City prosecutors in southern France are investigating a local politician for his Twitter account, which was marked “forbidden to dogs and Jews” and featured tweets mocking and denying the Holocaust.
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The Montpelier prosecutors were notified Monday by municipal officials about the account, which belongs to Djamel Boumaaz, a former member of France’s far-right National Front party, the Liberation daily reported. Boumaaz, a Muslim who quit the party last year over what he termed anti-Muslim sentiments by party leader Marine Le Pen, said someone had hacked his account and posted the tweets, the news site Infos H24 reported.
According to Liberation, the profile of the account, which was shut down Monday, read: “Forbidden to dogs and to Jews.”
A tweet posted Sunday featured a black-and-white picture of corpses along with the text: “OK, let’s make up besides I have a heap of Jewish friends.”
Another tweet read: “My son has nightmares from your Holocaust. I told him not to be afraid of imaginary things.”
A known associate of Holocaust denier Alain Soral and anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, Boumaaz was second on the National Front list for the municipal elections in Montpelier in 2014.
Gilles Clavreul, France’s inter-ministerial delegate for the fight against racism and anti-Semitism, tweeted that he contacted Twitter’s French office demanding the closure of Boumaaz’s account for hate speech, which is illegal in France.
Earlier this month, a famous indoor food market in Lyon, in eastern France, fired an employee who wrote on Facebook: “If there was one word I could have removed from the dictionary, it would be ‘Holocaust’.” Halles de Lyon fired the man on May 7, according to Radio Scoop.
Separately, France’s Union of Jewish Students, or UEJF, and the anti-racist organization SOS Racisme sued Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for failing to remove anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic content, Le Parisien reported last week.
The two groups, together with SOS Homophobie, said that on March 31 and May 10, they found 586 examples of such content. Only 4 percent of the content was deleted by Twitter, 7 percent by YouTube and 34 percent by Facebook, the groups said.
In 2013, the Paris Court of Appeals issued a landmark ruling forcing Twitter to block the hashtag #UnBonJuif — which means “a good Jew” — and to remove the thousands of associated anti-Semitic tweets that violated France’s law against hate speech.
The ruling was a turning point in the fight against online hate speech in France. YouTube has since permanently banned videos posted by Dieudonne, a French comedian with 10 convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews. In 2014, Facebook removed the page of Soral, the Holocaust denier, for “repeatedly posting things that don’t comply with the Facebook terms,” according to the company. Soral’s page had drawn many complaints in previous years.