French magazine forced to disable comments after posting article on Jewish film

Marianne magazine online SCREENSHOT
Marianne magazine online SCREENSHOT

A well-known French magazine was forced to close the online comment section of an article about a new film about anti-Semitism because it was inundated with anti-Semitic statements.

Fifteen minutes after the article about The Jews (Ils Sont Partout) was published Monday on the website of the weekly Marianne, “a flood of hysterical comments” appeared under the text, the author of the article, Martine Gozlan, wrote in an Op-Ed about the decision to shut down the comments.

The comments were “not only polemical or hostile: Those comment are welcome,” she wrote, “but bare naked hate, crass nonsense, ignorance made of a patchwork of rumours and conspiracy theories.” She added that “the taboo words ‘Israel’ and ‘Jews’ regularly provoke such reactions.”

“But this time, I said enough. Stop the flood. End the  fanfare and the comments,” she wrote in a separate article, which also was closed for comments. Calling anti-Semitism a “malignant tumour,” Gozlan wrote that she was no longer prepared to “see it grow, flourish and disfigure Marianne.”

Dozens of French journalists have written about the film created by the French-Jewish comedian Yvan Attal, which debuted Wednesday in France.

It stars Attal, an Israel-born actor-director who grew up in Paris, and his life partner, actor-singer Charlotte Gainsbourg. In the movie, Attal attempts to deconstruct or spoof major anti-Semitic myths, such as “Jews killed Jesus,” “Jews have money” and “Jews play up the Holocaust.” Each stereotype provides a theme for a short cinematic tale.

During a Paris pre-premiere of the film that was organized last month by the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, Attal said he was motivated to make the film because of his perception that many Frenchmen are indifferent to the growth in anti-Semitic violence in France over the past 15 years and what it reflects in French society at large.

Since 2012, 12 people have been killed in jihadist attacks on Jewish targets in France and Belgium. Hundreds of other violent hate crimes against Jews have been recorded in Paris since that year, when an Islamist killed three children and a rabbi at a school in Toulouse.

Amid record immigration from France to Israel last year, when 8,000 French Jews moved to the Jewish state, the French government declared the fight against anti-Semitism a national cause.

On Wednesday, the Huffington Post published an interview with Gainsbourg in which she revealed that her father, the well-known singer Serge Gainsbourg, who was Jewish, often featured in anti-Semitic hate speech.

After her father died of a heart attack in 1991, Gainsbourg recalled seeing a leaflet of his face with sidelocks and a kippah painted around them with the word “Sidagogue” – a mashup of the French-language words for AIDS and synagogue.

“All my life I had experienced, well, he had experienced anti-Semitic remarks, and not only remarks, they put anti-Semitic graffiti of the wall of his home, that he would erase,” she said.