| |

The Notin affair: in France Jewish organisations make the law

Since 1990 Bernard Notin, assistant professor of economics at the University of Lyon III, has been unable to practise his profession – in spite of French law – because of a decision by the Jewish institutions and organisations of Lyon represented by Dr Marc Aron[1], as well as the Union of Jewish Students of France (Union des Etudiants Juifs de France: UEJF).

No-one protests against this anomaly: neither Bernard Notin’s colleagues, the president of his university, the national Minister of Education, the human rights organisation Ligue des droits de l’homme, nor the major media. They remain silent, either because they approve this excessive display of power, or because they know these organisations are capable of unleashing at will a ruinous witch-hunt against heretics.

On June 7, 1994 the national daily newspaper Le Monde deemed it necessary to announce that Notin was being hired to teach at the Mohammed I University in Oujda, Morocco, at the request of the Dean of the Faculty of Economics. The UEJF responded by bringing such pressure to bear internationally that within 48 hours the Moroccan university made it known it was not planning to hire Notin.

From the outset, Le Monde has been implacable towards Notin. Notably, it served as a mouthpiece for his persecutors with a January 28-29, 1990 item by Edwy Plenel entitled “Un article jugé raciste et révisionniste suscite des protestations” (An article deemed racist and revisionist incites protests).

Notin’s thought crime was to have authored an iconoclastic study on the role of the French media. It appeared in a specialised journal with a restricted circulation that is published with the approval of the prestigious Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), the National Center for Scientific Research. (Economies et sociétés, no. 8/ 1989 [Dec. 1989], University Press of Grenoble, p. 117-133).

In passing, the author brought up the media’s treatment of the subject of homicidal gas chambers, letting it be known that he is skeptical of the existence of these chemical slaughterhouses, and citing as his reference the 1980 revisionist book by Serge Thion, Vérité historique ou vérité politique? (“Historical truth or political truth?”).[2]

Thus began the campaign against this 39-year-old scholar (and sole breadwinner for a family with five small children) – a campaign that eventually would surpass in vehemence and duration anything seen thus far along these lines. Because this story has already been covered in the French journal Revue d’histoire révisionniste, I shall not deal further with it here.[3]

On July 11, 1990, a Paris court sentenced Notin, on the basis of Article 1382 (on damages) to pay 25,000 francs in damages to the “Movement Against Racism and For Friendship Among Peoples” (Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples: MRAP). The judgment was upheld by a decision on May 15, 1991. On appeal, the sentence was raised to 29,000 francs.

On the administrative level, the National Council for Higher Education and Research (Conseil national de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche: CNESER) also decided to impose penalties, although this matter is currently pending before the Council of State.

Bernard Notin tried to resume his work as a assistant professor, but Jewish organisations acted to prevent it. Each year, without fail, he writes to the president of his university formally to request a teaching assignment, along with a timetable. He receives no answer to his letters.

On February 3, 1993 he was persuaded to sign a press release that amounted to a solemn public recantation. In the text, after protesting against what had been done to him (“It is again intended, illegally, and through coercion, to forbid me to teach and to exercise the profession for which taxpayers pay me”), he declared that he was not questioning the genocide of the Jews nor the Nazi gas chambers. He added that his purpose had never been to “rewrite history improperly,” and concluded notably: “If I have caused, involuntarily, the least suffering to anyone, I ask their forgiveness.”

All for nothing: the ban continues to this day.

Bernard Notin’s final lecture was on May 2, 1990. For more than six years, the predicament of this scholar, who is now 45 years old, has constituted an anomaly in both law and reason.

The Jewish organisations know quite well that no law authorises them to impose such penalties on anyone. In showing their readiness to pressure an employer – even a government institution – to prevent an employee from practising his profession, these organisations pose a threat to the livelihood of everyone who is not self-employed or independently wealthy. As for the nation’s education administrators, they know that every civil servant has the right, in the exercise of his duties, to government protection.

Jewish institutions and organisations, mouthpieces for the Jewish community, enjoy special privileges in France. The Notin affair demonstrates that they are in a position to dictate their own laws to the state. I do not know of any other institution, any other organisation, or any other community in France capable of conducting a campaign of this kind, of persecuting a man with this ferocity, of pursuing him even in exile, and all this, if not with general approval, at least without a word of protest.[4]

In France people say that “the Jews are people like everyone else.” In view of the Notin affair, I personally have difficulty believing it.

June 18, 1996



[1] More than anyone else, Marc Aron bears responsibility for the hardships endured by Bernard Notin for more than six years, as well as for my own travails over the past 17 years. [Editor’s note: The ban against Notin is still in force in August 1997.] During the late 1970s, Dr Aron headed the joint committee of the Jewish institutions and organisations of Lyon. An eminent member of the exclusively Jewish lodge of B’nai B’rith, he also headed the European section of the World Jewish Congress. For his role during the early 1990s, see Emmanuel Ratier, Mystères et secrets du B’nai B’rith, la plus importante organisation juive internationale (Facta, Paris 1993), p. 284-287.
[2] See S. Thion, “On Pressac: History by Night or in Fog?“, a review of Jean-Claude Pressac’s The Crematories of Auschwitz: The Technique of Mass Murder (Journal of Historical Review, July-August 1994 , p. 28-39).
[3] See, in particular, Revue d’histoire révisionniste, no. 1, p. 143-146; no. 2, p. 155-162; no. 3, p. 206.
[4] See “Jewish Militias: fifteen years, and more, of terrorism in France“, Journal of Historical Review, March-April 1996, p. 3-13.