A German publisher cancels the publication of the comic strip Élise and the New Partisans accused of anti-Semitism

The denunciation ofIsraeli occupation and apartheidin Palestine by Dominique Grange in the afterword of his graphic novel set Carlsen publishing back.

There are scenes of police violence, babies brandished in the rain by gloved hands and bodies falling into the Seine, during of the massacre of October 17, 1961. All black and white graphic novel, Élise and the New Partisans hides nothing of the outbursts and passions of politics to retrace the journey of an alter ego of the singer and activist Dominique Grange, of the Algerian war to May-68. Suitable in Goethe’s language, the comic strip published in 2021 by Delcourt, was to be delivered to bookstores in Germany on January 16. It has not happened. In the last days before its release, Carlsen Publishing reread the writer’s afterword and deemed it too incendiary.

“I will continue to support, with my voice and my songs, all forms of resistance to liberalism, imperialism and the tyranny of dictatorial regimes“, proclaims the screenwriter of the album, before coming to the subject of the anger: “… and to always reaffirm my solidarity with the exemplary resistance of the Palestinian people for 70 years, against Israeli occupation and apartheid.”

Censorship and reluctance

The pro-Palestinian commitment of Dominique Grange will have been too much in the eyes of Carlsen editions. “We wanted to avoid getting caught up in the inextricable BDS debate (to “Boycott, divestment, sanctions”, named after the campaign against Israel launched in 2005 by a committee of Palestinian NGOs, Ed.), in which, as Carlsen, we did not want to take a position”said a spokesperson for the publisher at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Whether the israeli-palestinian conflict is not the subject ofÉlise and the New Partisans, the long afterword from which the “excess sentence” mentioned by the publisher, however, already appeared in the French version of the work.

A sign of the turmoil aroused by the decision, the German translator of the graphic novel announced that he had immediately ceased all collaboration with Carlsen. In France, neither Dominique Grange nor the cartoonist Tardi have been informed of the cancellation of the German publication of the comic strip, planned for a long time at Carlsen. The French publisher was also moved by the reaction of the publisher from across the Rhine. “Editions Delcourt joins the authors in condemning this absurd and unworthy censorship, since the comments made by Dominique Grange only engage her and not the publisher”the group said in a statement on January 24.

For several years now, Germany has stopped kidding with discourse relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2019, the Bundestag passed a resolution designating the BDS campaign to boycott Israel as anti-Semitic in nature. Although not binding, the new legislation led a few weeks later to the resignation of Peter Schäfer, the director of the Jewish Museum of Berlin. He had been found responsible for a tweet from his establishment that opposed the resolution. “Supporting the BDS campaign in Germany is tantamount to career suicide”noted following this affair the pro-Palestinian Israeli media +972 Magazine .

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