Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Charlie Hebdo Cartoonist Sues Bernard-Henri Levy Over ‘Anti-Semitic’ Jibe

A caricaturist who used to work for the Charlie Hebdo magazine said he has sued for libel the French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, who had accused him of anti-Semitism.

Maurice Sinet, better known by his pen name Sine, announced the lawsuit on Monday on his website, urging readers to show their support in a petition and “return honor to all those whom this person has spit on.” The petition has received more than 700 signatures since it was posted.

Levy, who is one of France’s best-known philosophers, wrote in a column that appeared in the Le Point magazine in January that Sine is “a former employee of Charlie Hebdo who was kicked out for his anti-Semitism and racism.”

In 2008, Sine published in Charlie Hebdo a text which implied that Jean Sarkozy, the son of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, was able to avoid blame for a vehicular accident because he plans to convert to Judaism and marry a rich Jewish woman — all unfounded claims that that the caricaturist later said were satirical.

A French court that year ordered a motorist who sued Jean Sarkozy to pay $2,300 for filing a false claim.

Amid a controversy that reverberated for months through France’s literary circles, media and courts, Sine’s employment at Charlie Hebdo – a left-leaning publication known for its lampooning of religion — was terminated after more than two decades.

The magazine, which last year was targeted by Islamists who killed 12 people at its offices, cited threats of legal action against it, and the targeting of an individual person for his ties to Judaism as the reason for the dismissal.

LICRA, a French anti-racism group, sued Sine in 2009 for incitement to hate over the text but lost the case on freedom of expression grounds. The Correction Tribunal of Lyon, however, said Sine’s text “conflated Jews with money and therefore can be seen to invoke an anti-Semitic element.”

Levy told AFP that Sine “can say what he wants and start all the lawsuits in the world. Nothing will erase the shame of his statements in 2008.”


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.