Friday, 24 September 2010

Jewish students denounce Free Brussels University biased debate on Dieudonné

"The biggest swindlers of the planet are the Jews. [...] It is necessary to be Jewish to have freedom of expression in France. Death will be more comfortable than surrender to these dogs."

What is so amazing is that the Free University of Brussels believes that Dieudonné - who is not even Belgian - deserves a debate on freedom of expression.  And that the debate is of such importance to the University that a Vice-Rector, Marc Van Damme, acted as a "moderator" ...  The whole episode is even more preposterous because the organisers were expecting that the "debate" would pull crowds of students, but eventually very few people turned up ... How sad and how ridiculous.

BRUSSELS (EJP)---Jewish students organizations this week denounced the decision by a university in Brussels to give a platform of expression to Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a French controversial comic who has been condemned on several occasions for anti-Semitism.

The Union of Jewish students in Belgium (UEJB) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) reacted to the organization this week at the Free Brussels University [the "free" means that it is non-confessional, i.e. not Catholic] of a debate on freedom of expression during which a film titled "Is it allowed to discuss with Dieudonne?" was shown to the public.

In this one hour and a half film, made by a journalist and sympathizer, Dieudonné declares that "the biggest swindlers of the planet are the Jews". He continues: "It is necessary to be Jewish to have freedom of expression in France. Death will be more comfortable than surrender to these dogs".  The film also shows Dieudonné’s friendly relations with the leader of the French extreme-right in France, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad.

In a statement, UEJB and EUJS slammed the "partiality" of the moderator, the university’s vice-rector Marc Van Damme, as well as the little place left for the lone contradictor, Joël Kotek, a professor of history at the ULB, who denounced Dieudonné’s racist hatred. The Jewish students said they were shocked by the "tense atmosphere of intimidation with regard to the Jews and the State of Israel which characterized the interventions of a large part of the public". 

They urged the university authorities to take into consideration "the alarming deterioration of the climate on our campus and to fight against the consequences of the importation of the Israeli-Arab conflict".

A Brussels MP, Viviane Teitelbaum, who was present at the debate, stressed that under cover of a debate on freedom of expression "we were entitled to a poor film glorifying a racist, anti-Semite, negationist who is in favour of lapidation".

The 44-year-old Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala, who is of Cameroon origin, has been sentenced on several occasions in France for racial insults following his comments about the Holocaust and the Jews.  In October 2009, French judges ordered him to pay 10,000 euros (13,350 dollars) for his public anti-Semitic insults and told him to pay a further 10,000 in damages and legal fees to anti-racism and Jewish organizations organizations that sued him. He was prosecuted after he invited Robert Faurisson, an academic who has been convicted of Holocaust denial, onto stage during a Paris comedy show to receive a satirical award from an actor dressed as a Jewish deportee.

He often courts controversy and even tried to enter politics by standing for the European parliament election as head of a so-called “anti-Zionist" party.

In September 2007, Dieudonne was fined after he accused Jews of exploiting "memorial pornography" and attacked a "Zionist lobby which cultivates the idea of their unique suffering ... and has declared war on the black world".  Two months later he was back in court and was fined 5,000 euros for having compared Jews to "slave-traders".

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