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“We now urge you to publicly condemn Judeophobic stereotyping on television and to plan a programme on the dangers to France of rampant antisemitism.”

Paris, 10 October 2013

In a letter to Canal+ President, Bertrand Meheut, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, congratulated the private television channel for “suspending the programme of Sébastien Thoen, following the intervention of our partner organization, the BNCVA (Bureau national de vigilance contre l’antisémitisme) and ourselves.”

The letter noted the Centre’s outrage at “this live antisemitic outburst against the actor Elie Semoun, during the ‘Chronicle’ section of Le Grand Journal (The Big News) of 20 September.” 

Samuels added that “the programme’s resident stand-up comedian, Thoen, employed seriously offensive language: ‘You never plunged into community [Jewish activism] as certain others have. You could have posted yourself in the street selling jeans and diamonds from the trunk of a minivan, screaming ‘Israel is right, damn Palestine, Walla.’ But you did not. As such you can be of the Jewish faith and not completely disgusting.’” 

The Centre expressed shock that, “while the butt of these insults, Elie Semoun sat mute, the audience roared with laughter.” 

Samuels continued, “following the 25 September registration of a defamation suit and a call to the [television regulator] CSA to take measures against your channel, Thoen personally apologized to the BNVCA. While the legal suit has thus been dropped, the demand for a CSA investigation into the programme's circumstances remains active.” 

The Centre urged Canal+, “in the spirit of your cancellation of Thoen’s show, to publicly condemn the use of Judeophobic stereotypes: conspiracy, money grubbing, double loyalty etc. in the media. We also suggest that you schedule a programme in the near future on the dangers to France of rampant antisemitism.” 

“The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is ready to assist in such an initiative”, concluded Samuels.