Jewish Journal

A response to a reader- is the Quenelle really anti-Semitic?

by Noga Gur-Arieh

January 13, 2014 | 1:20 pm

Earlier today, I was informed a reader of my blog sent the editor the following letter: 

"I recently read an article by one of your writer Noga Gur-Arieh in regards to an anti semite "quenelle" sweeping Europe. The article headline reads: "The anti-semite quenelle salute is sweeping Europe and the world stand still".
Your article does not suggest but affirms that this is a Neo-Nazi  gesture geared towards Jews essentially. This could not be further from the truth.

As a French person where this gesture was born in defiance of powerful interest groups (yes, some of them Jewish lobby  based in France) the gesture has absolutely nothing to do with your characterization of the meaning behind. In fact and to be precise -and graphic, let's go there-  the meaning is to insert something in another person's anatomy (rectal cavity) as an ultimate and  vulgar way of insulting them. Italians have theirs using their entire arm and biceps, Americans have theirs using the middle fingers etc...

Even though it is vulgar in its meaning this has absolutely no connection to a reverse Nazi salute like you are clearly implicating. The gesture is a rebellious show of protest and civil defiance to all types of big interests (big businesses  and French politicians get it too).

I have been a supporter of the Jewish cause for more than 30 years both in Europe and in the USA where I reside. My principles and beliefs are very much aligned with your struggle and fight for Jewish rights. However, I cannot in good conscience let you print misleading information for the purpose of trying to rally or get folks agitated to your cause. This is offensive and wrong on Noga Gur-Arieh part  to push that type of agenda."

First of all, I would like to thank this reader for reading my post and addressing this important issue. After doing some more reading on the many developments following my original post I have encountered a claime by the person who started this whole "Quenelle" phenomenon: French comedian Dieudonne. He now claims that this salute he spread throughout Europe is anti - establishment, not anti-Semitic. He made this claim after several municipalities in France have banned his one man show, "The Wall." This comedian, who was charged for being anti-Semite before , often uses the phrase "Shohananas" (Pinapple Holocaust) in his shows, and makes fun of it. 



Even if we will give him the benefit of the doubt, and believe his claim that his Quenelle does, in fact, have nothing to do with Anti-Semitism, its result has everything to do both with anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism: It was used by haters to express their feeling towards us, Jews, at plenty of occassions. Read more here

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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