French Comic Convicted of Incitement Wants to Meet Jewish Leaders

French Jewish community organizations have yet to respond to request.

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French comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala speaks to the media during a press conference in a theater in Paris, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.
French comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala speaks to the media during a press conference in a theater in Paris, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Credit: AP
JTA
JTA

French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews, wants to meet with representatives of France’s Jewish community.

In an open letter sent last week, lawyers for Dieudonne asked Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Gilles Clavreul, the French government’s interministerial delegate for the fight against anti-Semitism, to organize the meeting.

Such a meeting is necessary, the lawyers wrote, to “determine the terms of an accord which would allow both parties to respect the other.” The letter adds, “In this affair, there have been too many damages and injuries.”

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, has not issued a public reaction to the letter.

Many consider Dieudonne a symbol of France’s growing anti-Semitism problem because of his performances and creation of the quenelle, a Nazi-like salute that French Prime Minister Manuel Vals called a “gesture of hatred” and “an anti-Semitic gesture.”

Dieudonne is preparing to launch a nationwide tour on Dec. 27 of his show, “The Impure Beast,” which includes jokes about Ilan Halimi, a French Jew who was murdered in 2006.

In recent years he has been the subject of government searches, financial inspections, subpoenas and bans on his performances.

“We are able to resist all the attacks on our client,” the lawyers wrote in reference to the punitive measures. “But Dieudonne wants to move forward. Beyond respect for the rule of law, to peace.”

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