Laurent Louis

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Laurent Louis
Member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives for Walloon Brabant
In office
13 June 2010 – 25 May 2014
Monarch Albert II
Philippe
Personal details
Born (1980-02-29) 29 February 1980 (age 37)
Nivelles, Belgium
Political party Debout Les Belges!

Laurent Louis (born 29 February 1980) is a French-speaking Belgian politician, former member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, and Holocaust denier[1][2]. He is known for anti-semitic speeches and actions, Holocaust denial, and for spreading rumors about other public figures.[3][4][5]

On 17 June 2014, Louis received a suspended sentence of 8 months in prison for slander relating to accusations of pedophilia he had made against public figures.[6] In June 2015 he got a suspended 6-month sentence for breaking the 1995 Belgian law against Holocaust denial and lost his right to run for office in the next six years. He filed an appeal.[7] Louis was ordered by the Belgian Court of Appeal in 2017, in lieu of a sentence and fine, to visit one Nazi concentration camp a year for the next five years.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Louis began his parliamentary career as a member of the conservative People's Party, led by Belgian Jewish politician Mischaël Modrikamen, from which he was expelled after a few months in office.[8] In 2011 he created a new political party, the Movement for Liberty and Democracy (Mouvement pour la liberté et la démocratie), which he dissolved in January 2013 and began advocating the dissolution of all political parties.[9]

He then joined the Islamist Belgian party Islam (Belgian political party) (fr). He soon had a falling out with them although he continued to claim to be the party's president,[10] with a spokesman for the party noting, "We had been warned that he was not a stable person, but had decided to give him a chance."[11]

In late 2013, Louis founded a movement called Belgians, Rise Up! (Debout Les Belges! ). As of April 2014, it was said to be riven by internal conflict,[12] and after the May 2014 Belgian federal elections, Louis announced that he was dissolving his party, which had received less than 1% of votes[13] and would thus not receive any seat either at the federal or regional levels.[14]

Accusations against public figures[edit]

After accusing several prominent figures of pedophilia, a 2012 editorial in Le Vif accused Louis in turn of using anti-pedophile activism in order to promote himself.[15] On 27 March 2014, during a parliamentary debate on the costs of the visit of the US President, Louis ended a speech by accusing the Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo, of being a pedophile: "Thank you, Mister Pedophile… er, Prime Minister, sorry!"[16] This led to the suspension of the session and the temporary withdrawal of Louis's right to speak before the chamber.[17] Louis repeated this allegation in April 2014, during judicial proceedings against him for slander;[18] he was convicted of some, but not all, of these allegations and received a suspended sentence of 8 months in prison on 17 June 2014.[6]

Anti-Zionism and antisemitism[edit]

In 2013, Laurent Louis declared himself to be an anti-Zionist and espoused a theory alleging that the Holocaust was funded by Zionists to advance Zionism. He wrote on his Facebook profile:

Look at how Zionists financed Hitler and created the Second World War in order to further their project, the foundation of the State of Israel ... There it is, that's how Zionists have become the masters of the world.[19]

At a rally held in front of the Israeli embassy in Brussels, he stepped on the Flag of Israel and was also seen holding a Hezbollah flag. He was quoted as saying to Syrian national TV, "Europe is being used in the conflict as a tool in the hands of Israel, the rogue state."[20]

Louis has met several times with the French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, referring to himself as Dieudonné's "ambassador" to Belgium and performing the quenelle gesture popularized by Dieudonné (reminiscent of the Nazi salute).[21][22]

In January 2014, during discussion of current affairs in the Chamber of Representatives, he made the quenelle gesture and spoke of, "this Holocaust produced and financed, let us remember, by the founders of Zionism." The president of the chamber condemned these remarks and the "hateful" and "uncalled-for" gesture, while the Belgian League Against Antisemitism brought suit against Laurent Louis for "antisemitism and Holocaust denial."[23][24]

In Spring 2014, Laurent Louis announced that a "European Congress of Dissidence" would be held on 4 May in the Brussels-Capital region, including figures such as Dieudonné, Alain Soral, Kémi Seba, and the antisemitic essayist Hervé Ryssen. The demonstration – described in the press as an "antisemitic meeting" – was prohibited by Belgian authorities. The location of the meeting, kept secret until the last minute, was finally announced as Anderlecht, but the approximately 500 people who showed up were dispersed by law enforcement.[25][26][27][28][29]

Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting[edit]

Following the 24 May 2014 fatal shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Joel Rubinfeld of the Belgian League Against Antisemitism described the act as "the inevitable result of a climate that distills hatred... it will be necessary to use all legal means to silence the preachers of this hate who are responsible for spreading this virus of anti-Jewish hatred", specifically mentioning Laurent Louis and Dieudonné.[30]

Louis Laurent vehemently denounced Rubinfeld's accusations on his Facebook page and denying that his views were antisemitic. He suggested that the attack could be a false flag operation seeking to discredit him and his political party on the eve of the 2014 Belgian federal elections:

This villainous act is clearly being used to tarnish my image and that of Debout les Belges on the eve of the elections. ... Should we see in this a false flag aiming to reduce the success of Debout les Belges in tomorrow's elections? [31]

Louis later posted that he had received death threats and that police claimed his life was in danger.[32]

Support for Hezbollah[edit]

On November 2, 2015, Al-Manar TV reported that a delegation from Europe, which included Louis, had recently met with Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem as part of a "show of solidarity with the resistance in its fight against terrorism." During the broadcast, Louis stated that Hezbollah's "fight against terrorism constitutes a comprehensive defense of humanity, and of interfaith coexistence," while adding that "The Western leaders' collaboration with terrorism has been exposed, despite their false claims that they are protecting democracy and human rights."[33][34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The New York Times (September 22, 2017). "Holocaust Denier's Sentence: Visit 5 Ex-Nazi Camps, and Write About It". Retrieved September 23, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b The Washington Post (September 25, 2017). "Holocaust denier ordered to visit concentration camps and write about them". Retrieved September 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Laurent Louis provoque l'écoeurement des députés qui le boycottent" [Laurent Louis disgusts the MPs who boycott him] (in French). RTBF. 19 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Laurent Louis devrait être interné" [Laurent Louis should be detained]. Le Soir (in French). 21 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "L'indignité de Laurent Louis ne peut rester impunie" [The behavior of Laurent Louis cannot go unpunished]. Le Soir (in French). 28 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Laurent Louis condamné à 8 mois de prison avec sursis" [Laurent Louis sentenced to 8 months in prison with a suspended sentence]. La Libre Belgique (in French). 17 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Laurent Louis zes jaar niet verkiesbaar en zes maanden cel met uitstel omdat hij de gaskamers ontkende" [Laurent Louis can't run for office for six years and gets 6 months in prison with a suspended sentence for denying gas chambers]. newsmonkey.be (in Dutch). 23 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Le député Laurent Louis a été exclu du PP" [MP Laurent Louis expelled from the PP]. La Libre Belgique (in French). 28 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Laurent Louis réclame la dissolution de "tous les partis politiques".." [Laurent Louis calls for the dissolution of "all political parties"...] (in French). Le Vif online. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Remercié par le parti Islam, Laurent Louis persiste: "Je suis le président"" [Dismissed from the Islam party, Laurent Louis maintains, "I am the president."]. Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (in French). 29 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Simon Mallet (29 October 2013). "Bruxelles: le parti Islam se sépare de Laurent Louis... un mois après son adhésion!" [The Islam party distances itself from Laurent Louis... a month after his joining!]. La Capitale (in French). 
  12. ^ Alexandre Vick (11 April 2014). "Debout les Belges en voie d'implosion" [Debout les Belges on a path to implosion]. RésistanceS (in French). 
  13. ^ "Élections 2014 – Élections fédérales – Résultats par parti" [2014 Federal elections – Results by party]. La Libre Belgique (in French). 26 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Elections : sans siège, Laurent Louis dissout son parti Debout les Belges" [Elections: without a seat, Laurent Louis dissolves his party]. La Libre Belgique (in French). 26 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Laurent Louis, le député calomniateur" [Louis Laurent, the slandering member of parliament] (in French). Le Vif online. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  16. ^ "Laurent Louis traite Elio Di Rupo de "pédophile", incident à la Chambre" [Laurent Louis calls Elio Di Rupo a "pedophile", incident in parliament] (in French). RTBF. 27 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "Herlees: Kamerzitting geschorst: parlementslid noemt Di Rupo 'pedofiel'". Knack.be (in Dutch). 27 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Le député Laurent Louis maintient ses allégations à l'égard du Premier ministre" [MP Laurent Louis maintains his allegations regarding the Prime Minister]. La Libre Belgique (in French). 8 April 2014. 
  19. ^ Marcel Sel (September 8, 2013). "Le député Laurent Louis nie la Shoah" [Representative Laurent Louis denies the Holocaust]. RésistanceS (in French). 
  20. ^ "Belgian MP tramples Israeli flag at pro-Assad rally". Jerusalem Post. 5 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Qui est ce député belge qui fait la quenelle au parlement ?" [Who is this Belgian representative who made the Quenelle gesture to parliament?]. Rue89. 6 January 2014. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Le dernier geste de Laurent Louis à ses ex-collègues députés belges? Une quenelle.." [The last gesture of Laurent Louis to his former colleagues in the Belgiant parliament? A quenelle...]. La Meuse (in French). 16 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "La Chambre condamne le comportement de Laurent Louis qui a tenu des propos négationnistes" [The chamber condemns the behavior of Laurent Louis for statements of Holocaust denial] (in French). RTL Group. 23 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Le CECLR porte plainte contre Laurent Louis pour incitations à la haine" [The Center for Equality of Opportunity sues Laurent Louis for Incitement of hatred]. L'Avenir (in French). 
  25. ^ "Belgium bans "anti-semitic hatefest"". Agence France-Presse. AsiaOne. 4 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "Le congrès antisémite de Laurent Louis aura bien lieu dimanche à Anderlecht" [Laurent Louis' antisemitic meeting will take place Sunday in Anderlecht]. RTL Group (in French). 3 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "An antisemitic meeting in Brussels, with Dieudonné as guest star, turns out to be brief". Le Monde (in French). 4 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "Le congrès avec Dieudonné interdit à Anderlecht" [The meeting with Dieudonné forbidden in Anderlecht]. Le Soir (in French). 4 May 2014. 
  29. ^ "The planned antisemitic meeting with Dieudonné is prohibited in Belgium" [Le congrès antisémite prévu avec Dieudonné interdit en Belgique]. France 24 (in French). 5 May 2014. 
  30. ^ "Fusillade au Musée Juif à Bruxelles: "Ce qui s'est passé était prévisible"" [Shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels: "What has happened was foreseeable"]. RTL Group. 24 May 2014. 
  31. ^ "Tuerie au Musée juif de Bruxelles : Laurent Louis " ne croit pas au hasard "" [Killing at the Jewish Museum in Brussels: Laurent Louis "doesn't believe in chance"] (in French). Conspiracy Watch. 24 May 2014. 
  32. ^ Laurent Louis (24 May 2014). "Facebook post by Laurent LOUIS". Quelle tristesse ! La police me conseille de quitter mon domicile suite aux différentes menaces de mort reçues ce soir. Une preuve supplémentaire que nous ne vivons plus en démocratie. La police craint même la descente de la LDJ [Jewish Defense League] à mon domicile. Merci à la police qui prend très au sérieux les menaces que je subis actuellement. Jamais je n’aurais cru que cette dernière soirée avant les élections du 25 mai allait se passer de la sorte. Par mesure de sécurité, je ne peux vous communiquer comme prévu l’adresse où se tiendra demain soir notre soirée électorale. 
  33. ^ Delegation of European MPs, Politicians, and Cultural Figures Meets with Hizbullah Deputy Sec.-Gen. Naim Qassem, MEMRI, Clip No. 5149 (transcript), November 2, 2015 (video clip available here).
  34. ^ European contingent heads to Lebanon to meet with Hezbollah leader by Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, November 5, 2015.

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