This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of June, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date: 10 June 2019
Media Outlet: online TV "Le Media, on a show called “Cartes sur table”
Description of the Antisemitic Content: Etienne Chouard, a teacher, blogger and a well-known political activist who has been supporting the Yellow Vests' proposal of "Citizens' Initiative Referendums" was interviewed on the TV show “Cartes sur table” on “Le Media” online channel. The two journalist hosts asked him to clarify his position on the Holocaust and about Alain Soral, a notorious Holocaust denier that Chouard previously defined as “a person who resists”. Answering vaguely Chouard said “I will tell you 'yes I have no doubt', because otherwise I am guilty of thought crime”. He claimed that he is not an expert on the topic (“I’ve never read anything about it [the Holocaust]” and “we ask people to be sure, to be very sure, on a topic if they know nothing,”). Chouard suggested there is nothing wrong in questioning the existence of the gas chambers (“If it is so bad to have doubts about it, simply prove it and move on”) and stated that racism, antisemitism and holocaust denial are “opinions”.
Myth Debunked: It is highly unlikely that Chouard, a teacher and a political activist “has never read anything” about the topic, in a country where WW2 and the Holocaust are taught from primary school. Chouard was, however, well-informed about the law against Holocaust denial. By saying “If it is so bad to have doubts about it, simply demonstrate it and move on”, Chouard is ambiguously contesting the existence of gas chambers and calling historians to prove it. Despite a long standing debate, among historians and legal experts, on the effectiveness of making the Holocaust denial illegal, expressing doubts about the systematic genocidal killing of approximately six million Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, is highly antisemitic. It cannot be presented, as Chouard said, as an opinion. First of all, there is innumerable evidence of the existence of gas chambers. And yet, the denial, the minimisation or the trivialisation of them are strategies used to delegitimise the suffering of Jewish people and reduce public sympathy with them. In a time where antisemitism is rising, it is crucial not to tolerate these forms of hatred. GTTO partner Licra and the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) will file a complaint against Etienne Chouard for his antisemitic claims about the gas chambers. In a tweet announcing their decision to take action, Licra quoted the relevant words stated by the historian Yves Ternon on the ‘Days of the Righteous’: “As long as there are deniers, the genocide is not over.”
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