Last March, in a post about the antisemitic French comedian Dieudonné, I wrote:
If [far-right nationalist Jean-Marie] Le Pen and Dieudonné could put aside their differences over the black-white thing, it appears there would be very little to distinguish one from the other.
Well, it appears the two men are moving toward indistinguishability. Discussing Le Pen in an interview with the extreme-right publication “Le Choc du Mois,” Dieudonné is quoted as saying:
“He is the true Right, I am the true Left, the New Empire does not like either one of us.”
The Independent reports:
There is a political saying in France that the “extremes touch”. Even in France, however, the extremes rarely shake hands in public.
Mouths gaped last week when Jean-Marie Le Pen, veteran xenophobe and leader of the powerful French far right, chatted amiably in public with Dieudonné M’bala, a black comedian, one-time anti-racist campaigner, now the champion of a conspiracy-obsessed and anti-Semitic segment of the far left.
Dieudonné (always known by his stage name) turned up at the annual Red-White-Blue festival of Mr Le Pen’s National Front at Le Bourget, allegedly on a whim and “just to have a look”. It later emerged that the visit, and “chance” meeting between the two men, was planned by senior NF officials, with Mr Le Pen’s and Dieudonné’s knowledge, though the two men managed to avoid being photographed together.
What was going on? Dieudonné, 40, who has his own political comedy theatre in eastern Paris, has broken with many former friends on the left by insisting that all the ills of the world, and especially the problems of black people, can be traced to Israeli and Jewish influence. He was convicted earlier this year of making anti-Semitic statements.
Mr Le Pen, 78, was once a scarcely disguised anti-Semite and racist himself. Even last summer he was complaining that there were too many black faces in the France football squad at the World Cup. But he has tried to re-invent himself in recent months as a democratic nationalist and patriot, open to French people of all races and religions. Being seen with Dieudonné could help to enlarge his appeal in next spring’s presidential election.
But Mr Le Pen’s National Front is riven by internal quarrels. Unreconstructed racists within the party jeered and insulted Dieudonné when he turned up at the NF festival, forcing him to leave early.
There’s a history here. Nobody who has been paying attention to websites like Counterpunch.org and antiwar.com in recent years has a right to be shocked, or even slightly surprised. Marginally milder forms of this phenomenon can be observed every day among “leftists” who apologize for or support Gilad Atzmon or Hezbollah. This is not a one-off.
(Hat tip: Judeosphere.)