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Saturday, March 01, 2014

The origins of the Quenelle salute

Earlier this week, French soccer player Nicolas Anelka got a 5-game suspension for making the Quenelle (reverse Nazi salute) during a December English-league game. I thought some of you might be interested in the origins of the Quenelle (Hat Tip: Gudrun E).
The quenelle gesture, invented, named, and popularized by Dieudonné, is a combination of the French bras d'honneur gesture – meaning "up yours" – and an inverted Nazi salute. The word quenelle is a verlan (French backwards slang) version of the vulgar expression nique-le ("fuck him"); it has no connection to the French dumpling of the same name.  
The quenelle gesture was first reported seen in a non-antisemitic show by Dieudonné titled "1905," in connection with a gesture signifying a dolphin.[7] Later, Dieudonné himself linked the gesture to "anti-Zionism." In 2009, he topped the list of the French "Anti-Zionist" party, headed by the France-based Shi'ite activist Yahia Gouasmi,[8] in elections for the European Parliament, and, at a press conference launching his electoral campaign, he declared that "​​dragging a little quenelle to the bottom of the ass of Zionism" was a project dear to his heart.[9] His campaign poster shows him making the gesture:
...
From the beginning, Dieudonné has claimed that his quenelle was an anti-establishment gesture; coupled with this, he has maintained that the establishment is corrupt, is ruled by the wealthy who use your money and lie to you, and is controlled by the Jews.
Dieudonné's brand of populism has been endorsed by populist movements and political parties, including the French extreme-right National Front party. National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is godfather to one of Dieudonné's children,[10] was photographed in a quenelle in a Strasbourg restaurant along with his former lieutenant Bruno Gollnisch.[11]
The quenelle has been used by youth groups, students, police, and soldiers, though not all have seemed to be aware of its antisemitic connotations. Some, however, clearly are: French essayist and filmmaker Alain Soral, a leading thinker of the French far right and a friend of Dieudonné who, like him, has been accused of antisemitism and has been banned by some French media,[12] was photographed in front of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial mid-quenelle.[13]
Two French soldiers in Paris were photographed doing the gesture in September 2013 in front of a synagogue;[14] and photos circulating online show members of the public making the gesture at in front of goods wagons used to transport Jews to their deaths during the Second World War.[15]
 There's more. Read the whole thing.

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