'Quenelle' Creator Dieudonne M'bala-M'bala Faces Trial for 'Gas Chamber' Quip

French Comedian's Eighth Trial for Inciting Racial Hatred

Shameful Move: French comedian Dieudonne Mbala-Mbala performs the controversial ‘quenelle’ gesture with basketball star Tony Parker. Parker now says he didn’t know the salute has anti-Semitic overtones.
getty images
Shameful Move: French comedian Dieudonne Mbala-Mbala performs the controversial ‘quenelle’ gesture with basketball star Tony Parker. Parker now says he didn’t know the salute has anti-Semitic overtones.

By JTA

Published December 31, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A French comedian who implied that a Jewish journalist belonged in a gas chamber may be tried for racial incitement for the eighth time.

Paris prosecutors on Monday ordered the opening of a criminal investigation against the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala on suspicion of incitement to racial hatred, according to the news site 20minutes.fr. They were reacting to the airing of a television show by M’bala M’bala earlier this month on France 2, in which Dieudonne said:

“When I hear about Patrick Cohen, I say to myself: You see, the gas chambers… It’s a shame.”

Cohen, a veteran journalist for France Inter, earlier this year criticized France 2 for giving airtime to people with what he termed “sick minds.” He named Dieudonne along with Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss professor who is banned from entering the United States for his support for Palestinian terrorist groups; Holocaust denier Alain Soral; and Marc-Edouard Nabe, an anti-Zionist writer who has been accused of anti-Semitism.

Last month, Dieudonne, a Frenchman of Cameroonian origins, was convicted for racial incitement against Jews in another one of his shows. It was his seventh conviction for the same offense, according to LICRA, the France-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.

Last week, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said that his ministry was considering banning public performances by Dieudonne because he seemed undeterred by the convictions, which came with tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

In recent months, French media have devoted increasing coverage to the spreading of Dieudonne’s ideas in French society, most notably with the increasingly popular “quenelle” gesture — a quasi-Nazi salute designed to circumvent France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols.

Dieudonne, who prefers being referred to by his first name, also coined the phrase “shoananas” — a mashup of the Hebrew word for Holocaust and the French word for pineapple, which is seen as a way of suggesting the Holocaust is a myth without violating French laws against genocide denial.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.