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Dieudonné’s “anti-racist anti-Semitism”

From a piece in The New Yorker last November by Tom Reiss about the popular antisemitic French “comedian” Dieudonné, who planned to run for President of France in 2007 on “an anti-Zionist, ‘utopian-anarchist’ ticket” and who traveled to Cameroon with the wife of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“Dieudonné is the spokesman, the godfather, the icon of a new kind of anti-Semitism,” Alain Finkielkraut, the philosopher and memoirist of Jewish identity, told me. “It is an explicitly anti-racist anti-Semitism, which inverts traditional anti-Semitism by asserting that the Nazis today are in fact the Jews. The idiom of anti-Semitism is no longer racism; it is now anti-racism. Dieudonné’s followers say that they don’t hate Jews, they hate Jewish racism. They say that Israel is like Nazism, like apartheid. ”
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“In France, being an anti-Semite in the old way does not work,” [Bernard-Henri] Lévy said when I asked him about Dieudonné. “You will not raise a mass movement by saying the Jews killed Christ—nobody cares. Accuse them of having invented Christ, like Voltaire did in the eighteenth century, still nobody cares. As far as being a special race, nobody believes that anymore. But anti-racist anti-Semitism—saying that for the sake of the blacks, for the sake of the Arabs, we must make the Jews shut up—this works. If the Jews practiced ‘memorial pornography’—thus exaggerating their own suffering—they became responsible for why the world didn’t care enough about the history of slavery and the suffering of blacks. Dieudonné and his followers suppose that the capacity for empathy and the capacity for indignation is limited. But the brain doesn’t work like this—you can care about the Holocaust and slavery. The more you are concerned by one, the more you are likely to be concerned by the other.”

One would hope so.

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