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French comic convicted for slandering actor

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PARIS (JTA) — A French comedian convicted in the past for anti-Semitic performances was fined about $58,000 for slandering a French-Jewish singer and actor.

Dieudonne, whose full name is Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, was found guilty Feb. 27 of libel for calling Patrick Bruel a “liar” and an “Israeli soldier” who supported Israel’s 2006 bombing of southern Lebanon during an interview on Quebec television nearly four years ago.

Bruel has made his "strong relationship" to Israel public, and performed for more than 5,500 fans in Tel Aviv for the country’s 60th anniversary.

A Montreal court found Dieudonne guilty by default, since he never responded to Bruel’s claim, the French news agency AFP reported Feb. 27, citing the Quebec daily La Presse.

In January, Dieudonne made headlines and angered French Jews when he invited one of the country’s most notorious convicted Holocaust deniers, Robert Faurisson, to join him during one of his Paris shows. The comedian consequently was barred from performing in public theaters in most French cities and may have broken French law, according to Paris investigators still looking into the case.

Jewish groups repeatedly have sued Dieudonne, who is black, for performances that among other things compare Jews to Nazis, minimize the Holocaust, and claim Jews control France and are to blame for slavery.

He is featured on this month’s French Express magazine for being part of the “new anti-Semitic networks.”

Asked by Europe 1 radio about the Express cover story on Monday, Richard Prasquier, the head of the Jewish umbrella group CRIF, said there was “no doubt” that Dieudonne formed a link between forms of anti-Semitism rooted in parts of the extreme political right and left. It is “extremely worrisome,” he said
 

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