France may ban black comedian for anti-Semitic jibes
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS (Reuters) - France is considering banning performances by a black comedian whose shows have repeatedly insulted the memory of Holocaust victims and could threaten public order, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday.
He said his ministry is studying legal ways to ban shows by Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, a comedian repeatedly fined for hate speech who ran in the 2009 European Parliament elections at the head of an "Anti-Zionist List" including far-right activists.
Valls announced the move after Jewish groups complained to President Francois Hollande about Dieudonne's trademark straight-arm gesture, which they call a "Nazi salute in reverse" and link to a growing frequency of anti-Semitic remarks and acts in France.
"Dieudonne M'bala M'bala doesn't seem to recognize any limits any more," Valls said in a statement announcing the legal review aimed at banning his public appearances.
"From one comment to the next, as he has shown in several television shows, he attacks the memory of Holocaust victims in an obvious and unbearable way," he said.
France has Europe's largest Jewish minority, estimated at about 600,000, but also sees a steady emigration to Israel of Jews who say they no longer feel safe here.
In the worst recent anti-Semitic incident, a French Islamist killed a rabbi and three pupils at a Jewish school last year in the southwestern French city of Toulouse.
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