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News :: International
16 Jun 2005
A co-founder of France's Green Party in 1984, Ginette Skandrani, has been expelled after a trial by the party's regional administrative committee in the Ile de France region, which includes Paris and its suburbs, after formal complaints were filed against her, the center-left Parisian daily Liberation reported today -- under the headline, "A Green Too Brown for Her Party".
A co-founder of France's Green Party in 1984, Ginette Skandrani. has been expelled after a trial by the party's regional administrative committee in the Ile de France region, which includes Paris and its suburbs, after formal complaints were filed against her, the center-left Parisian daily Liberation reported today -- under the headline, "A Green Too Brown for Her Party". Skandrani (photo left, in the middle of the crowd in hidjab and glasses), who has played only a very marginal role in the party these last years, according to Liberation, was accused of being part of the editorial collective of several reviews and websites that are run by and publish notorious Holocaust deniers -- or, as the French say, "negationnistes."

Among the points cited by the member of the Green Party's national executive committee who presented the case against Skandrani was her frequent participation in the denialist website of the Association of Former Lovers of War Stories and Holocaust Tales, the French acronym of which is AARGH! (l'Association des anciens amateurs de récits de guerres et d'holocaustes.) AARGH!' slogans on their website, as you can see for yourself if you choose, include, "No to Anti-Racism" and "No to Anti-Fascism." Skandrani was likewise taxed with being an editorial counselor of the Tunisian exile review l'Audace, which is opposed to the Ben Ali dictatorship in Tunisia but is equally home to articles that deny the Holocaust and are openly anti-Semitic.

Other points in the case against Skandrani: her support for the infamously denialist views of the former Communist ideological commissar Roger Garaudy, once noted for his polemics against Althusser -- and author in his declining years of a book casting doubt upon the Holocaust (photo right, prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp at Mathausen); and her support of a journal that promotes the views of Alain de Benoist, the sinister theorist of the French extreme-right Nouvelle Droite, whose paganist and racialist nationalisms are purveyed by the organization GRECE (Groupement de Recherche et d'Etude pour la Civilisation Européenne), and have become popular with extremist, ultra-right, nationalist and neo-fascist groups world-wide (Jean-Marie Le Pen and his cronies supported and actively participated in the founding of GRECE in 1969, and books by Benoist are popular at the fetes of Le Pen's Front Nationale);

and Skandrani's support for Dieudonne (photo left), a comic who, over the last two years, has become increasingly anti-Semitic in a series of declarations condemning the "world Zionist plot," "Zionist control of all French media" (mainstream French media, in reality, are among the world's most sympathetic media to the Palestinian cause outside the Arab world; the Palestinians are fortunte in having as their longtime ambassador in Paris Leila Shahid, a brilliantly articulate and media-savvy woman who speaks exquisite French, and her frequent appearances on French TV have won many friends to the cause of justice for the Palestinians). Dieudonne has also called the Holocaust a "pornographic myth" -- while his increasingly heavy and unfunny sketches contain portraits of Jews and Jewish behavior worthy of Der Sturmer.

There is in France a group of writers -- so-called nouveaux philosophes -- who are what Americans would call neo-conservatives, and whose line is to accuse critics of the policies of the State of Israel, of the Sharon government, or of Zionism, of being anti-Semites. These writers include Pascal Bruckner, Alain Finkielkraut (photo right), Bernard-Henri Levy, Andre Glucksman, and the former Minister of Education for Jacques Chirac, Luc Ferry. The way in which these philosopher-pamphleteers amalgamate criticism of Israeli policies of repression and anti-Semitism is something I reject as unworthy of anyone who pretends to be a serious intellectual.

(indeed, many public opinion polls show that something approaching half of all Israelis share such criticisms. And The Guardian reported earlier this week that a hard-hitting new documentary by Haim Yavin, the revered anchor of Israel's Channel One TV, proclaims "that Jewish settlements are endangering the country and that the occupation of Palestinian land is a crime.".Is he, by the Finkielkraut-Bruckner criteria, an anti-Semite?)

The nouveaux philosphes' sort of demagogy debases the struggle against genuine anti-Semitism, and plays into the hands of extremist manipulators, fundamentalist Muslims, and apologists for terrorism. I have nothing but contempt for genuine anti-Semites (see, to take just one example from many in my writings, my warning about the New Age anti-Semite and Holocaust denier David Icke, which caused this blog to be deluged with anti-Semitic hate mail.) But if the charges against Skandrani were limited to amalgamizing accusations of the Finkielkraut-Bruckner-et al genre, I don't think they would amount to much (although, from what I've read of Skandrani. she has signed declarations and made statements whose language is, at best, incautious and unreasonable, and at worst, stupidly detestable).

However, as a prominent French Green friend told me on the phone today from Paris, it was the documented charges of overt sympathy with Holocaust denialism that weighed most heavily against Skandrani with her party comrades, from whom she has distanced herself in recent years. I'm unfortunately familiar with some of the denialist ravings of Garaudy, the intellectually-draped racial nationalisms of Alain de Benoist (photo left; Benoist also tries to recruit on the left), and the tragic turn toward racial hatred of the Jews which the comic Dieudonne -- whose political humor I used to enjoy several years ago -- has taken in the last two years. If Skandrani has aligned herself with such folk, she has thus clearly divorced herself from democratic humanism.

A final word: I had not intended to post about this matter, thinking it of little interest to most readers -- but when I sent around the clip from Liberation today on the Skandrani case to the few friends I thought would find the news pertinent, I got back several requests to render an account in English. To do so required some additioinal explanations to make the article's news comprehensible to a Stateside audience. Thus this post. It may only be of interest to a handful, but at least it is there on the record and accessible to those whose only language is the Anglo-Saxon tongue. Besides, a little lesson in how to tell a real anti-Semite from a falsely-accused one is never entirely wasted.
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