David Guiraud, an MP with La France Insoumise (LFI), referred to “Celestial Dragons”, rich and privileged characters in the Manga series One Piece, to apparently refer to Jews in what many saw as an offensive way .
In yet another anti-Semitic controversy for the hard-left party, Guiraud reacted to a complaint against him for “apology for terrorism and incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence” filed by the Jewish Observatory of France, following its conference on Palestine in November in Tunisia.
Then, on December 31, he referred to “Celestial Dragons” portrayed in the Japanese comic-strip series as heirs of the founders of the “World Government”.
Said Celestial Dragons have been used as anti-Semitic tropes by trolls and racists on the internet for a while now.
The symbolism of the social-media post was not lost on viewers and led to outrage among many as controversy broke out.
On January 1, Guiraud deleted his tweet, saying: “A little message to those who follow me, because it seems that some people are using my tweet to go wild: let’s leave religion out of this. Celestial dragons are not a religion or a ‘race’ and if you think so, you misread One Piece.”
He continued: “It’s a military alliance of powerful people who crush others. They are not hated for who they are, but for what they do to others. But I don’t want to offend anyone, so I’d rather delete it. ”
Petit message à ceux qui me suivent car il paraît que certains utilisent mon tweet pour se lacher : laissons la religion en dehors de ca. Les dragons célestes ne sont pas une religion ou une « race » et si vous le pensez vous avez mal lu One Piece. C’est une alliance militaire de…
— David Guiraud (@GuiraudInd) January 1, 2024
The LFI has repeatedly been accused of anti-Semitism since the attacks on Israel on October 7. Members refused to join the march against anti-Semitism in France, in November.
They were the only representatives of a major political party in France refusing to do so and cited the presence of the “far-right” as the reason.
Party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has made several, at best, ambiguous remarks concerning Jews, claiming to champion the Palestinian side in the war.
Two days after the Hamas terrorist atrocities in Israel, Mélenchon charged the Jewish side with “preventing the solidarity of the French with the desire for peace” in the Middle East following a Palestinian protest just days after the attacks.
Guiraud appeared to downplay what had happened in Israel, saying the unconditional support for the country by the French speaker of the National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, was “a folly”.
In November, in Tunisia, he made the remark leading to the initial complaint: “We have political leaders in France who have completely swallowed, swallowed, all the elements of the language of the propaganda of a colonial state carrying out ethnic cleansing.
“It reminded me of an old saying that every accusation of Israel is a confession,” seeming to suggest that the Israeli State was lying about some of the horrors of October 7.
“That’s when I found myself saying, ‘Wait, but the human shields were used by Israel. We know that, it’s proven. Baby in the oven! … The baby in the oven was indeed made by Israel. The disembowelled mother, it’s true, was done by Israel … I think it’s Sabra and Shatila.”
The Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982 saw the killings of around 3,500 civilians – mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shias – in the city of Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War
Later, in a Q&A session, Guiraud criticised the “instrumentalisation” of “the question of anti-Semitism” in France with what he said was the intention of “extinguishing any criticism of Israel”.
⚖️Nous saisissons notre commission juridique au sujet des propos ignobles du député Guiraud, frappés au coin du négationnisme le plus crasse.
Ni immunité, ni impunité. https://t.co/E7pe9z7on5
— Licra (@_LICRA_) November 11, 2023
Even before the October Hamas attacks, LFI ruffled feathers by inviting rapper Médine to a summer event.
Médine, whose past remarks have been criticised for being anti-Semitic, is accused of remaining unapologetic despite the accusations.
In a tweet last year, he targeted essayist Rachel Khan, describing her as “resKhanpée”, referring to her Jewish heritage and Holocaust-survivor lineage. The “joke” played on the French term rescapés, which refers to Holocaust deportees and survivors.