Stand-up-komikeren Dieudonné har gjort jøder til skyteskive, og det på en måte som i manges øyne har gått langt over streken for hva man kan si om andre mennesker.

Roey Cohen tar for seg mannen i en lang artikkel i Haaretz. Det er interessant lesning. Dieudonné er populær blant nordafrikanere og arabere, og noen mener han helt bevisst og kynisk appellerer til deres fordommer og motvilje mot jøder.

Saken berører ytringsfrihetens grenser. Dieudonne må i disse dager for retten. Ikke for første gang. Tidligere har han alltid sluppet unna av hensyn til ytringsfriheten.

Man kan ikke unngå å tenke på alt bråket rundt profet-tegningene i Danmark. En død religionsstifter skal ikke kunne avbildes, men levende mennesker kan henges ut?

Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, a popular stand-up comic in France, is being ostracized by a large part of the French public, which is staying away from his shows. He is also no longer being invited to appear on television there. It’s not because he’s not funny. On the contrary – everyone agrees that Dieudonne is a superb comic, a very funny man. But this week he went on trial in Paris for things he said in an interview about a year ago in the French weekly Le Journal de Dimanche, in which he attacked – with typical vitriol – the people he thinks are trying to shove him to the margins of the sociopolitical discourse in France. He has no doubt whatsoever about their identity. «These are the same slave traders who became bankers and media moguls and who currently support Ariel Sharon’s policies,» he said. «Those that are attacking me have built empires and fortunes thanks to slavery and the black slave trade. But it’s Israel that has financed apartheid and its final solution projects.»

En prøve på «humoren»:

At the very beginning of a show I attended a year and a half ago, Dieudonné said – with a serious expression on his face – that he had decided to apologize to «the Chosen People.» When he finished his request for forgiveness, he was quiet for a moment, then glanced all around suspiciously and explained in a whisper that «When the cowardly Zionists attack someone, it’s always from behind.» Then he smiled mischievously to the audience and concluded with a crude gesture and shouts, «You can shove my apology up your ass, Chosen People!» as the crowd went wild. This week in Paris, a year and a half after that particular performance, he asserts that he is not anti-Semitic, but just angry at the tendency of French Jewry to portray itself as wretched and suffering.

Clement Weill-Raynal er en fransk-jødisk journalist med lov og rett som spesialfelt som jobber for TV-stasjonen France 3. Han sier franske redaksjoner er enige om å feie Dieudonné under teppet. Det vil være for ubehagelig å ta et oppgjør. Derfor overser de hva han driver med.

Når man tenker på all avsky Nicholas Sarkozy ble til del fordi han våget å bruke uttrykket «racaille» om en del av ungdommen i forstedene, de som bare driver og lager kvalm, så må man undres når man hører hva Dieudonné slipper unna med. Her er det virkelig snakk om to standarder:

«After all the publicity surrounding Dieudonné in the past few years, I told myself that I had to go see his show to hear and see for myself what it was all about. To my great disappointment, I found that I was the only journalist who bothered to attend the big show that concluded his series of shows in Paris, and I can tell you that I didn’t feel comfortable. To see 5,000 frenzied fans madly shouting during the course of the show in the heart of the city where I live, ‘Palestine! Palestine!’ and ‘bin Laden! bin Laden!,’ or booing every time he ‘happened’ to mention a Jewish name was not a pleasant experience at all.

«I think Dieudonné just has a sick obsession against the Jews. I have no other explanation for it. Somehow, the most preposterous and scorn-worthy character in his sketches is always named Blumenthal or Goldstein or something like that. But what really concerns me is the public that supports him. I looked around me during the show and I saw that the audience was made up of all parts of the French populace – whites, blacks and Arabs. It’s certainly not just the rabble that later gained fame for being behind the riots in the suburbs in October.»

Journalist for Arte Anne-Sophie Mercier har studert Dieudonné i to år. Hun startet med en positiv innstilling, men ble skuffet.

Mercier, who is in her late thirties, recently published a book entitled «La Vérité sur Dieudonné» («The Truth About Dieudonné»). An outraged Dieudonné was unable to prevent the book’s publication. At the entrance to the cafe in Place de la Bastille where we are meeting, she stops and glances at the other customers, explaining to me that Dieudonné’s theater is not far away and the last thing she wants is to run into him right now.

«Over the past year,» she continues with a little smile, «I met with him enough times in the course of my research for the book.» The warm reception she initially received from Dieudonné gradually changed to furious reproaches when his evasive answers didn’t satisfy her and she insisted on digging deeper for the truth.

Mercier works for the Arte Channel and for Radio RTL. Her brown eyes flash whenever the name Dieudonné is mentioned. Her animated talk is punctuated by broad hand gestures that underscore how passionate she is about the subject. «At first, I believed that he had to be given the opportunity to express his opinions in public in the name of freedom of speech, and I wondered whether he wasn’t the object of a witch hunt that derived from Jewish paranoia,» she says. «But in time, as my questions became tougher and less polite, all of my doubts evaporated. The bitter truth became apparent.»

What sort of Dieudonné did you discover?

«I found a pathological liar, a calculating manipulator and anti-Semite of the first rank, plain and simple. He’ll deny the accusations, naturally, but I think that anyone who listens carefully to what he says will come to the same conclusion. I understand and I respect the existence of the right to freedom of expression, but I think he crossed all the boundaries a long time ago. When I heard him, for example, publicly proclaiming in a radio interview that he’d torn up the pages about the Holocaust in his son’s history book in protest that the suffering of the blacks wasn’t mentioned, I had tears of frustration in my eyes. This goes beyond all the rules and no one, including members of the extreme right in France, has ever dared to say anything that comes close to it.»

Why is he picking on Jews in particular?

«Dieudonné chose to focus on Jews as part of a well-calculated political tactic whose objective is to consolidate around him the black community and the immigrants from the Antilles islands. He is addressing them and cleverly plucking all the right strings: You’re the true victims, he tells them. Don’t forget that in France you’re basically second-class citizens and even though slavery was outlawed, it has never totally disappeared.

«In the second stage, he explains to them very simply who is responsible for their difficult situation. You have it bad? It’s because the Jews in France have the country by the balls. They control the banks, industry, the cinema, the government and, of course, his most successful invention – They were the biggest slave traders. After all, this is how politics works – the simpler and more understandable the explanation, the easier it is adopted by the general public. Every first-year student of communications learns this rule in the introductory course on public relations.»

No laughing matter