French Euro-candidate in anti-Semitism probe
The candidate and his supporters are running for election to the European Parliament as a so-called anti-Zionist list.Paris -- French prosecutors launched an investigation on Thursday into comedian Dieudonne Mbala Mbala, leader of an "anti-Zionist" party in this week's European elections, after he was filmed insulting Jews.
If charged and convicted of making a "public anti-Semitic insult", the notorious provocateur could face six months in jail and a 22,500 euro (32,000 dollar) fine.
A spokesman for the Paris prosecutor's office said the inquiry was based on a video circulating on the Internet in which Dieudonne responded to a radio producer who had earlier insulted him in a televised debate.
"The yid Zionist lobby that he represents are thieving, racist liars," the provocateur-turned-politician says, in a clip which now appears to have been removed from the YouTube video-sharing website.
Dieudonne and his supporters are running for election to the European Parliament as a so-called anti-Zionist list, opposed to the supposed influence of a pro-Israeli lobby in all corners of French life.
Reacting to the news, Jewish rights groups renewed calls for the list -- which is headed by the black comic and Alain Soral, a former member of Jean Marie Le Pen's far right National Front -- to be banned.
The list is only on the ballot in the Paris region and its leaders admit they have little prospect of winning seats in the Strasbourg parliament but hope instead to publicise their theories about Zionist influence.
Several mainstream political leaders have condemned the campaign as a threat to France's delicate community relations in a country that has both Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim populations.