French Anti-Semites Dieudonné and Alain Soral Announce Formation of New Political Party
French comedian and political activist Dieudonné M’bala M’bala together with former National Front politician Alain Soral – both widely known for their anti-Semitics beliefs – have announced that they will form a new political party in France, reported Mediapart, a French online investigative journal.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director of International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Europe told The Algemeiner that there is “no doubt” that the party platform for the Réconciliation nationale (or National Reconciliation) party will contain “the most egregious and voracious form of anti-Semitism.”
M’bala M’bala, universally known by his stage name Dieudonné, is infamous for popularizing the “quenelle” gesture, an inverted Nazi salute, within the French subculture. Early in his career, Dieudonné – born to a Cameroonian father and a French mother – was a successful comedian whose act initially focused on anti-far-right social commentary. His first foray into politics was in 1997 when he ran in a regional election against the Front National (National Front), a French far-right political party.
Around 2004, Dieudonné, who is now 48, went through a sudden metamorphosis that turned his stature into what The Independent described as “a French Louis Farrakhan.” His numerous anti-Semitic outbursts have seen him on the wrong side of defamation claims resulting in fines and injunctions based on the criminal grounds of inciting ethnic or racial hatred. After appearing on a show with Robert Faurisson, a notorious Holocaust-denying French academic, authorities fined Dieudonné for publicly insulting “people of Jewish faith or origin.” Roger Cukierman, a prominent leader of French Jewry, called Dieudonné “a professional anti-Semite” – a comment that he, in turn, was indicted for last week.
Alain Soral, a widely published essayist, went through a political transformation of his own – quitting the far-left Communist party to join the far-right National Front. Soral is on record calling societal ills a product of Jewish conspiracies and “American-Zionist plots.” On September 17th, Soral announced his disassociation from the National Front party due its leader Marine Le Pen’s suggestion that her pro-Israel international adviser, Aymeric Chauprade, may become her future Foreign Minister.
Forming Réconciliation nationale will not be the first political venture in which Dieudonné and Soral have cooperated. In 2009, Dieudonné founded the political party Parti antisioniste (PAS) – commonly referred to as the “Anti-Zionist List.” That same year, both he and Soral were on the party’s ballot for elections to the European Parliament. The French authorities briefly looked into banning the party. PAS gained only 1.3% of the votes and the party dissipated.
Despite the earlier low turnout, Samuels believes that Dieudonné is not to be underestimated. “He brings people together – black/white, Sunni/Shia, left/right,” he acknowledged. “He is a cult icon, hero to disaffected Muslims in France. Because he is interconnected, he has to be taken seriously.” The popularization of the quenelle demonstrates a crucial aptitude for reaching the coveted youth demographic. “Dieudonné is good at gimmicks,” noted Samuels. “Social media, after all, was key to the Obama election in 2008.”
Still, Samuels believes that Dieudonné’s “star has begun to decline.” He opined that the formation of the party is a “ploy” and a “trial balloon” to draw attention away from Dieudonné’s legal troubles. He is currently being investigated for tax evasion and money laundering by the French authorities. “Dieudonné is likely to use the platform to paint himself as a victim of conservatives, Jews and Zionists. And if elected, of course, he will gain immunity from prosecution.”
Dieudonné and Soral, who will co-chair the new party, have declared their intention to file an application with the CNCCFP, the French authority that controls campaign spending and financing of political parties. Samuels told The Algemeiner that the Simon Wiesenthal Center Europe plans to file a formal protest in order to deny approval to, or outright ban, any party applications filed by Dieudonné and Soral.