,” the center said in its complaint. “That is why the French courts have on several occasions found him guilty of inciting hatred.”

CIJA added that Dieudonne’s current show, titled “Give us back Jesus,” has been branded “a long litany of anti-Semitic comments” by the Belgian media. An article in Le Soir in March said it featured Holocaust denial, slurs against the Talmud and said that Hitler was “a nice boy.”

The comic has given the Nazi salute during performances.

Luciano Del Negro, CIJA’s vice president in Quebec, welcomed Evenko’s reversal.

“While we support freedom of expression, we have a responsibility to relegate anti-Jewish rantings and all expressions of hatred and racism to the margins of society,” Del Negro said.

This week, Belgian authorities forced Dieudonne to cancel two performances in Brussels. The French news agency AFP reported that police stopped him mid-performance May 9 after determining his act contravened local laws.