JTA — Two French soldiers who posed in front of a Paris synagogue while making an anti-Semitic gesture will be sanctioned by the French army. The soldiers of the Alpine Hunters elite unit currently are the subject of an investigation, the French military’s spokesperson, Bruno Louisfert, told radio station RTL France Tuesday. He said they will be punished for the act. CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, called the soldiers’ actions “shocking and disconcerting.”
Dubbed the “quenelle,” the gesture is the brainchild of the declaredly anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne, who invented several anti-Semitic words and gestures seen to be too vague to violate France’s law forbidding hate speech and Holocaust denial. The quenelle is thought to echo the Nazi salute. Diedonne has also referred to the Holocaust as Shoannanas – a combination of the Hebrew word for the Nazi genocide against the Jews and the French word for pineapple.