Francis Kalifat: “CRIF welcomes the closing of Dieudonné’s YouTube Channel”

Op-Ed by Francis Kalifat, President of Crif

June 30, 2020

The announcement by Google’s video platform of the closure (at last!) of Dieudonné’s YouTube channel is to be welcomed.

It is in these terms, and in a press release, that YouTube explains its decision: “After updating our rules to better resolve the issue of supremacist content, we have seen a five-fold increase in the number of videos removed and we ended more than 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech rules.” This closure comes a few hours after that of other accounts of racist or antisemitic figures in the United States, accused of propagating hate speech.

In France, it is on the YouTube channel “Dieudonné officiel”, opened in 2015, that 550 videos of Dieudonné were broadcast. With more than 450,000 subscribers, some of these videos, listed in chronological order, had more than a million views.

“For many years, the Crif has been fighting and denouncing the criminal acts and the repeated provocations of this multi-recidivist of hatred.”

In five to ten minutes, Dieudonné launched – via his videos published on YouTube – his antisemitic poison. He badly cursed or slandered and broadcast obscene caricatures by putting together his miserable repertoire. Dieudonné knows transgressions, and he knows what his public likes, he knows how to stir up and lure, courting his fans.

For many years, the Crif has been fighting and denouncing the criminal acts and the repeated provocations of this hate-prone recidivist. Trials against Dieudonné have often resulted in convictions for incitement to racial hatred. I will not give an account here of these judicial procedures, so numerous are they. As a magistrate recalled, during an hearing, Dieudonné criminal record is huge, so is Alain Soral’s.

The Crif has also campaigned for many years against the ignominious normalization of Holocaust denial and antisemitism by Dieudonné and others, notably through the videos posted on its official YouTube channel. More generally, the Crif has been alerting for this virtual antisemitism on a daily basis for a long time while denouncing the regular increase in crimes and offenses of an antisemitic nature and the appearance of a new antisemitism hidden under a so-called anti-Zionism.

It was to quantify and analyze this antisemitic content that I decided to set up an Online Hate Speech Observatory which produced its first results in February 2020.

If we welcome the closing of Dieudonné’s YouTube channel, the Crif also expects the platform, like all the others, to continue this work of cleaning up the Web by removing antisemitic, racist, homophobic content and channels of Holocaust deniers. We remain vigilant and uncompromising.

Racism, antisemitism, homophobia and hate speech have no place on the Internet.

The fight must go on.

Francis Kalifat, President of Crif


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