image Je fais un don

Open letter to Madam Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister of France
from Dr Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations

Paris, 30 July 2023

Madam Prime Minister,

We met last February, when we discussed your four-year plan against racism and antisemitism, in particular focused on youth education.

Our Centre saluted the intention to issue arrest warrants for those guilty of incitement to antisemitism under the mask of “freedom of expression”.

In March, we raised such a case of malicious hatred by rapper “Freeze Corleone” (a.k.a. Issa Lorenzo Diakhaté), whose lyrics included nearly explicit calls for murder, apology of Hitler and Goebbels, Holocaust denial, antisemitic conspiracy theories, glorification of Nazism and Islamist extremism.

Today, his provocations go one step further, with an album to be released on September 11th (9/11 is not a casual choice, considering his penchant for conspiracy theories). In a lead-single entitled “Shavkat”, he raps, “I prefer to be accused of antisemitism rather than of rape like Gérald Darmanin”... and continues with “F--k France, a.k.a. Pedoland”.

These disgusting and defamatory lyrics banalize criminal behaviour, incite violence and feed riots, such as those that have raged through France recently.

In fact, this is apparently the most successful song in France on the Spotify streaming platform, while on YouTube, the clip has accumulated close to 2 million views in three days... Already in 2020, our Centre had urged the CEOs of both Spotify and YouTube, to remove this rap hatemonger from their platforms.

Madam Prime Minister, with such a hateful narrative, Issa Lorenzo Diakhaté deserves to be punished. We reiterate that the right to “freedom of expression” cannot mean condoning calls to violence and incitement to hatred. The Wiesenthal Centre greatly encourages your announced plan of action against hatred and would be delighted to work with you on your project.

Most respectfully,

Dr Shimon Samuels
Director for International Relations
Simon Wiesenthal Centre

* * *

For further information, contact