Comic 'not anti-Semitic'

French star cleared in court

A comedian who gave the Nazi salute while dressed as an Orthodox Jew on a TV has been cleared of anti-Semitism.

Since shouting ‘Israe-Heil’ on the French sketch show You Can't Please Everybody, Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala has faced the wrath of Jewish groups. His live concerts were cancelled after theatre bosses said they could not guarantee his safety.

But a Paris court has ruled in favour of the comic, who argued he was criticising Israel’s policy of clearing Palestinian homes, not the Jewish faith.

The judge agreed that it was not an attack against Jews in general but against a type of person "distinguished by their political views".

However, anti-racist groups plan to appeal the decision, saying it ignored the pain the sketch had caused French Jews.

In a separate case, Dieudonne was fined 5,000 euros on Wednesday following an interview with Le Monde newspaper, in which he accused Jews of “taking control of the media."

Published: 27 May 2004

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