Dieudonne cleared of anti-Semitism in TV sketch

28th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 27 (AFP) - A Paris court Thursday cleared comedian Dieudonne of racism, ruling that a television skit in which he dressed up as an Orthodox Jew and gave the Nazi salute lampooned not Jews as a whole but only right-wing Israelis.

PARIS, May 27 (AFP) - A Paris court Thursday cleared comedian Dieudonne of racism, ruling that a television skit in which he dressed up as an Orthodox Jew and gave the Nazi salute lampooned not Jews as a whole but only right-wing Israelis.

"The personality created by the accused does not represent people of Jewish confession in their entirety, but a certain category of person distinguished by their political views," said judge Marie-Therese Feydeau.

The charge of racial defamation brought could not therefore be sustained, she said. The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism and the Union of French Jewish Students, which brought the case, said they would appeal.

"The court has just recognised the right of a humorist to criticise the politics of a state without being accused of anti-Semitism when that state is Israel," said Dieudonne, whose full name is Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala.

Dieudonne, a 37-year-old of French-Cameroonian parents, caused outrage among Jewish groups in December when he performed his sketch on national television, jokingly urging French youth to "join the Axis of Good: the American-Zionist Axis."

A long-standing critic of Israeli policies, he was subsequently forced to cancel a number of shows.

On Wednesday he was fined EUR 5,000 (USD 6,000) by a court in Avignon for remarks made about Jews in an interview with Le Monde newspaper.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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