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The Questions That
Dieudonne Raise

By Dave Fryett

01 March, 2005
Countercurrents.org

With all the attention payed to President Bush's photo-op in Europe it is not surprising that a fracas caused by a mulatto comic and film director in France was pushed from the front pages of that nation's newspapers and escaped the attention of the world's non-Francophone press. Usually when one is accused of anti-Semitism and/or Holocaust denial, the Western media cue for the privilege of casting their finest, self-ennobling aspersions at the supposed villain. And, indeed, the self-appointed guardians of rectitude did issue a mitzvah for the offender's blood amidst a torrent of death threats directed at the recalcitrant comic. It was at this point that George Bush arrived and drove the affair from the media spotlight. Or did he? Or was it something else that drew the curtain down on this dispute and removed it from the public's gaze?

On a recent trip to Algiers to promote his newly released film, Pardon Judas, Mbala Mbala, better known to his fans as Dieudonne (Godgiven, a fairly common French surname), made several provocative remarks about Jews, Zionism, and the French government to the Francophone newspaper l'Expression. It was not the first time he had made inflammatory comments. He had been brought to trial before on the charge of incitement to hatred because of a television sketch he performed. In it he dressed as a rabbi and gave a Nazi salute and said "Israheil." Despite media pressure for a guilty verdict, the court found Dieudo not guilty saying that his criticism was directed at a state and not a people and as such it was protected as free speech. The Zionist lobby denounced the finding and bemoaned the growth of anti-Semitism in France which had, they insisted, even begun to infect the courts.

Encouraged by the victory, Dieudo briefly made a run for the President's office in 2002. He called himself a Utopianist and announced that if elected he was going to appoint artists to important offices because they have an honesty which is lacking in politicians. The campaign was not taken seriously and quickly morphed into performance art. Dieudo quietly returned to acting and directing and ceased, or so it seemed, to be a provocateur culturel. However, the confrontational nature of his videotaped remarks (linked below) brought him squarely to the forefront once again.

In the l'Expression interview and in other fora, Dieudo complains that Blacks do not have the same rights as Jews. The latter have monopolized suffering to such a degree that when one protests "the whole world rises up" in opposition. He says that France is tired of Jewish suffering and tired of Zionism. Dieudonne compared the holocaust to the four-century-long colonial period and asked which is worse. He laments that Jews, as he sees it, are denied nothing as France feels a collective guilt and sympathy for the holocaust but lacks a the similar attitude for former colonials. Jews, he told the Arabic paper Djazair News, occupy all the strategic offices in the national government and thus control the national agenda. And because of this they have a kind of impunity to say what they want and characterize all criticism as anti-Semitic. He added that the poverty and political impotence of Arabs and Blacks in France was due to the machinations of Jewish power all with an eye to keeping the French government pro-Israel where the majority of the population is pro-Palestinian.

The captious director was not finished: He referred to President Chirac's right-hand man and Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, as an "ass-licker" of the French Zionist community. He described the CRIF (Jewish Council of France) as a "crooked gang, a kind of mafia" that is going to be the ruin of the French Republic. And in a tour de force, Dieudonne likened Zionism to a disease and called it the AIDS of Judaism and labelled the recent commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz as "pornography immemorial," decrying the use of the dead as political propaganda for Israel/Zionism and even more repulsively for profit.

The reaction was instantaneous and furious . The CRIF called him an anti-Semite. Le Monde was uncharacteristically savage with him in an editorial. There are calls for a boycott of all of Dieudonne's films. Even the Left failed to rally to his cause but by far the worst consequence, assuming he is not mudered, is that he may be imprisoned.

In France, like Canada, Germany, and elsewhere, it is illegal to question the veracity of the Holocaust or to disparage its victims or their advocates. The official story of the treatment of camp internees during World War Two as determined by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg is thus not merely an opinion but an article of law. Gainsaying it is a crime. And according to Francois Hollande, socialist and disciple of French populist Max Gallo, Dieudonne has done just that. Jewish leaders and others are pressing for charges to be filed yet again.

In response, Dieudonne's attorney has said that if such charges are brought centering around the comments made about the ceremony at Auschwitz, then there would have to be a general investigation of what really happened there in light of all the new information which has surfaced since the end of the Soviet era, much of which contradicts the canonical Nuremberg findings.

There is more here than meets the eye. The attorney was expected either to say that Dieudonne didn't say the things attributed to him, and he was originally quoted by some French media as saying that remembering the suffering at Auschwitz was pornography, not profiteering from it. Several newspapers printed corrections.

Or he was expected to remind people that his client was in Algiers where no "holocaust denial" laws exist, even if what he had said could be construed to be in violation of the French law. Instead, dieudonne's counsel went on the offensive calling for a reopening of the history of that camp. This is precisely what the Zionist lobby does not want.

After Poland gained independence from Russia it did its own investigation and reduced the number who died at Auschwitz by more than half, from 2,750,000 to 1,300,000. Zionists worldwide objected obstreperously while the Polish authorities changed the plaques around the camp to reflect the new numbers. The Poles, and others, also tested the bath houses where millions were reportedly gassed and found none of the chemical byproducts of hydrogen cyanide, the active ingredient in Zyklon B. The tour guides were then told to tell visitors to the camp that the building they had been telling people for decades was an actual gas chamber is only a "simulation." The Wiesenthal center was furious and threatened legal action.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many facts which have come to light which cast much of what we have been told about the war and the camps in a different light. What the truth is will not be known for some time but it is clear that the number of victims claimed, particularly with respect to Jews and Russians, is exponentially high. And it is upon those numbers that reperations were demanded and received after the Nuremberg trials. (According to the French Holocaust law, the Polish government committed a "crime against humanity" when it revised the total number of fatalities.)

This aggressive position taken by Dieudonne and his attorney has led some to speculate that the inflammatory quotes were a ruse to provoke the CRIF into calling for a trial. If so, it worked. The bluff has now been called.

If you wonder how disputing an interpretation of a historical event can be considered a crime you are not alone. Can never happen here in the Good Ol' US of A, you say? In 1996, Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. Its putative purpose was to regulate the internet and keep it free from "obscenity." This legislation was welcomed by the Israeli lobby, who pushed it through Congress with all the tender loving care with which one pushes a baby in a stroller. The act proscribed "obscene," "offensive" and "harassing" language or images. And of course, holocaust denial is de facto "offensive" and "harassing" to Jews. Fortunately, an appeals court in Philadelphia ruled the law unconstitutional and our right of free speech (what is left of it) was rescued from the ravages of the reactionary Jewish Right.

After WW2, for the first time in the history of warfare, the losing belligerent was made to pay reperations not only to the governments of the victors but to individual victims as well. This precipitated a worldwide rugby scrum for reperations cash with the vast majority of this money being paid to survivors of the Holocaust, and the vast majority of them have been Jews. Additionally, as historian Norman Finkelstein has fastidiously detailed, the Holocaust is a lucrative business. A business whose proceeds flow to the state of Israel. Literally billions of dollars are at stake. It would be catastrophic for Israel if it were determined that reperations were overpaid and the story of the Holocaust were demonstrated to be, at least in some particulars, inaccurate. Hence the attempt to criminalize revisionism and stifle debate. And the effort to criminalize Holocaust revisionism can only escalate as some undesirable events have already transpired. A recent PBS documentary on the subject called "Auschwitz; Inside the Nazi State" used the revisionist numbers of the Polish Government. Without acknowledging it, this documentary rejected the canonical Holocaust story, the one Holocaust websites and memorials continue to tell, and the Nuremberg findings. An investigation into Holocaust fraud is precisely what the Zionist lobby wants to prevent. Keep the genie in the bottle at all costs.

It is precisely this effort that Dieudonne undermined. The problem for the French Zionists is that Dieudo has already beaten them in court and in order for them to justify another trial the charge would have to be the breaking of the Holocaust Law, a "crime against humanity." Here too, they encounter some obstacles. The statement of Auschwitz "pornography" was made about the merchandizing of the Holocaust, a subject the Zionist lobby would rather not discuss in open court. It was made abroad, in Algiers, where there is no such law. And if the Zionist lobby plough ahead the court might decide to allow evidence which contradicts the canonical story, again an unacceptable consequence.

Has Dieudonne laid a trap? Or were his derisions spontaneous and the resulting legal conundrum for his adversaries just a deliciously serendipitous concomitant? You be the judge.

Are Dieudo's accusations anti-Semitic? I must confess that I do not care, my freedom is paramount! He has properly identified, or at least brought into a public forum, a grave danger to all of us: the loss of our liberty. If the Zionists succeed in making dissent illegal or "obscene" on the subject of the Holocaust where will it end? If one exception to the First Ammendment is codified into law, what will be next? The Zionist lobby on its own may not be strong enough to push this legislation through Congress and the courts, they may need the help of the Christian Right and what conditions might the latter impose? Will religious dissent become "offensive" as well?

Even if Dieudonne is guilty of ugly hyperbole, and he may very well be, he, like Professor Norman Finkelstein and others, has done a thing immensely brave. He has pointed out that there are those who want to spin our civilization into retrograde motion. And we cannot let this happen!

Merci citoyen Dieudonne! Vous etes vraiment dieudonne!

Dave Fryett can be reached at kovallan1@yahoo.com

 

 

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