In 2009 a left-wing cartoonist was fired and charged with ‘anti-semitism’ for suggesting that Jean Sarkozy, son of the French president, was converting to Judaism for financial reasons.
The writer, Maurice Sinet (pen name ‘Sine‘), faced criminal charges of “inciting racial hatred” for the column he wrote in the magazine. He was dismissed from Charlie Hebdo due to the controversy his article sparked.
This incident highlights the hypocrisy at work at Charlie Hebdo in the way they react to what is perceived as ‘anti-semitism’ but allow and encourage ‘Islamophobia’.
Uprooted Palestinians Blog writes:
A high-profile political commentator slammed the column as linking prejudice about Jews and social success. Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Philippe Val, asked Sinet to apologise but he refused, exclaiming: “I’d rather cut my balls off.”
Mr Val’s decision to fire Sine was backed by a group of eminent intellectuals, including the philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy, but parts of the libertarian Left defended him, citing the right to free speech.
Last week, the anti-capitalist, anti-clerical Sine, who recently founded his own weekly magazine, Sine Hebdo, took Claude Askolovitch, the journalist who first accused him of anti-Semitism, to court for slander in a separate case.
“When I heard that I was being treated as anti-Semitic, my blood ran cold,” he said during the trial, adding that if Mr Askolovitch had turned up in person, “it is not a trial he would have had but a head butt.”
Sine is the defendant in Tuesday’s court case in Lyon, southern France. The plaintiff is the anti-racism and anti-Semitism group, Licra.