While the controversial rapper Médine is set to appear at a meeting of the French Greens party, a Belgian festival has cancelled his show over the weekend of August 26-27, due to the furore surrounding his apparently anti-Semitic remarks.
Médine was supposed to perform at the Les Solidarités festival in Namur, Belgium but his appearance has now been cancelled.
“Despite the artist’s apologies and explanations, a wave of reactions, sometimes hateful, sometimes more balanced, swept across the web and were relayed by the press”, said festival officials, claiming the event itself was now a victim.
In a statement, the Les Solidarités festival organisers declared they would be “refraining from the rapper’s arrival”, adding that was “with some consternation but for the sake of reconciliation”.
“In doing so, we intend for Solidarités not to be used as a scapegoat by some, risking to mar an edition that is shaping up to be auspicious,” they concluded.
On August 10, the French rapper engaged in questionable wordplay regarding the name of artist and essayist Rachel Kahn, granddaughter of deported Jews, He referred to her as “resKHANpea”, referring to the French word rescapés, meaning people who were deported and who survived the Holocaust.
He further described her as: “A person who has been cast aside by the Hip Hop-scene, drifting towards social traitors, and literally dining at the far-right table.”
The remarks caused a storm of protest in France, for which he apologised, saying he has been fighting racism and anti-Semitism for years.
Médine defended himself on August 23 in French media against accusations of anti-Semitism, denouncing it as a “poison” and pleading “clumsiness”.
Despite his remarks, the French Greens party is keeping him as a speaker at their own summer event. That has caused division within its ranks, with several party officials and members strongly opposing his presence.
In Belgium, public opinion seems less tolerant for such remarks compared to the Greens and La France Insoumise party, which has also invited Médine to speak at an event in France.
Georges-Louis Bouchez, president of Belgium’s centre-right liberal Mouvement Réformateur, asked on X, the former Twitter: “Can we have some decency by not inviting this person to a festival sponsored with public money?” Bouchez claimed that besides the apparent anti-Semitism, Médine also is anti-police.
Auteur d’un tweet antisémite, ouvertement anti police mais invité par @solidariswal pour un festival bourré d’argent public… Peut on demander un peu de décence en ne faisant pas venir cette personne ? #PresidenceMR #fierdetreliberal pic.twitter.com/OxH4iQE1uE
— Georges-L BOUCHEZ (@GLBouchez) August 22, 2023
In France, the debate is raging, with people pointing out more problematic remarks. For example, in an older song titled MC Soraal, Médine sings about “the commerce of the Holocaust”. In the past, he has also made an insulting “quenelle” gesture together with the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné.
Mounir Belhamiti, MP for French President Emmanuel Macrons’ Renaissance party, claims the polemic is a cynical form of marketing, as Médine isn’t especially popular, so the attention is positive for him.
The strongest support for Médine in France comes from the far left. Jean-Luc Melonchon’s La France Insoumise said those against the rapper targeted him using an”odious, deceitful and disgraceful method” and cited what he said was the “mistake” of the ecologists who “succumb to a campaign orchestrated by the far right and picked up by Macron’s camp.”
An “ignoble witch hunt” was also condemned by National Assembly deputy Mathilde Panot, who reiterated that the “engaged rapper” is “not anti-Semitic” and expressed her happiness that he would be attending her party’s summer university event on August 26 in Drôme, following the Greens’ event.
Dites, @LesSolidarites, "Pour une société plus juste, plus éthique, plus solidaire avec une programmation familiale, colorée et multiculturelle !", ça inclut les auteurs de déclarations antisémites, de quenelles, affichant leur soutien à Dieudonné, Alain Soral et Kémi Séba ? pic.twitter.com/GDnLRawG2m
— Noémi Gar(fink)el (@NoemiGarel) August 22, 2023