In France, a man known as Dieudonné appears before crowds who shout out their approval when he claims that the Holocaust has become an engine of “profit.” He then brings an actor onstage in ragged clothes who pretends to be a Jew being deported.
Dieudonné is no historical denier; his point is that the Holocaust happened, but that we don’t have to pretend to give a damn. “I shouldn’t have to choose between the Jews and the Nazis,” he says with a smirk, evoking Donald’s Trump’s comments about the Charlottesville riots.
The most shocking thing about him, though, is that Dieudonné isn’t a far-right politician. He’s a comedian. In France, the new wave of anti-Semitic fervor is more than ideology — it’s entertainment. In the 21st century, that’s how you know that it’s working.
Dieudonné is one of a dozen or so figures featured in “Spiral,” a documentary about the new rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. It’s a disquieting movie, because it attaches faces and attitudes and a close-up vision of civilized hatred to the kind of news story that, in the United States, we tend to register as a nearly statistical abstraction.
The reports of European anti-Semitism that come over here are generally tied to incidents of violence. “Spiral” certainly captures the toxic phenomenon of homegrown ethnic terrorism, but it also captures how the hatred has spread like wildfire among those who don’t necessarily commit violence themselves.
Read the story at Variety.
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