web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘France’

French Jewish Leader Softens Stance on Quenelle Gesture

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The president of France’s main Jewish group has toned down his blanket condemnation of the quenelle gesture and said it is not necessarily anti-Semitic.

Roger Cukierman of the CRIF umbrella group adjusted his position in a filmed interview published Tuesday on the website of the Le Figaro daily.

Reacting to the decision that day by England’s Football Association to punish Nicolas Anelka, a French soccer player who performed the gesture during a match, Cukierman said, “It seems to me a bit severe because it seems to me that this gesture has an anti-Semitic connotation, which would be reprehensible, only when performed in front of a synagogue or a Holocaust memorial site.”

But when performed at a place “without any Jewish connection, it seems to me like an anarchist gesture against the establishment, which, it seems, does not merit severe punishment,” he said.

Anelka posted the Le Figaro video of Cukierman on Twitter with the message: “Nothing to add.”

On Tuesday, the Football Association announced that Anelka faces a ban of at least five matches for improper conduct, aggravated because it “included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief” for performing the gesture on the pitch after scoring a goal on Dec. 28.

On Dec. 26, Cukierman was quoted by Le Point and on CRIF’s website as saying, “We are very concerned by the impact of this gesture, which we consider a Nazi salute.”

The quenelle was invented by Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, an anti-Semitic comedian. Earlier in December, CRIF requested and received a special audience with President Francois Hollande to discuss the quenelle and other actions by Dieudonne.

On Dec. 31, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said at a news conference, “This gesture is a gesture of hatred, it’s an anti-Semitic gesture and all those who perform it should know — they can’t deny knowledge — that they are performing an anti-Semitic gesture, an inverted Nazi gesture.”

344 Years after His Execution, French Jew Cleared of Blood Libel

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Nearly 350 years after his wrongful execution, a French Jew who had been convicted of a blood libel was exonerated and declared a martyr.

The village of Glatigny in the eastern district of Moselle set the record straight Sunday on the wrongful conviction of Raphael Levy in 1670 for murder. Levy, a simple merchant, was found guilty and burned at the stake for the alleged killing of three-year-old Didier Lemoine for ritual purposes, Le Figaro reported Sunday.

City officials affixed a plaque in Levy’s memory to a public building in the village of Glatigny, near where he was killed. The text refers to him as a “Jewish martyr from Boulay,” Levy’s village, who was “accused of a ritual crime which he did not commit.”

The ceremony was attended by about 100 people, including members of the Jewish community of Moselle, and Joel Mergui, president of the Consistoire – the French Jewish community’s organization responsible for religious services.

“Today we are back to square one, we are reconciled, we resume normal relations with the Jewish community,” the mayor of Glatigny, Victor Stallone, said. “Glatigny was cursed since that time because of a principled prohibition decided upon by the Jewish community.”

Stallone was referring to a decree issued by leaders of French Jewry following Levy’s execution, according to Henry Schumann of the Consistoire’s local branch. Le Figaro quotes him as saying that the Jewish community had declared Glatigny accursed and instructed Jews not to set foot there.

Topsy-Turvy Court Decisions Ban Dieudonne – Again

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The French government has won a last minute appeal on Thursday to France’s highest court, which reinstated a ban lifted hours before by a third court and decided that the French anti-Semitic comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala cannot appear as scheduled in Nance.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls appealed to the Council of State, France’s highest court after judges in Nance overruled a lower court’s ban on the performance.

Dieudonne, already convicted seven times for anti-Semitic hate speech, already had arrived at the theatre where he was to perform. Not to be silenced, he announced he will put on a show next to the French court in Paris.

The court decisions centered around the argument whether Dieudonne’s show, called “The Wall,” represented “an attack on human dignity as its main object.”

The comic’s lawyers appealed the initial ban on ground that it violated freedom of speech.

He won the appeal after judges decided that his performance did not endanger public order, but the highest court thought differently.

World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder  called on France to “confront this preacher of hate head on,” and President Francois Hollande had earlier urged French officials to the ban on the show.

Dieudonne remains are scheduled to perform in other events, but Bordeaux and Marseilles already have cancelled the shows.

French Court Scraps City’s Ban on Anti-Semitic Comedian’s Show

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

A court in France scrapped a municipal ban on a performance by the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala Thursday after he petitioned to negate the ruling by a court in Nantes.

The judge rejected the argument made by Christian de Lavernée, a municipal administrator, who banned the show on grounds that it would create a disturbance to public order and “cause offense to basic human dignity.”

The show, which will take place Thursday night in Nantes, is scheduled to be the first performance in a nationwide tour by Dieudonne of his new routine, “The Wall.”

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls last week sent a letter to all French mayors assuring them they had the authority to ban shows by Dieudonne, who has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews with jokes about the Holocaust; calls for the liberation of Jew-killers; and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, among other actions.

He is scheduled to appear on Jan. 26 in Bordeaux, one of several French cities that have banned his show at Valls’ encouragement.

The ruling came amid criticism that Valls’ attempts to ban Dieudonne’s shows were too restrictive of freedom of expression.

French Police Search for Merah Fan over Quenelle Photos

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

French police are searching for an unidentified man who performed an anti-Semitic gesture at three locales connected to the murder of Jews.

A photo of the suspect surfaced last week online in which he performed the quenelle, a quasi-Nazi salute, in front of the Toulouse school where the Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah murdered four Jews in 2012.

The same man was seen performing the quenelle outside the former residence of Merah, who was killed during a shootout with French police, according to research done by the French Jewish news site JSSnews.com. He also posed while performing the quenelle near a monument commemorating the Holocaust in Paris.

The quenelle is the name given to the gesture of placing one’s left palm on one’s right shoulder by its inventor, comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has been convicted several times for inciting hatred against Jews and who is facing an eighth trial for suggesting a French Jewish journalist belonged in a gas chamber.

It is widely seen as echoing the Nazi salute but is too vague to violate France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols. In recent months, the quenelle’s popularity has soared in France, with several celebrities performing it on national media.

On Tuesday, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls – who last week said he would seek a ban on public performances by Dieudonne — indicated for the first time he may also seek a ban on the gesture, which he said is a form of incitement to hatred despite claims that it is merely anti-establishment rather than anti-Semitic.

Samaria Wines Receive International Acclaim in France Despite Boycotts

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

A French wine competition has awarded the Psagot Boutique Winery of Samaria gold stars for each of its eight wines that are a continuation of the Biblical tradition of wine production in Israel.

Established in 2003 by Yaakov and Naama Berg, the Psagot Boutique Winery is located in the Binyamin hills north of  Jerusalem ,which served as the cradle of wine-cultivation in Biblical times. The winery’s vineyards are planted on ancient limestone terraces at a height of 3,000 feet above sea level, alongside the community of Psagot, located south of Beit El and Ofra in Samaria.

Editorial note: A 2011 Washington Post article suggested that the labels on the Berg bottles say they are from Psagot, Israel, containing wine produced from vineyards planted on ancient limestone terraces in the “northern Jerusalem hills” and aged in French oak barrels stored in an ancient cave.

When asked, Berg “shrugged off suggestions that the labels mask the wine’s origin in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.”

“This is a geographical definition, not political,” he says of the reference to the Jerusalem hills. “When it comes to wine, the geographical area is critical, like Napa Valley” in California. As for the reference to Israel, Berg said that he is subject to Israeli law and that his winery is built on state land.

Energetic founder and chief executive of Psagot Winery Yaakov Berg.

Energetic founder and chief executive of Psagot Winery Yaakov Berg.

In keeping with ancient history of the location, the Psagot Winery ages its wines in an ancient underground cave that was used for wine-making in the Second Temple period. The cave was discovered in the process of establishing the winery in an area where remnants of ancient vineyards still exist.

The annual French wine competition is held by 1001degustations.com, a wine site that was created by French wine producers in order to promote international interest in wines and wine production.

The Psagot wines competed against scores of wines sent from wineries across the world including leading wine-producing countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia, USA, South Africa and Argentina.

All eight of the Psagot wine entries placed in the competition, either in first, second or third place, a special feat for the Israeli boutique winery according to the founder and CEO, Yaakov Berg. “We sent all our wines to the competition and they all received awards,” Berg told Tazpit News Agency.

Psagot’s red wines, Prat and Shiraz, were awarded gold stars as well as the Judges’ Favorite Award. The grading is based on the criteria of color, aroma and taste and is decided by a jury composed of wine producers, sommeliers, oenologists, and restaurant owners. On the competition’s website, Psagot’s Prat wine was noted for its pleasant fragrance and fruity flavor, while the judges described the Shiraz as an elegant delight.

The Psagot Winery has won accolades in Panama, England and the United States among other countries. Because the competitions use blind tasting of wines to prevent bias, the Psagot wines have an equal opportunity to win like all the other wines. “Otherwise, politics would just get in the way and our wines would have no chance,” Berg told Tazpit.

The Psagot winery produced 200,000 wine bottles this year following a successful grape harvest in 2012. Most of the bottles have been exported abroad to various countries.

“This recent win is special because it shows the world what the land of Israel is made of. Two-thousand years ago, our people produced good wines in the same region, and now we are back home doing the same,” Berg said.

NBA’s Tony Parker Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Salute

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

National Basketball Association star Tony Parker has apologized for performing an anti-Semitic salute after a three-year-old photo was published in the French media.

The photo shows Parker, who was born in Belgium and is French by nationality, performing the quenelle salute earlier this year standing next to the gesture’s founder, anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne Mlaba Mlaba, backstage at a theatre in France.

The quenelle is a quasi-Nazi salute designed to circumvent France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League had called on Parker, who plays point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, to apologize for performing the salute.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said in a statement released late Monday by Parker’s team, the San Antonio Spurs.

“When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act, and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful. Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions,” Parker said in the statement.

The ADL praised Parker’s apology. “We call on those who have posed with the quenelle to follow Parker’s lead and stop using it. Responsible public figures should condemn those who use a gesture which was created to express anti-Semitism,” the ADL said in a statement.

Reports of the Parker salute came a day after soccer player Nicolas Anelka, a French national playing for Britain’s West Bromwich Albion soccer team, was roundly condemned for performing the salute during a match on Saturday. Britain’s Football Association has launched an investigation of the Anelka incident.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Football Association and the UEFA, the governing body of European football, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor called for a fight against anti-Semitism in football, especially in the wake of the Anelka salute.

“At the European Jewish Congress, we regularly receive reports of attacks on Jews, whether verbal or physical, which also include acts of anti-Semitism at matches involving English and European football clubs,” Kantor wrote in letters to Greg Dyke, chairman of The Football Association and Michel Platini, president of UEFA. “Mr. Anelka’s recent action is a reminder that hatred of Jews in the stands can very easily find its way right on to the pitch. Similarly, the legitimization of anti-Semitic acts by players who are supposed to act as role models for youth is a particularly dangerous phenomenon, and one that is not restricted to Anelka alone,” Kantor’s letter read.

Kantor and the EJC offered their cooperation to the football associations to help fight anti-Semitism.

‘Quenelle’ Salute at Toulouse School Where Jews Were Killed

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Amid a public debate in France over an allegedly anti-Semitic gesture, French media have reproduced a photo of a man performing it outside the Toulouse school where four Jews were murdered.

The photo, which was published Monday on the website of the France 3 broadcaster, shows a man wearing a shirt featuring a portrait of Yasser Arafat in front of the Ohr Torah school.

The man, whose face was digitally obscured, is holding his left palm outstretched over his right shoulder – a gesture known as quenelle, which was invented by the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’balla M’balla.

Jewish groups say that Dieudonne, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews, designed the quenelle to emulate the Nazi salute without violating France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols to cause offense.

The picture taken outside Ohr Torah is not dated but was taken after the Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah last year killed three children and a rabbi. The institution changed its name since from Otzar HaTorah.

The photo was published a day after photos surfaced of NBA star Tony Parker, who was born in Belgium and is French by nationality, performing the salute earlier this year standing next to Dieudonne backstage at a theater in France. Photos of the salute were published in the French media.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center reportedly has called on Parker, who plays point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, to apologize for performing the salute.

“As a leading sports figure on both sides of the Atlantic, Parker has a special moral obligation to disassociate himself from a gesture that the government of France has identified as anti-Semitic,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.

Reports of the Parker salute came a day after soccer player Nicolas Anelka, a French national playing for Britain’s West Bromwich Albion soccer team, was roundly condemned for performing the salute during a match on Saturday.

Anelka defended himself on Sunday, saying that he saw a photo of President Obama performing the quenelle with rapper Jay Z and singer Beyonce. They were, in fact, performing a hip hop move in which the hand brushes off the shoulder.

Britain’s Football Association has launched an investigation of the Anelka incident.

France’s interior minister, Manuel Valls, declared that his ministry would look into banning all public performances by Dieudonne, the inventor of the quenelle.

Dieudonne has been convicted several times for inciting racial hatred against Jews in films, shows and articles.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/quenelle-salute-at-toulouse-school-where-jews-were-killed/2013/12/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: