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French Court Issues Fine Over Quenelle Salute

The cost of posting photos online featuring the controversial gesture: $4,130

Stephanie Butnick
April 03, 2014
People perform a 'quenelle' salute on January 9, 2014 in western France. (JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
People perform a 'quenelle' salute on January 9, 2014 in western France. (JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)

The quenelle, the viral anti-Semitic gesture formerly known as a harmless meat-filled pastry, is apparently still trendy in France. The ‘reverse Nazi salute’ popularized by controversial comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is still being given—and photographed, and put online—and now it’s landed one man in court.

A French court fined a 28-year-old Moroccan man $4,130 for posting photos online of himself giving the salute in front of Grand Synagogue in Bordeaux, JTA reports. It’s believed to be the first criminal conviction relating to the gesture, and an indication that the French government is taking more seriously the gesture’s role in contributing to the country’s increasingly casual climate of anti-Semitism. It’s also the surest sign the quenelle has officially jumped the shark.

During the trial, the defendant insisted he’s not anti-Semitic—just anti-Zionist.

“On my Facebook account I try not to confuse anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism,” he reportedly said during his trial.

His Facebook account also features a photo of a man performing a quenelle in front of a portrait of Adolf Hitler with the caption, “I committed suicide but nowadays I’d get the Nobel Peace Prize.”

If nothing else, this incident is a good reminder for Facebook users to quickly check in on their privacy settings—you know, in case you wind up in court and everyone can see your Hitler pics.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.