French Writer Sparks Uproar With 'Anti-Semitic' Satire

Divides Paris liberals over 'right to provoke'
By Michael Foreman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 3, 2008 8:23 AM CDT
Chief editor of "Charlie Hebdo," Philippe Val, ordered an apology from Siné, who refused.    (Getty Images, file)
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(Newser) – Controversial French columnist Maurice Siné is drawing cries of anti-Semitism for statements about President Sarkozy's son, reports the Guardian. In a column for Charlie Hebdo, Siné alleged Jean Sarkozy planned to convert to Judaism to wed a Jewish heiress and "go a long way in life." Siné's editor agreed it reinforced stereotypes and ordered an apology. Siné refused and was fired.

The column has sparked a fierce debate about anti-Semitism and freedom of the press. While more than 7,000 supporters signed a petition defending Siné, his detractors point to his past anti-Semitic statements. "Yes, I am anti-Semitic," Siné said in 1982 radio interview, according to the Guardian. "I want all Jews to live in fear, unless they are pro-Palestinian."