French Jewish group to sue YouTube

French Jewish group to sue YouTube: AFP, Thursday, August 14, 2008.

PARIS – A French Jewish group said Thursday it is suing the YouTube video-sharing website over a clip showing a host of Jewish public figures to the soundtrack of a pre-war anti-Semitic song.

The video posted on the U.S. site YouTube and its French rival Dailymotion shows a slideshow of more than 150 French politicians, TV stars, journalists, writers, philosophers, actors, singers and comedians.

It is set to the sound of a song recorded before World War II, called “Rebecca’s wedding,” which describes the guests at a Jewish wedding as dirty, rude and dishonest.

“We consider this video, though it names no-one, to be a photographic list of an anti-Semitic nature and therefore liable to criminal prosecution,” the head of the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), Sammy Ghozlan, said in a statement.

He said he filed suit against Dailymotion and the author of the video on Tuesday, and intended to take similar action against YouTube after discovering it too was hosting the clip.

The anti-Semitism bureau took legal action earlier this week after it found a Paris store selling T-shirts printed with the phrase “Jews forbidden from entering the park,” in German and Polish.

A Chinese woman and her daughter, who run the store in the multi-ethnic Belleville neighbourhood of Paris, were later arrested and are facing possible charges of incitement to racial hatred, judicial officials said Thursday.

Investigators are trying to track down who manufactured, distributed and imported the T-shirts, whose inscriptions are reproduced from 1940 banners that targeted the Jews of Lodz, central Poland.

Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany at that time, and 95 percent of the 200,000 Jews held in the Lodz ghetto eventually died in concentration camps.

Belleville, in the northeast of the capital, has been the scene of clashes between gangs of Jewish and north African youths, in which a 17-year-old Jewish boy was seriously injured in June.

France is home to Europe’s largest Jewish commuity, estimated at 600,000 people, and its largest Muslim community, at around five million.

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