(JTA) — Iranian ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Dieudonne M’bala M’bala a “great artist” during a meeting in Tehran with the French comic, who has been convicted numerous times for inciting hate against Jews.
Dieudonne visited the Islamic Republic last week, the news site fararu.com reported, and presented Ahmadinejad with a golden statue of a man performing the quenelle — a gesture reminiscent of the Nazi salute that Dieudonne is promoting as a sign of discontent with the establishment but that French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called a gesture of “anti-Semitic hate.”
Dieudonne calls the statue a “golden quenelle” and has presented a number of them to personalities he defines as anti-Zionist. Ahmadinejad is a noted Holocaust denier who during his presidency expressed his wish that Israel would disappear.
During his eight years in office through 2013, Ahmadinejad ran competitions of cartoons on the Holocaust, soliciting drawings that suggested the genocide never happened or is happening to the Palestinians.
Dieudonne has more than 10 convictions for inciting hatred against the Jews, including through ridiculing the Holocaust and suggesting it is fabricated.
Dieudonne, whose shows are regularly banned in France and who is facing accusations of tax evasion in addition to ongoing probes into anti-Semitic speech, is the inventor of the word “shaonanas.”
A mashup of the Hebrew word for the Holocaust and French for pineapple, it is widely understood to be a codename suggesting that the Holocaust never happened without violating France’s laws against denying it.