Sport: Les sionistes ont même inventé le panier à trois points ! (Harlem Globetrotters and three-pointers: Is there anything the zionists haven’t invented ?)

27 mars, 2013
http://www.canada.com/8030387.binSéoul est à une cinquantaine de kilomètres de la frontière. Ils ne sont même pas obligés de viser juste ! Pierre Rigoulot
I think it’s ridiculous. I think that if you’re going to meet someone with the record on human rights, and nuclear testing in a reckless way, counterfeiting U.S. dollars, and exporting a horrible brand of whatever it is that he’s exporting, starving his people, and locking them up, it should be done only in conjunction with the State Department with an agenda. If not, you shouldn’t go. (…) it was the burden of somebody to try to educate Dennis a little bit so he doesn’t come back and say, ‘the dude is really cool. His father was great. His grandfather was great. And really why doesn’t the President just give him a buzz? David Stern (NBA commissioner)
Le peuple juif a été l’historien, le jurisconsulte, le sage, le poète de l’humanité. Lacordaire

Superhéros, Hollywoodchants de Noël, Amériquesoft power,  dix commandements, génocide

Y a-t-il une chose que les sionistes n’aient pas inventé ?

Alors que malgré les énièmes annonces de sanctions le dernier goulag à ciel ouvert continue, avec le soutien cynique de la Chine, à martyriser et affamer sa population et s’est remis à menacer le monde

Pendant que, dans nos chaumières, on joue à légender la photo du tortionnaire

Et qu’après le pape lui-même, nos amuseurs publics en sont à faire ami-ami avec lui …

Retour, en ces jours où nos amis juifs commémorent leur expulsion des goulags égyptiens, sur l’homme qui, inventant au passage le tir à trois points, lança le basket ball noir …

A savoir le juif américain Abraham (Abe) Saperstein

A Small Man with a Large Legacy: Abe Saperstein and the Harlem Globetrotters (VIDEO)

Jspace Staff

3/15/2013

You’re born in England where they hardly play the sport. You’re Jewish. You’re just north of five feet tall. Chances are you’re not going to make it into the basketball Hall of Fame. Yet Abe Saperstein, who was all these things, did just that. Saperstein saw a chance and he took it. In so doing, the unlikely hall of famer changed basketball forever.

Saperstein was born in London in 1902. When Abe was six, his father moved the family to America and opened a tailor shop in a mainly Irish and German neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. The Sapersteins were the only Jewish family in the area. Young Saperstein threw himself into sports, running track and playing baseball and basketball through high school. By the time he reached college, however, his lack of height caught up with him. He was considered too short to play in basketball at the University of Illinois, and failed to make the team.

Saperstein dropped out of college and started work as a playground supervisor for the Chicago public parks system. He was assigned a job at a small park on the predominantly African-American South Side of Chicago. Ever the sport fan, Saperstein would watch basketball games in the park. Impressed by what he saw, he had an idea. Saperstein would assemble a great basketball team from the black community.

It was 1926. Basketball was a relatively new sport without a clearly defined niche. Exhibition games were often used to promote other events, a warm-up for the main attraction. Saperstein took an interest in a team of black basketball players named the Savoy Big Five, who played before dances at the Savoy dancehall in Chicago. When they didn’t attract enough people to the club, and were replaced by roller-skating after a month, Saperstein had a plan.

He was going to form an all-black team that would wow the crowds. His team would be the main event. To achieve this, Saperstein appreciated the power of branding. He believed that an out of state team would hold more allure. He figured nowhere was more glamorous than New York City. So Saperstein asked his tailor father to design uniforms with "New York" on the front, and a new team was born.

On January 7, 1927, Saperstein’s new team played its first game in Hinckley, Illinois. They won—as they would 100 of their first 106 games. Yet despite the team’s abundant talent, Saperstein noticed that Midwestern audiences were more intrigued by the players’ skin color than their skills. It was the first time that many in the crowd had seen a black person. Again, Saperstein saw a chance. He decided to use this curiosity to his team’s advantage and to rename the team to clearly advertise the players as black. Nowhere was more famously black than Harlem, so Harlem it was. Keen to suggest that the team was world-famous and toured widely, Saperstein added “Globetrotters.”

The team’s early years were anything but glamorous. Saperstein would drive all five players from game to game in his Model T. He served as the team’s manager, coach, chauffeur and substitute. In the 1920’s, the team earned approximately $25 a game, which Saperstein split seven ways. Each of the five players received one seventh, and he received two sevenths. The team played seven nights a week to earn enough to survive, driving around the Midwest to play anyone and anywhere they could.

The Globetrotters were itinerant workers, a cross between Lenny and George from “Of Mice and Men” and a struggling college band on a self-financed tour. They played lumberjacks in British Columbia and farmers in Iowa. And they almost always won. By 1934, they had won over 1,000 games. But the team didn’t just beat their opponents on points; they played a whole different style of basketball. The white teams played a stricter, more structured game. Globetrotter basketball was more like jazz—a freer game, where structure was simply a start point from which to improvise.

Although this was the jazz age, it was also the days of the Jim Crow laws. The team faced racism on a daily basis. Children would rub their skin to see if the color would come off. Racist laws enforced strict separation: the players were barred from eating at certain restaurants and sleeping at “white” hotels. Once, when the team played in a Nebraska town that only had “white hotels” the team had to sleep in the county jail.

It is unclear how forcefully Saperstein fought against discrimination on behalf of his black players. It is clear that he was not always popular with the team. In 1939, four players refused to play unless they received more of a say in team affairs; they accused Saperstein of being paternalistic. Rather than accede to their demands, he cut the players and replaced them with four rookies. Saperstein made it clear he was in charge.

On the court, however, the team was in control. Once they had assumed a big enough lead, the players would showboat. They would perform moves that many opposition players—never mind fans—had never seen before. They’d spin the ball on their fingers, run it down their arms, and pass it through their legs. Often, the crowd would respond with laughter. It seemed that white audiences would accept a black team if it was comedic.

By the early 1940’s, the team had moved on from small town arenas and was playing against other professional teams before larger audiences. They would often play against other ethnic teams, such as the New York Celtics. By the mid-1940’s, professional basketball leagues were established. The NBA was born in 1949 but it too was segregated. Black players were ghettoized to Negro leagues, as was the case in baseball. The rationale was that white people had their places to eat, sleep and play and black people had theirs. Meanwhile, the Globetrotters, who would play anywhere that would have them, had become one of the best-known sports teams in America.

As basketball grew in popularity, Saperstein realized there was great interest in how the Globetrotters would fare against an established, professional white team. So in 1948 he challenged the world-champion Minneapolis Lakers to a one-game, winner-takes-all contest. The two teams were evenly matched. In the final seconds with the scores tied, a Globetrotter made a 20-foot basket to decide the game. The team had proved it could compete against any other.

The team beat the Lakers again in a rematch in Chicago in 1949. By this time, the color barrier was being challenged. In 1947, Jackie Robinson had broken baseball’s color line. And in 1950, Earl Loyd became the first black man played in the NBA. A few days later, former Globetrotter Nat Clifton appeared for the New York Knicks. Clifton was the first black player to sign an NBA contract.

Clifton’s departure showed how basketball was changing. It also shed light on tension among the Globetrotters. Clifton had grown frustrated with Saperstein’s treatment, especially when he learned Saperstein was paying a team of touring white college all-stars more than his own Globetrotters. As there was gradual integration of black players into the NBA, there was more money to be made than Saperstein was offering. When the Knicks bought out Clifton’s contract, Saperstein claimed to take half of the $5,000 fee; later, however, Clifton learned that the Knicks paid $20,000. Saperstein was an uncompromising businessman. He may have wanted to do the right thing, but he wanted to get paid for it.

As basketball grew in popularity, so did the Globetrotters. They featured in movies screened around the world. The team achieved worldwide fame and in 1952, launched an international tour. The Globetrotters lived up to their name, travelling 52,000 miles in five months. They became a symbol of America, and the State Department named them “ambassadors of goodwill.”

Saperstein continued to have tense relationships with some of his players. In the mid-1950’s he lost two of the team’s biggest stars: Marques Haynes and Goose Tatum, who set up their own team. Saperstein failed to sign future hall of famer Bill Russell because he wouldn’t discuss contract terms with the black player instead of his white coach. But he did sign the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, who declared his year with the team was the most fun he had playing before he too left to join the NBA.

As the NBA grew and became more open to black players, the Globetrotters had to adapt. The team was no longer the refuge for disenfranchised black players; they could play in the NBA. Instead, its focus shifted toward comedy. Still, Saperstein took his role as coach seriously. He remained courtside into his 60’s having devoted his life to making the Harlem Globetrotters the best, and the best-known, basketball show on earth. When, in 1966, he died of a heart attack at the age of 63 he had achieved just that. By helping to break down doors, Abe Saperstein had as big an influence on the game of basketball as any other man in its history. He was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1971.

Voir aussi:

How basketball became three-dimensional

Jerry Crowe

The NY Times

May 06, 2008

Whenever a three-point basket brings a crowd to its feet or swings the momentum in a basketball game, Bill Sharman remembers an old friend.

Abe Saperstein, an energetic promoter best remembered as the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, introduced the three-point shot to professional basketball as founder of the short-lived American Basketball League, which launched in 1961, crowned only one champion and lasted barely 1 1/2 seasons.

Saperstein, however, did not unveil the innovation that would revolutionize the sport, Sharman says, until first consulting with Sharman and eliciting an enthusiastic thumbs up from the former USC and Boston Celtics star, one of the NBA’s first great shooting guards and an unflinching proponent.

"I thought it was great because I was an outside shooter," the 81-year-old former Lakers coach said during an interview at his home in Redondo Beach. "He thought it was going to be as popular as the home run."

Saperstein and Sharman first met when the USC All-American played for a college all-star team that toured with the Globetrotters after the 1949-50 season.

Their friendship grew during Sharman’s 11-year NBA career, when NBA teams and the Globetrotters often paired for attendance-boosting doubleheaders and, in the last half of Sharman’s career, the Celtics were the NBA’s best team.

"We were close," Sharman said.

So Sharman heard all about it when Saperstein was denied an NBA franchise in Los Angeles, as he believed he’d been promised after helping prop up the league, and owner Bob Short instead moved the Lakers from Minneapolis.

An angry Saperstein reacted by starting his own league, enlisting help from a group of others that included a young George Steinbrenner, owner of the Amateur Athletic Union national champion Cleveland Pipers.

Sharman, an eight-time NBA All-Star who retired as a player after the 1960-61 season, was hired to coach the ABL’s Los Angeles Jets.

Saperstein told him about his plan for a three-point shot.

"He wanted to call it the 25-foot home run," Sharman said. "He was such a great promoter. He said, ‘When the fans see this, they’ll think it’s one of the best things in basketball.’ And I think he might be right. It’s one of the most fun."

Sharman, though, told him 25 feet was too far out.

"It’s farther than it looks," said Sharman, who joined Saperstein in a gym and, after attempting a number of shots from that distance, suggested the three-point arc be painted 25 feet from the back of the rim, rather than the front.

The compromise, Sharman says, put the arc at about the same distance from the basket as it is in the NBA today: 23 feet 9 inches, 22 feet in the corners.

As a coach, Sharman was quick to embrace the shot.

"I didn’t emphasize it that much," he says, "but I told the players, ‘If you have time to really get set, take it.’ I would say we had two or three plays where we’d set a double pick with a man coming behind it, hoping he would have more time to get set because it’s not a shot you can rush."

Midway through the season, however, the Jets folded. In Cleveland, where Steinbrenner had made John McClendon the first African American coach of a major pro basketball team, McClendon stepped aside, citing owner meddling. Sharman replaced McClendon and the Pipers won the championship, winning the deciding game, appropriately enough, on a three-point basket by John Barnhill.

Less than a year later, the ABL was gone. The Eastern Professional Basketball League adopted the three-point shot in its 1964-65 season and the success of the American Basketball Assn., which launched in 1967, popularized it.

The NBA, though, didn’t adopt the three-pointer until 1979.

"The NBA didn’t want to promote anything the ABA had done," Sharman said. "They didn’t want to look like copycats."

After the ABL, Sharman coached two seasons at Cal State Los Angeles without the three-point shot, which was briefly tested in college basketball as early as 1945 but wasn’t added permanently until 1986, and two with the NBA’s San Francisco Warriors before coaching in the ABA, where he was reintroduced to the three.

"I really thought it added to the game," he said. "I didn’t feel like I was in a position to push for it, but I sure would give my opinion if anyone asked."

Saperstein died in 1966, but his innovation lives on.

Nearly 45,000 three-point shots were attempted in NBA games this season, an average of about 36 a game and almost 40,000 more than were put up in the 1979-80 season, when the rule was adopted. About 13 a game were successful.

"It’s like a magnet out there," the Lakers’ Jordan Farmar says of the three-point arc. "You know you’re a good shooter, so you want to be rewarded."

Farmar, who launched more three-pointers than any Laker other than Kobe Bryant this season, says the long-range shots are counterintuitive to fundamental basketball — "The closer you get to the hole, the higher the percentages" — but acknowledges that they’re a "valuable weapon."

And, as Saperstein predicted, fans love them.

"I’m sure the game would have survived without three-point shots," Sharman says. "But it wouldn’t be as popular, nor would the games be as exciting."


Pâque/3626e: Cachez cette épuration ethnique que je ne saurai voir ! (Exodus: Why can’t we recognize a real episode of ethnic cleansing when we see one ?)

27 mars, 2013
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Martin%2C_John_-_The_Seventh_Plague_-_1823.jpg
http://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/jewishpopulation.jpg?w=450&h=250Le Pharaon (…)  dit à son peuple: Voilà les enfants d’Israël qui forment un peuple plus nombreux et plus puissant que nous. (…) Alors Pharaon donna cet ordre à tout son peuple: Vous jetterez dans le fleuve tout garçon qui naîtra. Exode 1 : 9-22
L’Éternel dit à Moïse et à Aaron dans le pays d’Égypte: (…) C’est la Pâque de l’Éternel. Cette nuit-là, je passerai dans le pays d’Égypte, et je frapperai tous les premiers-nés du pays d’Égypte, depuis les hommes jusqu’aux animaux, et j’exercerai des jugements contre tous les dieux de l’Égypte. (…) Le sang vous servira de signe sur les maisons où vous serez; je verrai le sang, et je passerai par-dessus vous, et il n’y aura point de plaie qui vous détruise, quand je frapperai le pays d’Égypte. (…) Au milieu de la nuit, l’Éternel frappa tous les premiers-nés dans le pays d’Égypte, depuis le premier-né de Pharaon assis sur son trône, jusqu’au premier-né du captif dans sa prison, et jusqu’à tous les premiers-nés des animaux. Pharaon se leva de nuit, lui et tous ses serviteurs, et tous les Égyptiens; et il y eut de grands cris en Égypte, car il n’y avait point de maison où il n’y eût un mort. Dans la nuit même, Pharaon appela Moïse et Aaron, et leur dit: Levez-vous, sortez du milieu de mon peuple, vous et les enfants d’Israël. Allez, servez l’Éternel, comme vous l’avez dit.Prenez vos brebis et vos boeufs, comme vous l’avez dit; allez, et bénissez-moi.Les Égyptiens pressaient le peuple, et avaient hâte de le renvoyer du pays, car ils disaient: Nous périrons tous. Exode 12 : 1-14
Israël est détruit, sa semence même n’est plus. Amenhotep III (Stèle de Mérenptah, 1209 or 1208 Av. JC)
Je me suis réjoui contre lui et contre sa maison. Israël a été ruiné à jamais. Mesha (roi de Moab, Stèle de Mesha, 850 av. J.-C.)
J’ai tué Jéhoram, fils d’Achab roi d’Israël et j’ai tué Ahziahu, fils de Jéoram roi de la Maison de David. Et j’ai changé leurs villes en ruine et leur terre en désert. Hazaël (stèle de Tel Dan, c. 835 av. JC)
Qui veut noyer son chien l’accuse de la rage. Molière
Après ce, vint une merdaille Fausse, traître et renoïe : Ce fu Judée la honnie, La mauvaise, la desloyal, Qui bien het et aimme tout mal, Qui tant donna d’or et d’argent Et promist a crestienne gent, Que puis, rivieres et fonteinnes Qui estoient cleres et seinnes En plusieurs lieus empoisonnerent, Dont pluseurs leurs vies finerent ; Car trestuit cil qui en usoient Assez soudeinnement moroient. Dont, certes, par dis fois cent mille En morurent, qu’a champ, qu’a ville. Einsois que fust aperceuë Ceste mortel deconvenue. Mais cils qui haut siet et louing voit, Qui tout gouverne et tout pourvoit, Ceste traïson plus celer Ne volt, enis la fist reveler Et si generalement savoir Qu’ils perdirent corps et avoir. Car tuit Juif furent destruit, Li uns pendus, li autres cuit, L’autre noié, l’autre ot copée La teste de hache ou d’espée. Et maint crestien ensement En morurent honteusement.  Guillaume de Machaut (Jugement du Roy de Navarre, v. 1349)
Le poète et musicien Guillaume de Machaut écrivait au milieu du XIVe siècle. Son Jugement du Roy de Navarre mériterait d’être mieux connu. La partie principale de l’œuvre, certes, n’est qu’un long poème de style courtois, conventionnel de style et de sujet. Mais le début a quelque chose de saisissant. C’est une suite confuse d’événements catastrophiques auxquels Guillaume prétend avoir assisté avant de s’enfermer, finalement, de terreur dans sa maison pour y attendre la mort ou la fin de l’indicible épreuve. Certains événements sont tout à fait invraisemblables, d’autres ne le sont qu’à demi. Et pourtant de ce récit une impression se dégage : il a dû se passer quelque chose de réel. Il y a des signes dans le ciel. Les pierres pleuvent et assomment les vivants. Des villes entières sont détruites par la foudre. Dans celle où résidait Guillaume – il ne dit pas laquelle – les hommes meurent en grand nombre. Certaines de ces morts sont dues à la méchanceté des juifs et de leurs complices parmi les chrétiens. Comment ces gens-là s’y prenaient-ils pour causer de vastes pertes dans la population locale? Ils empoisonnaient les rivières, les sources d’approvisionnement en eau potable. La justice céleste a mis bon ordre à ces méfaits en révélant leurs auteurs à la population qui les a tous massacrés. Et pourtant les gens n’ont pas cessé de mourir, de plus en plus nombreux, jusqu’à un certain jour de printemps où Guillaume entendit de la musique dans la rue, des hommes et des femmes qui riaient. Tout était fini et la poésie courtoise pouvait recommencer. (…) aujourd’hui, les lecteurs repèrent des événements réels à travers les invraisemblances du récit. Ils ne croient ni aux signes dans le ciel ni aux accusations contre les juifs mais ils ne traitent pas tous les thèmes incroyables de la même façon; ils ne les mettent pas tous sur le même plan. Guillaume n’a rien inventé. C’est un homme crédule, certes, et il reflète une opinion publique hystérique. Les innombrables morts dont il fait état n’en sont pas moins réelles, causées de toute évidence par la fameuse peste noire qui ravagea la France en 1349 et 1350. Le massacre des juifs est également réel, justifié aux yeux des foules meurtrières par les rumeurs d’empoisonnement qui circulent un peu partout. C’est la terreur universelle de la maladie qui donne un poids suffisant à ces rumeurs pour déclencher lesdits massacres. (…) Mais les nombreuses morts attribuées par l’auteur au poison judaïque suggèrent une autre explication. Si ces morts sont réelles – et il n’y a pas de raison de les tenir pour imaginaires – elles pourraient bien être les premières victimes d’un seul et même fléau. Mais Guillaume ne s’en doute pas, même rétrospectivement. A ses yeux les boucs émissaires traditionnels conservent leur puissance explicatrice pour les premiers stades de l’épidémie. Pour les stades ultérieurs, seulement, l’auteur reconnaît la présence d’un phénomène proprement pathologique. L’étendue du désastre finit par décourager la seule explication par le complot des empoisonneurs, mais Guillaume ne réinterprète pas la suite entière des événements en fonction de leur raison d’être véritable. (…) Même rétrospectivement, tous les boucs émissaires collectifs réels et imaginaires, les juifs et les flagellants, les pluies de pierre et l’epydimie, continuent à jouer leur rôle si efficacement dans le récit de Guillaume que celui-ci ne voit jamais l’unité du fléau désigné par nous comme la « peste noire ». L’auteur continue à percevoir une multiplicité de désastres plus ou moins indépendants ou reliés les uns aux autres seulement par leur signification religieuse, un peu comme les dix plaies d’Egypte.
Tout ce que je viens de dire, ou presque, est évident. Nous comprenons tous le récit de Guillaume de la même façon et mes lecteurs n’ont pas besoin de moi. Il n’est pourtant pas inutile d’insister sur cette lecture dont l’audace et la puissance nous échappent, précisément parce qu’elle est admise par tous, parce qu’elle n’est pas controversée. L’unanimité s’est faite autour d’elle il y a littéralement des siècles et jamais elle ne s’est défaite. C’est d’autant plus remarquable qu’il s’agit d’une réinterprétation radicale. Nous rejetons sans hésiter le sens que l’auteur donne à son texte. Nous affirmons qu’il ne sait pas ce qu’il dit. A plusieurs siècles de distance, nous autres, modernes, le savons mieux que lui et nous sommes capables de rectifier son dire. Nous nous croyons à même de repérer une vérité que l’auteur n’a pas vue et, par une audace plus grande encore, nous n’hésitons pas à affirmer que cette vérité, c’est lui qui nous l’apporte, en dépit de son aveuglement. (…) Devant un texte du type Guillaume de Machaut, il est légitime de suspendre la règle générale selon laquelle l’ensemble d’un texte ne vaut jamais mieux, sous le rapport de l’information réelle, que la pire de ses données. Si le texte décrit des circonstances favorables à la persécution, s’il nous présente des victimes appartenant au type que les persécuteurs ont l’habitude de choisir, et si, pour plus de certitude encore, il présente ces victimes comme coupables du type de crimes que les persécuteurs attribuent, en règle générale, à leurs victimes, il y a de grandes chances pour que la persécution soit réelle. Si le texte lui-même affirme cette réalité, il y a plus de raisons de l’accepter que de la rejeter. Dès qu’on pressent la perspective des persécuteurs, l’absurdité des accusations, loin de compromettre la valeur d’information d’un texte, renforce sa crédibilité mais sous le rapport seulement des violences dont il se fait lui-même l’écho. Si Guillaume avait ajouté des histoires d’infanticide rituel à son affaire d’empoisonnement, son compte rendu serait plus invraisemblable encore mais il n’en résulterait aucune diminution de certitude quant à la réalité des massacres qu’il nous rapporte. Plus les accusations sont invraisemblables dans ce genre de textes, plus elles renforcent la vraisemblance des massacres : elles nous confirment la présence d’un contexte psychosocial au sein duquel les massacres devaient presque certainement se produire. Inversement, le thème des massacres, juxtaposé à celui de l’épidémie, fournit le contexte historique au sein duquel même un intellectuel en principe raffiné pourrait prendre au sérieux son histoire d’empoisonnement. Les représentations persécutrices nous mentent, indubitablement, mais d’une façon trop caractéristique des persécuteurs en général et des persécuteurs médiévaux en particulier pour que le texte ne dise pas vrai sur tous les points où il confirme les conjectures suggérées par la nature même de son mensonge. Quand c’est la réalité de leurs persécutions que les persécuteurs probables affirment, ils méritent qu’on leur fasse confiance. C’est la combinaison de deux types de données qui engendre la certitude. Si l’on ne rencontrait cette combinaison qu’à de rares exemples cette certitude ne serait pas complète. Mais la fréquence est trop grande pour que le doute soit possible. Seule la persécution réelle, envisagée dans l’optique des persécuteurs, peut expliquer la conjonction régulière de ces données. 
Tout document du type Guillaume de Machaut a une valeur considérable parce qu’on retrouve en lui le vraisemblable et l’invraisemblable agencés de telle façon que chacun explique et légitime la présence de l’autre. Si notre certitude a un caractère statistique, c’est parce que n’importe quel document, envisagé isolément, pourrait être l’œuvre d’un faussaire. Les chances sont faibles mais elles ne sont pas nulles au niveau du document individuel. Au niveau du grand nombre, en revanche, elles sont nulles. La solution réaliste que le monde occidental et moderne a adoptée pour démystifier les « textes de persécution » est la seule possible et elle est certaine parce qu’elle rend parfaitement compte de toutes les données qui figurent dans ce type de textes. Ce ne sont pas l’humanitarisme ou l’idéologie qui nous la dictent, ce sont des raisons intellectuelles décisives. Cette interprétation n’a pas usurpé le consensus unanime dont elle fait l’objet. L’histoire n’a pas de résultats plus solides à nous offrir. Pour l’historien « des mentalités », un témoignage en principe digne de foi, c’est-à-dire le témoignage d’un homme qui ne partage pas les illusions d’un Guillaume de Machaut, n’aura jamais autant de valeur que le témoignage indigne des persécuteurs, ou de leurs complices, plus fortement parce que inconsciemment révélateur. Le document décisif est celui de persécuteurs assez naïfs pour ne pas effacer les traces de leurs crimes, à la différence de certains persécuteurs modernes, trop avisés pour laisser derrière eux des documents qui pourraient être utilisés contre eux. J’appelle naïfs les persécuteurs encore assez persuadés de leur bon droit et pas assez méfiants pour maquiller ou censurer les données caractéristiques de leur persécution. Celles-ci apparaissent dans leurs textes tantôt sous une forme véridique et directement révélatrice, tantôt sous une forme trompeuse mais indirectement révélatrice. Toutes les données sont fortement stéréotypées et c’est la combinaison des deux types de stéréotypes, les véridiques et les trompeurs, qui nous renseigne sur la nature de ces textes. ? Nous savons tous repérer, aujourd’hui, les stéréotypes de la persécution. Il y a là un savoir qui s’est banalisé mais qui n’existait pas ou très peu au XIVe siècle. Les persécuteurs naïfs ne savent pas ce qu’ils font. Ils ont trop bonne conscience pour tromper sciemment leurs lecteurs et ils présentent les choses telles que réellement ils les voient. Ils ne se doutent pas qu’en rédigeant leurs comptes rendus ils donnent des armes contre eux-mêmes à la postérité. C’est vrai au XVIe siècle pour la tristement fameuse « chasse aux sorcières ». C’est encore vrai de nos jours pour les régions « arriérées » de notre planète.
Le passage de Guillaume, cité plus haut, constitue un bon exemple de ce que j’ai nommé dans Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde les « textes de persécution». J’entends par là les comptes rendus de violences réelles, souvent collectives, rédigés dans la perspective des persécuteurs, et affectés, par conséquent, de distorsions caractéristiques. Il faut repérer ces distorsions pour les rectifier et pour déterminer la réalité de toutes les violences que le texte de persécution présente comme justifiées. Il n’est pas nécessaire d’examiner longuement le compte rendu d’un procès de sorcellerie pour constater qu’on y retrouve la même combinaison de données réelles et de données imaginaires mais nullement gratuites que nous avons rencontrée dans le texte de Guillaume de Machaut. Tout est présenté comme vrai et nous n’en croyons rien mais nous n’en croyons pas pour autant que tout est faux. Nous n’avons aucune peine, pour l’essentiel, à faire le partage du vrai et du faux. Là aussi les chefs d’accusation paraissent ridicules même si la sorcière les tient pour réels, et même s’il y a lieu de penser que ses aveux n’ont pas été obtenus par la torture. L’accusée peut fort bien se prendre pour une sorcière véritable. Peut-être s’est-elle réellement efforcée de nuire à ses voisins par des procédés magiques. Nous n’en jugeons pas pour autant qu’elle mérite la mort. Il n’y a pas pour nous de procédés magiques efficaces. Nous admettons sans peine que la victime puisse partager avec ses bourreaux la même foi dérisoire en l’efficacité de la sorcellerie mais cette foi ne nous atteint pas nous-mêmes ; notre scepticisme n’en est pas ébranlé. Pendant ces procès aucune voix ne s’élève pour rétablir, ou plutôt pour établir la vérité. Personne n’est encore capable de le faire. C’est dire que nous avons contre nous, contre l’interprétation que nous donnons de leurs propres textes, non seulement les juges et les témoins mais les accusées elles-mêmes. Cette unanimité ne nous impressionne pas. Les auteurs de ces documents étaient là et nous n’y étions pas. Nous ne disposons d’aucune information qui ne vienne d’eux. Et pourtant, à plusieurs siècles de distance, un historien solitaire, ou même le premier individu venu se juge habilité à casser la sentence prononcée contre les sorcières. C’est la même réinterprétation radicale que dans l’exemple de Guillaume de Machaut, la même audace dans le bouleversement des textes, c’est la même opération intellectuelle et c’est la même certitude, fondée sur le même type de raisons. La présence de données imaginaires ne nous amène pas à considérer l’ensemble du texte comme imaginaire. Bien au contraire. Les accusations incroyables ne diminuent pas mais renforcent la crédibilité des autres données. Ici encore nous avons un rapport qui semble paradoxal mais en réalité ne l’est pas entre l’improbabilité et la probabilité des données qui entrent dans la composition des textes. C’est en fonction de ce rapport, généralement informulé mais néanmoins présent à notre esprit que nous évaluons la quantité et la qualité de l’information susceptible d’être extraite de notre texte.  (…) La mentalité persécutrice suscite un certain type d’illusion et les traces de cette illusion confirment plutôt qu’elles n’infirment la présence, derrière le texte qui en fait lui-même état, d’un certain type d’événement, la persécution elle-même, la mise à mort de la sorcière. Il n’est donc pas difficile, je le répète, de démêler le vrai du faux qui ont l’un et l’autre un caractère assez fortement stéréotypé. Pour bien comprendre le pourquoi et le comment de l’assurance extraordinaire dont nous faisons preuve devant les textes de persécution, il faut énumérer et décrire les stéréotypes. Là non plus, la tâche n’est pas difficile. Il ne s’agit jamais que d’expliciter un savoir que nous possédons déjà mais dont nous ne soupçonnons pas la portée car nous ne le dégageons jamais de façon systématique. Le savoir en question reste pris dans les exemples concrets auxquels nous l’appliquons et ceux-ci appartiennent toujours au domaine de l’histoire, surtout occidentale. Jamais encore nous n’avons essayé d’appliquer ce savoir en dehors de ce domaine, par exemple aux univers dits « ethnologiques". René Girard
Aujourd’hui on repère les boucs émissaires dans l’Angleterre victorienne et on ne les repère plus dans les sociétés archaïques. C’est défendu. René Girard
"Ils m’ont haï sans cause"? (…) "Il faut que s’accomplisse en moi ce texte de l’Écriture : ” On l’a compté parmi les criminels [ou les transgresseurs] (…) C’est tout simplement le refus de la causalité magique, et le refus des accusations stéréotypées qui s’énonce dans ces phrases apparemment trop banales pour tirer à conséquence. C’est le refus de tout ce que les foules persécutrices acceptent les yeux fermés. C’est ainsi que les Thébains adoptent tous sans hésiter l’hypothèse d’un OEdipe responsable de la peste, parce qu’incestueux ; c’est ainsi que les Égyptiens font enfermer le malheureux Joseph, sur la foi des racontars d’une Vénus provinciale, tout entière à sa proie attachée. Les Égyptiens n’en font jamais d’autres. Nous restons très égyptiens sous le rapport mythologique, avec Freud en particulier qui demande à l’Égypte la vérité du judaïsme. Les théories à la mode restent toutes païennes dans leur attachement au parricide, à l’inceste, etc., dans leur aveuglement au caractère mensonger des accusations stéréotypées. Nous sommes très en retard sur les Évangiles et même sur la Genèse. René Girard
From the Egyptian standpoint the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt was actually a justifiable expulsion. The main sources are the writings of Manetho and Apion, which are summarized and refuted in Josephus’s work Against Apion . . . Manetho was an Egyptian priest in Heliopolis. Apion was an Egyptian who wrote in Greek and played a prominent role in Egyptian cultural and political life. His account of the Exodus was used in an attack on the claims and rights of Alexandrian Jews . . . [T]he Hellenistic-Egyptian version of the Exodus may be summarized as follows: The Egyptians faced a major crisis precipitated by a group of people suffering from various diseases. For fear the disease would spread or something worse would happen, this motley lot was assembled and expelled from the country. Under the leadership of a certain Moses, these people were dispatched; they constituted themselves then as a religious and national unity. They finally settled in Jerusalem and became the ancestors of the Jews. James G. Williams
Le saviez-vous ? 900 000 Juifs ont été exclus ou expulsés des Etats arabo-musulmans entre 1940 et 1970. L’histoire de la disparition du judaïsme en terres d’islam est la clef d’une mystification politique de grande ampleur qui a fini par gagner toutes les consciences. Elle fonde le récit qui accable la légitimité et la moralité d’Israël en l’accusant d’un pseudo « péché originel ». La fable est simpliste : le martyre des Juifs européens sous le nazisme serait la seule justification de l’État d’Israël. Sa « création » par les Nations Unies aurait été une forme de compensation au lendemain de la guerre. Cependant, elle aurait entraîné une autre tragédie, la « Nakba », en dépossédant les Palestiniens de leur propre territoire. Dans le meilleur des cas, ce récit autorise à tolérer que cet État subsiste pour des causes humanitaires, malgré sa culpabilité congénitale. Cette narration a, de fait, tout pour sembler réaliste. Elle surfe sur le sentiment de culpabilité d’une Europe doublement responsable : de la Shoah et de l’imposition coloniale d’Israël à un monde arabe innocent.  Dans le pire des cas, cette narration ne voit en Israël qu’une puissance colonialiste qui doit disparaître. Ce qui explique l’intérêt d’accuser sans cesse Israël de génocide et de nazisme : sa seule « raison d’être » (la Shoah) est ainsi sapée dans son fondement. La « Nakba » est le pendant de la Shoah. La synthèse politiquement correcte de ces deux positions extrêmes est trouvée dans la doctrine de l’État bi-national ou du « retour » des « réfugiés » qui implique que les Juifs d’Israël mettent en oeuvre leur propre destruction en disparaissant dans une masse démographique arabo-musulmane. Shmuel Trigano
L’accusation de crime rituel à l’encontre des Juifs est l’une des plus anciennes allégations antijuives et antisémites de l’Histoire. En effet, bien que l’accusation de crime de sang ait touché d’autres groupes que les Juifs, dont les premiers chrétiens, certains détails, parmi lesquels l’allégation que les Juifs utilisaient du sang humain pour certains de leurs rituels religieux, principalement la confection de pains azymes (matza) lors de la Pâque, leur furent spécifiques. (…) Le premier exemple connu d’accusation de ce type précède le christianisme, puisqu’il est fourni, selon Flavius Josèphe, par Apion, un écrivain sophiste égyptien hellénisé ayant vécu au Ier siècle. (…) Après la première affaire à Norwich (Angleterre) en 1144, les accusations se multiplient dans l’Europe catholique. De nombreuses disparitions inexpliquées d’enfants et de nombreux meurtres sont expliqués par ce biais. Wikipedia
The purpose of ethnic cleansing is to remove competitors. The party implementing this policy sees a risk (or a useful scapegoat) in a particular ethnic group, and uses propaganda about that group to stir up FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) in the general population. The targeted ethnic group is marginalized and demonized. It can also be conveniently blamed for the economic, moral and political woes of that region. Physically removing the targeted ethnic community provides a very clear, visual reminder of the power of the current government. It also provides a safety-valve for violence stirred up by the FUD. The government in power benefits significantly from seizing the assets of the dispossessed ethnic group. The reason given for ethnic cleansing is usually that the targeted community is potentially or actually hostile to the "approved" population.[weasel words] Suddenly your neighbour becomes a "danger" to you and your children. In giving in to the FUD, you become as much a victim of political manipulation as the targeted group. Although ethnic cleansing has sometimes been motivated by claims that an ethnic group is literally "unclean" (as in the case of the Jews of medieval Europe), it has generally been a deliberate (if brutal) way of ensuring the complete domination of a region. Wikipedia
Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD, littéralement « peur, incertitude et doute », prononcé « feude ») est une technique rhétorique utilisée notamment dans la vente, le marketing, les relations publiques et le discours politique. Elle consiste à tenter d’influencer autrui en diffusant des informations négatives, souvent vagues et inspirant la peur. Terme initialement utilisé pour qualifier une tactique de désinformation d’IBM, la FUD est utilisée plus largement au XXIe siècle. Wikipedia
Les déplacements forcés de population ont été beaucoup pratiqués dans l’Antiquité. On en trouve des relations dans l’Ancien Testament. Les grands Empires, assyrien, babylonien, romain, pratiquèrent la déportation des peuples conquis. En Europe, les Juifs furent expulsés d’Angleterre (1290), de France (1306, 1322 et 1394), de Hongrie (1349–1360), d’Occitanie (1394 et 1490), d’Autriche (1421), d’Espagne après la Reconquête (1492), du Portugal (1497), de Russie en 1724, et de régions d’Allemagne à différentes périodes. L’Espagne expulsa sa communauté musulmane en 1502, puis les morisques qui étaient des musulmans convertis au catholicisme à partir de 1609. La France expulsa des protestants, on peut parler ici d’un nettoyage religieux. La colonisation eut son lot de nettoyages ethniques en Amérique (Indiens d’Amérique, Acadiens), Australie, Afrique du Sud (voir également le "grand dérangement" des Acadiens en 1755). Les années 1920 voient l’expulsion des Grecs d’Asie Mineure et, de façon symétrique, des Turcs ou musulmans des îles grecques. Le phénomène se répète à Chypre après 1974. L’époque moderne est marquée par des nettoyages ethniques tel que le génocide arménien, la Shoah, le génocide rwandais, les guerres de Yougoslavie, la guerre civile au Darfour, les massacres au Congo, les persécutions envers les Tamouls au Sri Lanka… De 1935 à 1938, Staline déporte les Polonais de Volhynie orientale. C’est la première déportation ethnique dans l’histoire de l’URSS, bien que de telles actions aient déjà été réalisées à plusieurs reprises à l’époque des tsars. D’autres peuples suivront, des Allemands de la Volga aux Tchétchènes en passant par les Tatars de Crimée et les Meskhètes, qui furent déportés vers le Kazakhstan et ne furent autorisés à revenir dans leurs régions d’origine qu’après la mort de Staline (voir en). À partir de juillet 1941, les nazis planifient la mise à disposition systématique du Lebensraum, colonisation germanique essentiellement au détriment des peuples slaves : cette organisation d’un nettoyage ethnique se nomme « Schéma directeur pour l’Est ». En 1945 les Soviétiques décidèrent de transporter massivement les populations de langue et de culture allemandes vivant en Europe centrale et orientale à l’intérieur des frontières de l’Allemagne post-hitlérienne, réduite aux quatre zones d’occupation, arguant que l’existence de ces minorités avait servi de prétexte à l’Allemagne nazie pour justifier sa politique d’expansion. Wikipedia
The earliest non-Biblical account of the Exodus is in the writings of the Greek author Hecataeus of Abdera: the Egyptians blame a plague on foreigners and expel them from the country, whereupon Moses, their leader, takes them to Canaan, where he founds the city of Jerusalem. Hecataeus wrote in the late 4th century BCE, but the passage is quite possibly an insertion made in the mid-1st century BCE. The most famous is by the Egyptian historian Manetho (3rd century BCE), known from two quotations by the 1st century CE Jewish historian Josephus. In the first, Manetho describes the Hyksos, their lowly origins in Asia, their dominion over and expulsion from Egypt, and their subsequent foundation of the city of Jerusalem and its temple. Josephus (not Manetho) identifies the Hyksos with the Jews. In the second story Manetho tells how 80,000 lepers and other "impure people," led by a priest named Osarseph, join forces with the former Hyksos, now living in Jerusalem, to take over Egypt. They wreak havoc until eventually the pharaoh and his son chase them out to the borders of Syria, where Osarseph gives the lepers a law-code and changes his name to Moses.  Manetho differs from the other writers in describing his renegades as Egyptians rather than Jews, and in using a name other than Moses for their leader, although the identification of Osarseph with Moses may be a later addition. Wikipedia

Attention: une épuration ethnique peut en cacher une autre !

Babylone, Assyrie, Rome, Carthage, Alexandrie, Angleterre, France, Hongrie, Occitanie, Autriche, Espagne, Portugal, Russie, Allemagne, Pays arabes …

Empoisonnement des sources, rivières ou puits, sorcellerie ou magie noire, crime rituel d’enfants …

En ces jours où, quelques jours avant nous chrétiens et sous protection policière, nos amis juifs commémorent leur libération du goulag égyptien

Pendant qu’après toutes les autres et du côté cette fois de Téhéran (ou même, sans compter les sept dernières guerres, de Ramallah ou Gaza), de nouveaux "égyptiens" se préparent à la prochaine expulsion

Comment, avec René Girard et James Williams, ne pas s’étonner de cet étrange négationnisme à une époque on en voit des génocides partout tant des historiens juifs ou chrétiens que laïques …

Qui, derrière le récit manifestement retravaillé de l’exode biblique, continue à refuser l’évidence d’un épisode somme toute parfaitement classique de nettoyage ethnique

Où, selon le bon vieux principe du bouc émissaire, une société en pleine crise multiplie les accusations les plus objectives comme les plus fantaisistes contre la population à expulser (les fameuses "plaies": fleuve changé en sang et ulcères, invasion de grenouilles, poux, mouches et sauterelles, grêle et ténèbres, mort des troupeaux et des premiers-nés) …

Mais qu’en un premier (certes partiel) mouvement démystificateur tendant à démontrer la toute-puissance de leur propre divinité, les rédacteurs bibliques auraient "retournées" en une véritable contre-histoire en attribuant l’origine à cette dernière?

Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Part 21: Exodus

At first glance, the story of the exodus from Egypt seems to demonstrate God’s violence. Many have been troubled by the suffering of the Egyptian citizens and soldiers, victims of the ten plagues, particularly the killing of the first-born son. Why should Egyptian citizens suffer so much on account of their hard-hearted Pharaoh? And, Pharaoh himself could be regarded as an victim, in that the text attributes his hardened heart to God.

James G. Williams (The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred) argues that a non-sacrificial reading of the Bible is compatible with the Exodus account. First, the account focuses on the innocent victims—in this case the Hebrews. Williams notes that this story is distinctive not because the Hebrews were once oppressed—nearly all peoples have been oppressed at some point in their history. Rather, the Hebrews’ sacred story relates their oppression and abuse in detail. Most people have origin stories in which they arise and conquer according to the wishes of their gods. The Hebrews’ acknowledgement of their disreputable origins makes God’s justice, mercy, and compassion more clear.

Second, there is a series of substitutions that reduce violence, particularly violence against the innocent. For example, the killing of the first-born is less violent than the previous Egyptian edict to kill all of the Hebrews’ male infants. Similarly, the sacrifice of lambs constitutes a substitution that promises, ultimately, to reduce sacred violence. Of course, the later prophets (who we will discuss next week) and Jesus go much farther in their opposition to sacrifice, but such ancient people could not imagine a God who does not want some kind of blood sacrifice.

A remarkable point about the Exodus story is that the Hebrews did not aim to retaliate against the Egyptians, only to leave. Traditionally, people sought revenge as much as their freedom, but the Exodus story suggests a different approach to injustice.

Interestingly, there are Greek accounts of the Exodus that derive from now-lost Egyptian sources. According to those accounts, the Egyptians faced a major crisis related to a group of people suffering from various diseases, and the Egyptians decided to expel this group from the country. One remarkable way by which the Egyptian account differs from that of the Bible is that the Egyptian story blames the Hebrews for the diseases (or whatever crises they experienced) and then, like the scapegoat sent into the wilderness, banned the accused troublemakers.

Voir aussi:

A History of the Jews, a list of expulsions for 2000 years

This historical background of centuries of anti-Semitism eventually exploded in the 20th century "Holocaust". The hostility and hatred manifested in the holocaust was therefore not new. As we have stated ancient writings contain much anti-Semitism. In pre-Roman times most people did not read or write. At times, Rome tried to eradicate Judaism and "Jewishness". Followers were assumed to be treasonous and subversive. This in turn led to major revolts on the part of the Jewish community.

The following is a brief summary of Incidents involving Jews in History…

135 B.C

Antiochus Epiphanes desecrates Second Jewish Temple; leading to Hasmonean Revolt against the Greeks.

70 A.D.

Titus took Jerusalem – second revolt. Over one million Jews killed.

136 A.D.

580,000 men destroyed, 985 towns destroyed – third revolt.

300 A.D.

Purim festival celebrating God’s deliverance to Mordecai and the Jews through Esther and the fasting. Lies spread that Jews kill Christians for sacrifice. Emperor Severus also said the Jews purchased 90,000 Christians to kill them.

306 A.D.

Council in Spain banned Christians & Jews meeting or marrying.

325 A.D.

Constantine changed the celebration of Easter on the calendar so that it did not coincide with the Jewish Passover.

379 A.D.

Vicious writing by St. John Chrysostom and St. Ambrose in Milan who said: "The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, greedy, rapacious. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. They worship the Devil. Their religion is a sickness. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance, and the Jew must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is essential that all Christians hate them." He was called the Bishop with the Golden Tongue. St. Ambrose, Bishop of the Church offered to burn the synagogue himself.

395 A.D.

St. Gregory of Nyssa in sermons and writings characterized Jews as assassins of the Prophets, companions of the Devil, a race of vipers, a Sanhedrin of Demons, enemies of all that is beautiful, hogs and goats in their lewd grossness.

415 A.D.

Bishop Severus BURNED THE SYNAGOGUE IN THE VILLAGE OF MAGONA. BISHOP OF

ALEXANDRIA, ST. CYRIL EXPELLED JEWS FROM ALEXANDRIA AND GAVE THE MOB JEWISH PROPERTY.

ACCUSATION of Ritual murder by the Jews during Purim. Christians confiscated synagogues in ANTIOCH.

These were not hooligans but Church Fathers!

AUGUSTINE, JEROME, AMBROSE AND LESSER SAINTS AS ST. CHRYSOSTROM AND CYRIL, added to untruths the new ones that Jews were dishonest and prone to sexual perversions.

717 A.D.

Jews had to wear special yellow garb. Originated in Islam.

1012 A.D.

Emperor Henry II of Germany expels Jews from Mainz, the beginning of persecutions against Jews in Germany.

1096 A.D.

First Crusade. Crusaders massacre the Jews of the Rhineland.

1144 A.D.

First recorded blood libel. In Norwich it was alleged that the Jews had "bought a Christian child before Easter, tortured him with all the tortures wherewith our Lord was tortured and on Friday hanged him on a rood in hatred of our Lord." (England)

This notorious allegation that Jews murder non-Jews, especially Christians, in order to obtain blood for the Passover or other rituals is a complex of deliberate lies, trumped up accusations, and popular beliefs about the murder-lust of the Jews and their blood-thirstiness, based on the conception that Jews hate Christianity and mankind in general. It is combined with the delusion that Jews are in some way not human and must have recourse to special remedies and subterfuges in order to appear at least outwardly, like other men. The blood libel led to trials and massacres of Jews. Its origin is rooted in ancient almost primordial, concepts concerning the potency and energies of blood. It is one of the most terrible expressions of human cruelty and credulity. These blood rituals are expressly forbidden in Judaism. (See Leviticus 17;11 etc.)

1190 A.D.

Massacre of Jews in England.

1215 A.D.

The Jewish badge introduced.

1240 A.D.

Talmud burned in France.

1290 A.D.

Jews expelled from England.

1298 A.D.

Massacre of thousands in Germany, in 146 localities.

1306 A.D.

Expulsion from France.

1348 A.D.

JEWS blamed for the BLACK DEATH. Charge laid to the Jews that they POISONED the wells to kill CHRISTIANS.

1389 A.D.

MASSACRES in Bohemia, Spain.

1421 A.D.

270 JEWS BURNED AT THE STAKE. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Inquisition was more intense because the Church and State joined forces. Just being Jewish guaranteed persecution

1480 A.D.

Inquisition in Spain – Jews and Christians burned at the stake.

1483 A.D.

EXPULSIONS from Warsaw, Sicily, Lithuania, Portugal.

1492 A.D.

ALL JEWS EXPELLED FROM SPAIN.

1506 A.D.

Murders in Lisbon – 4000, "conversos", men, women, and children thrown from windows to street mobs below, due to preaching by Dominicans against the Jews.

1510 A.D.

EXPELLED from Brandenburg, Germany.

1516 A.D.

Venice initiates the ghetto, the first in Christian Europe.

1544 A.D.

The Reformation. At the end of Martin Luther’s life the German reformer vilified the Jews in violent pamphlets which could not fail to exert their influence. But because Calvinists were steeped in Old Testament theology, the Dutch people respected the Jews as "the Chosen" people; and were not anti-Semitic in their faith. The reformation was a time of turmoil as the Roman Church and feudalism lost their supremacy. There was a rising up of Nationhood and Luther was a German nationalist. The Talmud was seized and burned everywhere by Papal authority. Jews in Catholic countries and Polish Jews suffered greatly. Luther’s anti-Semitic writings were later used in anti-Semitic literature.

1553 A.D.

Rome seized and burned the Talmud by order of the POPE.

1559 A.D.

12,000 copies of Talmud burned in Milan.

1569 A.D.

POPE PIUS V ordered all Jews out of the Papal states.

1593 A.D.

EXPULSIONS from Italy and Bavaria.

1598 A.D.

Ritual murder charge that sent three Jews to their deaths. Execution of the supposed guilty was done by QUARTERING. (In his book the "Birth of the Prison" Michel Foucault describes at length the quartering of a condemned man in 1757. It was done eventually by six horses instead of the four original ones and other means had to come in to play due to the failure even of six horses as the prisoners limbs were tied to ropes harnessed to the horses. Each horse pulled in a different direction. One horse fell to the ground unsuccessfully. Knives had to be used for severing…)

1614 A.D.

JEWS attacked and driven out of Frankfurt, Germany.

1624 A.D.

GHETTO established in Ferrara, Italy.

1648 A.D.

Leader of the Cossacks, in the Ukraine massacres 100,000 Jews and destroyed 300 communities.

1655 A.D.

Massacres of Jews in war against Sweden & Russia by Poland.

1715 A.D.

POPE PIUS VI issues edict against Jews.

1768 A.D.

20,000 Jews in Poland killed.

1805 A.D.

MASSACRE of Jews in Algeria.

1840 A.D.

BLOOD LIBEL in DAMASCUS.

1853 A.D.

BLOOD LIBEL in RUSSIA.

1858 A.D.

THE MORTARA CASE: Catholics abduct a 7 yr. old Jewish child. A Catholic servant baptized a Jewish child when the child was seriously ill and the church of Rome seized the child. Outcry had no effect on the POPE.

1879 A.D.

Word anti-Semitism comes into existence.

1881 A.D.

POGROMS BEGAN. The word is of Russian origin. It designates attack, accompanied by destruction, looting of property, murder, rape. There were three major outbreaks in Russia. The word designates more particularly the attacks carried out by the Christian population. Each pogrom surpassed the other in savagery.

KIEV, ODESSA; Here murder of whole families was a common occurrence. Partial data are available for 530 communities in which 887 major pogroms and 349 minor pogroms occurred. There were 60,000 dead and several times that many were wounded.

1882 A.D.

FIRST ANTI-JEWISH CONGRESS HELD. In Dresden, Germany.

1894 A.D.

ALFRED DREYFUS TRIAL in France. Details follow further on in this summary.

1903 A.D.

APPEARANCE of a new issue of the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. In Russia.

This spectre of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy aiming at reducing the Gentiles to slavery or extermination loomed up in the medieval Christian imagination and grew out of legends about well poisonings and plague spreading. It was concocted in Paris by an unknown author working for the Russian secret police. It was an alleged conference of the leaders of World Jewry. It was translated into all the world languages. In 1963 a Spanish edition was published. During World War II, the Protocols of the elders of Zion became an implicit justification for the GENOCIDE of the Jews and Nazi propaganda relied on them until the last days of the Third Reich. Smaller pamphlets of it have been distributed in B.C. 1983 published in California… Required reading in most Arab countries, in schools, to this day.

1905 A.D.

Russian pogroms continue. Also in Morocco, Ukraine, 300 dead.

1919 A.D.

3000 Jews killed in Hungarian pogroms.

1920 A.D.

Appearance of ADOLPH HITLER. Also Henry Ford the 1st believes the Protocols; and publishes anti-Jewish articles in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent.

1925 A.D.

MEIN KAMPH appears. Hitler’s Plan published in Germany.

1933 A.D.

HITLER appointed chancellor in Germany.

1935 A.D.

Hitler writes his Nuremberg Laws which lead to his Final Solution.

1938 A.D.

Burning in AUSTRIA & GERMANY of Synagogues. Jews sent to concentration camps. Beginnings of the Holocaust.

1939 A.D.

Germany overruns Poland.

1940 A.D.

Gassing, shootings in Polish Ghettos (Jewish).

1941 A.D.

EXPULSION of Jews from the German Reich to Poland. Riots against Jews in Iraq.

1942 A.D.

Mass transports of Jews to Belgium & Holland.

1944 A.D.

EXTERMINATION OF HUNGARIAN JEWS.

1945 A.D.

HOLOCAUST Final Count: 6,000,000 Jews slaughtered.

1946 A.D.

Pogroms in Poland – 42 Jews murdered.

1948 A.D.

BIRTH OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL. Also Jewish intellectuals shot in Russia.

1952 A.D.

Jews murdered byCommunists, and others disappear. Prague trials. Murder of Yiddish intellectuals in Russia and many sent to work camps..

1956 A.D.

Jews expelled out of EGYPT.

1967 A.D.

SIX DAY WAR. Also new publication of Elders of Zion in Arabic.

1968 A.D.

Emigration of last remaining Jews in Poland.

1969 A.D.

JEWS EXECUTED IN IRAQ.

1970 A.D.

Beginning of imprisonment in Russia of PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE. ("Refuseniks")

1980 A.D.

Russian imprisonments carry on throughout the 70’s to the 80’s.

1982 A.D.

War in Lebanon begins after many years of terrorist attacks against the Jews in the Upper Galilee area from the vantage point of Beaufort Castle. Many Lebanese killed over long period of time, but was ignored by the News Media. War in Lebanon gets slanted coverage.

1983 A.D.

Word from Christians in Israel that the PLO planned their next battleground to be Canada via Quebec. Documented proof that Russia planned in 1982 to attack Israel.

SUMMARY:

The word "anti-Semitism" is inadequate. It is a misnomer. The word was coined in 1879 from the Greek words "anti", meaning "against" and "Semite", meaning a descendant of Shem. The word was first used by Wilhelm Marr a German agitator, who created it to explain the current anti-Jewish campaigns in Europe. Since the Arab peoples are also Semitic people it is not the best expression. Anti-Jewish, and Jew- hatred, are more descriptive. It is more than just prejudice. The word came into general use in the past hundred years and encompasses all forms of hostility manifested toward Jews throughout history.

There can be economic and social or racial anti-Semitism. It didn’t reach epidemic proportions until 175 B.C. Previous uprisings against Jews were not really anti-Semitic. It began almost exclusively in countries which later became part of the Roman Empire. Prejudice flared it seems because Jewish people in honouring their Jewish laws, appeared to be in defiance of Gentile governments. The false assumption began to emerge that Jews didn’t have any respect for whatever was held in esteem by the rest of humanity.

In the Greek Hellenistic period no other nation denied the gods of it’s neighbours; on the contrary they recognized those gods, identifying them with their own deities. These heathen "gods" created a social bond between people in their domains. None of the people refrained from dining at table with their neighbours and from partaking of the sacrifices offered to their gods except the Jews. None of the peoples refused to send gifts to its neighbours temples, except the Jews. None of the peoples was unequivocally hostile to intermarriage except the Jews.

In the eastern Mediterranean area friction arose over the difference in occupations between Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish population was engaged primarily in small scale farming; the non-Jewish population occupied itself primarily in commerce. The sea trade was almost entirely in the hands of the trans-Jordanian cities, which connected Syria, Asia Minor and the regions of the Euphrates with the Arabian countries. The inhabitants of Eretz Israel had connections abroad. Non-Jews also knew that Jews looked upon their land as their divine inheritance.

The first serious manifestation of anti-Semitism was in the days of the Syrian, Antiochus Epiphanes in 175 B.C. Hellenistic rulers saw the unfriendliness of the Jews as obstacles to the cultural scene. He undertook to destroy those laws of the Talmud that he regarded as unacceptable to humanity. To this end he desecrated their place of worship by sacrificing a pig on their altar in Jerusalem, and ordered that the residual juices be sprinkled over the Holy Books containing these Jewish laws.

Greek authors in the first century portrayed the Jewish people as descendants of a mob of lepers. They further stated that because of this uncleanness Jews shunned the flesh of pigs, since pigs were more prone to contract disease. The Gentiles knew that their own pagan religions and practices rendered them unclean in the eyes of the Jews.

The fact remains that even after four thousand years the idea of a covenant between the Jews and Jehovah is still alive; and is mentioned daily in prayers in synagogues throughout the world. The idea of a covenant with God has remained constant. Because Jehovah is immortal He never dies and because He never dies He never has to be reincarnated. Thus the Jews dispensed with the reincarnation rites of the pagans. The Jews’ God was invisible. The concept of "one God", Jehovah, being completely withdrawn from sexuality led to a curb of licentious impulses through inner discipline. By contrast ,the Greek gods themselves set the pattern for the unbridled lust and perversion which finally weakened the moral fibre of that people; whereas the Jews, even when they later came in contact with the Greeks, refused to indulge in the Grecian sexual excesses, which included even temple prostitution. The Jewish religion did away with all fertility rites.

As a consequence of the Jewish dietary laws, intermarriage was forbidden and no real social intercourse with gentiles was possible. Also, Jews refused to enter into Emperor worship. It was considered to be an expression of loyalty to the state. About their own religious practices a libel began to circulate that Jews actually sacrificed humans on their altars, allegedly using the blood for Passover rites. Further it was said that the sacrificed person must be a Christian or one of their children. This became known as the "Blood Libel" against the Jews. It mattered not that it was a total fabrication.

Another libel circulating was that unclean leprous people were expelled from Egypt, and that the Jews were these people. Therefore, being foreigners, it was stated that the Jews had no right to claim ancient Israel as their divinely given land.

The destruction of the temple by Titus in 70 AD was seen as hatred by God of the Jews, and as punishment. Jews in Rome felt the barbs of Roman writers. Nero’s teacher was anti-Semitic. Cornelius Tacitus wrote about every libellous fabrication against Jews that he could find in Greek anti-Semitic literature. Juvenal wrote a poem revealing that to him the Jews were hateful not only to man but to the gods as well.

In the fourth century AD, when Constantine became the Roman Emperor and supposedly converted to Christianity, he harnessed Political power to Religion and passed anti-Jewish laws, whereby Jews were excluded from every sphere of political influence, and denied civic rights.

The Gospel accounts began to be the source from which wrong teachings grew, until the word "Deicide" meant the Jews killed God, and were labelled "Christ-killers". Matthew 27:25 which spoke of some Jewish leaders was used instead to apply to all Jews: "His blood be on us and on our children…Ye are of your father the devil."

Converts to Christianity and converts to Judaism sparked a seriously divisive rivalry. Religious competition began between the Greek fathers of the Church, and Jews. Church laws were passed whereby Jewish relations with Christian women was now punishable by death. Anti-Semitism at this time was mainly limited to the clergy, who were the educated minority.

Islam arose in the seventh century AD, and also attacked the Jews because the Jews did not recognize Muhammad as a legitimate Prophet. The Koran contained their writings; and many statements in it were hostile to Jews. In the Middle Ages church councils legislated to prevent contact with the Jews because Christians were saying after visiting synagogues that the Jews were better priests.

CONCLUSION:

The above catalogue is only the tip of the iceberg! One would think that anti-Jewish atrocities would have ended with the nightmare of the Holocaust. One-third of the world’s Jews were murdered by an ungodly German conspiracy that had accused the Jews of "conspiracy". It is not often emphasized that two-thirds of the world’s Jews survived; and that due to the faithfulness of their G-d. God has again, as in times past, protected them from total extermination, as He promised. (the Book of Esther, and Jeremiah 31:35-37)

The Holocaust was the final catalyst which led to the re-creation of the State of Israel in 1948. But we have to go back at the very least to the DREYFUS CASE to understand the long range process.

Alfred Dreyfus was the son of a wealthy Alsatian family in France. He entered the French Army in 1892 and became a Captain, and the only Jew. He was framed by a fellow officer for allegedly giving secrets to the enemy, arrested and tried for treason. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Eventually Emile Zola took up the fight proclaiming the man’s innocence and published an open letter to the President of France titled "I ACCUSE." Dreyfus was eventually declared unjustly convicted by the Parliament of France. The injustice was totally motivated by Jew-hatred.

During the course of the trumped-up trial a Jewish journalist became involved; and he was the man that was to lead the Jews back to their Land. His name was THEODORE HERZL (1860 – 1904 A.D.) and he called European Jewry together in Basle, Switzerland in 1897 at the now famous "First World Zionist Congress". There in 1897 he publicly predicted to friend and foe alike that the Jews would be back in "the Land" of Palestine "within 50 years". In 1947, exactly fifty years later the United Nations passed the "Resolution For the Partition of Palestine", which lead to the declaration of Statehood on May 14,1948.

With the shouts of "death" to the Jews still ringing in his ears from the Dreyfus Trial, Herzl became convinced that the only solution was the mass exodus of the Jews from their present places of residence to a territory of their own… So out of the suffering of the Dreyfus family came the State of Israel. Herzl became the father of Political Zionism and founder of the World Zionist organization.

Herzl was born in Budapest. He left a German students society in 1883 in protest against his first encounter with anti-Semitism. He came across this "Jewish problem" again and again in his life. Although he graduated in 1884 with a doctorate of law he left the legal profession and became a famous writer. He wrote many literary works, some of them plays.

In 1891 he became the Paris correspondent of a Vienna newspaper. He pursued politics and organized the first Zionist Congress is Basle in 1897. (In 1960, Israel issued a centenary stamp with a well known painting of Herzl on the bridge at Basle.) The World Zionist organization was formed. He was chairman and remained so for the next five congresses. He knew Great Britain would be the deciding factor in the realization of Zionist aims. In 1917 the Balfour Declaration became the launching-pad for the founding of the modern Jewish state.

Herzl did not have an easy task. Even his own people were difficult on this issue. His heart failed in 1904. He did not live to see the creation of Israel in 1948. But in 1949 he was laid to rest, reinterred in a place that was named in his honour Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem. A Herzl monument stands nearby. The anniversary of his death on the 20th of Tammuz was declared a National Memorial Day in Israel. In the April 1983 issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, following a report on Jerusalem there is a picture that could be titled: "The sorrow of the Jewish People". There are three young Israeli ladies, soldiers, who happen to be very beautiful standing or kneeling at the Herzl Tomb site where there are three new graves…the first soldiers to die in the 1982 conflict in Lebanon.

1983 was the 50th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power; since he was made chancellor in 1933. There was an extensive report on this subject in the April 1983 issue of the Jerusalem Post. Their man in Bonn stated: "There has been no substantial break with the past. Therefore West German Democracy must continue to be subject to question by Germans more than by anyone else." The Post also offered these words which are worth contemplating. Perhaps you never considered this. I had not…

"The destruction that Hitler brought on his own people ranks only after the mass murder he committed on the Jews and the destruction and death rained upon the Soviet Union. He left Germany not only physically ruined, but stripped of its’ self respect, ashamed of its’ place in human history, uncertain of its’ identity, seeking refuge in the compulsive reconstruction of material damage."

They also mentioned…

"The war Hitler unleashed and the organized mass murder that was a central part of his design cost the lives of 40 million human beings in Europe alone. Among them 6,000,000 Jews – two-thirds of the Jews in Europe. More than 6,000,000 of his own people also died and others were left hungry."

God promised Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you (and your descendants); and I will curse those who curse you" (Genesis 12:1-3) We can see that the Germans have paid an awful price for allowing this man to lead them down a path contrary to Scripture, by declaring them to be a super race. The man who wanted to obtain the whole world, gained nothing but eternal damnation. He and those who followed him lost everything.

What about Canada?

Most of us would be quick to say that our hands are clean. A truly shocking indictment of our role in the Holocaust can be found in the book "None is Too Many". This title was taken from a statement made by an immigration official when a delegation of Jews went to Ottawa in 1939 to ask: "How many Jews will Canada take in?" The Immigration Minister answered "None is too many".

The authors, Irving Abella and Harold Troper, published this book in 1982 and was on the Canadian Best Sellers List. They received an award early in 1983 for it. It is thoroughly researched and documented proof that our top bureaucrat in the Immigration Department, Fred Blair, a professing Christian, wanted no Jews in Canada and did everything he could in the way of roadblocks to prevent it. In studying it I find I want to scream with the agony of our shame.

MacKenzie King didn’t want them. Perhaps he was too busy talking to his dead mother and his dead dog as he gazed into his crystal ball (all told in his published diaries). The authors record that Canada’s Prime Minister thought Hitler had a good face and that he was sweet. King was deathly afraid of what Quebec would do if he gave in and allowed in refugees. The French -Canadian press was very hostile to Jews (Le Devoir). There was also a very vocal fascist Party in Quebec; headed by Adrianne Arcand.

Blair had the opportunity to rescue thousands, but wouldn’t budge on his restrictive policy. He just didn’t want any Jewish immigrants.

Lester Pearson said that we didn’t have a boat. Ottawa would not listen either to the pleas of George Vanier; even though he was Canadian Ambassador to France and was there on the scene.

Conservative Robert Manion didn’t want any either. In the midst of all of the obstruction the Toronto Globe & Mail asked at one point "Does Canada stand for anything?" Manion wanted no Jews as long as Canadians were unemployed. Ernest LaPointe of Quebec and the Le Devoir newspaper and Vincent Massey of External Affairs wanted Jews kept out of Canada. Massey was a fringe member of the Pro-German anti-Semitic Cliveden set centred around Lord and Lady Astor in London; where Vincent was Canadian High Commissioner.

We had one social worker on the scene and her name was Charlotte Whitton, outspoken Mayor of Ottawa. She fiercely fought not to have Jewish children here as she favoured British children. She led a movement to evacuate endangered British mothers and children. The Canadian Jewish Congress saw her as an enemy of Jewish immigration. Oscar Cohen said she "almost broke up the inaugural meeting of the congress on Refugees by her insistent opposition and very apparent anti-Semitism."

The saddest story I have ever read in my life is the whole chapter from the Abella book titled "The children that never came." It takes care of any pride we may have in being Canadians. It is documented evidence 25 pages in length of continuous pleading on behalf of officials in places like France and Poland to take children whose lives were in immediate danger. Blair’s hard hearted efforts lead to the declaration in the end of that chapter that reads: "There were no more schemes to help…save the refugee children. None were needed." By the time of the allied invasion of France in June 1944 most of these children had been murdered. NOT ONE of them had made it to Canada! They had been talking at times about as many as 5000.

I am happy to report that good has come out of the publishing of this book. The authors report that Lloyd Axworthy, current Minister of Immigration, apologized for the behaviour of predecessors and promised that it would never happen again. But also having read some papers by these authors prior to publication, Ron Atkey, former Conservative Minister of Immigration, took the responsibility and opened the doors to the BOAT PEOPLE because he did not want to be known as another Frederick Blair.

In "Bridges for Peace", the 1983 issue from Tulsa, Oklahoma we read about the state of anti-Semitism as in this day, media coverage is slanted.

"While some would have you believe the world is becoming a better place and anti-Semitism is on the wane, I believe that careful observation will prove otherwise. In the last two years, we have seen a growing double standard used by the media in reporting events concerning Israel. And as we saw this past summer in Greece, Italy, and France, this very distorted, even false media reporting about Israel’s involvement in Lebanon resulted in attacks against local Jewish communities solely because they were Jewish; regardless of their affiliation with Israel. For example: In France a video tape of a Palestinian boy holding his bleeding, dying sister was repeatedly shown as the result of an aggressive Jewish attack on civilians in Lebanon. Local Frenchmen, incensed by this news, staged an anti-Israel, anti-Jewish march which culminated in the bombing of synagogues and Jewish owned businesses killing many. It was later proven that this video tape was six years old and showing the destruction of the Tel-Zatar refugee camp by the SYRIANS in 1976. Jews were NOT even involved but the ugly head of Anti-Semitism had already shown itself."

AND SO IT NEVER SEEMS TO END.

But it will. One day the Bible says we shall take the hem of the Jews’ skirt and go with them to Zion because we know God is with them. Zechariah tells us that the Lord will come and place His feet on the Mount of Olives. He will fight for His people Israel against all the nations of the world. All the land of Israel will dwell in safety and peace when the Messiah comes. He will rule and reign from Jerusalem, the Son of David, sitting on David’s throne. (Read 2 Samuel 7:11-16; and Psalm 2:6-8;and 89:20-37)

Regardless of Israel’s sins of the past the Lord will forgive, cleanse, and restore (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Christians throughout the world are awakening to a call to stand by the side of the Jewish people. Beginning in 1979 Christians in Jerusalem rallied to her side when the governments of the World began to pull their embassies out of Jerusalem in fear because of the Arab oil power. The "International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem" was established. With people like Jan Willem Van Der Hoeven and the Comfort Zion ministry of Merv and Merla Watson, Jews are beginning to be provoked to jealousy. They are watching Christian love in action; and hope is being reborn when they see 5000 Christians celebrating during the Jewish "Feast of Tabernacles", dancing with joy on Mount Zion and supporting them in their hour of need.

If Canada’s Joe Clark had kept his promise to move our embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, he would have done better. Six months after breaking his promise he ceased to be Prime Minister; and twelve months later he was removed as Leader of the Progressive-Conservative Party.

Coincidence? God hears our promises; even "election promises". The Scripture says God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her. Every nation that has persecuted the Jews has, in the long run, inherited the negative side of God’s promise to Abram: "and I will curse those who curse you (and your descendants)."

SO IN CONCLUSION:

Anti-Semitism is a venomous condition of the heart of man and not just prejudice, hatred or discrimination. Jealousy and envy of the Jew more than anything else seems to be the main root of this condition. It is a spiritual problem. But Jeremiah said it best and it is truth from God’s Word… "The heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked; who can know it?".

Anti-Semitism engages man in a conduct that is: inconceivable, unbelievable, shocking, grotesque, incomprehensible, unthinkable, inhumane and intolerable.

This information has been gleaned from Alan Lazerte’s course on anti-Semitism given at Fraserview Assembly, January, February and March 1983 as Director of the Canadian Friends of the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Bridges for Peace-current news direct from Christians in Israel through Tulsa.

The Jerusalem Post – current news direct from Jews in Israel.

The ISRAEL POCKET LIBRARY BOOK ON ANTI-SEMITISM.

Canadian Book "None is Too Many", Irving Abella and Harold Troper.

Friends of the Christian Embassy Canada, Israel Report.

Jews’ God and History; by Max I. Dimont. A Signet Book.

The information from this course was a shock to most of us; it was an eye opener in many ways, especially regarding the Christians persecution of the Jew; which contributed to the Nazi attempt to totally exterminate them. This essay was written as a requirement of taking seriously Alan’s attempt to put the course together. He did his part as teacher excellently. God has chosen well. I was eager to learn. At Alan’ suggestion this essay is being printed to circulate to others who may not have a chance to attend the lectures. It is also printed to cement my own vow before God to bridge the gap and make amends to the Jew for the way Christians, the Canadian Government and others have failed them.

I dedicate this to the children that never came; and to my brother who died trying to stop a mad man that was on the loose in Germany.

Writers: Laureen Moe

Source: Canadian Friends, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem

http://www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/antiholo/summanti.html

Voir également:

109 Locations whence Jews have been Expelled since AD250

YEAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .PLACE

250 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Carthage

415 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Alexandria

554 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Diocèse of Clermont (France)

561 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Diocèse of Uzès (France)

612 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Visigoth Spain

642 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Visigoth Empire

855 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Italy

876 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Sens

1012 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1276 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Upper Bavaria

1290 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – England

1306 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1322 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France (again)

1348 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Switzerland

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hielbronn (Germany)

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Saxony

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1360 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1370 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Belgium

1380 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1388 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1420 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lyons

1421 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Fribourg

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Zurich

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cologne

1432 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Savoy

1438 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1439 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Augsburg

1442 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1444 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1446 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Breslau

1454 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1462 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1483 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1484 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1485 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vincenza (Italy)

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Spain

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Italy

1495 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Portugal

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Nuremberg

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Navarre

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenberg

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prussia

1514 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1515 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1519 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Regensburg

1533 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1541 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1542 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague & Bohemia

1550 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1551 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1555 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Pesaro

1557 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1559 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1561 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1567 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1569 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Papal States

1571 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1593 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg, Austria

1597 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cremona, Pavia & Lodi

1614 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Frankfort

1615 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Worms

1619 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kiev

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Ukraine

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Poland

1649 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hamburg

1654 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1656 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Oran (North Africa)

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1670 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1712 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Sandomir

1727 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1738 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurtemburg

1740 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague, Bohemia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Livonia

1745 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moravia

1753 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kovad (Lithuania)

1761 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bordeaux

1772 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Deported to the Pale of Settlement (Poland/Russia)

1775 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1789 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Alsace

1804 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages in Russia

1808 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages & Countrysides (Russia)

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lbeck & Bremen

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Franconia, Swabia & Bavaria

1820 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bremen

1843 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russian Border Austria & Prussia

1862 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Areas in the U.S. under General Grant’s Jurisdiction[1]

1866 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Galatz, Romania

1880s – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1891 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moscow

1919 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria (foreign born Jews)

1938-45 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Nazi Controlled Areas

1948 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Arab Countries

Reference sources for the above.

[1] On December 17, 1862, General Ulysses Grant wrote to the Assistant Adjutant General of the US Army:

"I have long since believed that in spite of all the vigilance that can be infused into post commanders, the specie regulations of the Treasury Department have been violated, and that mostly by the Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied have I been of this that I instructed the commanding officer at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department. But they come in with their carpet-sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel anywhere. They will land at any woodyard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves, they will act as agents for someone else, who will be at a military post with a Treasury permit to receive cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy at an agreed rate, paying gold."

Also, on December 17, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11. This order banished all Jews from Tennessee’s western military.

General Orders No. 11 declared: "1. The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, are hereby expelled from the Department.

"2. Within 24 hours from the receipt of this order by Post Commanders, they will see that all of this class of people are furnished with passes required to leave, and anyone returning after such notification, will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permits from these headquarters.

"3. No permits will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application for trade permits.

"By order of Major Gen. Grant.

"Jno. A. Rawlings,

Assistant Adjutant General"

Voir encore:

The Bible, Violence and the Sacred: Liberation from the Myth of Sanctioned Violence. By James G. Williams.

Foreword by Rene Girard. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991. x + 288 pages. U.S. $27.00.

In his Foreword to this book, Rene Girard repeats the thesis that has put his work at the center of controversy in religious and biblical studies (as witness the new affiliate society of the AAR, the Colloquium On Violence and Religion, or COVQR): that religion and culture derive from mimetic conflict and scapegoating violence. Since religion and culture also conceal this originary violence, our own scapegoats would be "completely invisible as scapegoats" were it not for a "revelation" that Girard finds in the Bible. In contrast to "the ‘natural religions’ of humankind, the ones rooted in arbitrary victimage," it is in the Bible "and there only that a genuine theme or motif of the scapegoat can make its appearance." As a consequence, "we" the inheritors of the biblical legacy share a "loudly advertised repugnance for victimage, which has no equivalent in any other society. Even if our deeds so not match our principles. . .our awareness of scapegoating is unique. . ." (pp. vii-viii). Hailing Girard’s work as "the basis for a new Christian humanism" (p. 6), Williams sets out to document the biblical " ‘unveiling’ of the victimage mechanism in which the narrative and the God of the narrative side with the innocent victim" (p. 25), thereby revealing "God’s will for nonviolent human community" (p. 30). Noting that in Genesis Cain’s murder of Abel does not serve the mythic function for Israel that Romulus’ murder of Remus does for Rome, Williams concludes that "Israel. . .is created through a process of becoming exceptional vis-a-vis the violent structures in the midst of which it came to be" (p. 30). The pattern of "enemy brothers" in the Genesis narratives, ideal for an analysis of mimetic conflict, shows Israel’s ancestors repeatedly transcending the logic of sacrificial exchange (chapter 2). Similarly, the chaos and mimetic conflicts that saturate the Exodus account show the Book Reviews real experience of a people emerging from the victimage dynamics of Egyptian sacral kingship (although Williams contrasts the Exodus account not with ancient Egyptian mythology, but with much later Helle- nistic Egyptian myths of the Exodus as an expulsion of a diseased popula- tion). The increasing significance of Moses in subsequent Pentateuchal traditions reflects the gradual externalization of Israel’s own mimetic con- flict (chapter 3), a conflict that is channeled and controlled by the system of prohibitions that makes up the covenant (chapter 4). That this cove- nant includes a sacrificial system, requires the ritual surrender of the firstborn (echoing God’s destruction of the Egyptian firstborn), and retains narratives of the tremendous violence of the Levites (Exodus 32), shows that "Israel. . .has not extricated itself completely from the mythi- cal camouflage of the victimization mechanism" (p. 120). The revelation that Williams finds "struggling to make itself known in the covenant. . .reaches a new stage of clarity with the great prophets" (p. 127). Williams sees the prophets as doubles of the kings, alike "called" by God, i.e., excluded from the community, "to assume a special responsi- bilityfor those who are likewise expelled, excluded, or marginal" (p. 131). If this calling was "given only ideological lip service" by kings "once power was centralized," so that the king’s power "resided in his ability to control the mechanism" of sacrificial exchange, the figure of the prophet repre- sented by the canon represents a "radical ‘throwback,’ " standing out from the community structures of violence "in order to stand for both the community and its victims" (p. 143); in this development Williams sees "the chief dynamic of revelation and Scripture" (p. 147). What emerges is a comprehensive proposal for a biblical theology of the nonviolent God. The obvious methodological question, how this theology can be derived from texts saturated with violence, is answered when Williams turns (in chapter 6) to the story of Job, who refuses to cooperate in his own scapegoating by his neighbors. Aware of the complexities of competing voices and messages in the canonical form of the book, Williams declares that "the first obligation of the interpreter who stands in service to the biblical tradition of the disclosure of the innocent victim and the God of victims is not to the text as such but to the victim and to the God of love and justice" (p. 172). Despite Williams’ obvious acumen as a literary critic, he repeatedly distinguishes his reading of the Bible from post-modern methodologies, and even laments the "antirevelation and antitheology values" dominant in "the current intellectual situa- tion" (p. 186). We as human beings are always "involved in the mimetic predicament," from which we must be extricated by a revelation "from outside ourselves." "The revelation of God is the disclosure of (1) the standpoint of the victim. . .and (2) the divine-human community of nonviolence" (p. 187). This is a coherent theological position, but a fragile one: for Williams echoes Girard’s polemic against postmodern method, which undermines 187 188 and subverts biblical authority and "elevates the critic to the status of high priest controlling the knowledge of text and tradition" (p. 210). This is disingenuous. A glance at history shows that the Christian gospel has usually not been identified with the revelation of nonviolence, and Wil- liams makes no claim to speak from a community historically committed to nonviolence (as theologians from the "peace churches" frequently do). The result is that he must himself write as a virtuoso critic (despite demurrals like that on p. 213), asking us to share his vision of a nonvio- lent God partially revealed, yet partially concealed by the biblical text, a position analogous to that of Marcion in the second century. – This dilemma is nowhere more evident than in Williams’ discussion of the Gospels (chapters 7 and 8), which he declares to be "the culmina- tion of the Israelite-Jewish tradition of revelation," for even here Williams must admit that "sacrificial language still has a strong hold." He thus departs from Girard, more dramatically than he allows (p. 188), for Girard has repeatedly insisted that "the sacrificial reading of Christianity" is a perverse misconstrual of the Gospels (especially perverse, one presumes, when those who perceive and criticize sacrificial aspects of the Gospels are themselves Christian theologians). Such criticism, Girard has declared, is "a waste of time": "Among the foolish undertakings of mankind, there is none more ridiculous than this" (The Scapegoat, trans. Yvonne Frecerro [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 19861, p. 109). Williams echoes Girard’s protest, portraying Gospel critics within the academy as overwhelmed by mimetic rivalry-"everyone tries to outdo everyone else in being against victimization and oppression of every sort, against ethnocentrism, and finally, basically, against Christianity" (p. 186)-but one feels his heart is not really in that fight: he is too aware of the critical problems the Gospels present to Girard’s program; and, after all, he himself takes "the standpoint of the victim" as his hermeneutical principle (p. 239). At times, Williams’ recognition of critical problems in the Gospels tends to undermine the Giraridan reading (a problem Girard avoids in his writings through the ritual expulsion of the critic). Williams labors over the difficulty of sacrificial language in the Gospels, chiefly Jesus’ declaration that the Son of Man "gives his life as a ransom [lytron] for many" (Mark 10:45). He admits that lytron is "an unmistakably sacrificial word that would be readily understood as such," but offers in place of this "readily understood" meaning a Girardian gloss: "The human condition is such that only the price of the Son of Man’s suffering and death will have the effect of loosening the bonds of the sacred social structure, enabling human beings to see what their predicament is and the kind of faith and action that will bring liberation" (pp. 224, 202). That what the text means is so different from what it says reflects the tragic bondage of human language: "sacrificial language is used, necessarily, in order to break out of a sacrificial view of the world" (p. 224). Journal of the American Academy of Religion Book Reviews Again, Williams gives tremendous weight to Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple (Mark 11:15-19 and parallels), arguing that since "the Temple was the center of the sacred in Judaism," Jesus’ action represented "an attack on the entire sacrijcial system" (p. 193). He recognizes, however, that Pharisees, Essenes, and various other apocalyptic communal movements were not centered on the Temple (pp. 193, 228). This suggests that Mark’s attempt to link the response of the "crowd" to Jesus with the over- throw of the Temple is artificial. Williams is aware that Mark writes in a specific historical context after the destruction of the Temple (p. 226), but (in defiance of a century of Gospel scholarship) refuses on principle to separate Mark’s theological agenda from the historical context of Jesus’ action: this, the "supreme act of critical differentiating," would serve only to "deny the authority of the Gospels and to elevate the critic to the status of high priest" (p. 210). At length, however, Williams declares that the biblical critic who wants to find in the Gospels the revelation of the nonviolent God is thrown back upon "faithu-"faith that what is revealed there through human language and culture comes from beyond this setting, where dif- ferences rage in combat with confusion" (p. 231). But this standpoint implicitly challenges the sovereign "authority of the Gospels," a posture with which other biblical scholars and theologians are increasingly comfortable. In a final chapter Williams offers a sampling of his personal views on current issues from the perspective of Girard’s theory, from abortion ("the perfect example of the innocent victim. . .is the child, particularly the infant and the fetus in the womb," p. 253), to the addictive nature of American capitalism, to the Persian Gulf War. Guided by a belief that "the destiny of the United States is part of a Spirit-guided historical pro- cess that is decisively centered in the disclosure of the Innocent Victim and is moving toward God’s good end of judgment and restoration of all things" (p. 241), he sees the United States as "the most mythical of nations and the supreme scapegoat nation," by which he means that "the ills of the world are transferred to our doing, to our reality, whether or not we have any connection with them or not" (p. 243). This is particularly disingenuous in the immediate context, where Williams speaks of the Ira- nian revolution: he notes "the Iranian tendency, even after Khomeini, to impute every misfortune to the ‘Great Satan’ America," but says nothing, for example, of Norman Schwarzkopf’s contributions in organizing the murderous Savak. Williams rehearses the conventional U.S. legitimations of the Gulf War, considering the rightness of the U.S. "requirement for oil" as self-evident as Hussein’s "quest for power and acclaim in the Arab world" (p. 244). Given the immensity of the Gulf War horror, these pages read as a confirmation of Girard’s words in the Preface: "the only scape- goats easy to detect as such are those of our enemies; the scapegoats of 189 190 our friends are harder to seed, and, if they happen to be ours as well, they are completely invisible as scapegoats" (p. viii). The great value of the book is Williams’ critical erudition, which offers substantiation and, in places, qualifications to Girard’s reading of the Bible. Alongside works like Walter Wink’s Engaging the Powers: Dis- cernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992) and Jim Douglass’ The Nonviolent Coming of God (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1991), this book represents an emerging biblical theol- ogy of nonviolence. Girard’s theory continues to be an integral, if contro- versial, element in the development of that theology in the 1990s. The book includes a general index. Journal of the American Academy of Religion Neil Elliott College of St. Catherine St. Paul, MN 55105The Bible, Violence and the Sacred: Liberation from the Myth of Sanctioned Violence. B y James G. Williams. Foreword by Rene Girard.

San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991. x + 288 pages. U.S.

$27.00.

 Voir aussi:

LE BOUC EMISSAIRE

René Girard (chapitre I)

Le poète et musicien Guillaume de Machaut écrivait au milieu du XIVe siècle. Son Jugement du Roy de Navarre mériterait d’être mieux connu. La partie principale de l’œuvre, certes, n’est qu’un long poème de style courtois, conventionnel de style et de sujet. Mais le début a quelque chose de saisissant. C’est une suite confuse d’événements catastrophiques auxquels Guillaume prétend avoir assisté avant de s’enfermer, finalement, de terreur dans sa maison pour y attendre la mort ou la fin de l’indicible épreuve. Certains événements sont tout à fait invraisemblables, d’autres ne le sont qu’à demi. Et pourtant de ce récit une impression se dégage : il a dû se passer quelque chose de réel. Il y a des signes dans le ciel. Les pierres pleuvent et assomment les vivants. Des villes entières sont détruites par la foudre. Dans celle où résidait Guillaume – il ne dit pas laquelle – les hommes meurent en grand nombre. Certaines de ces morts sont dues à la méchanceté des juifs et de leurs complices parmi les chrétiens. Comment ces gens-là s’y prenaient-ils pour causer de vastes pertes dans la population locale? Ils empoisonnaient les rivières, les sources d’approvisionnement en eau potable. La justice céleste a mis bon ordre à ces méfaits en révélant leurs auteurs à la population qui les a tous massacrés. Et pourtant les gens n’ont pas cessé de mourir, de plus en plus nombreux, jusqu’à un certain jour de printemps où Guillaume entendit de la musique dans la rue, des hommes et des femmes qui riaient. Tout était fini et la poésie courtoise pouvait recommencer. Depuis ses origines aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, la critique moderne consiste à ne pas faire aux textes une confiance aveugle. Beaucoup de bons esprits, à notre époque, croient faire progresser encore la perspicacité critique en exigeant une méfiance toujours accrue. A force d’être interprétés et réinterprétés par les générations successives d’historiens, des textes qui paraissaient naguère porteurs d’information réelle sont aujourd’hui soupçonnés. Les épistémologues et les philosophes, d’autre part, traversent une crise radicale qui contribue à l’ébranlement de ce qu’on appelait jadis la science historique. Tous les intellectuels habitués à se nourrir de textes se réfugient dans des considérations désabusées sur l’impossibilité de toute interprétation certaine. Au premier abord, le texte de Guillaume de Machaut peut passer pour vulnérable au climat actuel de scepticisme en matière de certitude historique. Après quelques instants de réflexion, pourtant, même aujourd’hui, les lecteurs repèrent des événements réels à travers les invraisemblances du récit. Ils ne croient ni aux signes dans le ciel ni aux accusations contre les juifs mais ils ne traitent pas tous les thèmes incroyables de la même façon; ils ne les mettent pas tous sur le même plan. Guillaume n’a rien inventé. C’est un homme crédule, certes, et il reflète une opinion publique hystérique. Les innombrables morts dont il fait état n’en sont pas moins réelles, causées de toute évidence par la fameuse peste noire qui ravagea la France en 1349 et 1350. Le massacre des juifs est également réel, justifié aux yeux des foules meurtrières par les rumeurs d’empoisonnement qui circulent un peu partout. C’est la terreur universelle de la maladie qui donne un poids suffisant à ces rumeurs pour déclencher lesdits massacres. Voici le passage du Jugement du Roy de Navarre qui traite des juifs : Après ce, vint une merdaille Fausse, traître et renoïe : Ce fu Judée la honnie, La mauvaise, la desloyal, Qui bien het et aimme tout mal, Qui tant donna d’or et d’argent Et promist a crestienne gent, Que puis, rivieres et fonteinnes Qui estoient cleres et seinnes En plusieurs lieus empoisonnerent, Dont pluseurs leurs vies finerent ; Car trestuit cil qui en usoient Assez soudeinnement moroient. Dont, certes, par dis fois cent mille En morurent, qu’a champ, qu’a ville. Einsois que fust aperceuë Ceste mortel deconvenue. Mais cils qui haut siet et louing voit, Qui tout gouverne et tout pourvoit, Ceste traïson plus celer Ne volt, enis la fist reveler Et si generalement savoir Qu’ils perdirent corps et avoir. Car tuit Juif furent destruit, Li uns pendus, li autres cuit, L’autre noié, l’autre ot copée La teste de hache ou d’espée. Et maint crestien ensement En morurent honteusement1.

Les communautés médiévales redoutaient tellement la peste que son nom même les effrayait; elles évitaient aussi longtemps que possible de le prononcer et même de prendre les mesures qui s’imposaient, au risque d’aggraver les conséquences des épidémies. Leur impuissance était telle qu’avouer la vérité, ce n’était pas faire face à la situation mais plutôt s’abandonner à ses effets désagrégateurs, renoncer à tout semblant de vie normale. La population tout entière s’associait volontiers à ce type d’aveuglement. Cette volonté désespérée de nier l’évidence favorisait la chasse aux « boucs émissaires 2 ». Dans les Animaux malades de la peste, La Fontaine suggère admirablement cette répugnance quasi religieuse à énoncer le terme terrifiant, à déchaîner en quelque sorte sa puissance maléfique dans la communauté : La peste (puisqu’il faut l’appeler par son nom)…

Le fabuliste nous fait assister au processus de la mauvaise foi collective qui consiste à identifier dans l’épidémie un châtiment divin. Le dieu de colère est irrité par une culpabilité qui n’est pas également partagée par tous. Pour écarter le fléau, il faut découvrir le coupable et le traiter en conséquence ou plutôt, comme écrit La Fontaine, le « dévouer » à la divinité. Les premiers interrogés, dans la fable, sont des bêtes de proie qui décrivent benoîtement leur comportement de bête de proie, lequel est tout de suite excusé. L’âne vient en dernier et c’est lui, pas du tout sanguinaire et, de ce fait, le plus faible et le moins protégé, qui se voit, en fin de compte, désigné. Dans certaines villes, pensent les historiens, les juifs se firent massacrer avant l’arrivée de la peste, au seul bruit de sa présence dans le voisinage. Le récit de Guillaume pourrait correspondre à un phénomène de ce genre car le massacre se produisit bien avant le paroxysme de l’épidémie. Mais les nombreuses morts attribuées par l’auteur au poison judaïque suggèrent une autre explication. Si ces morts sont réelles – et il n’y a pas de raison de les tenir pour imaginaires – elles pourraient bien être les premières victimes d’un seul et même fléau. Mais Guillaume ne s’en doute pas, même rétrospectivement. A ses yeux les boucs émissaires traditionnels conservent leur puissance explicatrice pour les premiers stades de l’épidémie. Pour les stades ultérieurs, seulement, l’auteur reconnaît la présence d’un phénomène proprement pathologique. L’étendue du désastre finit par décourager la seule explication par le complot des empoisonneurs, mais Guillaume ne réinterprète pas la suite entière des événements en fonction de leur raison d’être véritable. On peut d’ailleurs se demander jusqu’à quel point le poète reconnaît la présence de la peste car il évite jusqu’au bout d’écrire noir sur blanc le mot fatal. Au moment décisif, il introduit avec solennité le terme grec et encore rare, semble-t-il, d’epydimie. Ce mot ne fonctionne pas, visiblement, dans son texte comme il ferait dans le nôtre; ce n’est pas un véritable équivalent du terme redouté, c’est plutôt une espèce de substitut, un nouveau procédé pour ne pas appeler la peste par son nom, un nouveau bouc émissaire en somme mais purement linguistique cette fois. Il n’a jamais été possible, nous dit Guillaume, de déterminer la nature et la cause de la maladie dont tant de gens moururent en si peu de temps : Ne fusicien n’estoit, ne mire Qui bien sceüst la cause dire Dont ce venoit, ne que c’estoit (Ne nuls remede n’y metoit), Fors tant que c’estoit maladie Qu’on appelloit epydimie. Sur ce point encore, Guillaume préfère s’en remettre à l’opinion publique plutôt que de penser par lui-même. Du mot savant d’epydimie se dégage, semble-t-il, un parfum de « scientificité » qui contribue à refouler l’angoisse, un peu comme ces fumigations odoriférantes qu’on pratiquait longtemps au coin des rues pour tempérer les effluves pestilentiels. Une maladie bien nommée paraît à demi guérie et pour se donner une fausse impression de maîtrise on rebaptise fréquemment les phénomènes immaîtrisables. Ces exorcismes verbaux n’ont pas cessé de nous séduire dans tous les domaines où notre science demeure illusoire ou inefficace. En se refusant à la nommer c’est la peste elle-même, en somme, qu’on « dévoue » à la divinité. Il y a là comme un sacrifice langagier assez innocent, certes, comparé aux sacrifices humains qui l’accompagnent ou le précèdent, mais analogue dans sa structure essentielle. Même rétrospectivement, tous les boucs émissaires collectifs réels et imaginaires, les juifs et les flagellants, les pluies de pierre et l’epydimie, continuent à jouer leur rôle si efficacement dans le récit de Guillaume que celui-ci ne voit jamais l’unité du fléau désigné par nous comme la « peste noire ». L’auteur continue à percevoir une multiplicité de désastres plus ou moins indépendants ou reliés les uns aux autres seulement par leur signification religieuse, un peu comme les dix plaies d’Egypte. Tout ce que je viens de dire, ou presque, est évident. Nous comprenons tous le récit de Guillaume de la même façon et mes lecteurs n’ont pas besoin de moi. Il n’est pourtant pas inutile d’insister sur cette lecture dont l’audace et la puissance nous échappent, précisément parce qu’elle est admise par tous, parce qu’elle n’est pas controversée. L’unanimité s’est faite autour d’elle il y a littéralement des siècles et jamais elle ne s’est défaite. C’est d’autant plus remarquable qu’il s’agit d’une réinterprétation radicale. Nous rejetons sans hésiter le sens que l’auteur donne à son texte. Nous affirmons qu’il ne sait pas ce qu’il dit. A plusieurs siècles de distance, nous autres, modernes, le savons mieux que lui et nous sommes capables de rectifier son dire. Nous nous croyons à même de repérer une vérité que l’auteur n’a pas vue et, par une audace plus grande encore, nous n’hésitons pas à affirmer que cette vérité, c’est lui qui nous l’apporte, en dépit de son aveuglement. Est-ce à dire que cette interprétation ne mérite pas l’adhésion massive dont elle fait l’objet; nous montrons-nous à son égard d’une indulgence excessive? Pour discréditer un témoignage judiciaire, il suffit de prouver que, même sur un seul point, le témoin manque d’impartialité. En règle générale nous traitons les documents historiques comme des témoignages judiciaires. Or, nous transgressons cette règle en faveur d’un Guillaume de Machaut qui ne mérite peut-être pas ce traitement privilégié. Nous affirmons la réalité des persécutions mentionnées dans Le Jugement du Roy de Navarre. Nous prétendons tirer du vrai, en somme, d’un texte qui se trompe grossièrement sur des points essentiels. Si nous avons des raisons de nous méfier de ce texte, nous devrions peut-être le tenir pour entièrement suspect et renoncer à fonder sur lui la moindre certitude, sans excepter le fait brut de la persécution. D’où vient donc l’assurance étonnante de notre affirmation : des juifs ont été réellement massacrés. Une première réponse se présente à l’esprit. Nous ne lisons pas ce texte isolément. Il existe d’autres textes de la même époque; ils traitent des mêmes sujets; certains d’entre eux valent mieux que celui de Guillaume. Leurs auteurs s’y montrent moins crédules. A eux tous, ils forment un réseau serré de connaissances historiques au sein duquel nous replaçons le texte de Guillaume. C’est grâce à ce contexte, surtout, que nous réussissons à partager le vrai du faux dans le passage que j’ai cité. Il est vrai que les persécutions antisémites de la peste noire constituent un ensemble de faits relativement bien connu. Il y a là tout un savoir déjà constitué et il suscite en nous une certaine attente. Le texte de Guillaume répond à cette attente. Cette perspective n’est pas fausse sur le plan de notre expérience individuelle et du contact immédiat avec le texte, mais du point de vue théorique elle n’est pas satisfaisante. Le réseau de connaissances historiques existe, certes, mais les documents qui le composent ne sont jamais beaucoup plus sûrs que le texte de Guillaume, soit pour des raisons analogues, soit pour des raisons différentes. Et nous ne pouvons pas situer Guillaume parfaitement dans ce contexte puisque nous ne savons pas, je l’ai déjà dit, où se déroulent les événements qu’il nous rapporte. C’est peut-être à Paris, c’est peut-être à Reims, c’est peut-être dans une troisième ville. De toute façon le contexte ne joue pas un rôle décisif; même s’il n’en était pas informé, le lecteur moderne aboutirait à la lecture que j’ai donnée. Il conclurait à la probabilité de victimes injustement massacrées. Il penserait donc que le texte dit faux, puisque ces victimes sont innocentes, mais il penserait simultanément que le texte dit vrai, puisque les victimes sont réelles. Il finirait toujours par distinguer le vrai du faux exactement comme nous le distinguons nous-mêmes. Qu’est-ce qui nous donne ce pouvoir? Ne convient-il pas de se guider systématiquement sur le principe du panier de pommes tout entier bon à jeter pour peu qu’il en contienne une seule de gâtée ? Ne doit-on pas soupçonner ici une défaillance du soupçon, un reste de naïveté dont l’hypercritique contemporaine aurait déjà fait place nette si on lui laissait le champ libre ? Ne faut-il pas avouer que toute connaissance historique est incertaine et qu’on ne peut rien tirer d’un texte tel que le nôtre, pas même la réalité d’une persécution ? A toutes ces questions il faut répondre par un non catégorique. Le scepticisme sans nuances ne tient pas compte de la nature propre du texte. Entre les données vraisemblables de ce texte et les données invraisemblables il existe un rapport très particulier. Au départ, certes, le lecteur ne peut pas dire : ceci est faux, ceci est vrai. Il ne voit que des thèmes plus ou moins incroyables et croyables. Les morts qui se multiplient sont croyables ; il pourrait s’agir d’une épidémie. Mais les empoisonnements ne le sont guère, surtout à l’échelle massive décrite par Guillaume. Le XIVe siècle ne possède pas de substances capables de produire des effets aussi nocifs. La haine de l’auteur pour les prétendus coupables est explicite ; elle rend sa thèse extrêmement suspecte. On ne peut pas reconnaître ces deux types de données sans constater, au moins implicitement, qu’ils réagissent l’un sur l’autre. S’il y a vraiment une épidémie, elle pourrait bien enflammer les préjugés qui sommeillent. L’appétit persécuteur se polarise volontiers sur les minorités religieuses, surtout en temps de crise. Réciproquement, une persécution réelle pourrait bien se justifier par le type d’accusation dont Guillaume se fait crédulement l’écho. Un poète tel que lui ne devrait pas être particulièrement sanguinaire. S’il ajoute foi aux histoires qu’il raconte c’est sans doute qu’on y ajoute foi autour de lui. Le texte suggère donc une opinion publique surexcitée, prête à accueillir les rumeurs les plus absurdes. Il suggère, en somme, un état de choses propice aux massacres dont l’auteur nous affirme qu’ils se sont réellement produits. Dans le contexte des représentations invraisemblables, la vraisemblance des autres se confirme et se transforme en probabilité. La réciproque est vraie. Dans le contexte des représentations vraisemblables, l’invraisemblance des autres ne peut guère relever d’une « fonction fabulatrice » qui s’exercerait gratuitement, pour le plaisir d’inventer de la fiction. Nous reconnaissons l’imaginaire, certes, mais pas n’importe quel imaginaire, c’est l’imaginaire spécifique des hommes en appétit de violence. Entre toutes les représentations du texte, par conséquent, il existe une convenance réciproque, une correspondance dont on ne peut rendre compte que par une seule hypothèse. Le texte que nous lisons doit s’enraciner dans une persécution réelle, rapportée dans la perspective des persécuteurs. Cette perspective est forcément trompeuse en ceci que les persécuteurs sont convaincus du bien-fondé de leur violence ; ils se prennent pour des justiciers, il leur faut donc des victimes coupables, mais cette perspective est partiellement véridique car la certitude d’avoir raison encourage ces mêmes persécuteurs à ne rien dissimuler de leurs massacres. Devant un texte du type Guillaume de Machaut, il est légitime de suspendre la règle générale selon laquelle l’ensemble d’un texte ne vaut jamais mieux, sous le rapport de l’information réelle, que la pire de ses données. Si le texte décrit des circonstances favorables à la persécution, s’il nous présente des victimes appartenant au type que les persécuteurs ont l’habitude de choisir, et si, pour plus de certitude encore, il présente ces victimes comme coupables du type de crimes que les persécuteurs attribuent, en règle générale, à leurs victimes, il y a de grandes chances pour que la persécution soit réelle. Si le texte lui-même affirme cette réalité, il y a plus de raisons de l’accepter que de la rejeter. Dès qu’on pressent la perspective des persécuteurs, l’absurdité des accusations, loin de compromettre la valeur d’information d’un texte, renforce sa crédibilité mais sous le rapport seulement des violences dont il se fait lui-même l’écho. Si Guillaume avait ajouté des histoires d’infanticide rituel à son affaire d’empoisonnement, son compte rendu serait plus invraisemblable encore mais il n’en résulterait aucune diminution de certitude quant à la réalité des massacres qu’il nous rapporte. Plus les accusations sont invraisemblables dans ce genre de textes, plus elles renforcent la vraisemblance des massacres : elles nous confirment la présence d’un contexte psychosocial au sein duquel les massacres devaient presque certainement se produire. Inversement, le thème des massacres, juxtaposé à celui de l’épidémie, fournit le contexte historique au sein duquel même un intellectuel en principe raffiné pourrait prendre au sérieux son histoire d’empoisonnement. Les représentations persécutrices nous mentent, indubitablement, mais d’une façon trop caractéristique des persécuteurs en général et des persécuteurs médiévaux en particulier pour que le texte ne dise pas vrai sur tous les points où il confirme les conjectures suggérées par la nature même de son mensonge. Quand c’est la réalité de leurs persécutions que les persécuteurs probables affirment, ils méritent qu’on leur fasse confiance. C’est la combinaison de deux types de données qui engendre la certitude. Si l’on ne rencontrait cette combinaison qu’à de rares exemples cette certitude ne serait pas complète. Mais la fréquence est trop grande pour que le doute soit possible. Seule la persécution réelle, envisagée dans l’optique des persécuteurs, peut expliquer la conjonction régulière de ces données. Notre interprétation de tous les textes est statistiquement certaine. Ce caractère statistique ne signifie pas que la certitude repose sur la pure et simple accumulation de documents tous également incertains. Cette certitude est de plus haute qualité. Tout document du type Guillaume de Machaut a une valeur considérable parce qu’on retrouve en lui le vraisemblable et l’invraisemblable agencés de telle façon que chacun explique et légitime la présence de l’autre. Si notre certitude a un caractère statistique, c’est parce que n’importe quel document, envisagé isolément, pourrait être l’œuvre d’un faussaire. Les chances sont faibles mais elles ne sont pas nulles au niveau du document individuel. Au niveau du grand nombre, en revanche, elles sont nulles. La solution réaliste que le monde occidental et moderne a adoptée pour démystifier les « textes de persécution » est la seule possible et elle est certaine parce qu’elle rend parfaitement compte de toutes les données qui figurent dans ce type de textes. Ce ne sont pas l’humanitarisme ou l’idéologie qui nous la dictent, ce sont des raisons intellectuelles décisives. Cette interprétation n’a pas usurpé le consensus unanime dont elle fait l’objet. L’histoire n’a pas de résultats plus solides à nous offrir. Pour l’historien « des mentalités », un témoignage en principe digne de foi, c’est-à-dire le témoignage d’un homme qui ne partage pas les illusions d’un Guillaume de Machaut, n’aura jamais autant de valeur que le témoignage indigne des persécuteurs, ou de leurs complices, plus fortement parce que inconsciemment révélateur. Le document décisif est celui de persécuteurs assez naïfs pour ne pas effacer les traces de leurs crimes, à la différence de certains persécuteurs modernes, trop avisés pour laisser derrière eux des documents qui pourraient être utilisés contre eux. J’appelle naïfs les persécuteurs encore assez persuadés de leur bon droit et pas assez méfiants pour maquiller ou censurer les données caractéristiques de leur persécution. Celles-ci apparaissent dans leurs textes tantôt sous une forme véridique et directement révélatrice, tantôt sous une forme trompeuse mais indirectement révélatrice. Toutes les données sont fortement stéréotypées et c’est la combinaison des deux types de stéréotypes, les véridiques et les trompeurs, qui nous renseigne sur la nature de ces textes. ? Nous savons tous repérer, aujourd’hui, les stéréotypes de la persécution. Il y a là un savoir qui s’est banalisé mais qui n’existait pas ou très peu au XIVe siècle. Les persécuteurs naïfs ne savent pas ce qu’ils font. Ils ont trop bonne conscience pour tromper sciemment leurs lecteurs et ils présentent les choses telles que réellement ils les voient. Ils ne se doutent pas qu’en rédigeant leurs comptes rendus ils donnent des armes contre eux-mêmes à la postérité. C’est vrai au XVIe siècle pour la tristement fameuse « chasse aux sorcières ». C’est encore vrai de nos jours pour les régions « arriérées » de notre planète. Nous nageons donc en pleine banalité et le lecteur trouve ennuyeuses, peut-être, les évidences premières que je lui assène. Qu’il m’en excuse, mais on verra bientôt que ce n’est pas inutile; il suffit, parfois, d’un déplacement minuscule pour rendre insolite, inconcevable même, ce qui va sans dire dans le cas de Guillaume de Machaut. En parlant comme je le fais, le lecteur peut déjà le constater, je contredis certains principes que de nombreux critiques tiennent pour sacro-saints. Jamais, me dit-on toujours, il ne faut faire violence au texte. Face à Guillaume de Machaut, le choix est clair : ou bien on fait violence au texte ou bien on laisse se perpétuer la violence du texte contre des victimes innocentes. Certains principes qui paraissent universellement valables de nos jours parce qu’ils fournissent, semble-t-il, d’excellents garde-fous contre les excès de certains interprètes peuvent entraîner des conséquences néfastes auxquelles n’ont pas songé ceux qui croient avoir tout prévu en les tenant pour inviolables. On va partout répétant que le premier devoir du critique est de respecter la signification des textes. Peut-on soutenir ce principe jusqu’au bout devant la « littérature » d’un Guillaume de Machaut? Une autre lubie contemporaine fait piètre figure à la lumière de Guillaume de Machaut, ou plutôt de la lecture que nous en donnons tous, sans hésiter, et c’est la façon désinvolte dont nos critiques littéraires congédient désormais ce qu’ils appellent le « référent ». Dans le jargon linguistique de notre époque, le référent c’est la chose même dont un texte entend parler, à savoir ici le massacre des juifs perçus comme responsables de l’empoisonnement des chrétiens. Depuis une vingtaine d’années on nous répète que le référent est à peu près inaccessible. Peu importe d’ailleurs que nous soyons ou ne soyons pas capables d’y accéder; le souci naïf du référent ne peut qu’entraver, paraît-il, l’étude moderne de la textualité. Seuls comptent désormais les rapports toujours équivoques et glissants du langage avec lui-même. Tout n’est pas toujours à rejeter dans cette perspective mais à l’appliquer de façon scolaire on risque de voir en Ernest Hoeppfner, l’éditeur de Guillaume dans la vénérable Société des anciens textes, le seul critique vraiment idéal de cet écrivain. Son introduction parle de poésie courtoise en effet, mais il n’y est jamais question du massacre des juifs pendant la peste noire. Le passage de Guillaume, cité plus haut, constitue un bon exemple de ce que j’ai nommé dans Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde les « textes de persécution 3 ». J’entends par là les comptes rendus de violences réelles, souvent collectives, rédigés dans la perspective des persécuteurs, et affectés, par conséquent, de distorsions caractéristiques. Il faut repérer ces distorsions pour les rectifier et pour déterminer la réalité de toutes les violences que le texte de persécution présente comme justifiées. Il n’est pas nécessaire d’examiner longuement le compte rendu d’un procès de sorcellerie pour constater qu’on y retrouve la même combinaison de données réelles et de données imaginaires mais nullement gratuites que nous avons rencontrée dans le texte de Guillaume de Machaut. Tout est présenté comme vrai et nous n’en croyons rien mais nous n’en croyons pas pour autant que tout est faux. Nous n’avons aucune peine, pour l’essentiel, à faire le partage du vrai et du faux. Là aussi les chefs d’accusation paraissent ridicules même si la sorcière les tient pour réels, et même s’il y a lieu de penser que ses aveux n’ont pas été obtenus par la torture. L’accusée peut fort bien se prendre pour une sorcière véritable. Peut-être s’est-elle réellement efforcée de nuire à ses voisins par des procédés magiques. Nous n’en jugeons pas pour autant qu’elle mérite la mort. Il n’y a pas pour nous de procédés magiques efficaces. Nous admettons sans peine que la victime puisse partager avec ses bourreaux la même foi dérisoire en l’efficacité de la sorcellerie mais cette foi ne nous atteint pas nous-mêmes ; notre scepticisme n’en est pas ébranlé. Pendant ces procès aucune voix ne s’élève pour rétablir, ou plutôt pour établir la vérité. Personne n’est encore capable de le faire. C’est dire que nous avons contre nous, contre l’interprétation que nous donnons de leurs propres textes, non seulement les juges et les témoins mais les accusées elles-mêmes. Cette unanimité ne nous impressionne pas. Les auteurs de ces documents étaient là et nous n’y étions pas. Nous ne disposons d’aucune information qui ne vienne d’eux. Et pourtant, à plusieurs siècles de distance, un historien solitaire, ou même le premier individu venu se juge habilité à casser la sentence prononcée contre les sorcières4. C’est la même réinterprétation radicale que dans l’exemple de Guillaume de Machaut, la même audace dans le bouleversement des textes, c’est la même opération intellectuelle et c’est la même certitude, fondée sur le même type de raisons. La présence de données imaginaires ne nous amène pas à considérer l’ensemble du texte comme imaginaire. Bien au contraire. Les accusations incroyables ne diminuent pas mais renforcent la crédibilité des autres données. Ici encore nous avons un rapport qui semble paradoxal mais en réalité ne l’est pas entre l’improbabilité et la probabilité des données qui entrent dans la composition des textes. C’est en fonction de ce rapport, généralement informulé mais néanmoins présent à notre esprit que nous évaluons la quantité et la qualité de l’information susceptible d’être extraite de notre texte. Si le document est de nature légale, les résultats sont d’habitude aussi positifs ou même plus positifs encore que dans le cas de Guillaume de Machaut. Il est dommage que la plupart des comptes rendus aient été brûlés en même temps que les sorcières elles-mêmes. Les accusations sont absurdes et la sentence injuste mais les textes sont rédigés avec le souci d’exactitude et de clarté qui caractérise, en règle générale, les documents légaux. Notre confiance est donc bien placée. Elle ne permet pas de soupçonner que nous sympathisons secrètement avec les chasseurs de sorcières. L’historien qui regarderait toutes les données d’un procès comme également fantaisistes sous prétexte que certaines d’entre elles sont entachées de distorsions persécutrices ne connaîtrait rien à son affaire et ses collègues ne le prendraient pas au sérieux. La critique la plus efficace ne consiste pas à assimiler toutes les données du texte à la plus invraisemblable sous prétexte qu’on péchera toujours par défaut et jamais par excès de méfiance. Une fois de plus le principe de la méfiance sans limites doit s’effacer devant la règle d’or des textes de persécution. La mentalité persécutrice suscite un certain type d’illusion et les traces de cette illusion confirment plutôt qu’elles n’infirment la présence, derrière le texte qui en fait lui-même état, d’un certain type d’événement, la persécution elle-même, la mise à mort de la sorcière. Il n’est donc pas difficile, je le répète, de démêler le vrai du faux qui ont l’un et l’autre un caractère assez fortement stéréotypé. Pour bien comprendre le pourquoi et le comment de l’assurance extraordinaire dont nous faisons preuve devant les textes de persécution, il faut énumérer et décrire les stéréotypes. Là non plus, la tâche n’est pas difficile. Il ne s’agit jamais que d’expliciter un savoir que nous possédons déjà mais dont nous ne soupçonnons pas la portée car nous ne le dégageons jamais de façon systématique. Le savoir en question reste pris dans les exemples concrets auxquels nous l’appliquons et ceux-ci appartiennent toujours au domaine de l’histoire, surtout occidentale. Jamais encore nous n’avons essayé d’appliquer ce savoir en dehors de ce domaine, par exemple aux univers dits « ethnologiques ». C’est pour rendre cette tentative possible que je vais maintenant ébaucher, de façon sommaire d’ailleurs, une typologie des stéréotypes de la persécution. 1 Œuvres de Guillaume de Machaut, publiées par Ernest Hoeppfner, I, Le Jugement du Roy de Navarre , Société des anciens textes français, 1908, pp. 144-145.

RÉSUMÉ DU LIVRE – MOT DE L’AUTEUR – MOT DE L’ÉDITEUR

Oedipe est chassé de Thèbes comme responsable du fléau qui s’abat sur la ville. La victime est d’accord avec ses bourreaux. Le malheur est apparu parce qu’il a tué son père et épousé sa mère. Le bouc émissaire suppose toujours l’illusion persécutrice. Les bourreaux croient à la culpabilité des victimes ; ils sont convaincus, au moment de l’apparition de la peste noire au XIVe siècle, que les juifs ont empoisonné les rivières. La chasse aux sorcières implique que juges et accusées croient en l’efficace de la sorcellerie. Les Evangiles gravitent autour de la passion comme toutes les mythologies du monde mais la victime rejette toutes les illusions persécutrices, refuse le cycle de la violence et du sacré. Le bouc émissaire devient l’agneau de Dieu. Ainsi est détruite à jamais la crédibilité de la représentation mythologique. Nous restons des persécuteurs mais des persécuteurs honteux. "Toute violence désormais révèle ce que révèle la passion du Christ, la genèse imbécile des idoles sanglantes, de tous les faux dieux des religions, des politiques, des idéologies."

Voir enfin:

Sacrifice, Mimesis, and the Genesis of Violence: A Response to Bruce Chilton

JAMES G. WILLIAMS (SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY)

Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 (1993) 31-47

Institute for Biblical Research

I would like to thank Bruce Chilton for the informed and collegial way that he has responded to The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred: Lib- eration from the Myth of Sanctioned Violence . He quite rightly places it in the context of René Girard’s mi metic theory and then focuses on the issue of sacrifice in the ensuing critique of my book. There is much at stake here for all of us wh o seek to preserve and clarify the distinctive testimony of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. We are in an age when "pos tmodern" critics, whether literary, philosoph cal, or theological, tend (if not intend) to undermine the Jewish and Christian heritage of Western cultu re. We should be well aware of this tendency, whose inspiration comes primarily from Nietzsche and whose thrust has been transm itted into the contemporary period primarily through Heidegger and Derrida. However, a blind reaction to it will simply make of us "doubles" of postmodern inter- preters, that is, rivals so preoccupi ed with the enemy other that our thinking is determined by them. In this context there is no problem more urgent than the ancient phenom enon of sacrifice and all that attends it. Certain aspects of Chilton’s review of Girard’s theory are quite perceptive. He says, "In his treatmen t of the Gospels, Girard’s analy- sis becomes openly ethical and programmatic (one might even say, evangelical)" (p. 20). That is certainl y true. Girard’s research has led him to an "evangelical" orientation not simply in the sense of the good news of the Gospel witness to the Christ, but in arguing that both scientific and religious truth co nverge and have their origin in the biblical testimony to the innocen t victim and the God who is the advocate of victims. A typica l statement is this one from The Scape- goat : "The invention of science is not the reason that there are no 32 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 longer witches, but the fact that there are no longer witch-hunts is the reason that science has been invented." 1 This opening up of the world to investigation is part of a long history, which does not run in a straight line or smoothly but which nonetheless moves inevita- bly toward disclosure of the collec tive violence and its ritual forms that undergird human culture. The unveiling of collective violence and victimization camouflaged in religion and culture comes pri- marily through certain distinctive bib lical witnesses. Above all, in its clearest and most sustained form, it is disclosed through Jesus as the Christ in the New Testament Gospels. With respect to colle ctive violence and victimization, Chilton as- tutely notes that for Girard "tex ts of persecution and myths are comparable: a real victim lies at the origin of both" (p. 19). Both an- cient and modern cultures share this concealment of violence. This is a crucial issue with many facets. On the one hand, bib lical interpret- ers on a wide spectrum of denominati onal affiliations tend either to disregard large portions of the Bibl e because of the patent exclusiv- ism, aggression, or violence that is narrated (e.g., the conquest of Canaan in the early part of Joshua) or to justify such behavior and attitudes on the basis of the Bible. But from the standpoint of the hermeneutics of the mime tic theory, the Bible— especially the Jew- ish Scriptures or Old Testament but also to some degree the New Testament—is a "mixed" text in wh ich the witnesses of the tradition are struggling to articulate the reve lation of the God who liberates victims as over against the myths of sacred violence dominating in the cultural milieu out of which Israel was called to become God’s exception in the world. Girard’s mimetic theory directs the inter- preter to focus on what is distinctive of Israel vis-à-vis the other na- tions of the world, where one enco unters founding events that are based on regenerative violence. Rome , for example, was founded by means of Romulus’s slaying of Remus. This is simply reported in a neutral fashion by Livy in his histor y as something that occurred, and of course from a mythical view point one would expect it to oc- cur. Civilization begins according to Ge nesis 4 as the result of Cain’s murder of Abel—but th e innocence of Abel is affirmed and Cain must hear the divine voice that asks , "Where is Abel your brother?" The mark placed upon Cain is both a sign to protect him against the very violence he himself has co mmitted and a reminder of God’s question. Behind the question lies the victim. On the other hand, a significant stream of modern and postmod- ern thought has ignored or denied that violence is at the root of our 1. The Scapegoat (trans. Yvonne Freccero; Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986) 204. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 33 cultural origins. A philosopher like Martin Heidegger, for example, spoke of violence, particularly in An Introduction to Metaphysics , as the work of logos as polemos , namely the creative violence, the sorting out and building in which the poets, thinkers, and leaders must en- gage as they fulfill the destiny of Be ing. But this, he maintains, is not the ordinary violence of human war or battle. This from a philoso- pher who presented a philosophical defense of National Socialism! One of his philosophical heirs, Jac ques Derrida, has actually recog- nized the structure of violence and sacrifice in writing and texts but has so far been unwilling to move beyond the signifiers of texts to the signifier who, from Girard’s sta ndpoint, is the original sign, both signifier and signified: the innocen t or arbitrarily chosen victim. 2 I am also grateful for the ques tion about covenant and sacrifice that Chilton raises. The question is wh ether I offer in fact "a major re- vision of Girard’s theory" in viewi ng the covenant and its sacrificial instruments quite positively (p. 24) . If indeed I do this it would not negate the entirety of Girard’s mi metic theory, but it would certainly undercut Girard’s hypothesis concer ning the role of sacrifice as the primary ritual manifestation of the sacred, that is, projected violence. This is a crucial question, one that is sufficiently complex that I con- sider it better to deal with it late r under the rubric of differentiation and sacrifice. Now I will turn to the major issu es raised in Bruce Chilton’s re- sponse in which I think he has misu nderstood Girard or me, or both. There are three subjects on which I will focus: mimesis, differentia- tion and sacrifice in Girard’s work and in my book, and Chilton’s model for understanding sacrifice. MIMESIS OR MIMETIC DESIRE Mimesis, or mimetic desire, is the foundation of Girard’s theory. As Chilton indicates, Girard, in the tradition of Hegel and Kojève, views human beings as desiring being. But Girard departs from the Hegelian tradition in understandin g desire as an empirical and finally anthropological reality, not as a metaphysical reality. He does not identify desire with human cons ciousness, as Hegel does, and he emphasizes the object of desire , which is what rivals contest and which mediates the "being" or "rea lity" of the model of mediator to the subject. Human beings have very limited in stincts, the genetic directives that serve as guiding and braking f unctions to other animals. Human 2. See Andrew J. McKenna, Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida, and Decon- struction (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992). 34 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 needs and drives (neither of which could be called "desires") become actual and take certain pathways through mimesis or imitation of others. The result is desire that is mimetic. The dynamic of the hu- man system is desire, the structure is mimetic. One could call this "imitational" desire. However, becaus e imitation is a word that has become watered down and convey s no connotation of acquisitive- ness, Girard prefers the classical word. The acquisitive character of human desire lays the groundwork for human conflict. The subject not only seeks to be like the other; he or she wants to have what the other has and even to be what the other is. The object of desire is what the model or mediator desires, but what the desiring subject really wants is to be desired by the model, whereas the actual object of the model’s desire is to be de- sired. The result of this relationship of subject to model can turn to conflict or violence. The message gi ven off by the model may be "im- itate me"—except in this one respect, "don’t imitate me." A classical instance of this is Freud’s so-called Oedipus complex. However, from the standpoint of the mimetic theory it is the desire to imitate the model/mediator (more or less th e same as Freud’s "identifica- tion"), not sexual attachment to the pa rent of the opposite sex, that may (but does not always or necessarily) issue in rivalry. Of course, in human relations hips conflict do esn’t always emerge, and in most cultural contexts conflict and violence do not reign most of the time. Why not? Because cultural forms, which can- not be separated from wh at we now call the religious or the sacred, establish differences . These differences function to keep people from destructive rivalries yet enable them to enter into cooperative rela- tions. I will discuss this further wh en I take up differentiation and sacrifice. Chilton says, “The seed of destruc tion within desire is that it is ‘mimetic’” (p. 17). He a sserts similarly, toward the end of his essay, that mimesis "is, by practical definition, covetous rivalry" (p. 27). This is a crucial issue because if mimesis (or mimetic desire) is inher- ently a rivalry based on desire of what the other has, then any teach- ing or proclamation of "good mi mesis" would be logically and theologically impossible. From the standpoint of Christian theology this would be a denial of creati on (everything created good, Genesis 1) and so would amount to a denial of "original sin," which is pred- icated upon a good creation and the possibility of restoration, of new creation. Chilton therefore welcomes my explication of the covenant model of existence, which I “might have called covenantal mimesis, ‘the powerful generative vision from which the Bible as a whole stems’” (p. 27). Chilton’s insight in to what I attempted to communi- cate is striking: I would accept "cove nantal mimesis" as an excellent WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 35 term for what I have described as the Bible’s generative vision. I did not intend to state or imply that it includes or could incorporate sac- rifice as part of the covenantal mimesis in its ideal form . I will take up that issue in discussing differentiation and sacrifice. At this point I am concerned rather to comment on Chilton’s point that I have de- parted from Girard in pointing toward this covenantal mimesis, and that I "correct" him in my claim that "in and of itself [mimesis] is a neutral capability of the brain and of every aspect of systems that can be considered ‘human.'" 3 In fact, Girard has not made himself completely clear on mime- sis and the human condition. This lack of clarity may reflect the fact that his thinking was very much in process from the 1960s into the 1980s. Moreover, as an interdiscip linary thinker who has confronted the tradition of thought, stemming from Nietzsche, which funda- mentally understands life or reality as differential or conflictual, originating in violence and returning to violence, 4 he has perhaps occasionally played too much in his opponents’ field and by their rules. But that is often a risk that a thinker has to take—and I think Girard is a great thinker. So it is that if one begins reading Girard’s Violence and the Sacred or Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World , mimetic desire comes across as inevitably leading hu mans into rivalry and violence. However, if one reads on to the chapter on Freud in Violence or to Book III of Things Hidden , one finds that Girard does not construe human relations, whether parent-child or any other, as necessarily rivalrous, neurotic, or pathological. Some forms of behavior are good to imitate; it is just that children, disciples, and admirers do not know which these are to the extent that the model fascinates or dominates them. 5 An individual finds it difficult, if not often impos- sible, to stop the imitation process a nd say, "To do this or to hold this attitude is good, to do that or to hold that attitude is bad." The only reality that helps us in this s ituation, from Girard’s standpoint, is good mimesis. "Good mimesis" ha s two related but distinct mean- ings, as I indicate in my book. 6 The first presupposes an underlying scapegoat mechanism that stems fro m collective violence and whose object, in an indirect and mostly ca mouflaged way, is to control vio- lence. It could be called the "effec tive mimesis" of cu lture to the ex- tent that it works in assigning a nd maintaining differentiations—the 3. The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991) 239. 4. See John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (Oxford and Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1990, 1991) chap. 10. 5. See Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (trans. S. Bann and M. Met- teer; Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987) 290. 6. The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 261 n. 17. 36 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 differences necessary for language, roles, institutions, and every form of cooperative activ ity. However, if Girard held only to that sense of mimesis, his position would be little different from that of Thomas Hobbes or Joseph de Maistre, whose thinking was profound but thoroughly sacrificial. What really opens up our human poten- tial, what makes of us potential contributors to a divine-human community, is a good mimesis that cannot originate in human de- sires and projection. This good mimesis is revelation . Girard has, to be sure, never employed the term "good mimesis," but this is the mi- mesis he has in mind in referring to those who aid Jesus in his mis- sion of "starting the good contagio n belonging to good reciprocity." 7 Apart from revelation, or the sustai ned witness to revelation, human beings are given situations and mome nts in which they are able to realize good mimesis, but these oc casions have been fragmentary outside of the sustained scriptural witness to the disclosure of the God of victims. 8 In The Scapegoat this good mimesis, this divinely given model, is the burden of the chapters on "The Key Words of the Gospel Pas- sion" and "History and the Paraclet e." The reason for us to forgive one another is that we all fall short of th e model/mediator who for- gives, for we all, in some way, have worshiped or sustained blood- stained idols; but by the same token, we have all been forgiven if we are willing to accept this forgiveness and forgive one another. Good mimesis, divine in origin, is dynami c, not simply a pattern to copy. It takes form in comm unity and forgiveness. Mimetic desire is potentially de structive; it is also potentially creative. The point is not to remove oneself from desire but to create a better desire. Since we are blind to our own mimesis, to our self- representations and representations of others—as Paul states in his own language in Romans 7—we cann ot create our own better desire and live out of it on a sustained basis apart from revelation and grace. Only through incarnation, th rough the Logos, the creator God who enters into our condition and ex poses the mechanisms of desire and scapegoating, can we be liberat ed for a new desire, a new being. So if Girard does not adequa tely clarify his understanding of mimesis in some parts of his work, I think what I have just sketched 7. The French text: "amorcer la bonne contagion de la bonne reciprocité" ( Things Hidden , 297; English trans. 203). 8. I confirmed this point in a telephone conversation with Girard on November 2, 1992. At the level of the classical literary traditions he obviously appreciates the in- sights of the great Greek tragedians. He al so acknowledges the insights of the Buddhist tradition concerning desire and determination by the world of suffering. However, for Buddhism the religious and ethical center of the disclosure of truth is not the innocent victim. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 37 is true to his concept and intention. He has more and more come to appreciate how culture works and so he has become more positive about its sacrificial mech anism. That is, how woul d any of us in any social order survive without differe ntiating and surrogate functions that enable the totality of the system to surviv e and to transmit itself (perhaps often greatly modified)? "Differentiating and surrogate functions" are the practices whereby we establish differences and sacrificial substitutes that keep us from getting so close to one another that we compete in vio- lent ways but yet keep us close e nough to each other personally and socially that we are able to work and exist together. On the other hand, the capacity of cu lture to survive and oper ate falls short of the gospel and the di vine-human community of the kingdom of God. My understanding of Girard is that he has become more and more pessimistic about culture in the context of history as experienced and interpreted in the last two centuries. In this paper I have used the ad verb "inevitably" twice so far. I said that, according to Girard, the gospel’s work of "opening up of the world to investigation is part of a long history, which does not run in a straight line or smoothly but which nonetheless moves inev- itably toward disclosure of the co llective violence and its ritual forms that undergird huma n culture." I also said that in a good por- tion of Girard’s work, for example, the earlier parts of Violence and Things Hidden , "mimetic desire comes acro ss as inevitably leading humans into rivalry and violence." Both are true. To coin a variation on Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous dictum , "Sin is not necessary but inevitable," I would say: Rivalry and violence are not necessary but inevitable. The problem is not desire; the problem lies in the kind of mimesis. The good mimesis of the God of victims, to which the Law and the Prophets bear witn ess and which the Gospels attest as embodied in Jesus, has disclose d and will disclose the character of our mimetic predicament and poin t us toward a new age, a world to come. DIFFERENTIATION AND SACRIFICE According to the mimetic theory the slaying of th e victim is the first act of differentiation. In the mimetic crisis everyone imitates every- one else in violent reciprocity and so all differences collapse. This is the epitome of chaos, and violence is probably the actual model of chaos for religious and cu ltural traditions. In orde r for the "other" to be really other, the other must be different from me/us, yet close enough to me/us or enough like me/u s that a relationship of some sort can be established. But this is a delicate balance in which one is 38 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 often tempted to seek the being of the other by desiring what the other desires. When this balance is destroyed in violent reciprocity the latter is remedied by the discov ery, not consciously or deliber- ately made but "happened upon," that the conflict and violence stops when everyone gangs up on a victim. The victim is the emerg- ing difference . As I noted in my book, Gira rd’s model is not based on dipolar structure, as in structuralism, but on exception : his is a model of the "exception in the process of emerging." 9 This victim is the one who polarizes (or on whom is polarize d) the desire of all the others that had got mimetically out of hand. So the victim is the first differ- ence. And the relief from mi metic conflict or violence is so great that just as the victim was blamed for the group’s ills during the mimetic rage, so now the victim is apotheos ized, divinized. As a result, the victim as god or sacraliz ed hero or ancestor is now the "Difference" by which the others become a co mmunity and define themselves. I will not go into the particular implications that one could de- velop out of this. Suffice it to say th at the three pillars of culture emerge from the divinized victim: pr ohibition, ritual, and myth. The community, as distinct from the vi ctim/god, did not do and does not do (or ought not do) such and such an act that brought about the crisis in the first place (murder and incest are the two most common crimes, and of course both are di ssolvers of differences). The com- munity repeats the act th at founded it by representing the crisis that threatened it and the slaying that (re)established it. The repetition of the slaying is enacted in sacrifice. And myth tells the story of the founding and the differentiations es tablished. With myth comes the greatest possibility of displace ment and deferral of meaning through shifts and transformations in the story and symbols. What Girard’s theory about the pillars of religion and culture entails, in other words, is that the primitive sa cred is violence: the collective violence of the community that is transmitted, transformed, and routinized in such a way that its ob ject is to protect the community from violence. 10 Now Chilton argues that Girard is wrong about the origin and function of sacrifice. I will take up his argument that the communal meal is the appropriate model for sacr ifice in the third part of my re- sponse. Here I wish to respond to his appreciation of my so-called 9. Williams, The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 20; see Girard, Things Hidden , 100-101. 10. This is the function of the mark on Cain in Genesis 4: to protect the founder of civilization ("he built a city," 4:17) from the very violence that he himself had com- mitted in murdering his brother. However, unlike the typical founding myth, the mark is also a reminder of what he had d one—a reminder, indeed, of the divine ques- tion, "Where is Abel your brother?" WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 39 departure from Girard. He suggests that this putative departure is partly deliberate and partly inadvert ent. The conscious aspect of the departure he ascribes to me is my insistence "that any language im- plying the inherent superiority of Christianity or the ‘Christian’ Gospels should be avoided." 11 He quite rightly identifies my argu- ment as "exceptionalist" as over against a "supersessionist" argu- ment. From the exceptionalist position one sees Israel as an enduring remnant bearing the divine word in history, and one continuation of this remnant is the ear ly Jesus movement. The supersessionist posi- tion is that Israel as an empirical people and tradition is the "oppres- sive husk" that perpetuates ancien t myth and the sacred, and its true vocation is realized only through Jesus and the church. Chilton holds that the inadverten t way in which I depart from Girard lies in my positiv e view of the covenant and its sacrificial ex- pressions, particularly in the discus sion of covenant and sacrifice in chapter 4 of The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred . He avers this to be "a major revision of Girard’s theory, in that the sacred is no longer merely projected violence" (p. 24). I am indebted to Chilton for his critique and partial appreciation of my understanding of the sacred and sacrifice, for his comments have forced me to review and thin k through once agai n what it is I want to say vis-à-vis Girard’s thought. I would say first of all that there is a difference in nuance between my understanding of the Testaments and Girard’s, and perhaps a clear difference between my perspective and Hamerton- Kelly’s. What I have done is put Jesus, the early Jesus movement, and the New Testament Gospels square ly in the Jewish tradition. I think, as indicated in my book, that there is adequate historical and literary evidence for ho lding this position. The tradition of the unique witness to the God of victim s comes to fulfillm ent in Jesus and the Gospel witness to the di sclosure of divine–human commu- nity. This is not un-Jew ish, not anti-Jewish—it is Jewish in the sense that the basis of Christianity is Jewishly formed. What we call "Christianity" did not be gin as Christianity but as a movement rooted in its Jewish matrix. Nor does this perspective deny the in- sights of rabbinic Judaism, particularly in its antisacrificial aspects. The problems emerge in the theological and political developments of ongoing church history in which the foundations of Christianity were more or less severed from Judaism and the Jewish Scriptures were coopted as the revelation of Ch ristian truth. But there is one truth that is revealed, and a long historical struggle has been re- quired to bring it more fully to light. From my standpoint, and I 11. The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 175, quoted on p. 23. 40 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 think a confessing Christian would have to affirm something like this, the Gospel witness to Jesus as the Christ is the clearest and most sustained representation of th e message of the God of libera- tion and the exposure of violence that has been given to us. All the other foci of revelation are ones I ha ve to see through the lens pro- vided by the Gospels. My point is not to deny what I do not see or cannot see; it is rather to affirm what I have been given to see. So I wish to avoid supersessi onism. I don’t think, however, that the problem too is, as Chilton states, that to "the concept of the victim itself might be too relative by definition to serve as the foundation of a systematic reading of the Bible" (p. 23). There is no way, of course, of absolutely establishing through criticism and theo ry any standpoint. One cannot, obviously, read everythi ng as the same, or in terms of discrete passages (segments, historical periods, etc.), for with either of those alternatives there is the da nger of falling back into myth or anti-myth, into the sacr ed as the sacred soci al order or the anti- sacred that seeks to destroy the sacr ed social order (e.g., Nietzsche). That is, those who adhere to a myth ical interpretation, which always justifies the sacred as violence, an d those who vehemently oppose it are in both instances determined by myth, for its upholders are in- formed and upheld by it and its oppo nents are obsessed with it. The two sides are caught up in the ex treme mimetic rivalry of doubles. No, one needs a center, a "canon within the can on," in order to read the Bible. What better center (door, key, or whatever the meta- phor) than the innocent victim? Should not the center of Christian reading be the innocent victim who discloses "the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah" th rough a violent death in which he was numbered among the transgresso rs? Should not the Christian reading be undergirded by the in nocent victim’s resurrection from the fatal expulsion and execution to which he was consigned? And I do not mean to imply that the innoc ent blood is upon the heads of the Jews to the exclusion of othe rs (although both Je ws and Romans were clearly involved in Jesus’ death). We are all implicated, just as the disciples who deserted him, on e of whom betrayed him and one of whom denied him. That is, only the victim, the one who becomes the sacrificial offering, can reveal the human pr edicament and its healing. But most victims do not have a voice. If they are human beings, they are not allowed to speak or they are ac cused of crimes that enable the community to discount their words. Animal victims cannot commu- nicate in our world—beyond signaling to us the anguish of pain and suffering. Girard has acknowledged th at there is no absolutely privi- leged place in language from whic h the truth may be known. "That is why the Word that states itself to be absolutely true never speaks WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 41 except from the position of a victim in the process of being expelled. Its presence among us is not humanly explicable." 12 The logic of this perspective on revelation through the victim, which I think I share with Girard, is similar to one aspect of what I said earlier about two kinds of good mi mesis. It is possible to identify both good mimesis in the sense of "effective mimesis," the mimesis that is properly differentiated so that culture can wo rk, and good mi- mesis in the sense of the model of divine–human community in the Christ. Just as there is an effective, if not ideal mimesis, so also there is "good" sacrifice in the sense of e ffective sacrifice. That is, even though sacrifice in the sense of o ffering to God a human or animal victim is the ritual repetition of or iginal violence, it does provide for a channeling of violence or the threat of violence into a communal act that reduces this threat to manageab le proportions. It would, ideally, be better if we could cooperate and establish both functional and personal relationships without this ou tlet, in which we are trying to maneuver around violence, to "deceive" it. 13 In other words, sac- rifice, along with its substitutions in a contemporary Western world without the institution of sacrifice as such, is a much more desir- able practice than the violence that can result from mimetic crisis. Caiaphas in the Gospel of John enunc iates the principle that is the ba- sis of all Realpolitik : "it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whol e nation destroyed" (John 11:50). However, if there is a kind of analogue between effective mime- sis and effective sacrifice, both good in the sense that they may enable human groups to survive and coop erate both within the group and between groups, the analogy breaks down in comparing the good or ideal mimesis of the kingdom of Go d and sacrifice. The ideal, the es- chatological vision from a Christian viewpoint, is the overcoming of sacrifice; the need to establish or reestablish differences through the sacred, the trompe-violence of a ritual performance of violence in order to control violence, will no longer prev ail. In historical existence as we know it, sacrifice in some form or substitutionary mode may be necessary—and indeed, one could argue that our national crises, as I describe in the last chapter of my book, stem from the breakdown of modes of sacrifice. The point is not to make sacrifice "the scapegoat of the genocidal outbreaks of violence which have become routine since the Enlightenment" (p. 29). Sacrifi ce and substitutions for sacrifice formerly protected us—up to a po int. Because sacrifice, from the 12. Girard, Things Hidden, 435 (my translation). 13. See Girard’s comment on Abel’s anim al sacrifice as a "trompe-violence" in La violence et le sacré (Paris: Grasset, 1972) 14. The English translation (p. 4) renders "violence-outlet." 42 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 Latin sacrificare (French sacrifier ), is etymologically "to make sacred," the foundation and differentiations of culture have often purchased protection of human life at the price of human life, or at least at the price of a deep structure that va lidated both regeneration and the maintenance of equilibrium through violence. Christianity itself, as the primary bearer of scriptural revelation and desacralization in Western culture, has contributed to the demise of these older sacrifi- cial modes; but new ones have not ta ken their place, and the practice of the mimesis of the kingdom of God is very difficult for large num- bers of people over a long period of time in the world as we know it. So it is that sacrifice, as essentia l to the structures of this world, has a provisional status, a status which is necessary "between the times" but which is pre-kingdom of God, pre-gospel. However, in the Christian vision of the restored creation there is no temple in the City of God, an absence which is announced in the Apocalypse. And of course in the Gospels the Chri st, the meeting point of God and humans, replaces the temple. It is in the light of the forego ing understanding, the provisional human need for "deceiving violence " and establishing differenti- ations, that I made positive connec tions between the covenant and sacrifice. It is better to institute the Levites as priests standing in the place of the firstborn and offering sacr ifices on behalf of Israel than to experience the violence involved when the Levites slay 3,000 per- sons, killing brothers, sons , neighbors. This violence is the basis of their ordination (Exod 32:25-29). Admittedly I ma y not have made my meaning clear enough. I was tryi ng to deal critically and sympa- thetically with very important and complex texts in Exodus and Numbers, so Chilton is not misquoting me but missing the context in which I intended to place my discussion of sacrific e in chapter 4, on covenant and sacrifice, as well as in chapter 3, on Moses and the Exodus. There are two main elements of that context: Israel’s histori- cal struggle to understand and to r ealize the revelation it had been given, and the limitations that were not to be exce eded until the prophets and the Jesus of the Gospel s. Let me offer the following quotations to support these points and end this part of the paper: These boundaries [of the Ten Commandments] are marked out in terms of allegiance to the God of the Covenant, allegiance to the cove- nant order, and control of mimetic desire and rivalry. In the binding of people to God, the altar [i.e., sacr ifice] and the words of God in Moses’ book are formally equivalent [i n Exodus 24], but obedience to the divine word here begins the process of displacing sacrifice. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 43 The biblical narratives themse lves document human failures and resist all attempts to camouflage and my thologize these failures. . . . The fail- ures are in part due to the weight of archaic cultural traditions in which mimetic desire, rivalry, and conflict are managed through vic- timization, scapegoating, and sacrifice. The revelation struggling to ma ke itself known in the covenant, com- mandment, and cultic texts reaches a new stage of clarity with the great prophets. 14 THE MEAL AS MODEL FOR SACRIFICE As he argues also in his recent book, 15 Chilton proposes communal consumption as the best means of understanding sacrifice, "a feast with the gods, in which life as it should be—chosen and prepared correctly—is taken to produce life as it should be" (p. 26). I propose in turn that the mime tic theory provides a better hypothesis of sac- rifice and enables us to uncover the very representational traps into which I see Chilton falling. The mimetic theory has great explanator y power. Chilton sug- gests at one point that it explains too much. That is a common objec- tion in our time. In objecting to an y kind of universalizing hypothesis Chilton may have been affected by historicism, whose rival twin children are positivism and postmodern ism. In the modern intellec- tual tradition leading to deconstructi on, every text, every principle, every claim is set against its "other." Indeed, it is not too much to say that every explanation is sacrificed to its other, to the opposition that undercuts it. Now a theory and its attendant hypotheses may turn out to be wrong, but we should be free to pursue them. That is one of the fruits of the biblical revelation: the disenchantment of the world, opening it up to a search to underst and how it works. Universal or maximalizing theories should be welc omed and, of course, subjected to rigorous criticism. But not to th e criticism that they should not exist in the first place. Now concerning the communal meal with the gods as a model for sacrifice, I agree that the meal is closely asso ciated with sacrifice, as we have known since the pioneer ing research of W. Robertson Smith. However, the meal is better explained by sacrifice than sac- rifice by the meal. The meal, specif ically the communal consumption of the sacrificial victim, presupposes very definite rules, differences, 14. Williams, The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 117, 126, 127. 15. Chilton, The Temple of Jesus: His Sacrificial Pr ogram Within a Cultural History of Sacrifice (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992). 44 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 practices that must be done just right. Where do they come from? What is their origin? The meal mode l simply presupposes some prior system that must be posited or sp eculated. In the emergence of hu- man culture the meal becomes the model of community par excellence , and this is appropriate as a metaphor of God’ s reign and rule. How- ever, it seems clear that when we lo ok at instances of sacrifice asso- ciated with eating, "community" or the oneness of those partaking together is won through a differe ntiation process—the establish- ment of rules and roles—that stems from disorder or violence. In the process of preparation, slaughtering, and eating, attention is focused on the victim, as though the fate of the victim is something mon- strous and wonderful. It is m onstrous and wonderful from the standpoint of the sacrificing co mmunity. Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne have provided inte resting descriptions of Greek culinary practices, but they tend to obscure the element of disorder because of their structural premis es. I think Walter Burkert’s com- mentary on Greek sacrificial practices in Homo Necans is more to the point. 16 All the elements, from the in itial washing of hands and sprinkling of the animal victim th rough the death-dealing blow and the great outcry of the women presen t to the eating of the entrails, bespeak the routini zed repetition of an event of collective violence in which the victim is killed and eate n. Could the meal have laid the groundwork of the sacrifice? Unlikely. More likely it was vice versa, as indicated in the ritual order de scribed by Burkert. As Raymund Schwager points out, "The moment of slaughter forms the emotional highpoint of the ritual , which is accompanied by the loud outcry of all those standing in attendance. Th e meal only occurs at the end, when the previous shuddering and fright changes to relief. This relief allows us still to trace the originary tilting of violence into peace." 17 This process of transition from fe ar to relief and concord is still in display, though somewhat filtered, in Exodus 19 and 24. There are some problems concerning the composite character of the narrative in Exodus 24; however, if we put th ese two chapters together it ap- pears that the people are in a state of trepidation at the foot of the mountain, whose boundaries may not be passed or even touched lest the LORD "break out" ag ainst the people (19:24 ). Moses conducts the covenant ritual, which includes dash ing half the blood of the sac- rificed oxen on the altar and half on the people. Then Moses, Aaron, 16. Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancien t Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth (trans. Peter Bing; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983). 17. Schwager, "Rückblick auf das Symposion," Dramatische Erlösungslehre: Ein Symposion (eds. J. Niewiadomski and W. Palaver; Innsbruck-Wien: Tyrolia, 1992) 368- 69 (my translation). WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 45 Nadab, and Abihu, along with seve nty of the elders, go up and see God and eat and drink. Chilton’s model of the meal or communal consumption as the origin of sacrifice leaves his herm eneutics, in my view, still bound to the mythical understanding of the sa cred social order. When he says, for instance, that "in sacrifice, consumption is probably a better metaphor to describe what is happ ening than death; the passing of the victim rarely arouses interest " (p. 26), I think he is defending that sacrificial perspect ive and not attending to the unique biblical demythologizing of the sacred, a demy thologizing that invites us to see ourselves and read our texts in light of the victim. In the primi- tive context the death of the victim, the sacrificial offering (note the French victime and the German Opfer ) occasions an emotional reac- tion of anguished lament, as Burker t notes. The act of killing and the act of eating are two sides of the sa me coin, so to speak, and both are accompanied by intense emotion. 18 Moreover, Chilton’s approach to sa crifice does not take into ac- count the practice of offering human victims. We know it was prac- all over the world. 19 The practice of child sacrifice was known to the Israelites and condemned in the tradition. However, that it was an earlier practice of many Isr aelites there can be no doubt. The divine command in Exod 22:29 (Heb. 22 :28) affirms that the firstborn belong, in principle at least, to th e God of Israel, and it is doubtful that the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22) negates the principle. More- over, in times of crisis there were some who reverted to this prac- tice, as attested in 2 Kgs 16:3 a nd several passages in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Now of course, if the mimetic th eory is basically correct, then the ritual of sacrifice functions to repeat both the crisis, the slaying of a victim, and the subsequent re lief to the commun ity; it does this moreover in a fashion that makes ev erything seem to be in order to the participants in the sacrificial event. Real death and violence are not associated with sacrifice from th e mythic standpoint. It is a rit- ual, a practice that is simply "done," and has been done from time 18. See Euripides’ depiction of the Dionysian cult in The Bacchae . In my judgment there is a strong trace of this kind of emo tional reaction in Lev 9:22-24, where the people shout and fall on their faces when the fire consumes the holocaust and the fat. 19. The mimetic theory proposes that defin ite traces of this continue into the con- temporary world and that in fact when old sacrificial forms break down there is a typical reversion to collective violence. On e notable current example is the "ethnic cleansing" that is taking place in the form er Yugoslavia. For a carefully researched study of one part of the world where the more primitive form of offering a human vic- tim (the king) was practiced into the 1980s, see Simon Simonse, Kings of Disaster: Cen- tralism and the Scapegoat King in Southeastern Sudan (Leiden: Brill, 1992). 46 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 immemorial. Indeed, ther e is evidence that in many rituals the vic- tim, whether human or animal, comm unicates in some fashion that it is willing to be sacrificed on the community’s behalf. Unanimity is crucially important in sacrifice and scapegoating. 20 To say that the death of the victim arouses no intere st is to speak fro m within that mythical unanimity. This matter of the attitude toward the victim is also related to Chilton’s criticism of an aspect of my treatment of Saul in 1 Samuel. I observed that a close read ing of the text does not indicate that Saul was a great offender against the social order. 21 Saul, like other tragic heroes, was both the savior of his pe ople and in some respects their scapegoat. He is condemned in 1 Samuel 13 for not waiting until Samuel arrives at Gilgal to offer burnt sacrifices. But I understand this passage essentially as I do 1 Sa muel 15: Saul is the leader, the mediator contested by another mediator, Samuel; there is a crisis, with the Philistines pressi ng upon the Israelites and the troops, not a highly organized and disciplined lot, making demands upon him from their side. In addition, accord ing to 1 Sam 13:8, he had waited the appointed seven days for Samuel . To assert that Saul was an offender against the social order is to chime in with the mythical voice speaking in much of 1 Samuel. This voice represents a sacrifi- cial perspective and Saul is the sacr ifice. In the book I stopped just short of describing Saul as a scape goat after the model of Oedipus. I think the history of Saul and David cannot finally make of Saul an utter scapegoat, and there are even more evident sign s in the story of David that the text reflects an attempt to critique the traditional understanding of sacral kingship. 22 In sum, the mimetic theory does not hold th at sacrifice is de- monic, but neither does it accept the representation of sacrifice according to the understa nding of its practitioners who exist in the environment of myth. Sacrifice is the representation and manage- ment of violence. The meal model only perpetuates this representa- tion and management by not ques tioning it from the standpoint of the distinctive biblical testimonies whose perspective is more favor- able to the victim than to the persecuting community. * * * 20. The modern totalitarian trial is an ex tension of this practice based on the need for unanimity, i.e., complete accord in th e community. The accused is led out, con- fesses his or her crimes, and is then executed or imprisoned. 21. A point made some years ago by David Gunn, The Fate of King Saul (Sheffield: JSOT, 1980). 22. See Hans J. L. Jensen, "Desire, Rivalr y, and Collective Violence in the ‘Succes- sion Narrative’," JSOT 55 (1992) 39-59. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 47 In conclusion, I would like to re iterate my gratitude to Bruce Chilton for the time and energy he ha s devoted to coming to terms with Girard’s work and mine. I ag ree with him that we should not assign fault to ancient antecedents as a way of avoiding the challenge to understand our own mimetic situ ations. We cannot, however, un- derstand ourselves and one another without seeking to understand our forebears. Above all, we must come to grips with the distinctive- ness of the biblical witness to the God of victims.

Excerpt from James G. Williams, The Bible, Violence & the Sacred: Liberation from the Myth of Sacred Violence, San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991, pp. 81-84.

9. Girard, The Scapegoat, chap. 2. I cannot resist quoting a sports columnist who wrote about Pete Rose, the baseball "star" who was accused of gambling on baseball games and betting on his own team, "If there’s one thing the American public likes better than an idol, it’s a fallen idol." Unfortunately, I no longer have the source for this quote.


Obama/Israël: Qu’ils mangent de la rhétorique ! (When all else fails, play tourist !)

23 mars, 2013
http://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/USATODAY/USATODAY/2013/03/20/ap_mideast_palestinians_obama_54847039-16_9_r722_c720x400.jpg?0274d63eec9e89a4f151267bbcae9ff8b01f9b5dhttp://extremecentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Obama-spring-break-Israel-Dave-Granlund.jpg
Hamas leader Dr. Salah Bardawil called on Palestinian political leaders in the Authority and the factions to review the Palestinian political program to face the repercussions of the remarks made by Obama on Thursday during his visit to Jerusalem and West Bank. Bardawil described in a press statement to Quds Press the U.S. President statements calling for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state as "the most dangerous statement by an American president regarding the Palestinian issue." He added that the recognition of the State of Israel means practically abolishing the right of refugees to return and tampering with the fate of the Palestinians from the 1948-occupied territories. "This shows that Obama has turned his back to all Arabs … This is serious and requires that the Palestinian leadership reformulates its political program to address this deception." Al Qassam
Tranquillement, sans que personne ne l’annonce, le conflit israélo-palestinien est passé d’une nécessité à un passe-temps pour les diplomates américains. Comme n’importe quel passe-temps — construction de modèles réduits d’avions ou de chandails au tricot — certains jours vous travaillez dessus, certains jours, vous ne travaillez pas. Cela dépend de votre humeur, mais qu’importe finalement si le chandail est terminé ou non. Obama a travaillé sur ce passe-temps au début de son premier mandat. Il a vite été coincé lorsqu’il a été repoussé par les deux parties, et, par conséquent, il a adopté, tout à fait rationnellement, à mon avis, une attitude de négligence bénigne. Tout cela dans l’indifférence générale. (…) Le conflit le plus déstabilisateur de la région est la guerre civile entre chiites et sunnites qui chauffe, le Liban, la Syrie, l’Irak, le Koweït, le Bahreïn et le Yémen. Alors qu’il serait une bonne chose d’ériger un Etat palestinien en paix avec Israël, la question est aujourd’hui restera-t-il un État syrien, un Etat libyen et l’État égyptien. Enfin, alors que la nécessité pour l’Amérique de forger la paix israélo-palestinienne n’a jamais été plus faible, les obstacles n’ont jamais été plus élevés : Israël a maintenant installé 300 000 imlantations en Cisjordanie et les attaques à la roquette du Hamas sur Israël depuis Gaza ont sérieusement érodé l’appétit de la majorité silencieuse israélienne de se retirer de la Cisjordanie, puisqu’une seule petit roquette fusée tirée de là-bas pourrait fermer l’aéroport international israélien de Lod. Pour toutes ces raisons, Obama pourrait bien être le premier président américain à visiter Israël en touriste. Thomas Friedman
Keeping Iran from sprinting to a single bomb now so that it can amble toward 50 bombs once Mr. Obama is out of office is not a policy worthy of any American presidency. I’d also like to hear the president tell Palestinians during his visit to Bethlehem that what really stands between them and a state isn’t Israel or its settlements. Israel dismantled its settlements in Sinai for the sake of peace with Egypt, and dismantled them again in Gaza in the interests of disengaging from the restive coastal strip. Most Israelis would gladly do so again for the sake of a real peace with the Palestinians. But Israelis can have no confidence in such a peace so long as Palestinians elect Hamas to power, cheer the rocketing of Israeli cities, insist on a « right of return » to Tel Aviv and Haifa, play charades at the U.N., refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, and raise their children on a diet of anti-Semitic slurs. Bret Stephens
Pourquoi donc ce grand écart entre le verbe et les actes? En premier lieu à cause du Congrès. Sénateurs et représentants, démocrates comme républicains, sont extrêmement défavorables à des pressions sur Israël au moment où son voisinage s’islamise (Égypte), implose en guerre civile (Syrie) ou se nucléarise (Iran). En second lieu, Obama a d’autres dossiers brûlants à traiter – outre sa lutte interne avec les républicains sur les questions socio-économiques -, à commencer par la bombe iranienne, cauchemar non seulement d’Israël, mais aussi des alliés arabes sunnites pétrolifères de Washington (Arabie saoudite). Il doit aussi gérer les tensions montantes avec la Russie, la Chine, la Corée du Nord ou encore le Pakistan ; devant ces titans asiatiques surarmés et les risques de conflits entre eux (Inde/Pakistan, Chine/Japon, etc.), le dossier palestinien apparaît franchement marginal, surtout par ces temps de calme relatif. Le locataire de la Maison-Blanche tapera-t-il du poing sur la table durant son second mandat? Non, d’autant moins que la nouvelle coalition de «Bibi» est plus présentable que la précédente, ­dépourvue de ministres ultraorthodoxes mais riche de la très appréciée Tzipi Livni, en charge du… processus de paix. Mais, en définitive, la vraie question n’est-elle pas de savoir si Obama croit encore possible le règlement du conflit israélo-palestinien? Si tel n’est pas le cas, on lui souhaite un agréable séjour touristique au Proche-Orient. Frédéric Encel
Bien qu’il puisse y avoir certains dans les mondes arabes et musulmans, qui prendront à cœur de sermon du président sur la coexistence et les objectifs communs, le chant des manifestants qui l’a accueilli à Ramallah aujourd’hui, dans lequel la foule réclamait des fusils lance-grenades et non plus de coopération avec les États-Unis, était peut-être une lecture plus précise de l’opinion publique. (…) Le président a peut-êrtre estimé qu’il devait faire précéder tout discours de paix par un émouvant hymne au sionisme et le droit d’Israël à se défendre contre ses ennemis, afin qu’ils se sentent suffisamment en sécurité pour accepter le compromis. Mais à une culture politique palestinienne qui cherche toujours la délégitimisation d’Israël, ceci est une invitation à la confrontation, pas l’accomodement. Tant que le nationalisme palestinien restera lié au rejet du sionisme, il sera difficile, voire impossible, pour même un leader palestinien plus fort qu’Abbas de faire la paix. Et c’est pourquoi que sans aucun doute à la frande frustration du président Obama, il continuerat à éviter comme la peste les pourparlers. Le discours de Jérusalem d’Obama sur les vertus d’une solution à deux États n’est pas plus susceptibles de produire un que celui de Bush donné en 2002 en devenant le premier président américain à approuver officiellement la création d’un Etat palestinien. A ce moment là aussi, Bush favait ormulé son appui au concept dans un contexte de sécurité israéliennes et des droits des Palestiniens (bien que Bush ait également approuvé la démocratie palestinienne, un point qu’Obama judicieusement évité puisque Abbas en est actuellement à sa neuvième année d’un mandat de quatre ans). Mais même si l’appui sincère de Bush a contribué à encourager ensuite le premier ministre Ariel Sharon à se retirer de la bande de Gaza (une erreur colossale qui s’a aggravé  la sécurité du pays et qui ne sera répète ni par Netanyahu ni par aucun autre dirigeant israélien en Cisjordanie), il n’a en rien fait bouger  les Palestiniens. malgré tout son brio rhétorique, les chances d’Obama de réussir là où Bush a échoué sont minimes. (…) L’ironie ici, c’est que la droite juve qui attaquera Obama pour son discours aura probablement aussi tort quant à son impact que la gauche qui l’encense. Tant que les Palestiniens resteront réticents à faire la paix, peu importe ce que pourront dire les israéliens ou Obama sur le sujet. Jonathan S. Tobin

Vous avez dit "vacances de Monsieur Hulot" ?

Batterie du système antimissile "Dôme de fer", Musée national, Yad Vashem, le mémorial de l’Holocauste, tombes de Rabin et de Theodor Herzl, basilique de la Nativité à Bethléem, Pétra …

Au lendemain de la dernière balade en Palestine du Touriste en chef et maitre es téléprompteries de la Maison Blanche …

Qui, entre les incessants gages aux panislamistes et l’abandon de ses anciens alliés aux allahakbaristes du prétendu "printemps arabe", avait passé l’essentiel de son premier mandat à multiplier les gestes d’hostilité à l’égard du gouvernement israélien …

Mais qui, détérioration de la situation syrienne et survol de territoire en cas de bombardement du programme nucléaire iranien obligent et mis à part le rappel du statut d’Etat juif d’Israël, semble néanmoins avoir obtenu des excuses israéliennes pour une évidente provocation turque …

L’éditorialiste américain Jonathan S. Tobin rappelle, après le spécialiste français du Proche-Orient Frédéric Encel il y a quelques jours, la futilité de l’entreprise …

Tant que les dirigeants palestiniens continueront à refuser la paix …

Contentions

Both Right and Left May Be Wrong About Obama’s Speech

Jonathan S. Tobin

Jewish World Review

03.21.2013

Jewish left-wingers are cheering President Obama’s Jerusalem speech in which he once again made the case for a two-state solution. Some are hoping that this will mean a renewed campaign of U.S. pressure on the Netanyahu government. With a new secretary of state in John Kerry who may well be foolish enough to believe he can succeed where so many other American peace processers have failed, perhaps they are right. But it is also possible that although Obama was eager to reiterate his ideas about the necessity of peace, the only real insights about the impact of the presidential visit may be coming from Palestinians and some of their cheerleaders.

While they will also welcome the president’s reassertion of the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own and his criticisms of Jewish settlements, it is far more probable that the part of his address today that will resonate with them is the section in which he laid out at length not only a defense of Zionism but a case for Israel’s right to self-defense and America’s ironclad guarantee of its security. Though there may be some in the Muslim and Arab worlds who will take to heart the president’s sermon on coexistence and shared goals, the chant of demonstrators that greeted him in Ramallah today, in which the crowd chanted for rocket propelled grenades, not more cooperation with the U.S., was perhaps a more accurate reading of public opinion.

Were Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, whom the president inaccurately praised as a “partner for peace,” really interested in pursuing a two-state solution, he would take up the president’s challenge and agree, as Obama insisted during their joint press conference, to a new round of peace talks without insisting on preconditions. But the odds that the embattled Abbas, who is far more worried about Hamas than he is about Israel or the U.S., will do that are slim, making any new U.S. initiative a fool’s errand.

Those who would dismiss the president’s speeches as meaningless rhetoric shouldn’t underestimate the power of words, especially from an American president, to set the tone in the region. But those who think Obama’s appeal to Israelis to force their leaders to once again take risks for peace (something that runs contrary to the verdict of the recent Israeli election) may not only be misreading the mood of the Israeli public; they are also ignoring the Palestinians.

It should first be understood that merely stating America’s desire for a renewal of the peace process without demanding anything from the parties other than that they return to the peace table does not in any way constitute pressure on Israel. To the contrary, while Israel’s new government is under no illusion about the president wanting them to change course on settlements, they heard no concrete proposals from him that they must either refuse or accede to. In Ramallah, Obama echoed Netanyahu when he pointed out that the Palestinian demand that Israel concede every main point on borders and settlements prior to the negotiations was a formula for inaction, not peace. Israel’s position remains that it is ready to talk about everything without preconditions and that is exactly what Obama endorsed. Though it is possible Obama may follow this up with pressure on Netanyahu in the coming months and years, his speech actually made it very plain that pressure for peace would have to come from the Israel public and not from an American president who has learned his lesson about the futility of trying to impose his will on the Jewish state or on a Palestinian Authority that has consistently disappointed him.

While some on the Jewish right may only be listening to the latter part of the president’s speech in which he criticized settlements, what they need to understand is that Israel’s enemies probably stopped listening after the part where he endorsed Zionism and said those who wish to erase Israel are wasting their time. It will be those words and not his call for mutual understanding that will have the most impact.

The president may have felt that he had to precede any talk about peace with a stirring paean to Zionism and the right of Israel to defend itself against its enemies in order to make them feel safe enough to compromise. But to a Palestinian political culture that still seeks Israel’s delegitimization, that is an invitation to confrontation, not accommodation. So long as Palestinian nationalism is bound up with rejection of Zionism, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for even a stronger Palestinian leader than Abbas to make peace. And that is why he will, no doubt to President Obama’s frustration, continue to avoid talks like the plague.

Obama’s Jerusalem speech about the virtues of a two-state solution is no more likely to produce one than the one George W. Bush gave in 2002 when he became the first U.S. president to officially endorse the creation of a Palestinian state. Then, too, Bush couched his support for the concept in a context of Israeli security and Palestinian rights (though Bush also endorsed Palestinian democracy, a point that Obama wisely avoided since Abbas is now serving in the ninth year of a four-year term). But while Bush’s heartfelt support helped encourage then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw from Gaza (a colossal blunder that has worsened the country’s security and that neither Netanyahu nor any other Israeli leader will repeat in the West Bank), it did nothing to move the Palestinians. For all of his rhetorical brilliance, Obama’s chances of succeeding where Bush failed are minimal.

In the absence of any peace proposal that will hinge on American pressure on Israel to make concessions, nothing will come of Obama’s peace advocacy. Obama’s critics on the right, both here and in Israel, may say that his Zionist rhetoric is insincere and that the only aspects of his speeches that can be believed are those that call for Israeli concessions. But while he may not, as Aaron David Miller said, be “in love with the idea of Israel,” he gave a plausible impression of someone who is an ardent supporter of that idea this week. After this trip, it is simply not possible to claim he is Israel’s enemy, even if some of his advice to it is unwise.

The irony here is that the Jewish right that will attack Obama for his speech is probably as wrong about its impact as the left that cheers it. As long as the Palestinians remain unwilling to make peace, it doesn’t matter what the Israelis do or what Obama says about the subject.

Voir aussi:

20 Mars 2013

Obama, le faux détracteur d’Israël

Frédéric Encel, géopolitologue et professeur à l’ESG Management School, souligne que le président américain n’a jamais menacé de sanctions Benyamin Netanyahu pour sa conduite du ­dossier palestinien.

Frédéric Encel

Le Figaro

À en croire la plupart des observateurs, les relations israélo-américaines, à l’instar de celles qui prévalent entre Barack Obama et Benyamin Netanyahu depuis (et pour encore!) quatre années, seraient exécrables. Or rien n’est moins vrai.

Certes, le président américain reproche à son vis-à-vis israélien depuis leur investiture concomitante, début 2009, de ne pas faire assez d’efforts pour reprendre les pourparlers avec le président palestinien, Mahmoud Abbas, et le lui exprime ouvertement: poignées de main glaciales à chacune de leurs entrevues, critiques publiques, absence de visite en Israël jusqu’à présent, etc. Les quatre mandats successifs de Bill Clinton et George Bush junior avaient habitué les Israéliens à plus de chaleur! Mais ces pressions ne sont pas sérieuses. Car un président américain exerçant de véritables pressions les ­assortit de menaces de sanctions.

En décembre 1948, Harry Truman (pourtant pro-israélien) exhorte David Ben Gourion à replier ses troupes victorieuses du Sinaï égyptien en pleine première guerre israélo-arabe, sous peine de blocus économique. Israël ne pourrait survivre à une telle mesure, et le fondateur de l’État juif s’incline. En octobre 1956, Dwight Eisenhower menace le même premier ministre de la même sanction s’il ne se retire pas du même terri­toire, conquis lors de la campagne de Suez. Tout comme leurs alliés français et britanniques, les Israéliens sont contraints de se retirer du sol égyptien. En octobre 1991, George Bush senior menace Yitzhak Shamir de lui refuser 10 milliards de garanties bancaires nécessaires à intégrer le million d’immigrants juifs d’URSS fraîchement arrivés s’il rejette la conférence internationale de Madrid. Bien que faucon, Shamir s’y rendra finalement… Barack Obama, lui, n’a jamais menacé le nationaliste Netanyahu de sanctions, sur aucun plan.

Économiquement d’abord, même si Israël dépend nettement moins de son allié qu’autrefois, Obama aurait pu menacer de diminuer l’aide américaine annuelle de 3 milliards de dollars. Il n’en fit rien. Diplomatiquement ensuite, il aurait pu, à l’Assemblée générale comme au Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies, s’abstenir ou même condamner Jérusalem à l’instar de la majorité des autres capitales lors des votes concernant plusieurs affaires – la flottille turque (juin 2009), le rapport Goldstone (novembre 2009), ou encore la reconnaissance de l’État de Palestine (novembre 2012). Or les États-Unis (ainsi que leurs alliés micro-insulaires du Pacifique!) soutinrent indéfectiblement Israël durant tout le mandat d’Obama. Militairement, enfin, ce dernier aurait pu refuser la livraison à Tsahal des puissantes bombes perforantes BLU et GBU ou ralentir la coopération balistique du programme «Dôme de fer», fragilisant Israël tant face à l’Iran que vis-à-vis du Hamas et du Hezbollah. Il s’en abstint. Comme l’indiquait le président hébreu Shimon Pérès lors de sa récente visite à Paris, jamais la coopération technologique et militaire israélo-américaine n’aura au contraire atteint une telle intensité.

Pourquoi donc ce grand écart entre le verbe et les actes? En premier lieu à cause du Congrès. Sénateurs et représentants, démocrates comme républicains, sont extrêmement défavorables à des pressions sur Israël au moment où son voisinage s’islamise (Égypte), implose en guerre civile (Syrie) ou se nucléarise (Iran). En second lieu, Obama a d’autres dossiers brûlants à traiter – outre sa lutte interne avec les républicains sur les questions socio-économiques -, à commencer par la bombe iranienne, cauchemar non seulement d’Israël, mais aussi des alliés arabes sunnites pétrolifères de Washington (Arabie saoudite). Il doit aussi gérer les tensions montantes avec la Russie, la Chine, la Corée du Nord ou encore le Pakistan ; devant ces titans asiatiques surarmés et les risques de conflits entre eux (Inde/Pakistan, Chine/Japon, etc.), le dossier palestinien apparaît franchement marginal, surtout par ces temps de calme relatif.

Le locataire de la Maison-Blanche tapera-t-il du poing sur la table durant son second mandat? Non, d’autant moins que la nouvelle coalition de «Bibi» est plus présentable que la précédente, ­dépourvue de ministres ultraorthodoxes mais riche de la très appréciée Tzipi Livni, en charge du… processus de paix. Mais, en définitive, la vraie question n’est-elle pas de savoir si Obama croit encore possible le règlement du conflit israélo-palestinien? Si tel n’est pas le cas, on lui souhaite un agréable séjour touristique au Proche-Orient.

Frédéric Encel est l’auteur de l’«Atlas géopolitique d’Israël» (Autrement, 2012)

Voir également:

En Israël, Obama voyage en quête d’agrément

Libération

19 mars 2013

Le président américain entame aujourd’hui une visite de quatre jours, sans plan de paix, mais avec l’espoir de redorer son image dans la région.

Lorraine Millot Correspondante à Washington

Avant même son arrivée en Israël aujourd’hui, Barack Obama ne jure plus que par «Bibi». Dans une interview à la télévision israélienne, au grand amusement des diplomates, le président américain n’a cessé d’employer le surnom du Premier ministre de l’Etat hébreu pour assurer que sa relation avec «Bibi» est «professionnelle et formidable». Fini donc le temps des insultes, quand le président américain se voulait trop occupé pour recevoir le même Benyamin Nétanyahou de passage à l’ONU, ou lorsqu’un journaliste bien introduit à la Maison Blanche, Jeffrey Goldberg, pouvait rapporter, en janvier encore, qu’Obama considérait le dirigeant israélien comme un «lâche».

Le voyage de quatre jours que Barack Obama entame aujourd’hui en Israël, dans les Territoires palestiniens et en Jordanie, vise à remettre la relation israélo-américaine sur de meilleurs rails après toute une série de malentendus, épreuves de force et crises de nerfs.

«Touriste». Le Président n’arrive pas porteur d’une «nouvelle initiative» de paix, a prévenu d’entrée la Maison Blanche, qui s’est efforcée de réduire les attentes autant que possible à l’approche de cette visite. Le principal objectif d’Obama sera de «parler directement aux Israéliens», a souligné son conseiller Ben Rhodes. L’apogée du voyage sera un discours aux jeunes Israéliens demain, au Centre des conventions de Jérusalem, explique-t-on à Washington, dans l’espoir de faire un peu mieux apprécier Obama en Israël (il y est encore très impopulaire) et de pouvoir par la suite s’appuyer sur l’opinion publique locale pour peser sur Nétanyahou. «Le conflit israélo-palestinien n’est plus une nécessité, mais seulement un hobby pour les diplomates américains», en a déduit l’éditorialiste du New York Times Thomas Friedman. «Obama pourrait bien être le premier président américain à visiter Israël en touriste», poursuivait-il dans un récent éditorial bien senti.

A défaut de présenter ses propositions de paix lors de ce voyage, Obama a prévu de multiplier les étapes symboliques : en Israël, il visitera une batterie du système antimissile «Dôme de fer», il ira au Musée national admirer les manuscrits de la mer Morte, se recueillera à Yad Vashem, le mémorial de l’Holocauste, et aussi sur les tombes d’Yitzhak Rabin et de Theodor Herzl, le fondateur du mouvement sioniste. L’idée est d’honorer les racines historiques d’Israël pour corriger une impression malheureuse donnée par Obama qui, dans son fameux discours du Caire au monde musulman, avait semblé fonder toute la légitimité d’Israël sur l’Holocauste. La visite sur la tombe de Herzl sera pour le moins inhabituelle, comme le soulignait Martin Indyk lors d’un récent briefing au think tank Brookings. «J’espère qu’ils réussiront à la trouver», ironisait cet ancien ambassadeur américain à Tel-Aviv, avouant n’y être lui-même encore jamais allé.

Côté palestinien, Barack Obama a prévu de se rendre à la basilique de la Nativité à Bethléem – adressant ainsi un geste aux chrétiens pris dans la tourmente des printemps arabes -, et de rencontrer quelques jeunes à Ramallah, de façon plus informelle, en marge de ses entretiens avec Mahmoud Abbas et le Premier ministre, Salam Fayyad. En Jordanie enfin, Obama compte visiter le site de Pétra plutôt qu’un des camps où des centaines de milliers de réfugiés syriens affluent. S’il s’en tient à ce programme, le président américain risque effectivement de donner une allure «touristique» à ce voyage.

«Nuance». Les sujets sérieux de discussion avec les dirigeants israéliens et palestiniens ne manqueront tout de même pas, le plus pressant restant le programme nucléaire iranien. Washington et l’Etat hébreu ont des «différences de nuance» sur l’Iran, rappelle Natan Sachs, un autre expert de l’institut Brookings : «Les Israéliens mettent l’accent sur la capacité nucléaire iranienne, tandis que les Américains se focalisent sur l’arme nucléaire elle-même, ce qui fait une différence importante de calendrier.»

Au cours de son interview à la télévision israélienne enregistrée la semaine dernière, Obama a estimé que Téhéran «aurait encore besoin d’à peu près un an pour développer une arme nucléaire». Lors de son fameux discours aux Nations unies de septembre, Benyamin Nétanyahou avait annoncé que l’Iran pourrait construire sa première bombe dès le printemps ou l’été 2013. Puisque l’heure est au «redémarrage» de la relation, en public du moins, Obama et «Bibi» devraient pourtant afficher lors de cette visite une même approche : donner encore quelques mois de négociation à l’Iran, tout en le menaçant de frappes militaires s’il ne saisit pas cette dernière chance.

Voir enfin:

Mr. Obama Goes to Israel

Thomas Friedman

The New York Times

March 12, 2013

In case you haven’t heard, President Obama leaves for Israel next week. It is possible, though, that you haven’t heard because it is hard for me to recall a less-anticipated trip to Israel by an American president. But there is a message in that empty bottle: Little is expected from this trip — not only because little is possible, but because, from a narrow U.S. point of view, little is necessary. Quietly, with nobody announcing it, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shifted from a necessity to a hobby for American diplomats. Like any hobby — building model airplanes or knitting sweaters — some days you work on it, some days you don’t. It depends on your mood, but it doesn’t usually matter when that sweater gets finished. Obama worked on this hobby early in his first term. He got stuck as both parties rebuffed him, and, therefore, he adopted, quite rationally in my view, an attitude of benign neglect. It was barely noticed.

The shift in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from necessity to hobby for the U.S. is driven by a number of structural changes, beginning with the end of the cold war. There was a time when it was truly feared that an Arab-Israeli war could trigger a wider superpower conflict. During the October 1973 war, President Nixon raised America’s military readiness to Defcon 3 to signal the Soviets to stay away. That is not likely to happen today, given the muted superpower conflict over the Middle East. Moreover, the discovery of massive amounts of oil and gas in the U.S., Canada and Mexico is making North America the new Saudi Arabia. So who needs the old one?

Of course, oil and gas are global commodities, and any disruption of flows from the Middle East would drive up prices. But though America still imports some oil from the Middle East, we will never again be threatened with gas lines by another Arab oil embargo sparked by anger over Palestine. For China and India, that is another matter. For them, the Middle East has gone from a hobby to a necessity. They are both hugely dependent on Middle East oil and gas. If anyone should be advancing Arab-Israeli (and Sunni-Shiite) peace diplomacy today it is the foreign ministers of India and China.

Writing in Foreign Policy magazine last week, Robin M. Mills, the head of consulting at Manaar Energy, noted that “according to preliminary figures reported this week, China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest net oil importer.” Mills described this as a “shift as momentous as the U.S. eclipse of Britain’s Royal Navy or the American economy’s surpassing of the British economy in the late 19th century. … The United States is set to become the world’s biggest oil producer by 2017.”

At the same time, while the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict emotionally resonates across the Arab-Muslim world, and solving it is necessary for regional stability, it is clearly not sufficient. The most destabilizing conflict in the region is the civil war between Shiites and Sunnis that is rocking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen. While it would be a good thing to erect a Palestinian state at peace with Israel, the issue today is will there be anymore a Syrian state, a Libyan state and an Egyptian state.

Finally, while America’s need to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace has never been lower, the obstacles have never been higher: Israel has now implanted 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, and the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza have seriously eroded the appetite of the Israeli silent majority to withdraw from the West Bank, since one puny rocket alone from there could close Israel’s international airport in Lod.

For all these reasons, Obama could be the first sitting American president to visit Israel as a tourist.

Good news for Israel, right? Wrong. While there may be fewer reasons for the U.S. to take risks to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is still a powerful reason for Israel to do so. The status quo today may be tolerable for Israel, but it is not healthy. And more status quo means continued Israeli settlements in, and tacit annexation of, the West Bank. That’s why I think the most important thing Obama could do on his trip is to publicly and privately ask every Israeli official he meets these questions:

“Please tell me how your relentless settlement drive in the West Bank does not end up with Israel embedded there — forever ruling over 2.5 million Palestinians with a colonial-like administration that can only undermine Israel as a Jewish democracy and delegitimize Israel in the world community? I understand why Palestinian dysfunction and the Arab awakening make you wary, but still. Shouldn’t you be constantly testing and testing whether there is a Palestinian partner for a secure peace? After all, you have a huge interest in trying to midwife a decent West Bank Palestinian state that is modern, multireligious and pro-Western — a totally different model from the Muslim Brotherhood variants around you. Everyone is focused on me and what will I do. But, as a friend, I just want to know one thing: What is your long-term strategy? Do you even have one?”

Voir enfin:

Obama’s mysterious visit

Caroline B. Glick

The Jerusalem Post

19/03/2013

In contrast to the high expectations the White House cultivated in pre-Cairo visit statements, Obama has downplayed his visit to Israel.

Why is US President Barack Obama coming to Israel today? In 2008, then president George W. Bush came to celebrate Israel’s 60th Independence Day, and to reject Israeli requests for assistance in destroying Iran’s nuclear installations.

In 1996, then-president Bill Clinton came to Israel to help then-prime minister Shimon Peres’s electoral campaign against Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu.

It is possible that Obama is coming here in order to build up pro-Israel bonafides. But why would he bother? Obama won his reelection bid with the support of the overwhelming majority of American Jews. Their support vindicated his hostility toward Israel in his first term. He has nothing to prove.

It is worth comparing Obama’s visit to Israel at the start of his second term of office, with his visit to Cairo at the outset of his first term in office.

Ahead of that trip, the new administration promised that the visit, and particularly Obama’s “Address to the Muslim World,” would serve as a starting point for a new US policy in the Middle East. And Obama lived up to expectations.

In speaking to the “Muslim World,” Obama signaled that the US now supported pan-Islamists at the expense of US allies and Arab nationalist leaders, first and foremost then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Moreover, in castigating Israel for its so-called “settlements”; channeling Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by intimating that Israel exists because of the Holocaust; and failing to travel from Cairo to Jerusalem, preferring instead to visit a Nazi death camp in Germany, Obama signaled that he was downgrading US ties with the Jewish state.

In sharp contrast to the high expectations the Obama White House cultivated in pre-Cairo visit statements and leaks, Obama and his advisers have downplayed the importance of his visit to Israel, signaling there will be no significant changes in Obama’s policies toward Israel or the wider Middle East.

For instance, in his interview with Israel television’s Channel 2 last week, on issue after issue, Obama made clear that there will be no departure from his first term’s policies. He will continue to speak firmly and do nothing to prevent Iran from developing the means to produce nuclear weapons.

He will not release convicted Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard from federal prison despite the fact that Pollard’s life sentence, and the 28 years he has already served in prison are grossly disproportionate to all sentences passed on and served by offenders who committed similar crimes.

As for the Palestinians, Obama repeated his fierce opposition to Jewish communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines, and his insistence that Israel must get over its justified fears regarding Palestinian intentions and withdraw from Judea and Samaria, for its own good.

Given that all of these are positions he has held throughout his presidency, the mystery surrounding his decision to come to Israel only grows. He didn’t need to come to Israel to rehash policies we already know.

Much of the coverage of Obama’s trip has focused on symbolism. For instance, the administration decided to boycott Ariel University by not inviting its students to attend Obama’s speech to students from all other universities that is set to take place on Thursday in Jerusalem. In boycotting Ariel, Obama’s behavior is substantively the same as that of Britain’s Association of University Teachers. In 2005 that body voted to boycott University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. But while the AUT’s action was universally condemned, Obama’s decision to bar Israelis whose university is located in a city with 20,000 residents just because their school is located beyond the 1949 armistice lines has generated litte attention.

Then again, seeing as Obama’s snub of Ariel University is in keeping with the White House’s general war with anyone who disputes its view that Judea and Samaria are Arab lands, the lack of outrage at his outrageous behavior makes sense. It doesn’t represent a departure from his positions in his first term.

The only revealing aspect of Obama’s itinerary is his decision to on the one hand bypass Israel’s elected representatives by spurning the invitation to speak before the Knesset; and on the other hand to address a handpicked audience of university students – an audience grossly overpopulated by unelectable, radical leftists.

In the past, US presidents have spoken before audiences of Israeli leftists in order to elevate and empower the political Left against the Right. But this is the first time that a US president has spurned not only the elected Right, but elected leftist politicians as well, by failing to speak to the Knesset, while actively courting the unelectable radical Left through his talk to a university audience.

Clinton constantly embraced the Israeli Left while spurning the Right – famously refusing to meet with then prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 1997 while both leaders’ jets were parked on the same tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport.

Clinton’s assiduous courtship of Israel’s Left enabled him to portray himself as a true friend of Israel, even as he openly sought to undermine and overthrow the elected government of the country.

But Clinton always favored leftist politicians – Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak – over rightist politicians. He did not spurn leftist politicians in favor of even more radical unelectable leftists.

So what does Obama seek to achieve with this novel practice? Clearly he is not attempting to use the opportunity of addressing this audience to express contrition for his first term’s policies. In his interview with Channel 2, Obama spoke of the instability on Israel’s borders – but never mentioned the key role he played in overthrowing Mubarak and empowering the Muslim Brotherhood, thus emptying of meaning Israel’s peace treaty with the most populous Arab state.

He never mentioned that his feckless handling of Syria’s civil war ensured that the moderate opposition forces would be eclipsed by radical Islamists affiliated with al-Qaida, as has happened, or expressed concern that al-Qaida forces are now deployed along Syria’s border with Israel, and that there is a real and rising danger that Syria’s arsenals of chemical and biological weapons, as well as its ballistic missiles, will fall into their hands. Indeed, Tuesday it was reported that the al-Qaida infiltrated opposition attacked regime forces with chemical weapons.

Obama will not use his speech before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s most outspoken critics to express remorse over the hostility with which he treated Israel’s leader for the past four years. He will not admit that his decision to coerce Israel into suspending Jewish property rights in Judea and Samaria in his first term gave the PLO justification for refusing to meet with or negotiate with the Israeli government.

So since he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, and he intends to continue the same policies in his second term, why did he decide to come to Israel? And why is he addressing, and so seeking to empower the radical, unelectable Left? Obama’s speech in Cairo to the Muslim world was held at the Islamist Al-Azhar Univerity. By speaking at Al-Azhar, Obama weakened Mubarak in three different ways. First, Al-Azhar’s faculty members regularly issue religious rulings calling for the murder of non-Muslims, prohibiting the practice of Judaism, and facilitating the victimization of women. In stating these views, Al-Azhar’s leadership has demonstrated that their world view and values are far less amenable to American strategic interests and moral values than Mubarak’s world view was. By speaking at Al-Azhar, Obama signaled that he would reward the anti-American Islamists at the expense of the pro-American Arab nationalists.

Second, in contempt of Mubarak’s explicit wishes, Obama insisted on inviting members of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend his speech. In acting as he did, Obama signaled that under his leadership, the US was abandoning its support for Mubarak and transferring its sympathies to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Finally, by addressing his remarks to the Muslim nation, Obama was perceived as openly rejecting Egyptian nationalism, and indeed the concept of unique national identities among the various Arab states. In so doing, Obama undercut the legitimacy of the Egyptian regime while legitimizing the pan- Islamic Muslim Brotherhood which rejects nationalism in favor of a call for the establishment of a global caliphate.

As subsequent events showed, the conditions for the Egyptian revolution that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power were prepared during Obama’s speech at al-Azhar.

It is possible that in addressing the unelected radical Left in Jerusalem, Obama seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the Israeli government. But if that is the plan, then it would bespeak an extraordinary contempt and underestimation of Israeli democracy. Such a plan would not play out the same way his Egyptian speech did.

There are two possible policies Obama would want to empower Israel’s radical, unelectable Left in order to advance. First, he could be strengthening these forces to help them pressure the government to make concessions to the Palestinians in order to convince the Palestinian Authority to renew negotiations and accept an Israeli peace offer.

While Obama indicated in his interview with Channel 2 that this is his goal, it is absurd to believe it. Obama knows there is no chance that the Palestinians will accept a deal from Israel. PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat both rejected Israeli peace offers made by far more radical Israeli governments than the new Netanyahu government. Moreover, the Palestinians refused to meet with Israeli negotiators while Mubarak was still in power. With the Muslim Brotherhood now in charge in Cairo, there is absolutely no way they will agree to negotiate – let alone accept a deal.

This leaves another glaring possibility. Through the radical Left, Obama may intend to foment a pressure campaign to force the government to withdraw unilaterally from all or parts of Judea and Samaria, as Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. If this is Obama’s actual policy goal, it would represent a complete Europeanization of US policy toward Israel. It was the EU that funded radical leftist groups that pushed for Israel’s unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005.

And in the past week, a number of commentators have spoken and written in favor of such a plan.

The truth we don’t know why Obama is coming to Israel. The Obama administration has not indicated where its Israel policy is going. And Obama’s Republican opposition is in complete disarray on foreign policy and not in any position to push him to reveal his plans.

What we can say with certainty is that the administration that supports the “democratically elected” Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and did so much to clear all obstacles to its election, is snubbing the democratically elected Israeli government, and indeed, Israel’s elected officials in general. Obama’s transmission of this message in the lead-up to this visit, through symbols and action alike does not bode well for Israel’s relations with the US in the coming four years.


Argentine: Attention, une dictature peut en cacher une autre (Who will even mention Argentina’s forgotten terror victims ?)

23 mars, 2013
http://lapoliticaonline.com/data/img_cont/img_imagenes/img_gr/11391.jpghttp://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/kirchnerchavezmorales_300.jpghttp://elsolonline.com/archivos/imagenes/2013/03/pagina12_2628963-240.jpgDurant les années 1970, Horacio Verbitsky fut membre des Montoneros, une organisation péroniste pour laquelle il porta les armes. En 1976, quelques mois après le coup d’état militaire, il fut inculpé avec 6 autres Montoneros pour avoir été impliqué dans la planification et l’exécution d’un attentat contre la police fédérale faisant 21 morts parmi les agents du renseignement. La procédure judiciaire sera finalement close en 2007 en raison de la loi de prescription. Dans les années 90, à la direction de Pagina 12, il contribue à révéler plusieurs affaires de corruption et de pot de vins touchant le gouvernement ou la famille du président Carlos Menem puis apporte dans les années 2000 et 2010 un soutien appuyé à la politique menée par les gouvernements de Nestor et Cristina Kirchner. Wikipedia
Les anciens Montoneros, coupables d’attentats sanglants, d’assassinats, d’enlèvements et de tortures, grouillent à la tête de l’Etat à Buenos Aires depuis la présidence des Kirchner, et l’un d’entre eux, Carlos Bettini, est même ambassadeur en Espagne. Eduardo Luis Duhalde, secrétaire aux Droits de l’homme, Miguel Bonasso, député et conseiller présidentiel, Carlos Kunkel, porte-parole de la présidence (amnistié de ses crimes en 1984 par la loi Punto final dont les militaires ont été écartés), Rafael Bielsa, ex-ministre des Affaires étrangères qui a travaillé en exil pour Pinochet, Horacio Verbitsky, conseiller présidentiel, Anibal Fernandez, chef du cabinet présidentiel, Julio Cesar Urien, capitaine de frégate auteur de tortures dans les « prisons du peuple » et du « manuel d’instruction des milices montoneras », réhabilité par Kirchner en 2006 avec paiement rétroactif de sa solde depuis 1972, et surtout Nilda Garré, ex-ministre de la Défense de Nestor Kirchner, devenue ministre de la Sécurité (police et gendarmerie) en décembre dernier sous la présidence de Cristina de Kirchner. « Comandante Teresa » dans la guérilla des Montoneros, elle a été complice de crimes, commis notamment par son mari Juan Manuel Abal Medina et le frère de celui-ci, contre le général Aramburu en 1970 et l’ex-ministre de l’Intérieur Arturo Mor Roig en 1974 (qui avait légalisé les partis politiques et contribué au retour de la démocratie en 1973 avec l’élection de Juan Peron). Quant à Carlos Bettini, impliqué dans le meurtre du capitaine Jorge Bigliardi en 1975, donc en pleine période constitutionnelle sous la présidence d’Isabel Peron, il pourrait quitter incessamment son poste d’ambassadeur à Madrid pour devenir l’éminence grise de Cristina Kirchner, son ancienne petite amie… Jacques Thomet
Chacun sait comment la junte militaire renversa le gouvernement en 1976 et écrasa ensuite sans pitié les mouvements de subversion. Ses abus de pouvoir furent légion et, en 1983, elle quitta le pouvoir dans un pays plongé dans une hyper inflation et le chaos économique. Mais l’Argentine avait vécu une autre tragédie antérieure, et pendant quelque temps après que les militaires eurent saisi le pouvoir. Ce fut une vague de carnage et de destruction déclenchée par des bandes de guérillas s’inspirant de Castro, pour tenter de prendre le pouvoir en terrorisant la nation. Leurs actions provoquèrent le chaos à l’échelle nationale, puis le coup d’Etat militaire. Pourtant, à cause de la fin honteuse de la junte militaire, les terroristes et leurs sympathisants réussirent à réécrire l’histoire en ne relatant que les seuls crimes de leur ennemi en uniforme. D’ex-membres ou membres actuels du gouvernement Kirchner, d’autres du Congrès et d’autres travaillant dans les média furent des membres bien connus d’organisations subversives. . Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Patagonian roots aside, the president’s main interest in escalating the Falklands row may be to deflect looming domestic difficulties. The government is attempting to untangle expensive state subsidies which will hurt its blue-collar base. Analysts say inflation is more than double the official figure. The government is so desperate to massage the numbers it has prohibited economic consultancy firms publishing private inflation estimates. Compounding that unease, a constitutional ban on a third term means Fernández could soon be embroiled in a fraught effort to change the constitution so she can run again. The alternative will be to watch her authority gradually ebb. "A Peronist president without the chance of re-election becomes a lame duck. Once the Malvinas issue fades back into the background, the fight of succession will come to the fore and her monolithic power could reduce her flexibility when it comes to dealing with the Peronists," said Romer, the analyst. "Her great strength could become her greatest weakness." Tapping semi-dormant passions over the Falklands is a largely cost-free way to consolidate her base and deter would-be successors from moving too soon. Fernández has also been emboldened by the zeitgeist: South America has discovered it can, perhaps for the first time in its history, safely challenge the old colonial powers. A "pink tide" of nationalistic leftwing governments senses the region’s time has come after centuries of marginalisation. China’s rapid rise as a trading partner has further weakened European leverage. "South America doesn’t have the respect it used to have for Europe. It feels it is on top now and is flexing its new muscles," said a senior European diplomat. Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made a global splash railing against western bankers, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez did the same railing against western imperialism and the Falklands gave Fernández her own cause, said Romer. "She is using Malvinas to expand her visibility on the international arena." Lucrative fishing concessions have made the Falklands wealthy, and when in 2010 four British companies announced they were going to search for an estimated 8.3bn barrels of oil in Falkland waters, it added resource nationalism to the combustible mix of history and wounded pride. London’s blunt dismissal of Argentinian concerns over financial and environmental implications aggravated Fernández all the more. Rio Gallegos remains cold and windy but nobody expects to see a new generation of conscripts tramping aboard Falkland-bound planes. Fernández is not desperate or stupid. She is simply extracting advantage from a clump of islands her compatriots consider unfinished business. And in the process becoming, for many, Argentina’s own iron lady. The Guardian
Wrapping himself in the mantle of Simon Bolivar, the revolutionary leader of the early 19th century who led the fight for independence from the Spanish empire, Chavez led his own battle to free his country and region from what he saw as the hegemony of the neo-liberal, neo-colonalist superpower north of the Gulf of Mexico. (…) His politics, a blend of socialism, populism, authoritarianism and nationalism, became known as ‘Chavismo,’ his followers were ‘Chavistas.’ His goal was what he called the ‘Bolivarian revolution.’ In foreign policy terms, that meant a dual strategy, of ‘Latin America first’ and “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” (the enemy of course being the Yanqui imperialist.) To advance this strategy, he used Venezuela’s greatest source of wealth and power, its oil. That second rule of thumb basically explained Chavez’ forays outside the Americas: his establishment of an anti-US ‘Axis of Unity’ with Iran, his support for the Gaddafi dictatorship in Libya and most recently for Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Anti-Americanism drew Venezuela close to Moscow, and led him to denounce Israel – with whom Chavez broke off diplomatic relations after the 2008/9 war in Gaza – as a “genocidal state” and the “assassin arm of the United States.”(…) And it was over Cuba where Chavez’ impact was greatest. The billions of dollars of aid he gave the island, much in the form of heavily subsidized oil, may have been the difference between survival and collapse for the Communist regime. Over time a pattern developed, as oil-rich Venezuela under Chavez emerged as the leader of the poorer and more leftist countries of region: not just Cuba, but Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and some Caribbean island nations. The bloc took formal economic shape in 2004 with the creation of ALBA, the ‘Alternativa Bolivariana para las Americas,’ set up to as a rival to the orthodox, free trade areas in the hemisphere. But it wasn’t just the ALBA members who didn’t want to offend Chavez: his wont to give contracts to non-US companies won him a hearing with the region’s richer countries too. By the time of his illness, however, his influence even in Latin America had waned. One reason was the decline in his physical powers. Another was the arrival of a new administration in Washington: Despite evidence that Venezuela was even abetting drugs trafficking into the US, Barack Obama struck a less confrontational note than his predecessor. For much the same reason, US relations with Brazil and Argentina have been smoother, offering Chavez less leverage. At the same time, left wing governments aligned with Venezuela have run into difficulties. And not least, the regional economic climate has changed. The appeal of ‘Chavismo’ was never greater than after the Latin American financial crises of the late 90s, culminating in Argentina’s 2001 default, seeming proof of the failure of the Western-style capitalism excoriated by Chavez. As it is, the last remotely ‘Chavista’ leader elected was Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner in 2007. The Independent
This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s "holiday home". This has been corrected. The Guardian
Rien de tout cela n’est important pour ceux qui tentent de faire de l’Argentine le prochain Venezuela. Ce qui les fâche, c’est que le père Bergoglio croyait que le marxisme (et la "théologie de la libération" qu’il avait inspirée) était antithétiques au christianisme et qu’il avait refusé de l’adopter dans les années 1970. D’où les désaccords tant avec ceux à l’intérieur de l’ordre des Jésuites de l’époque qui croyaient à la révolution qu’avec les Montoneros qui multipliaient les mutilations, enlèvements et assassinats de civils pour terroriser la population. Criminels dont un bon nombre sont toujours là aujourd’hui et n’ont toujours pas abandonné leurs rêves de révolution. Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has "ties to terrorism" is preposterous. (…) Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think- tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed. The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times. Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad. The WSJ

Attention: une dictature peut en cacher une autre !

 A l’heure où, ne reculant devant aucune démagogie, la nouvelle Evita argentine (ou Chavista – merci les valises de billets de Chavez !) est en train apparemment de nous refaire le coup des Malouines …

Et que nos médias pressés se font les courroies de transmission, plus ou moins volontaires et des deux côtés de l’Atlantique ou de la Manche (voire jusqu’en Malaisie !), des campagnes de calomnie du moment …

Qui rappellera, hormis un bien solitaire WSJ derrière l’omerta politiquement correcte actuelle, que ceux qui alimentent la pompe à calomnies contre un nouveau pape ayant le tort de penser, sans compter les Malouines ou le mariage homo, que "le marxisme comme la ‘théologie de la libération’ qu’il avait inspirée sont antithétiques au christianisme" …

Sont les mêmes qui,  outre les milliers de victimes commodément oubliées du terrorisme d’extrême-gauche, ont précipité le putsch militaire de 1976 et réécrivent aujourd’hui l’histoire au profit de l’actuel pouvoir argentin en place ?

 

LES VICTIMES OUBLIEES DU TERRORISME EN ARGENTINE

Maria Anastasia O’Grady

The WSJ

3 janvier 2011

traduction Yves/jacqus Thomet

Des milliers de personnes ont souffert du déchaînement de la gauche qui précipita le putsch militaire de 1976.

“Ceux qui contrôlent le passé contrôlent le futur, celui qui contrôle le présent contrôle le passé.”

- Parti slogan de Big Brother, “1984,” par George Orwell

La Justice ne s’installe pas facilement partout dans le monde. Mais dans l’Argentine d’aujourd’hui, il est périlleux de seulement mentionner en public les victimes du terrorisme de la gauche du pays, sans parler de les amener à se présenter eux ou leurs proches parents survivants devant une Cour [pour témoigner]. Essayez et vous serez probablement tancé par la Gauche argentine comme un ami fasciste de l’ex-régime militaire. Les [gens] du “politiquement correct” savent que ceux qui furent brutalisés par les guérillas, que Juan Peron (ex-président) désigna une fois de “jeunesse merveilleuse”, sont censés être effacés de la mémoire nationale.

L’avocate argentine Victoria Villaruel, 35 ans, défenseur des Droits de l’Homme, s’y refuse. Elle a fondé le “Centre Argentin d’Etudes Légales du Terrorisme et de ses Victimes”, avec pour objectif de lister les milliers de crimes terroristes commis entre 1969 et 1979.

Elle pense qu’apporter la lumière sur cette sombre décennie aidera à fournir un meilleur et juste futur à tous les Argentins. Chacun sait comment la junte militaire renversa le gouvernement en 1976 et écrasa ensuite sans pitié les mouvements de subversion. Ses abus de pouvoir furent légion et, en 1983, elle quitta le pouvoir dans un pays plongé dans une hyper inflation et le chaos économique.

Mais l’Argentine avait vécu une autre tragédie antérieure, et pendant quelque temps après que les militaires eurent saisi le pouvoir. Ce fut une vague de carnage et de destruction déclenchée par des bandes de guérillas s’inspirant de Castro, pour tenter de prendre le pouvoir en terrorisant la nation. Leurs actions provoquèrent le chaos à l’échelle nationale, puis le coup d’Etat militaire. Pourtant, à cause de la fin honteuse de la junte militaire, les terroristes et leurs sympathisants réussirent à réécrire l’histoire en ne relatant que les seuls crimes de leur ennemi en uniforme. D’ex-membres ou membres actuels du gouvernement Kirchner, d’autres du Congrès et d’autres travaillant dans les média furent des membres bien connus d’organisations subversives.

Lors d’une interview à Buenos Aires en novembre 2010, Mme Villaruel m’a raconté que même les politiciens de l’opposition ne parlent pas des victimes du terrorisme car cela est devenu “tabou” de le faire. L’Etat, dit-elle, les traite comme s’ils n’étaient jamais nés.”

Le résultat est qu’une génération d’Argentins a grandi sans aucune conscience de la vraie histoire de cette époque de terreur. Mme Villaruel est de l’opinion que la “Vérité et la Justice” requiert que ces victimes soient reconnues. Son livre, “Ils s’Appelaient Les Jeunes Idéalistes”, de 2009, est un pas en avant vers ce but. Dans celui-ci, elle documente avec des photographies et des coupures de presse la dévastation que ces terroristes ont infligé à leur propre peuple. “Vaincre ou mourir”, le slogan de l’Armée Révolutionnaire du Peuple (ERP), apparaît en graffiti sur un camion dans un cliché. Ce livre comprend les photos de quelques milliers de victimes : des bébés, des adolescents, des diplomates, des businessmen, des juges, des policiers.

Les uns furent enlevés et assassinés. D’autres furent tués ou mutilés simplement parce qu’ils se trouvèrent à proximité d’une bombe qui venait d’exploser. Les mineurs (d’âge) furent enrôlés dans les armées révolutionnaires. Tous furent considérés comme du simple gibier par les rebelles qui cherchaient à refaire le monde à travers la violence. Dans cette même interview de novembre 2010, Mme Villaruel décrit le travail de son centre sur le terrorisme : consultation des archives de journaux et dialogue avec les membres des familles et les témoins quand ils y sont disposés. Beaucoup d’entre eux vivent dans la peur de représailles, dit-elle.

Elle m’a appris que le Centre est parvenu à identifier par leur nom 13.074 victimes du terrorisme. Ce sont des bilans préliminaires. Mme Villaruel est tellement soucieuse de la justesse de son travail qu’elle a fait faire un audit indépendant à deux reprises. Elle espère que les décomptes définitifs seront prêts pour le milieu de cette année 2011. Il est intéressant de noter que le nombre de procès contre la junte militaire pour abus de pouvoir totalise moins de 9.000 cas. Pendant ce temps, la justification du gouvernement Kirchner pour nier l’existence des victimes de ce terrorisme de gauche consiste à les considérer comme des victimes de crimes ordinaires, leurs auteurs étant désormais exempts de poursuites de par la loi Statut des Limitations (NDLR : sorte d’amnistie).

Mais Mme Villaruel affirme démontrer que les victimes ont été des civils attaqués par des mouvements de guérilla dans leur quête sans merci pour le pouvoir. Si ce qu’elle avance se confirme, il ne s’agirait plus en l’occurrence de Statut de Limitations, en vertu de la Convention de Genève de 1949 ratifiée par l’Argentine. Dans son étude du terrorisme des années 70, elle n’a jamais “compris les raisons pour lesquelles un groupe, s’attribuant [arbitrairement] la représentation du peuple, a décidé d’assassiner son propre peuple.

Voir aussi:

Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope

Argentines who want their country to be the next Venezuela see Francis as an obstacle.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady

The WSJ

March 17, 2013

Argentines celebrated last week when one of their own was chosen as the new pope. But they also suffered a loss of sorts. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a tireless advocate of the poor and outspoken critic of corruption, will no longer be on hand locally to push back against the malfeasance of the government of President Cristina Kirchner.

Argentines not aligned with the regime hope that the arrival of Francis on the world stage at least will draw attention to this issue. Heaven knows the situation is growing dire.

One might have expected a swell of pride from Argentine officialdom when the news broke that the nation has produced a man so highly esteemed around the world. Instead the Kirchner government’s pit bulls in journalism—men such as Horacio Verbitsky, a former member of the guerrilla group known as the Montoneros and now an editor at the pro-government newspaper Pagina 12—immediately began a campaign to smear the new pontiff’s character and reputation at home and in the international news media.

The calumny is not new. Former members of terrorist groups like Mr. Verbitsky, and their modern-day fellow travelers in the Argentine government, have used the same tactics for years to try to destroy their enemies—anyone who doesn’t endorse their brand of authoritarianism. In this case they allege that as the Jesuits’ provincial superior in Argentina in the late 1970s, then-Father Bergoglio had links to the military government.

This is propaganda. Mrs. Kirchner and her friends aren’t yet living in the equivalent of a totalitarian state where there is no free press to counter their lies. That day may come soon. The government is now pressuring merchants, under threat of reprisals, not to buy advertising in newspapers. The only newspapers that aren’t on track to be financially ruined by this intimidation are those that the government controls and finances through official advertising, like Mr. Verbitsky’s Pagina 12. Argentines refer to the paper as "the official gazette" because it so reliably prints the government’s line.

Intellectually honest observers with firsthand knowledge of Argentina under military rule (1976-1983) are telling a much different story than the one pushed by Mr. Verbitsky and his ilk. One of those observers is Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, winner of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize. Last week he told BBC Mundo that "there were bishops that were complicit with the dictatorship, but Bergoglio, no." As to the charge that the priest didn’t do enough to free junta prisoners, Mr. Pérez Esquivel said: "I know personally that many bishops who asked the military government for the liberation of prisoners and priests and it was not granted."

Former Judge Alicia Oliveira, who was herself fired by the military government and forced into hiding to avoid arrest, told the Argentine newspaper Perfil last week that during those dark days she knew Father Bergoglio well and that "he helped many people get out of the country." In one case, she says there was a young man on the run who happened to look like the Jesuit. "He gave him his identification card and his [clergy attire] so that he could escape."

Ms. Oliveira also told Perfil that when she was in hiding at the home of the current minister of security, Nilda Garré, the two of them "ate with Bergoglio." As Ms. Oliveira pointed out, Ms. Garré "therefore knows all that he did."

Graciela Fernández Meijide, a human-rights activist and former member of the national commission on the disappearance of persons, told the Argentine press last week that "of all the testimony I received, never did I receive any testimony that Bergoglio was connected to the dictatorship."

None of this matters to those trying to turn Argentina into the next Venezuela. What embitters them is that Father Bergoglio believed that Marxism (and the related "liberation theology") was antithetical to Christianity and refused to embrace it in the 1970s. That put him in the way of those inside the Jesuit order at the time who believed in revolution. It also put him at odds with the Montoneros, who were maiming, kidnapping and killing civilians in order to terrorize the population. Many of those criminals are still around and hold fast to their revolutionary dreams.

For them, the new pope remains a meddlesome priest. In the slums where the populist Mrs. Kirchner claims to be a champion of the poor, Francis is truly beloved because he lives the gospel. From the pulpit, with the Kirchners in the pews, he famously complained of self-absorbed politicians. He didn’t name names, but the shoe fit. Nestór Kirchner, the late president and Cristina’s husband, responded by naming him "the head of the opposition."

As Ms. Fernández Meijide observed last week, "I have the impression that what bothers the current president is that Bergoglio would not get in line, that he denounces the continuation of extreme poverty." That’s not the regime’s approved narrative.

Voir aussi:

Le pape et les "années de plomb" en Argentine

Christine Legrand

Le Monde

16.03.2013

Le rôle de Jorge Mario Bergoglio, le pape François, pendant la dictature militaire (1976-1983) fait l’objet de controverse depuis plusieurs années à Buenos Aires. A l’origine, le directeur du quotidien progouvernemental Pagina 12, Horacio Verbitsky, avait publié, en 2005, un livre polémique, El Silencio (non traduit), où il dénonce la complicité de l’Eglise catholique argentine avec les militaires.

Le journaliste accuse en particulier Jorge Bergoglio, qui était à l’époque responsable de la Compagnie de Jésus en Argentine, d’être impliqué dans l’enlèvement de deux jeunes prêtres jésuites qui travaillaient dans un bidonville, en 1976. Torturés pendant cinq mois, Orlando Yorio et Francisco Jalics avaient été remis en liberté et s’étaient exilés. Le premier est mort en 2000, le second vit en Allemagne. Dans un communiqué publié, vendredi 15 mars, sur le site Internet des jésuites en Allemagne, ce dernier déclare qu’il ne peut "prononcer sur le rôle du père Bergoglio dans ces événements". Il indique aussi avoir eu "l’occasion de discuter des événements avec le père Bergoglio qui était entre-temps devenu archevêque de Buenos Aires. Nous avons ensemble célébré une messe publique (…). Je considère l’histoire comme close", a-t-il précisé.

De son côté, le porte-parole du Vatican, le Père Federico Lombardi, a dénoncé "le caractère anticlérical de ces attaques, allant jusqu’à la calomnie et la diffamation des personnes". "La justice l’a entendu une fois et à simple titre de témoin et le père Bergoglio n’a jamais été suspecté ou accusé". "Dans l’élaboration de la demande de pardon, Mgr Bergoglio a déploré les défaillances de l’Eglise argentine face à la dictature", souligne le Vatican.

"TALENTS D’ACTEUR"

Dans un article publié au lendemain de l’élection du pape François, M. Verbitsky, qui est également directeur du Centre d’études légales et sociales, une organisation non gouvernementale de défense des droits de l’homme, a renouvelé ses attaques, qualifiant le nouveau pontife de "populiste conservateur", qui introduira "des changements cosmétiques" au Vatican, "avec ses talents d’acteur". Le même jour, M. Verbitsky publie un courrier électronique de Graciela Yorio dans lequel la sœur du prêtre décédé exprime "son angoisse et sa colère". Selon elle, il aurait "laissé sans protection" les deux prêtres, adeptes de la "théologie de la libération".

Le dictateur Jorge Rafael Videla reçoit la communion de l’évêque Octavio Derisi, en décembre 1990.

Depuis l’élection surprise d’un pape argentin, une photo montrant un prêtre de dos, donnant l’hostie à l’ancien dictateur Jorge Rafael Videla, circule sur les réseaux sociaux. Cette photo avait fait la "une" de Pagina 12, le 27 mai 2012. Aucune légende ne précisait l’identité du curé de la photo, prise en 1990, au lendemain de la sortie de prison du général Videla, gracié par l’ancien président péroniste Carlos Menem. Le photographe, travaillant pour l’AFP et le quotidien argentin Cronica, l’a identifié : l’évêque Octavio Derisi, mort en 2002.

De leur côté, deux journalistes argentins, Francesca Ambrogetti de l’agence italienne ANSA et Sergio Rubin, spécialiste des affaires religieuses du quotidien Clarin (opposition), ont publié en 2010 l’ouvrage El Jesuita (non traduit), portrait élogieux de Mgr Bergoglio. Les témoignages recueillis, en particulier d’anciennes victimes, démentent toute collaboration avec les militaires, affirmant qu’au contraire il a aidé de nombreuses victimes, dont l’avocate Alicia Oliveira. Juge au moment du coup d’Etat de 1976, elle fut persécutée par les militaires. "Il m’a sauvé la vie", dit-elle. "Il y a eu des évêques complices de la dictature militaire, mais pas Bergoglio", ajoute Adolfo Perez Esquivel, prix Nobel de la paix.

Estela de Carlotto, présidente de l’Association des mères et grands-mères de la Place de Mai, à Buenos Aires, le 15 mars. Elle reproche au pape de n’avoir jamais parlé des personnes disparues pendant la dictature argentine (1976-1983), malgré l’avénement de la démocratie dans ce pays il y a trente ans.

La présidente Cristina Kirchner a salué froidement l’élection du pape. Mais sur les réseaux sociaux, les partisans des Kirchner ont durement critiqué le choix de l’archevêque de Buenos Aires, qui entretenait des rapports tendus avec les gouvernements péronistes du président Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) et aujourd’hui celui de son épouse Cristina. Il avait coutume de centrer ses homélies sur des thèmes brûlants, des inégalités sociales jusqu’à la traite de personnes, en passant par la corruption.

Voir également:

Starting a Papacy, Amid Echoes of a ‘Dirty War’

Simon Romero and William Neuman

The New York Times

March 17, 2013

BUENOS AIRES — One Argentine priest is on trial in Tucumán Province on charges of working closely with torturers in a secret jail during the so-called Dirty War, urging prisoners to hand over information. Another priest was accused of taking a newborn from his mother, one of the many baby thefts from female prisoners who were “disappeared” into a system of clandestine prisons.

Another clergy member offered biblical justification for the military’s death flights, according to an account by one of the pilots anguished about dumping drugged prisoners out of aircraft and into the sea.

As he starts his papacy, Francis, until this month Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, faces his own entanglement with the Dirty War, which unfolded from 1976 to 1983. As the leader of Argentina’s Jesuits for part of that time, he has repeatedly had to dispute claims that he allowed the kidnapping of two priests in his order in 1976, accusations the Vatican is calling a defamation campaign.

Now his election as pope is focusing scrutiny on his role as the most prominent leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina, an institution that remains under withering criticism for its role in failing to publicly resist — and in various instances actively supporting — the military dictatorship during a period when as many as 30,000 people are thought to have been killed or disappeared.

This stance by Argentina’s church stands in contrast to the resistance against dictatorships by Catholic leaders elsewhere in Latin America at the time — notably in Chile and Brazil, two nations where far fewer people were killed. Even as the head of the Argentine Conference of Bishops from 2005 to 2011, Francis resisted issuing a formal apology for the church’s actions during the Dirty War, disappointing human rights campaigners.

“The combination of action and inaction by the church was instrumental in enabling the mass atrocities committed by the junta,” said Federico Finchelstein, an Argentine historian at the New School for Social Research in New York. “Those like Francis that remained in silence during the repression also played by default a central role,” he said. “It was this combination of endorsement and either strategic or willful indifference that created the proper conditions for the state killings.”

Francis, 76, has offered a complex description of his role during the dictatorship, a period officially called the Process of National Reorganization, in which the authorities installed a terrifying campaign against perceived opponents.

While refraining from public criticism of the dictatorship, Francis said in his autobiography that he pressed military officials behind the scenes to free the two priests from his order — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — even meeting with top military officials.

Francis also said that he hid at a Jesuit school several people persecuted by the dictatorship, and even helped one young man who resembled him to flee Argentina, via Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian border, giving him priest’s garb and his own identity documents.

The Rev. Ignacio Pérez del Viso, a Jesuit who is a longtime friend of Francis’, said that a small number of Argentine bishops spoke out against the military dictatorship. But they were clearly in the minority, he said, and others in the Argentine church, including the new pope, who was 39 at the time of the 1976 coup, adopted a far more cautious position.

“When you saw that the majority of the bishops preferred to have a dialogue with the military,” Father Pérez del Viso, 78, said, “it’s not easy to say, ‘We will do something different.’ ” He added: “Many of the bishops opted, rather than to confront the military head on, to try to intercede in private conversations for those they could save.”

“Later the bishops realized this was a mistake,” Father Pérez del Viso said. “But to see the mistake at that moment was difficult.”

Religious scholars attribute such passivity to remarkably close ideological and political links between the church and the armed forces. Some priests have even been forced to stand trial on charges of human rights abuses.

After a previous military coup in Argentina in 1930, the church forged a role as a spiritual guide for the armed forces. By the time military rule was established again in the 1970s, their operations overlapped to the point where some bishops were provided soldiers as personal servants in their palaces, and only a handful of bishops publicly condemned the dictatorship’s repression.

“Of all the national churches in Latin America, Argentina is where ties were closest between the clergy and the military,” said Kenneth P. Serbin, a historian at the University of San Diego.

This legacy presents a challenge to Francis. Last week, a judge who took part in an investigation into a clandestine prison at the Naval Mechanics School said the inquiry uncovered no evidence that Francis was involved in the kidnapping of the Jesuits. “It is totally false to say that Jorge Bergoglio handed over those priests,” the judge, Germán Castelli, was quoted as saying in the newspaper La Nación.

But doubts persist, based on the priests’ own accounts, including a 1977 report by Father Yorio to the Jesuit authorities, obtained by The New York Times, and a 1994 book by Father Jalics.

Father Yorio wrote that Francis, who was then the top Jesuit in Argentina, told them he supported their work even as he sought to undermine it, making negative reports about them to local bishops and claiming they were in the slum without his permission.

“He did nothing to defend us, and we began to question his honesty,” wrote Father Yorio, who died in 2000. Finally, without telling the two priests, Father Yorio wrote, Francis expelled them from the Jesuit order.

Three days later, hundreds of armed men descended on the slum and seized the two priests. Father Yorio was interrogated and accused of being a guerrilla. The priests were kept for five months, chained hand and foot and blindfolded, fearing they would be killed.

Finally, they were dropped off in a drugged state on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

In a statement posted on a Jesuit Web site last week, Father Jalics said he would not comment “on the role of Father Bergoglio in these events.” He said that years after the kidnapping, they celebrated a Mass together and he solemnly embraced him. “I am reconciled to the events and view them from my side as concluded,” Father Jalics wrote.

But in an interview, Father Yorio’s sister, Graciela Yorio, accused Francis of leaving the priests “totally unprotected” and making them an easy target for the military. She said that her brother and Father Jalics, whom she referred to using his name in Spanish, were in agreement about Francis’ role. “My brother was certain,” she said, “And Francisco, too, Francisco Jalics. I have no reason not to believe my brother’s word.”

Still, several prominent leftists here have defended Francis, emphasizing his openness to dialogue and austere habits. “He is questioned for not having done all he could do,” said Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a pacifist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “But he was never an ally of the dictatorship.”

Though Francis has had to respond to doubts about his own past during the Dirty War, he has faced other issues that still haunt the church. He was head of Argentina’s bishops’ conference in 2007, when the Rev. Christian von Wernich, a former police chaplain, was found guilty of complicity in the killing and torture of political prisoners.

Even after his conviction, Father von Wernich was allowed to offer Mass to fellow prison inmates. Other priests have similarly faced charges related to abuses from the dictatorship era. And still there are other priests who have not been charged with a crime, but who face serious accusations about their connection to the armed forces.

The church has tried to account on different occasions for its actions during the dictatorship. In 2000, it apologized for its “silences” that enabled rights abuses. And last November, after the future pope’s tenure as head of the bishops’ conference had ended, the church issued another statement in response to the assertion by Jorge Videla, the former head of the military junta, that Argentine bishops had in effect collaborated with the dictatorship.

The church rejected Mr. Videla’s claim, but said it would “promote a more complete study” of the Dirty War years.

Reporting was contributed by Fabián Werner, Emily Schmall and Jonathan Gilbert from Buenos Aires; Mauricio Rabuffetti from Montevideo, Uruguay; and Nicholas Kulish from Berlin.

Voir encore:

New pope’s role during Argentina’s military era disputed

Accusers draw ties between Catholic church and 70s junta, saying Jorge Bergoglio failed to shield two priests

Jonathan Watts and Uki Goni in Buenos Aires

The Guardian

15 March 2013

JorgeBergoglio

A young Jorge Mario Bergoglio pictured in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Argenpress/Rex Features

Pope Francis is known in his native Argentina as a man of austere habits, long pregnant pauses in conversation and a reticence about discussing himself. For supporters, this is proof of his humility, which was further underlined for them in his first address as pope to the masses in St Peter’s Square, where he eschewed the usual jewelled crucifix in favour of a simple wooden cross.

For critics, however – and there are many in his home country – it may have more to do with allegations that he and the Roman Catholic church were guilty of the sin of omission – and perhaps worse – during the brutal military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

Those dark years cast the longest shadow over the elevation of Jorge Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the new Vicar of Christ, and continues to divide a nation.

While Argentina rang with celebratory church bells at the news of the first Latin American pope, some were seized by doubt and confusion. "I can’t believe it, I don’t know what to do, I’m in so much anguish and so enraged," wrote Graciela Yorio in an email published in the Argentine press on Thursday morning.

In 1976, her brother, Orlando Yorio, along with another Jesuit priest, Francisco Jalics, were seized by navy troops in the slums of Buenos Aires and held and tortured for five months at the ESMA camp, a navy base in the capital where 5,000 people were murdered by the military junta.

The two priests served under Bergoglio, who is accused in some quarters of abandoning them to the military after they became involved in leftist social movements.

His chief accuser is journalist Horacio Verbitsky, whose book El Silencio paints a disquieting picture of Bergoglio’s relationship with the priests who sought his protection when they felt their lives were in danger from the military because of their social work in the slums.

Verbitsky believes the then chief of the Jesuits in Argentina played a double game, aiding Yorio and Jalics while expressing concern about their activities to military officers.

But Verbitsky’s views are seen as overly simplistic by other observers of that era. "Verbitsky is not wrong, but he doesn’t understand the complexity of Bergoglio’s position back then when things were so dangerous," said Robert Cox, a British journalist and former editor of the Buenos Aires Herald, the only newspaper in Argentina that reported the murders as they happened. "He can’t see how difficult it was to operate under those circumstances."

But Cox, who moved to North Carolina after death threats against his family in 1979, suggests Bergoglio could have done more. "I don’t think he gave them in," he said. "But Bergoglio didn’t protect them, he didn’t speak out."

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the 1980 Nobel peace prize for documenting the junta’s atrocities, takes a similar view. "Perhaps he didn’t have the courage of other priests, but he never collaborated with the dictatorship," he told the Associated Press. "Bergoglio was no accomplice of the dictatorship. He can’t be accused of that." The vast majority of Argentinians view the dictatorship era as appalling.

Others suggest that Bergoglio was actually a hero. Francesca Ambrogetti, co-author of The Jesuit – a flattering biography of the new pope – says Bergoglio told her he met the dictator Jose Rafael Videla and Eduardo Massera, the head of the navy which was in charge of some concentration camps, to try and intercede on behalf of the priests.

She said he took great risks to save others. "I believe he did all he could at that time," she said. "It’s a complex issue that is very difficult to explain after so many years."

In a 2005 interview Bergoglio himself said he moved fast to save their lives. "That same night when I heard of the kidnappings I started to move. In one of my attempts to meet Videla I found out who the military chaplain was who gave mass to Videla and convinced that priest to call in sick and I managed to be named to replace him."

Bergoglio said that after the mass he managed to speak to Videla about the case, which would not have been an easy task at the time, given the climate of fear that reigned over these issues in Argentina then.

That era continues to polarise Argentina, where the current left-leaning government has reopened several prominent cases in the past decade. Details are murky. Few from that era can escape with entirely clear consciences. Many turned a blind eye and kept silent. Accusations of this sin of omission have been levelled at Bergoglio.

Myriam Bregman, an Argentine lawyer in the continuing trials of crimes at the ESMA death camp, says Bergoglio’s appointment to the papacy left her confused. "It gave me a feeling of amazement and impotence," said Bregman, who took Bergoglio’s declaration regarding Jalics and Yorio in 2010.

"Bergoglio refused to come [and] testify in court," she recalled, making use of Argentine legislation that permits ministers of the church to choose where to declare.

"He finally accepted to see us in an office alongside Buenos Aires cathedral sitting underneath a tapestry of the Virgin Mary. It was an intimidating experience, we were very uncomfortable intruding in a religious building."

Bregman says that Bergoglio did not provide any significant information on the two priests. "He seemed reticent, I left with a bitter taste," she said.

Estela de la Cuadra’s mother co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo activist group during the dictatorship to search for missing family members. She was at first astonished, then appalled when a friend texted the news that Bergoglio had been chosen as the new pope.

"It is unthinkable, horrifying given what I know about his history," she said, recalling the disappearance of her sister.

The last time they saw each other was in January 1977 when they were members of leftwing groups formed among the students at La Plata University, then one of the most radical in Argentina.

Her sister, Elena, was three months pregnant and in hiding in Buenos Aires from military snatch squads that had already seized her husband. She "disappeared" a month later and was later seen by survivors in a concentration camp run by the navy.

Desperate, the family used a connection with the global head of the Jesuit order – the "black pope", Pedro Arrupe – to lobby for her release. He put them on to Bergoglio, who provided a letter of introduction to a bishop with connections to the military dictator.

The only answer that came back, said Estela, was that her sister’s baby was now "in the hands of a good family. It was irreversible." Neither mother nor child were heard from again.

For Estela, Bergoglio did the bare minimum he had to do to keep in line with the black pope. She says the story underlines the close connections between the Catholic church and the military junta, as well as what she sees as lies and hypocrisy of a new pope who once claimed to have no knowledge of the adoptions of babies being born in concentration camps and then adopted by families close to the regime.

"I’ve testified in court that Bergoglio knew everything, that he wasn’t – despite what he says – uninvolved," said Estela, who believes the church worked with the military to gather intelligence on the families of the missing.

She is also furious that Bergoglio refused to defrock another priest, Christian von Wernich, who was jailed for life in 2007 for seven killings, 42 abductions and 34 cases of torture, in which he told victims: "God wants to know where your friends are."

She is now requesting classified documents from the episcopal and Vatican archives, which would shed more light on the issues.

That is unlikely to be approved in Rome, though it would – until Wednesday at least – have probably gone down well in the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

The Argentine president is a staunch advocate of taking to court not only military officers responsible for the killing of thousands of young activists, but also civilians who may have played a role back then.

Fernández has an icy relationship with Bergoglio – who is seen as a conservative – and has studiously avoided him over the last years, moving out of the city every 25 May when Bergoglio gave his annual mass at Buenos Aires Cathedral.

As he has shown by rising through the ranks of the church Bergoglio is an extremely astute politician, who uses the sparseness of words and space to press home his considerable influence on government and legislature.

"He is a participant in Argentine politics, but in his own way – very low profile. More politicians pass through his office than either the opposition or the government would care to admit," said Washington Uranga, social science professor at the University of Buenos Aires.

"People go in search of coverage, to ask him to use his influence. In other cases, he calls on them to come, but it is always in his territory. It’s always in his office."

When Bergoglio does occasionally speak out in public, it tends to be with allusions rather than direct references to Argentina’s darkest era. When trials reopened in 2006, he suggested it was not a good idea to churn up the problems of the past, although this was seen as a comment on the rise in the number of trials.

"We are happy to reject anger and endless conflict, because we don’t believe in chaos and disorder … Wretched are those who are vindictive and spiteful," he said in a public sermon.

Additional reporting by Sebastián Lacunza

Voir aussi:

The sins of the Argentinian church

The Catholic church was complicit in dreadful crimes in Argentina. Now it has a chance to repent

Hugh O’Shaughnessy

The Guardian

4 January 2011

Benedict XVI gave us words of great comfort and encouragement in the message he delivered on Christmas Eve.

"God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways," the pope said. "He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us".

If these words comforted and encouraged me they will surely have done the same for leaders of the church in Argentina, among many others. To the judicious and fair-minded outsider it has been clear for years that the upper reaches of the Argentinian church contained many "lost sheep in the wilderness", men who had communed and supported the unspeakably brutal western-supported military dictatorship that seized power in that country in 1976 and battened on it for years. Not only did the generals slaughter thousands unjustly, often dropping them out of aeroplanes over the River Plate and selling off their orphan children to the highest bidder, they also murdered at least two bishops and many priests. Yet even the execution of other men of the cloth did nothing to shake the support of senior clerics, including representatives of the Holy See, for the criminality of their leader General Jorge Rafael Videla and his minions.

As it happens, in the week before Christmas in the city of Córdoba Videla and some of his military and police cohorts were convicted by their country’s courts of the murder of 31 people between April and October 1976, a small fraction of the killings they were responsible for. The convictions brought life sentences for some of the military. These were not to be served, as has often been the case in Argentina and neighbouring Chile, in comfy armed forces retirement homes but in common prisons. Unsurprisingly there was dancing in the city’s streets when the judge announced the sentences.

What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentinian hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church’s collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentinian navy hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners on an island linked to senior clerics.

One would have thought that the Argentinian bishops would have seized the opportunity to call for pardon for themselves and put on sackcloth and ashes as the sentences were announced in Córdoba but that has not so far happened.

But happily Their Eminences have just been given another chance to express contrition. Next month the convicted murderer Videla will be arraigned for his part in the killing of Enrique Angelelli, bishop of the Andean diocese of La Rioja and a supporter of the cause of poorer Argentinians. He was run off the highway by a hit squad of the Videla régime and killed on 4th August 1976 shortly after Videla’s putsch.

• This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s "holiday home". This has been corrected.

Voir par ailleurs:

Is Celibacy a Sin? The NYT Has a View

Walter Russell Mead
The Americain interest
March 3, 2013

Over at the New York Times where hostility to all things Roman Catholic is a longstanding tradition, Frank Bruni has mixed a unique cocktail of one part sharp observation, two parts confusion about Christian teaching, a dash of schadenfreude and splash of scandal. It is, in other words, business as usual at the newspaper of record, where passionate disagreement verging into bitter resentment at the sexual teachings of the Catholic Church (that homosexuals can’t marry, heterosexuals can’t divorce, and that abortion is the willful destruction of innocent human life) is almost as widespread as hatred of the KKK.

(I say almost, noting Ross Douthat’s piece this morning. Maureen Dowd, however, proudly upholds the paper’s traditional foam-flecked hatred of Rome, with the difference that loathing and contempt for Catholic ideas is expressed in our more democratic era by the Catholic or ex-Catholic children of Eire rather than toffee nosed WASPs. In the old days, hatred of Rome was a bond in New York journalistic and intellectual circles between nativist Protestants and aspiring Jewish intellectuals remembering centuries of Catholic persecution. These days everybody is in on the Church-hating.)

For those looking to cast stones at the Vatican there is no shortage of ammunition at hand, and Bruni’s piece, entitled “The Wages of Celibacy,” gives us a full measure of Catholic woe: tortured, self-rejecting gay priests and maybe cardinals and archbishops, ‘elite’ rings of transsexual prostitutes, hints of Vatican blackmail, pedophilia and tragic isolation. (Dowd takes it closer to the bone in a column dripping with juicy innuendoes about the Pope Emeritus’ relationship with his private secretary.)

All these troubles, Bruni maintains, spring from priestly celibacy and homosexual repression. Bruni’s core message is that celibacy is a “trap,” a bad idea all round:

No matter what a person’s sexual orientation, the celibate culture runs the risk of stunting its development and turning sexual impulses into furtive, tortured gestures. It downplays a fundamental and maybe irresistible human connection. Is it any wonder that some priests try to make that connection nonetheless, in surreptitious, imprudent and occasionally destructive ways?

Now I’m no Roman Catholic and my father is a happily married Episcopal priest; after 61 plus years of marriage my parents have four children, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and over the decades their home has been a warm and welcoming place, a visible sign of God’s love for friends, family and strangers alike. It’s not for me to advise a religious body to which I don’t belong how to manage its affairs, but if I were designing a new Church of St. Mead from the ground up, I’d have no problem with married priests.

There are good arguments against a celibate priesthood, even in the special context of Roman Catholic doctrine about the nature and function of priests. It’s not, however, clear that these arguments are as strong as Bruni and many others assume. The last time I looked, college football coaches, BBC celebrities, public school teachers and scout leaders weren’t required to be celibate, but we’ve seen high profile sexual scandals in these fields—complete with coverups. Horatio Alger was a Unitarian minister when he was fired for “unnatural familiarity” with boys, and there have been some recent high profile cases of married Jewish and Protestant religious leaders involved in inappropriate sex with young people.

Human sexuality is tricky ground; many married people have from time to time resorted to exactly the kind of “furtive, tortured gestures” that Bruni thinks characterize celibacy. Few of us live up to our own sexual ideals or standards; gay or straight, single or married, drunk or sober, large numbers of human beings look back on certain incidents with sadness and regret. Not even Maureen Dowd can believe that America’s burgeoning porn industry survives on the patronage of furtive and twisted celibates alone. Celibacy, like monogamy, is a sexual ideal. Not many people live up to either ideal fully, and many fall sadly, woefully, and even horrifically short of the standards their own consciences declare.

But ideals, even unattainable ones, are often there for a reason. The Christian ideal of celibacy wasn’t invented by the Catholic hierarchy and didn’t originate as a tool to capture and repress homosexual men. Nor was it rooted in either Jewish or Roman antiquity. Caesar Augustus passed laws to penalize bachelors, and while Rome had its Vestal Virgins, they had no male counterparts. While ancient Greek culture celebrated many forms of what we today would call pedophilia, it strongly condemned adult men who engaged in passive homosexual intercourse and placed strong social pressure on men to marry women even as they continued to accost high school age boys. The closest thing to the Christian ideal of celibacy was found among some Middle Eastern cults and mystery religions, but the voluntary castration among some devotees of these cults never really caught on among the followers of Christ (Origen excepted).

The Christian ideal of celibacy comes straight from the source: Jesus, despite repeated attempts by later writers to whomp up romances with everyone from Mary Magdalene to St. John the Divine, never married. (I’m waiting for the Maureen Dowd column on Jesus the pedophile: What can we expect from a man who hung around playgrounds saying “Suffer the little children to come unto me?” Sounds pretty suspicious and, of course, he was celibate.)

Jesus’ example got a powerful boost and some theological buttressing from the life and writings of Christianity’s greatest early leader and thinker, St. Paul. So far as we know, Paul never married in the years before his conversion; certainly, he remained single during his life as the first Christian missionary.

Neither Jesus nor Paul demanded celibacy of their followers. We know that St. Peter had a mother-in-law and St. Paul said that bishops should have no more than one wife. If Jesus ever said anything about his decision to remain unmarried, the Gospels don’t report it, and his recorded teaching on marriage is largely confined to an absolute prohibition on divorce. But Paul was more forthcoming. In his first letter to the Christian community in the Greek city of Corinth, the apostle wrote that while ideally both women and men should remain unmarried, not everybody had the ability. For those who could not, ahem, contain themselves in the single life, he wrote, there was a less demanding if perhaps less noble course. “It is better to marry than to burn.

The examples of Jesus and Paul’s celibacy have resonated since the early centuries of Christian life, but choosing the celibate life was also often mixed up with pragmatic considerations. Centuries of persecution reinforced the idea that the leaders of the Christian community, bishops and priests for whom martyrdom was in the job description, should avoid earthly entanglements. One can sympathize with their point of view. It is bad enough being fed to the lions without worrying about the hungry family you are leaving behind.

When the persecutions ended with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, Christians had a new reason to want celibate bishops and priests. The Church became one of the wealthiest institutions in the Empire, and its officials controlled great resources and had immense political power. That power only grew when the Empire fell and feudalism appeared. In an era of weak states and institutions, powerful families constantly sought to appropriate ‘common’ property; much like oligarchs pillaging state property after the fall of the Soviet Union, people sought to ‘privatize’ both church and state property when opportunities rose.

Without celibacy, clerical dynasties would surely have emerged, and lucrative offices would almost inevitably become hereditary. Even humble parish priests would try to ensure that their sons followed them in their calling and, in a period of weak institutions and little central authority, the positions and the possessions of the Church were all too likely to fall under private control. Celibacy ensured that priests had no children, or that, if they did (and there have never been many illusions in the Church about the weakness of the flesh and the powers of temptation), those children would at least be illegitimate and unable to claim a right of succession.

Even with celibacy, life in the Church got pretty corrupt. Clerics high and low struggled to make careers for their illegitimate children or their nephews (the word ‘nepotism’ comes from the Latin word for nephew); powerful families intrigued to control the more lucrative posts. But while the ban on clerical marriage didn’t necessarily make the clergy more moral, it helped assure the independence of the Church and kept its property and offices from falling completely and irrevocably into the hands of church dynasties. From this point of view the discipline of celibacy was less a means to sanctify priests than to protect the institutional integrity of the Church.

In the West today these dangers have receded, but in much of the world they remain real. Many African and Asian believers remain very poor, and priests would face overwhelming temptations to, for example, ensure that their own kids received whatever educational opportunities were on offer. A wealthy and well connected archbishop in a non-democratic developing country would have powerful reasons to make sure his kids were plugged into the power system—and also have powerful reasons to keep his mouth shut about corruption and the abuses of human rights. Moral heroes might stand up against the pressure, but not every archbishop is going to be that kind of person. A perennial problem for Rome is that it must legislate for Catholics throughout the world; a system that allowed priests to marry in rich countries but demanded celibacy of priests from poor countries would not go over well.

Even so, there are real questions about requiring celibacy of all clergy. The priesthood is a less economically and socially attractive profession today, but in past centuries (and still in many poor countries) choosing a career in the Church was the only avenue for kids without wealthy parents to get a good education or a job that didn’t involve digging ditches. A hunger for education, a desire to see the wider world, and the hope of a brilliant career are not the same things as a religious vocation, much less a divine call to the single life, but the Church insisted on a package deal. Some young people honored the bargain, many found it beyond their power or were cynics from the start.

More recently, many women faced a similar choice. For poor girls in much of Europe and North America, entry into a religious order was their only way into professional life and their only chance for a college education. As Bruni and others note, the celibate priesthood also provided an honorable exit for another group: young homosexual men. If you told your mother that you weren’t getting married because you liked guys, you got one reaction. If you said God was calling you to the priesthood, you got something else. This doesn’t require conscious hypocrisy; sexual identity and spiritual yearning are both complicated things, and young people in the throes of adolescence jump to lots of conclusions.

It seems pretty clear that many people in religious orders and the priesthood didn’t have a true calling to the celibate life, and one reason that tens of thousands of people left the orders and the priesthood after Vatican II was that in a changing world they had other options. Young Catholic women, whatever their sexual orientation, and young Catholic gay men now have more choices, and the Church seems to be finding that while there are fewer young people entering orders and the priesthood, those who come are better suited to the calling.

I don’t know that it’s fair to blame all the resulting problems on either the Church or on celibacy. One can say that it was less than fair of the Church to offer education and careers to the poor, to women and to homosexuals with such difficult conditions attached—but then nobody else was offering them anything at all. Surely some of the blame has to fall on societies and cultures that consigned whole swathes of their population to ignorance and oppression, leaving the Church to deal with the results as best it could. Within the framework of its doctrinal structures and its institutional requirements, the Church opened a door of opportunity for people who the rest of the world rejected. Surely even the Rhadamanthine judges at the New York Times can give it a few points for trying?

But many critics of the Church, and, unless I am misreading him, Bruni is one of these, don’t just think that the Church has misused the discipline of celibacy. They want to say that celibacy doesn’t even make sense as a religious ideal. One doesn’t want to judge a person’s entire world view on the basis of a single newspaper column, but Bruni seems to make the argument that celibacy is an unnatural state that involves a crippling loss of human connection. As Auden once put it: “Envy warps the virgin as she dries.”

The critique is not new; the belief that the Catholic view of celibacy leads either to futile isolation or to sexual deviance and depravity or both was one of the core arguments that the Reformers made against the Church. Lurid ‘confessions’ of nuns allegedly seduced by priests and darker rumors were widely disseminated during and after the wars of religion. As late as the 1830s a Protestant mob in Boston burned an Ursuline convent after reports of wicked goings on got into the press.

In Victorian times Protestants frequently contrasted what they saw as the healthy, masculine and extroverted nature of the Protestant clergy and its spirituality and the ‘diseased’, ‘feminine’ and introverted qualities they claimed to see among Catholics. Homophobia and anti-Catholicism ran together in 19th century England, and the Protestant cult of ‘muscular Christianity’ claiming that Jesus was an extroverted jock rather than a sensitive momma’s boy was particularly popular among the headmasters of boys’ boarding schools. In the minds of people like Charles Kingsley, tutor of the Prince of Wales, chaplain to Queen Victoria and the man whose attack prompted Cardinal Newman to write his great autobiography, suspiciously celibate Catholic priests with their crafty ways, lace gowns and aversion to marriage were exactly the sort of person one kept away from the vulnerable young.

Today the attack on celibacy, at least in elite circles, cannot base itself on overt homophobia any longer, although it was not all that long ago that the New York Times led the charge against gays and their wicked agenda. Where the Victorians attacked the celibate priesthood because they believed it sheltered homosexual men and gave them social position and power they could never otherwise have, our contemporaries attack priestly celibacy because it warps homosexual men, steeping them in self-hatred, twisting their desires, and forcing the natural healthy channel of their sexuality into at best sordid and furtive affairs and at worst leading otherwise normal gay men into the horrors of pedophilia.

Charles Kingsley would have interpreted the current avalanche of stories about pedophile priests and the rumors of gay sex rings in the Vatican as clear proof that Catholicism was rotten to the core and that a hierarchical culture resting on priestly celibacy was a big part of the problem. That is not as far from the Bruni position as either Kingsley or Bruni would like, but where Kingsley saw celibacy as tailor-made cover for insidious homosexuals and sexual predators, Bruni sees it as an instrument of homophobia and sexual repression.

From my wretchedly Anglican standpoint, I can only say that the problem seems less about celibacy as a sexual ideal than about the attempt, intrinsic to Catholicism, to embody the ideal Kingdom of God in a human institution. Priests, nuns, bishops and monks are not going to be perfect. They are going to abuse their power; they are going to misread the will of God even on those occasions when they summon up the fortitude to try to follow it. Catholics believe that even so the purposes of God are being worked out through the visible Church on earth, and that the institution, however weighed down with crooked bankers, bent priests, conniving bishops and hypocritical pedophiles really is the primary channel of grace into this fallen world, and the place par excellence where God’s perfect love meets human failure.

That Catholic approach to the institutionalization of the ineffable has led to great triumphs of the human spirit and nourished extraordinary saints down through the ages, but there is a darker side too. The attempt to bond a high and difficult sexual ideal to the routine business of running a global institution is bound to create some big problems; I wish the next pope every success in managing this great institution in tumultuous times, but I don’t have a lot of advice to offer.

There is a final point to make. It’s striking that Bruni’s discussion of celibacy omits any possible benefits that might flow from this way of life. Proponents of celibacy have often spoken of a closer union with God as both the motive and the consequence of their choice. Pastor Rick Warren tells the story of the bride who insisted that as she came down the aisle to meet her future husband the choir sing the old hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” For millions of Catholic and Orthodox monks, priests and nuns down through the centuries, that was a choice that they consciously made. They felt called to sacrifice earthly ties to deepen their relationship with God and to focus exclusively on serving him rather than tending families on earth.

Bruni doesn’t even think this idea is worth discussing; as far as I can tell, there are no ‘brides of Christ’ in his world view, only delusional and embittered old maids.  The argument boils down to this: since human beings can’t be satisfied or fulfilled by relationships with God, celibacy has no point. It subtracts but it does not add. The celibate priest or nun is running away from normal human life and running toward… nothing.

Bruni is of course entitled to his opinion, and it’s one that many great scholars and philosophers have held. God either doesn’t exist or is so much in the background of things that he might as well not be there at all. Satisfaction is to be sought in the here and now; this life on earth offers all we need and in any case is all we have. Forget all this talk of mystical unions with Christ, forget the ecstasies of the saints, the Beatific Vision, the dream of fulfilling your life by picking up your cross and following Christ as closely as you can. Find an age-appropriate spouse of whatever gender works for you, and lead the rich and satisfying life of an upper middle class professional who enjoys the newspaper of record, and try not to think about old age, death, or anything else that suggests that the natural order is either incomplete or flawed.

This is a perfectly coherent point of view, but it is not very rational to suggest it to the Catholic Church. Bruni’s argument against celibacy is predicated on the disappearance of God; he is giving the Church advice on how to organize its affairs in the absence of Christ.

If Bruni is right, we shouldn’t just get rid of priestly celibacy. We should get rid of priests. We should turn our churches into art museums. Perhaps a few should stay open for the old people and the poor people and the semi-literate immigrants still bitterly clinging to their missals and their rosaries, but the Catholic Church is of value only insofar as it adds texture and color to the wonderful pageant of civilized modern life.

A lot of modern and progressive thinking people think this way in America and beyond; it’s a safe bet that the new pope, whoever he is, won’t agree.

Voir aussi:

LE CASTRISTE HUGO CHAVEZ A FINANCE SECRETEMENT LA CAMPAGNE EN 2007 DE LA PRESIDENTE ARGENTINE AVEC 6 MILLIONS $

Auteur jacquesthomet

25 septembre 2008

Un document tendant à le prouver a été présenté jeudi par l’homme d’affaires américano-vénézuélien Guido Antonini Wilson, cité comme témoin à Miami dans le procès sur le transfert illégal de 800.000 dollars du Venezuela vers l’Argentine.

Guido Antonini Wilson avait été intercepté le 4 août 2007 par la douane argentine en provenance de Caracas, avec une mallette contenant 800.000 dollars.

Selon l’accusation, il s’agissait d’argent destiné à la campagne présidentielle de la candidate Cristina Kirchner, qui a ensuite remporté les élections en octobre 2007. Mme Kirchner a nié avoir reçu des fonds provenant du Venezuela.

Guido Antonini Wilson est un témoin clé dans ce procès de trois Vénézuéliens et un Uruguayen –Moises Maionica, Franklin Duran, Carlos Kauffmann, Rodolfo Edgardo Wanseele Paciello– que les Etats-Unis soupçonnent d’avoir agi en tant qu’agents du Venezuela à Miami. Ils sont accusés d’avoir fait pression sur M. Antonini Wilson, qui avait introduit des fonds non déclarés en Argentine en août 2007, pour cacher la provenance et la destination de cet argent. Antonini Wilson a présenté un document, que lui avait remis Franklin Durán, dans lequel ce dernier détaillait les points importants concernant le supposé transfert de fonds.

« D’où vient l’argent: PDVSA (la compagnie pétrolière publique du Venezuela). A qui est-il destiné: à la campagne (de Cristina Kirchner) (…) deux mallettes (…) 6 millions de dollars… », indique notamment le document.

L’homme d’affaires américano-vénézuelien a affirmé avoir rencontré dans un hôtel le vice-président pour l’Argentine de PDVSA, Diego Uzcategui, peu de temps après avoir été appréhendé. « L’argent venait de PDVSA, ce n’était pas le mien », a-t-il expliqué. « J’ai demandé (à M. Uzcategui) pourquoi il m’avait placé dans une telle situation, et il m’a répondu: +où est le reste de l’argent ?+ Je lui ai dit: +De quoi est-ce que tu me parles ?+ Et il m’a dit: +Il y avait une autre valise avec 4,2 millions+ », avait-t-il raconté devant la cour.

M. Antonini Wilson a aussi révélé mercredi s’être entretenu à deux reprises au téléphone avec le chef des renseignements du Venezuela, Henry Rangel Silva, qui tentait de le convaincre d’occulter le scandale.

Voir enfin:

Malaysia’s U.S. Propaganda

Kuala Lumpur paid American conservative journalists to smear an opposition leader.

The WSJ

March 8, 2013

A general election is expected next month in the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia, and that usually means political shenanigans—abuse of national security laws, media manipulation and character assassination. After the last election in 2008, when the ruling coalition barely held on to power, public anger at such practices prompted Prime Minister Najib Razak to redraft laws and reform the electoral system. However, new revelations that his government paid American journalists to attack opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim raise questions whether those changes went far enough.

In January, conservative American blogger Joshua Treviño belatedly registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, revealing that from 2008-2011 he was paid $389,724.70, as well as a free trip to Malaysia, to provide "public relations and media consultancy" services to the Malaysian government.

These consisted of writing for a website called Malaysia Matters, now defunct, as well as channeling $130,950 to other conservative writers who wrote pro-government pieces for other newspapers and websites. When questioned in 2011 by the Politico website about whether Malaysian interests funded his activities, Mr. Treviño flatly denied it: "I was never on any ‘Malaysian entity’s payroll,’ and I resent your assumption that I was."

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

The campaign was more targeted than the Malaysian ruling coalition’s domestic attacks on Mr. Anwar. Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has "ties to terrorism" is preposterous.

The site also defended an outrageous charge of sodomy brought against Mr. Anwar from 2008- 2012, and it criticized the U.S. State Department and The Wall Street Journal for taking Mr. Anwar’s side. These postings were clearly aimed at sowing doubt among other would-be Anwar defenders in the U.S., especially on the right of the U.S. political spectrum.

Mr. Treviño paid other writers who know almost nothing about Malaysia but mimicked his propaganda. The New Ledger, edited by Ben Domenech, was even more vociferous, calling Mr. Anwar a "vile anti-Semite and cowardly woman-abuser." One posting was entitled, "Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist money flowing to Anwar Ibrahim." According to Mr. Treviño’s filing, he paid Mr. Domenech $36,000 for "opinion writing." Three contributors of anti-Anwar items to the New Ledger—Rachel Motte, Christopher Badeaux and Brad Jackson—were paid $9,500, $11,000 and $24,700 respectively.

Mr. Treviño was initially paid by public relations multinational APCO Worldwide, which had a longstanding contract with the Malaysian government. APCO’s Kuala Lumpur representative through 2010, Paul Stadlen, now works in Prime Minister Najib’s office. David All, who at the time ran his own PR firm and collaborated on Malaysia Matters, also provided cash.

But from 2009-11, the Malaysian money came through Fact-Based Communications, which under the leadership of journalist John Defterios produced programs on client countries for CNN, CNBC and the BBC. After this was revealed in 2011, the three networks dropped all FBC programs, and Atlantic Media Company President Justin Smith resigned from its board.

Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think- tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed.

The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times.

Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad.


Juifs utiles: Et si le prétendu peuple juif se dissolvait lui-même ? (Dissolve your own people: US Jewish philosopher comes up with the ultimate solution to all world problems)

20 mars, 2013
http://www.endru.de/joom/images/stories/politik/Wir-sind-das-Volk.gifL’antisémitisme religieux dit : Vous n’avez pas le droit de vivre parmi nous si vous restez juif. L’antisémitisme politique dit : Vous n’avez pas le droit de vivre parmi nous. L’antisémitisme racial dit : Vous n’avez pas le droit de vivre. Raul Hilberg
J’apprends que le gouvernement estime que le peuple a "trahi la confiance du régime" et "devra travailler dur pour regagner la confiance des autorités". Dans ce cas, ne serait-il pas plus simple pour le gouvernement de dissoudre le peuple et d’en élire un autre ? Bertold Brecht
Que signifie le peuple juif ? Existe-t-il ? Peut-on parler du peuple juif comme on parle du peuple français ? Ou comme on parle du peuple basque ? La seule réponse valable me paraît celle-ci : si l’on parle du « peuple juif », on emploie la notion de peuple en un sens qui ne vaut que dans ce seul cas. Raymond Aron (cité par Shlomo Sand)
Si l’on a pu affirmer, un jour, que la patrie constitue l’ultime recours de l’impie, on pourrait, aujourd’hui, dire que la Shoah est devenue l’ultime recours des démagogues prosionistes! Shlomo Sand
La conclusion, proprement perverse, de son livre est d’attribuer au peuple palestinien ce qui a été dénié aux juifs, à savoir qu’ils sont – eux, les Palestiniens – les vrais descendants génétiques des Hébreux originaires ! Cet épilogue est le révélateur de la finalité du livre. On y trouve le principe mythologique de l’inversion dont le peuple juif est la victime coutumière : les juifs deviennent des non-juifs et les Palestiniens les juifs génétiques. On peut, dès lors, en déduire qui est l’occupant légitime du pays. En ne déconstruisant pas radicalement la notion d’héritage génétique, en en faisant, au contraire, bénéficier le peuple palestinien, Sand révèle tout l’impensé qui obscurément pourrit ce qu’il tient pour être une entreprise libératrice. Il montre que la méthode substitutive qu’il emploie est tout simplement mystificatrice, et ce d’autant plus qu’elle voudrait être au service de l’entente entre les ennemis. Eric Marty
On a parlé de multiples fois des habits neufs de l’antisémitisme: non seulement celui-ci s’est fait faire des habits neufs, mais il a toute une garde-robe, qui va du prêt-à-porter bas de gamme, au charme hypocrite et discret de la haute couture, qu’affectionnent les diplomates de haut vol. Guy Millière
Americans take for granted the world in which they grew up—a world in which, for better or worse, the U.S. was the ultimate security guarantor of scores of states, and in many ways the entire international system. Today we are informed by many politicians and commentators that we are weary of those burdens—though what we should be weary of, given that our children aren’t conscripted and our taxes aren’t being raised in order to pay for those wars, is unclear. The truth is that defense spending at the rate of 4% of gross domestic product (less than that sustained with ease by Singapore) is eminently affordable. The arguments against far-flung American strategic commitments take many forms. So-called foreign policy realists, particularly in the academic world, believe that the competing interests of states tend automatically toward balance and require no statesmanlike action by the U.S. To them, the old language of force in international politics has become as obsolete as that of the "code duello," which regulated individual honor fights through the early 19th century. We hear that international institutions and agreements can replace national strength. It is also said—covertly but significantly—that the U.S. is too dumb and inept to play the role of security guarantor. Perhaps the clever political scientists, complacent humanists, Spenglerian declinists, right and left neo-isolationists, and simple doubters that the U.S. can do anything right are correct. Perhaps the president should concentrate on nation-building at home while pressing abroad only for climate- change agreements, nuclear disarmament and an unfettered right to pick off bad guys (including Americans) as he sees fit. But if history is any guide, foreign policy as a political-science field experiment or what-me- worryism will yield some ugly results. Syria is a harbinger of things to come. In that case, the dislocation, torture and death have first afflicted the locals. But it will not end there, as incidents on Syria’s borders and rumors of the movement of chemical weapons suggest. A world in which the U.S. abnegates its leadership will be a world of unrestricted self-help in which China sets the rules of politics and trade in Asia, mayhem and chaos is the order of the day in the Middle East, and timidity and appeasement paralyze the free European states. A world, in short, where the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must, and those with an option hurry up and get nuclear weapons. Eliot Cohen
President Bashar Assad’s jet fighters, tanks and artillery have been slaughtering Syrian people for two years. More than 70,000 have been killed. Yet the international community has shown neither unity of purpose nor the political will to act. Many in the world would do well to learn the lesson that the root cause of the problems in the Middle East is not the oft-cited failure to solve the conflict with the Palestinians. Even if a peace agreement with the Palestinians had been signed and sealed a long time ago, the Muslim Brotherhood would still have come to power in Egypt, Syria would still be mired in a bloody civil war, and Iran would still be pursuing nuclear capabilities and hegemony in the Persian Gulf. Ehud Barak
Réalisé sur un échantillon de 7.500 européens, la question était parmi une liste de 15 nations (dont les Etats-Unis, l’Irak, l’Iran, l’Afghanistan et la Corée du Nord) de "dire si le pays présente ou non une menace pour la paix dans le monde". Quelque 59% des sondés ont désigné Israël. Selon El Pais, les Néerlandais, les Autrichiens et les Luxembourgeois sondés sont ceux qui ont le plus placé Israël en tête des menaces. Les Français ont au contraire été les moins enclins à désigner l’Etat hébreu. L’Irak (52%) n’arrive qu’en cinquième position dans cette enquête d’opinion. Derrière Israël (59%), trois pays occupent la deuxième place, à égalité (53%): il s’agit des Etats-Unis, de l’Iran et de la Corée du Nord. Viennent ensuite l’Afghanistan (50%), le Pakistan (48%), la Syrie (37%), la Libye et l’Arabie saoudite (toutes deux à 36%). Le Nouvel Observateur (2003)
L’idée même d’un Etat juif est non-démocratique. Joseph Levine

 Et si le prétendu peuple juif se dissolvait lui-même ?

A l’heure où l’évidence du problème juif comme source unique de tous les maux du monde s’impose peu à peu à l’ensemble de l’opinion éclairée mondiale …

Pendant que son principal porte-parole de la Maison Blanche s’est enfin décidé en ce moment même à en informer, entre deux visites touristiques, le dernier petit peuple de la planète à empêcher le monde de tourner …

Et que, sur nos télévisions, nos petites mains (noires elles aussi comme il se doit) nous font ânnoner notre leçon (co-lon, co-lo-nie, co-lo-ni-ser, co-lo-ni-sa-tion, o-ccu-pa-tion, o-ccu-pé, on répète après moi – pas moins de treize fois en, quoi, 2 minutes 30 !) sans lamais mentionner une seule fois en face le refus de négocier ou même de reconnaitre l’existence d’Israël …

Comment ne pas voir, proposée de surcroit par un philosophe juif de New York, la géniale simplicité de la solution ultime à la paix mondiale ?

Qui, surprise, redécouvre avec la caution morale supplémentaire du sommet de la réflexion philosophique et de la judéité proclamée de son auteur, la même mesure radicale que l’antisémitisme racial de grand-papa ….

A savoir la bonne vieille (dis)Solution finale !

On Questioning the Jewish State

Joseph Levine

The NYT

March 9, 2013

I was raised in a religious Jewish environment, and though we were not strongly Zionist, I always took it to be self-evident that “Israel has a right to exist.” Now anyone who has debated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will have encountered this phrase often. Defenders of Israeli policies routinely accuse Israel’s critics of denying her right to exist, while the critics (outside of a small group on the left, where I now find myself) bend over backward to insist that, despite their criticisms, of course they affirm it. The general mainstream consensus seems to be that to deny Israel’s right to exist is a clear indication of anti-Semitism (a charge Jews like myself are not immune to), and therefore not an option for people of conscience.

Over the years I came to question this consensus and to see that the general fealty to it has seriously constrained open debate on the issue, one of vital importance not just to the people directly involved — Israelis and Palestinians — but to the conduct of our own foreign policy and, more important, to the safety of the world at large. My view is that one really ought to question Israel’s right to exist and that doing so does not manifest anti-Semitism. The first step in questioning the principle, however, is to figure out what it means.

One problem with talking about this question calmly and rationally is that the phrase “right to exist” sounds awfully close to “right to life,” so denying Israel its right to exist sounds awfully close to permitting the extermination of its people. In light of the history of Jewish persecution, and the fact that Israel was created immediately after and largely as a consequence of the Holocaust, it isn’t surprising that the phrase “Israel’s right to exist” should have this emotional impact. But as even those who insist on the principle will admit, they aren’t claiming merely the impermissibility of exterminating Israelis. So what is this “right” that many uphold as so basic that to question it reflects anti-Semitism and yet is one that I claim ought to be questioned?

The key to the interpretation is found in the crucial four words that are often tacked on to the phrase “Israel’s right to exist” — namely, “… as a Jewish state.” As I understand it, the principle that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state has three parts: first, that Jews, as a collective, constitute a people in the sense that they possess a right to self-determination; second, that a people’s right to self-determination entails the right to erect a state of their own, a state that is their particular people’s state; and finally, that for the Jewish people the geographical area of the former Mandatory Palestine, their ancestral homeland, is the proper place for them to exercise this right to self-determination.

The claim then is that anyone who denies Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is guilty of anti-Semitism because they are refusing to grant Jews the same rights as other peoples possess. If indeed this were true, if Jews were being singled out in the way many allege, I would agree that it manifests anti-Jewish bias. But the charge that denying Jews a right to a Jewish state amounts to treating the Jewish people differently from other peoples cannot be sustained.

To begin, since the principle has three parts, it follows that it can be challenged in (at least) three different ways: either deny that Jews constitute “a people” in the relevant sense, deny that the right to self-determination really involves what advocates of the principle claim it does, or deny that Jews have the requisite claim on the geographical area in question.

In fact, I think there is a basis to challenge all three, but for present purposes I will focus on the question of whether a people’s right to self-determination entails their right to a state of their own, and set aside whether Jews count as a people and whether Jews have a claim on that particular land. I do so partly for reasons of space, but mainly because these questions have largely (though not completely) lost their importance.

The fact is that today millions of Jews live in Israel and, ancestral homeland or not, this is their home now. As for whether Jews constitute a people, this is a vexed question given the lack of consensus in general about what it takes for any particular group of people to count as “a people.” The notion of “a people” can be interpreted in different ways, with different consequences for the rights that they possess. My point is that even if we grant Jews their peoplehood and their right to live in that land, there is still no consequent right to a Jewish state.

However, I do think that it’s worth noting the historical irony in insisting that it is anti-Semitic to deny that Jews constitute a people. The 18th and 19th centuries were the period of Jewish “emancipation” in Western Europe, when the ghetto walls were torn down and Jews were granted the full rights of citizenship in the states within which they resided. The anti-Semitic forces in those days, those opposing emancipation, were associated not with denying Jewish peoplehood but with emphatically insisting on it! The idea was that since Jews constituted a nation of their own, they could not be loyal citizens of any European state. The liberals who strongly opposed anti-Semitism insisted that Jews could both practice their religion and uphold their cultural traditions while maintaining full citizenship in the various nation-states in which they resided.

But, as I said, let’s grant that Jews are a people. Well, if they are, and if with the status of a people comes the right to self-determination, why wouldn’t they have a right to live under a Jewish state in their homeland? The simple answer is because many non-Jews (rightfully) live there too. But this needs unpacking.

First, it’s important to note, as mentioned above, that the term “a people” can be used in different ways, and sometimes they get confused. In particular, there is a distinction to be made between a people in the ethnic sense and a people in the civic sense. Though there is no general consensus on this, a group counts as a people in the ethnic sense by virtue of common language, common culture, common history and attachment to a common territory. One can easily see why Jews, scattered across the globe, speaking many different languages and defined largely by religion, present a difficult case. But, as I said above, for my purposes it doesn’t really matter, and I will just assume the Jewish people qualify.

The other sense is the civic one, which applies to a people by virtue of their common citizenship in a nation-state or, alternatively, by virtue of their common residence within relatively defined geographic borders. So whereas there is both an ethnic and a civic sense to be made of the term “French people,” the term “Jewish people” has only an ethnic sense. This can easily be seen by noting that the Jewish people is not the same group as the Israeli people. About 20 percent of Israeli citizens are non-Jewish Palestinians, while the vast majority of the Jewish people are not citizens of Israel and do not live within any particular geographic area. “Israeli people,” on the other hand, has only a civic sense. (Of course often the term “Israelis” is used as if it applies only to Jewish Israelis, but this is part of the problem. More on this below.)

So, when we consider whether or not a people has a right to a state of their own, are we speaking of a people in the ethnic sense or the civic one? I contend that insofar as the principle that all peoples have the right to self-determination entails the right to a state of their own, it can apply to peoples only in the civic sense.

After all, what is it for a people to have a state “of their own”? Here’s a rough characterization: the formal institutions and legal framework of the state serves to express, encourage and favor that people’s identity. The distinctive position of that people would be manifested in a number of ways, from the largely symbolic to the more substantive: for example, it would be reflected in the name of the state, the nature of its flag and other symbols, its national holidays, its education system, its immigration rules, the extent to which membership in the people in question is a factor in official planning, how resources are distributed, etc. If the people being favored in this way are just the state’s citizens, it is not a problem. (Of course those who are supercosmopolitan, denying any legitimacy to the borders of nation-states, will disagree. But they aren’t a party to this debate.)

But if the people who “own” the state in question are an ethnic sub-group of the citizenry, even if the vast majority, it constitutes a serious problem indeed, and this is precisely the situation of Israel as the Jewish state. Far from being a natural expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, it is in fact a violation of the right to self-determination of its non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian) citizens. It is a violation of a people’s right to self-determination to exclude them — whether by virtue of their ethnic membership, or for any other reason — from full political participation in the state under whose sovereignty they fall. Of course Jews have a right to self-determination in this sense as well — this is what emancipation was all about. But so do non-Jewish peoples living in the same state.

Any state that “belongs” to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group.

If the institutions of a state favor one ethnic group among its citizenry in this way, then only the members of that group will feel themselves fully a part of the life of the state. True equality, therefore, is only realizable in a state that is based on civic peoplehood. As formulated by both Jewish- and Palestinian-Israeli activists on this issue, a truly democratic state that fully respects the self-determination rights of everyone under its sovereignty must be a “state of all its citizens.”

This fundamental point exposes the fallacy behind the common analogy, drawn by defenders of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, between Israel’s right to be Jewish and France’s right to be French. The appropriate analogy would instead be between France’s right to be French (in the civic sense) and Israel’s right to be Israeli.

I conclude, then, that the very idea of a Jewish state is undemocratic, a violation of the self-determination rights of its non-Jewish citizens, and therefore morally problematic. But the harm doesn’t stop with the inherently undemocratic character of the state. For if an ethnic national state is established in a territory that contains a significant number of non-members of that ethnic group, it will inevitably face resistance from the land’s other inhabitants. This will force the ethnic nation controlling the state to resort to further undemocratic means to maintain their hegemony. Three strategies to deal with resistance are common: expulsion, occupation and institutional marginalization. Interestingly, all three strategies have been employed by the Zionist movement: expulsion in 1948 (and, to a lesser extent, in 1967), occupation of the territories conquered in 1967 and institution of a complex web of laws that prevent Israel’s Palestinian citizens from mounting an internal challenge to the Jewish character of the state. (The recent outrage in Israel over a proposed exclusion of ultra-Orthodox parties from the governing coalition, for example, failed to note that no Arab political party has ever been invited to join the government.) In other words, the wrong of ethnic hegemony within the state leads to the further wrong of repression against the Other within its midst.

There is an unavoidable conflict between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. I want to emphasize that there’s nothing anti-Semitic in pointing this out, and it’s time the question was discussed openly on its merits, without the charge of anti-Semitism hovering in the background.

Joseph Levine is a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he teaches and writes on philosophy of mind, metaphysics and political philosophy. He is the author of “Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness.”

Voir aussi:

Choose Your Side: The New York Times or Judaism

Edward Alexander

The NYT

March 18, 2013

“How long halt ye between two opinions?” – 1 Kings 18:21

American Jewry is often said to be divided between those who judge Judaism by the principles of the New York Times and those who judge the New York Times by the principles of Judaism. The former group was elated by Professor Joseph Levine’s recent clarion call “Questioning the Jewish State” (NY Times of March 9), which advocated the expulsion of Israel from the family of nations. The latter group was dismayed and nauseated, and confirmed in its view that expecting ordinary decency from “progressive” Jewish professors is like trying to warm yourself by the light of the moon. The former, composed in large part of what Gershom Scholem called “clever Jews” who fear nothing in this world (and maybe the next as well) so much as being called “reactionary,” agreed with Levine’s insistence that he not be labelled antisemitic just because he singled out Israel, among all the nations of the world, as deserving of dissolution; the latter thought the real question is whether Levine should be called a moral nonentity because he has made himself an accessory before the fact to the genocide dreamt of (and already inspiring murderous action) by Ahmadinejad, Hizbullah, Erdogan, Hamas, and numerous other “Islamist” eschatologists. (I’ve heard some ill-tempered members of this second group say that they looked forward to a Times discussion of whether Levine himself has an inalienable “right to exist.”)

Those Jews who judge the New York Times by the standards of Judaism believe that the creation of the state of Israel was one of the few redeeming events in a century of blood and shame, one of the greatest affirmations of the will to live ever made by a martyred people, and the most hopeful sign for humanity since the dove returned with the olive branch to Noah. They tend also to cling to Orwell’s view that some ideas–like the virtue of Jewish powerlessness–are so stupid that only intellectuals can believe them.

Those who judge Judaism by the standards of the New York Times boast of not having “danced in the streets when Ben-Gurion declared that the Jews, like other peoples, had a state of their own.” They believe (as does a majority of today’s Germans too) that Israel is the chief obstacle to world peace, a diversion from such compelling goals as gay marriage and unlimited access to abortion, and indeed the principal cause of most of the world’s evils with the (possible) exception of global warming.

Professor Levine’s polemic draws on sources both ancient and modern. It harkens back–albeit in the clumsy and verbose manner of somebody who “unpacks” rather than articulates ideas–to the earliest known ancient, non-Jewish document that mentions Israel by name. It is found on a monument from 1215 BCE (possessed by the British Museum) in which King Merneptah, the Egyptian forerunner of Chmielnicki, Hitler, Nasser, and Ahmadinejad, declares that “Israel is extinguished, its seed is no more.”

Levine, to be sure, is a philosopher, and not–on the surface, at least–a political agitator and propagandist, although he identifies himself (who could have guessed?) as a man of the left. Up to a point, Levine has some respectable predecessors among fellow-philosophers. In 1932, for example, Julien Benda, French philosopher (and novelist) addressed the “European nation” as follows: “Intellectuals of all countries, you must be the ones to tell your nations that they are always in the wrong by the single fact that they are nations…Plotinus blushed at having a body. You should blush at having a nation.” But whereas Benda called for philosophers of ALL nations to blush, Levine believes in blushing only by Jews for the Jewish nation. Although the imperfections he imputes to Israel because it calls itself “Jewish” manifest themselves–a hundred fold–in scores of members of the United Nations, he demands the dissolution only of the Jewish nation–not the 22 Arab nations or the numerous Christian ones or the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Like all Israel dissolutionists–one-state solution advocates, no-state solution advocates, and (this from the tone-deaf George Steiner) “final solution” advocates–he insists that Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic. Perhaps the Times will soon invite him to cast his philosophic eye over a country called the United Kingdom, widely reputed to be democratic, and yet possessed of an official Protestant church, a Protestant monarch, a Protestant educational system (and all this in a once-Catholic country).

Levine has also attached himself, not unwittingly, to what Raul Hilberg called the last version of that ever-shortening sentence which expressed Europe’s anti-Jewish policies over the centuries. “The missionaries of Christianity,” wrote Hilberg, “had said in effect: You have no right to live among us as Jews. The secular rulers who followed had proclaimed: You have no right to live among us. The German Nazis at last decreed: you have no right to live.” Levine admits to a slight uneasiness about the resemblance between his challenging Israel’s “right to exist” and the Nazis’ disputing the Jews’ “right to live.” But confidence in his own infallibility carries him quickly over this abyss, as if it were just an unfortunate coincidence of diction and phrasing. In fact, of course, it makes him complicit in what Hannah Arendt famously defined as the crime against humanity, “an attack upon human diversity as such, that is, upon a characteristic of the ‘human status’ without which the very words ‘mankind’ or ‘humanity’ would be devoid of meaning.”

Hannah Arendt’s colleague (and critic) Saul Bellow put the matter more tersely in “To Jerusalem and Back” (1976): “The subject of all this talk is, ultimately, survival–the survival of the decent society, created in Israel within a few decades….The Jews, because they are Jews, have never been able to take the right to live as a natural right.”

Edward Alexander’s most recent book is THE STATE OF THE JEWS: A Critical Appraisal (Transaction Publishers).

Voir également:

With Obama’s Israel Visit, an Opportunity

Forming a ‘strategic triangle’ to ensure Middle East security.

Ehud Barak

The WSJ

March 19, 2013

President Obama’s visit to Israel comes at a decisive juncture for the Middle East and offers the opportunity for new strategic thinking. Over the past two years, a geopolitical earthquake has shattered a generations-old regional order. What is replacing that order are unstable, transformational regimes or, even worse, failed states.

These dramatic changes offer some important lessons. For instance: Be modest when it comes to predictions. Who predicted the revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere? Who could have predicted them?

Another lesson: It is unwise to rely on "the world" to act when a man-made disaster is unfolding. Consider Syria. President Bashar Assad’s jet fighters, tanks and artillery have been slaughtering Syrian people for two years. More than 70,000 have been killed. Yet the international community has shown neither unity of purpose nor the political will to act.

Many in the world would do well to learn the lesson that the root cause of the problems in the Middle East is not the oft-cited failure to solve the conflict with the Palestinians. Even if a peace agreement with the Palestinians had been signed and sealed a long time ago, the Muslim Brotherhood would still have come to power in Egypt, Syria would still be mired in a bloody civil war, and Iran would still be pursuing nuclear capabilities and hegemony in the Persian Gulf.

The major challenges in the Middle East today are failed or failing states armed with thousands of rockets and missiles, the presence of global terror groups such as al Qaeda, and, of course, Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.

In the face of these serious challenges, I see an opportunity for the United States, moderate Arab regimes and Israel to tackle these challenges together.

First, these countries should build a Regional Security Framework that will focus on fighting terror, protecting border security and maintaining a missile defense.

Second, Israel, backed by the U.S. and moderate Arab regimes, should launch a daring peace initiative vis-à-vis the Palestinians. A two-state arrangement is the only viable solution. While its absence is not the fountainhead of all regional troubles, its achievement would help secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. The status quo offers only a slippery slope toward a binational state that would endanger Israel’s future.

If a final-status agreement for a two-state solution is not feasible at this time—and I suspect it is not—Israel and the Palestinians should try to reach interim agreements. Start with security and borders, for example. But if interim agreements also prove impossible to achieve, unilateral steps that move both Israelis and Palestinians closer to their legitimate goals in a final peace agreement should be taken. Such steps might include an Israeli decision to build solely within the widely accepted settlement blocks, or programs that would reduce Palestinian dependence on the Israeli economy.

Third, Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, which is the paramount challenge facing Israel, the region and the world today, must be eliminated. An Iranian regime with hegemonic ambitions and armed with nuclear weapons would spell the end of any conceivable nonproliferation regime.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and later Egypt would soon follow suit. The danger of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terror groups would increase exponentially. Iran’s Gulf neighbors would be intimidated and Iran’s terror proxies would be emboldened—operating under the umbrella of a nuclear Iran—to spread death and destruction throughout the world.

Preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons now is no simple task, and it is not without significant risks. But dealing with a nuclear Iran a few years down the road will be far more complicated, much more costly, and it could produce horrific consequences.

Diplomats are still working to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear threat. Tough sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy. As a long-time observer of Iranian machinations, though, I do not believe that diplomacy and sanctions alone will lead to a moment of truth when the ayatollahs will decide to give up their nuclear program. Thus all options, including the military one, must remain squarely on the table. And when we say that all options are on the table, we must truly be prepared to use them.

The strategic triangle of a Regional Security Framework, a reinvigorated peace process with the Palestinians, and an effective halt of the Iranian nuclear program is the most effective approach to deal with the dynamic challenges on our horizon.

But this strategic triangle will not emerge on its own. It demands U.S. leadership, and it demands an even stronger U.S.-Israel alliance. President Obama’s visit to Israel could not be more timely because it offers an opportunity to kick-start an effort to accomplish just that.

Mr. Barak was Israel’s minister of defense from 2007 until this week.

Voir enfin:

American Withdrawal and Global Disorder

As Obama ends U.S. security guarantees, nuclear weapons and violence will spread.

Eliot Cohen

The WSJ

March 19, 2013

Since the days of the Monroe Doctrine, American foreign policy has rested on a global system of explicit or implicit commitments to use military power to guarantee the interests of the U.S. and its allies. The current administration has chosen to reduce, limit or underfund those commitments, and the results—which we may begin to see before President Obama’s term ends—will be dangerous.

Some of America’s commitments are enshrined in treaties, such as Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, which says of NATO’s 28 member countries that "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." Other commitments are less formal. The U.S. has no defense treaty with Israel, but repeated presidential declarations, including those Mr. Obama will make during his trip this week, amount to nearly the same thing.

Some commitments are moral and humanitarian, such as the "responsibility to protect" that led American decision makers racked with guilt over the Rwanda massacres of 1994 to intervene in the Yugoslav civil war in 1998. All amount to a web of obligations that have been central to the American role in the world since World War II.

Over the past four years, the U.S. has scaled down its presence, ambitions and promises overseas. Mr. Obama has announced the end of the early-21st-century wars, though in truth the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are merely shifting to new, not necessarily less-vicious phases. He has refrained from issuing unambiguous threats to hostile states, such as Iran, that engage in bellicose behavior toward the U.S., and he has let his staff speak of "leading from behind" as a desirable approach to foreign policy.

He has reduced the U.S. military budget and is willing to cut more. His preferred use of force when dealing with terrorism is a protracted campaign of assassination by drone strike—which he says has succeeded fabulously, yet which curiously requires indefinite expansion.

In Mr. Obama’s second term the limits of such withdrawal from conventional military commitments abroad will be tested. In East Asia, an assertive China has bullied the Philippines (with which the U.S. has a 61-year-old defense pact) over the Spratly islands, and China has pressed its claims on Japan (a 53-year-old defense pact) over the Senkaku Islands.

At stake are territorial waters and mineral resources—symbols of China’s drive for hegemony and an outburst of national egotism. Yet when Shinzo Abe, the new prime minister of an understandably anxious Japan, traveled to Washington in February, he didn’t get the unambiguous White House backing of Japan’s sovereignty that an ally of long standing deserves and needs.

In Europe, an oil-rich Russia is rebuilding its conventional arsenal while modernizing (as have China and Pakistan) its nuclear arsenal. Russia has been menacing its East European neighbors, including those, like Poland, that have offered to host elements of a NATO missile-defense system to protect Europe.

In 2012, Russia’s then-chief of general staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, declared: "A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens." This would be the same Russia that has attempted to dismember its neighbor Georgia and now has a docile Russophile billionaire, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, to supplant the balky, independence-minded government loyal to President Mikhail Saakashvili.

In the Persian Gulf, American policy was laid down by Jimmy Carter in his 1980 State of the Union address with what became the Carter Doctrine: "An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." America’s Gulf allies may not have treaties to rely upon—but they do have decades of promises and the evidence of two wars that the U.S. would stand by them.

Today they wait for the long-promised (by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush) nuclear disarmament of a revolutionary Iranian government that has been relentless in its efforts to intimidate and subvert Iran’s neighbors. They may wait in vain.

Americans take for granted the world in which they grew up—a world in which, for better or worse, the U.S. was the ultimate security guarantor of scores of states, and in many ways the entire international system.

Today we are informed by many politicians and commentators that we are weary of those burdens—though what we should be weary of, given that our children aren’t conscripted and our taxes aren’t being raised in order to pay for those wars, is unclear. The truth is that defense spending at the rate of 4% of gross domestic product (less than that sustained with ease by Singapore) is eminently affordable.

The arguments against far-flung American strategic commitments take many forms. So-called foreign policy realists, particularly in the academic world, believe that the competing interests of states tend automatically toward balance and require no statesmanlike action by the U.S. To them, the old language of force in international politics has become as obsolete as that of the "code duello," which regulated individual honor fights through the early 19th century. We hear that international institutions and agreements can replace national strength. It is also said—covertly but significantly—that the U.S. is too dumb and inept to play the role of security guarantor.

Perhaps the clever political scientists, complacent humanists, Spenglerian declinists, right and left neo-isolationists, and simple doubters that the U.S. can do anything right are correct. Perhaps the president should concentrate on nation-building at home while pressing abroad only for climate- change agreements, nuclear disarmament and an unfettered right to pick off bad guys (including Americans) as he sees fit.

But if history is any guide, foreign policy as a political-science field experiment or what-me- worryism will yield some ugly results. Syria is a harbinger of things to come. In that case, the dislocation, torture and death have first afflicted the locals. But it will not end there, as incidents on Syria’s borders and rumors of the movement of chemical weapons suggest.

A world in which the U.S. abnegates its leadership will be a world of unrestricted self-help in which China sets the rules of politics and trade in Asia, mayhem and chaos is the order of the day in the Middle East, and timidity and appeasement paralyze the free European states. A world, in short, where the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must, and those with an option hurry up and get nuclear weapons.

Not a pleasant thought.

Mr. Cohen directs the Strategic Studies program at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


Nankin/160e: C’est les Occidentaux et leur maudite religion, imbécile ! (I came not to send peace: Looking back at one of the worst civil wars in history)

19 mars, 2013
http://thebrightestman.wikispaces.com/file/view/China_imperialism_cartoon.jpg/52470429/343x494/China_imperialism_cartoon.jpgNe croyez pas que je sois venu apporter la paix sur la terre; je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix, mais l’épée. Car je suis venu mettre la division entre l’homme et son père, entre la fille et sa mère, entre la belle-fille et sa belle-mère; et l’homme aura pour ennemis les gens de sa maison. Jésus
Un des grands problèmes de la Russie – et plus encore de la Chine – est que, contrairement aux camps de concentration hitlériens, les leurs n’ont jamais été libérés et qu’il n’y a eu aucun tribunal de Nuremberg pour juger les crimes commis. Thérèse Delpech
Il est malheureux que le Moyen-Orient ait rencontré pour la première fois la modernité occidentale à travers les échos de la Révolution française. Progressistes, égalitaristes et opposés à l’Eglise, Robespierre et les jacobins étaient des héros à même d’inspirer les radicaux arabes. Les modèles ultérieurs — Italie mussolinienne, Allemagne nazie, Union soviétique — furent encore plus désastreux. Ce qui rend l’entreprise terroriste des islamistes aussi dangereuse, ce n’est pas tant la haine religieuse qu’ils puisent dans des textes anciens — souvent au prix de distorsions grossières —, mais la synthèse qu’ils font entre fanatisme religieux et idéologie moderne. Ian Buruma et Avishai Margalit
On the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom—the first bombs fell on March 19—well over 70% of the American public supported upending the Saddam regime. The temptation to depict the war as George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s is convenient but utterly false. This was a war waged with congressional authorization, with the endorsement of popular acceptance, and with the sanction of more than a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for Iraq’s disarmament. Fouad Ajami
Les Israéliens ont eu leur propre guerre civile en 1948, bien qu’elle n’ait duré que dix minutes. L’artillerie du premier ministre de l’époque David Ben-Gourion a coulé le transporteur d’armes Altalena avec le futur premier ministre Menachem Begin à son bord. L’Altalena appartenait au groupe d’opposition Irgun, qui a alors placé ses forces armées sous le commandement de Ben Gourion. Spengler
Le mouvement Taiping n’est pas fondamentalement différent des mouvements millénaristes d’Afrique, d’Océanie ou d’autres régions où s’exerce au XIXe et au XXe siècle la domination de l’Occident chrétien. Jacques Chesnaux

C’est les Occidentaux et leur maudite religion des droits de l’homme, imbécile !

Après l’Angleterre (9 ans, 100 000 morts), les Etats-Unis (4 ans, 600 000 morts),  la Suisse (1 mois, 100 morts), Israël (10 minutes, zéro morts) …

Secte puritaine christiano-confucéenne anti-manchous, rebelles aux cheveux longs, communisme avant l’heure (partage des terres, mise en commun des biens de base, prohibition opium, tabac et alcool), émancipation des femmes, renonciation à la polygamie, l’esclavage ou au bandage des pieds, millénarisme ("Royaume céleste de la Grande Paix"), occupation de 600 villes et de 11 provinces sur 18, 11 ans, 20 millions de morts …

Retour, en ce 160e anniversaire de la prise de Nankin et avec le site Hérodote, sur l’une des pires guerres civiles de l’histoire …

Et au moment où, avec le 10e anniversaire du lancement de l’Opération Liberté pour l’Irak, nos belles âmes vont nous ressortir les couplets habituels sur les dizaines de milliers de victimes (pardon: centaines) de la "guerre de Bush" …

Sur la première guerre civile chinoise dite Révolte des Taiping

Qui, en près de douze ans et avant les dizaines de millions de morts des Lénine-Staline-Mao-Pol Pot du siècle suivant, fera deux fois plus de victimes que la Première Guerre mondiale …

Et sera, comme souvent, à la fois inspirée et arrêtée par les Occidentaux et leur maudite religion

19 mars 1853

Prise de Nankin par les Taiping

Le 19 mars 1853, une troupe de «rebelles aux cheveux longs» aux ordres d’un certain Hung Xiuquan s’emparent de Nankin, la prestigieuse capitale de la Chine du sud, sur le fleuve Yang Tsé Kiang.

Leur révolte va se solder par 20 millions de victimes (deux fois les pertes de la Première Guerre mondiale) sur un total d’environ 330 millions de Chinois. Tout cela pour déboucher sur une nouvelle intervention des Occidentaux !

Joseph Savès.

Hérodote

Communistes avant l’heure

Les rebelles doivent leur surnom à ce qu’ils rejettent le port de la natte imposé par les empereurs de la dynastie Tsin.

Indignés par l’abaissement de la cour impériale face aux «Barbares roux» (les Occidentaux), ils veulent installer à la tête du pays une dynastie chinoise au lieu de ces empereurs originaires de Mandchourie, une région à moitié barbare. Par la même occasion, ils veulent instaurer en Chine une société plus juste et plus égalitaire, fondée sur un partage des terres, l’émancipation des femmes…. Ils prônent la renonciation à la polygamie, à l’esclavage ou encore à la vieille coutume de bander les pieds des Chinoises.

Des illuminés à l’oeuvre

Les rebelles appartiennent à la secte Taiping (ou T’ai P’ing), ou secte de la Grande pureté. Ils sont guidés par une personnalité étrange autant que puissante, Hung Xiuquan.

Hung Xiuquan est le fils d’un paysan du Kwangsi, une province arriérée et montagneuse de l’ouest de Canton. Il a échoué aux examens pour devenir mandarin (énarque en quelque sorte). Mais il s’est consolé de son échec en entrant dans une secte protestante et en tirant de la Bible la conviction qu’il est… le frère de Jésus-Christ. Il échafaude ainsi un curieux syncrétisme du christianisme et de la doctrine traditionnelle de Confucius. Et il promet à ses disciples l’avènement d’un «Royaume céleste de la Grande Paix» destiné à durer mille ans.

Après la prise de Nankin, devenue capitale provisoire de leur royaume, les Taiping s’immiscent dans toutes les provinces de l’Empire du Milieu (ainsi se dénomme la Chine) et font vaciller le trône de l’empereur. Ils occupent jusqu’à 600 villes et onze provinces sur les dix-huit que compte l’empire chinois. Le 30 octobre 1853, ils atteignent Tientsin et menacent même Pékin, où réside l’empereur.

On pourrait s’attendre à l’émergence d’une nouvelle dynastie conformément à une vieille tradition de l’Histoire chinoise. C’est compter sans les Français et les Anglais, qui vont sauver les Mandchous, mais au prix d’une nouvelle humiliation, la «Seconde guerre de l’opium», conclue par la convention de Pékin (24 octobre 1860)…

Les Occidentaux restaurent l’ordre mandchou

Énivré par ses succès, Hung Xiuquan commet l’erreur de menacer Shanghai, le grand port marchand de la Chine centrale, où sont établis un grand nombre de négociants européens. Ceux-ci recrutent dès 1856 un corps de volontaires européens et américains pour protéger leur centre d’affaires.

Sous le commandement des Américains Ward et Burgevine, ces officiers constituent une armée de 5000 combattants chinois. Sous le nom mérité d’«Armée toujours victorieuse», la troupe s’illustre avec succès contre les rebelles et repousse leurs assauts sur Shanghai.

Après que l’empereur mandchou ait renouvelé son allégeance aux Occidentaux par un nouveau «traité inégal», le 24 octobre 1860, les Anglais apportent leur concours à la dynastie Qing. C’est ainsi que l’«Armée toujours victorieuse» est autorisée à s’allier à l’armée impériale, elle-même sous le commandement d’un énergique fonctionnaire chinois, Li Hong-tchang.

En 1862, suite à la mort de Ward, Li Hong-tchang obtient des Britanniques de le remplacer par l’un de leurs meilleurs officiers, le capitaine Charles Gordon (29 ans) qui ne tardera pas à accéder au grade de lieutenant-colonel.

Face à cette coalition improbable mais dotée de chefs énergiques et d’un armement moderne, les Taiping ne font pas le poids. Eux-mêmes ne disposent que d’un armement traditionnel et sont conduits par des chefs incompétents et qui n’hésitent pas à s’entretuer. Aussi cèdent-ils peu à peu du terrain.

Le 11 mai 1864, la prise de la citadelle de Changchow par le commandant Gordon consacre la fin de leur résistance. Le 19 juillet 1864, Nankin est reprise par l’armée impériale. Les rebelles sont massacrés tandis que leur chef se suicide… en avalant de l’or. 100.000 rebelles sont passés au fil de l’épée.

Voir aussi:

LE MILLÉNARISME DES TAIPING

Eugène P. BOARDMANN, « Millenary aspects of the Taiping rébellion (1851-64) » dans Sylvia Thrupp, éd. Millennid Dreams in Action. Essays in comparative study, La Haye, Mouton & Cô, 1962, pp. 70-80.

I l était parfaitement normal que les organisateurs de la Conférence de Chicago sur les mouvements millénaristes (1), même s’ils étaient tenus de faire un choix et de se limiter à quelques cas typiques, y aient inclus la révolution Taiping en Chine. Cet extraordinaire épisode, qui fascina les Occidentaux de l’époque et tout particulièrement les missions protestantes, vit pendant plus de douze ans (1851-1864) des provinces entières de Chine centrale échapper à l’autorité impériale et proclamer l’avènement d’un « Royaume céleste de la Grande Paix » (Tai-ping Tian-guo) dont l’idéologie était un curieux mélange de christianisme et de cultes paysans chinois primitifs.

M. Boardman, auteur d’une thèse fort intéressante sur Les éléments chrétiens dans la religion Taiping, s’est efforcé ici de réexaminer ce problème, par rapport au phénomène du millénarisme. Acceptant les trois termes de la définition du millénarisme donnée par Norman Cohn (salut collectif, terrestre et imminent) il pense que le millénarisme Taiping était certainement collectif et terrestre, mais non imminent au sens religieux du terme ; les Taiping luttèrent avec acharnement pour une victoire politique et militaire qui n’avait rien d’assuré. Il souligne aussi le souci de purification personnelle des Taiping, tant par le baptême que par un rituel approprié, et leur sens du péché (au nom duquel ils dénonçaient comme pécheurs leurs adversaires des armées impériales). Il montre comment leur religion combine des éléments de millénarisme traditionnel chinois (le terme de Grande Paix, Tai-ping, évoque un vieux thème politico-religieux chinois, un rêve très ancien), et des éléments chrétiens ; ceux-ci, pense M. Boardman, étaient d’ailleurs sélectionnés dans un souci d’efficacité politique : on adopte le décalogue, qui fournit une excellente base pour assurer la discipline morale des troupes, on se réclame du Christ, dont le chef des Taiping s’est proclamé frère cadet, on promet le pardon des péchés (dont ne bénéficieront pas les Impériaux), mais on néglige les paraboles, le sermon sur la montagne et quantité d’autres éléments du Nouveau Testament.

Il nous semble pourtant que, même dans les brèves limites qui lui étaient imposées, l’auteur aurait pu pousser plus loin l’analyse et l’effort d’explication. Sa description des aspects religieux du mouvement Taiping est satisfaisante,

(1) Cf. Arch., 9, 1960, p. 105, et Arch. , 15, n« 227. 122

Voir enfin:

Taiping rebellion

Encyclopedia britannica

Under the Taipings, the Chinese language was simplified, and equality between men and women was decreed. All property was to be held in common, and equal distribution of the land according to a primitive form of communism was planned. Some Western-educated Taiping leaders even proposed the development of industry and the building of a Taiping democracy. The Ch’ing dynasty was so weakened by the rebellion that it never again was able to establish an effective hold over the country. Both the Chinese Communists and the Chinese Nationalists trace their origin to the Taipings.

The Taiping Rebellion changed the face of China. Every revolution that it inspired brought the country closer and closer to the rest of the world. Although the Taipings had heard neither of Karl Marx nor of Communism, they shared many of the same ideals. The Heavenly Kingdom of the Taipings is not so distant from the commune-oriented Marxist utopia. The Taiping leaders had attempted to establish a caste-free society based on egalitarian precepts. They did carry out this primitive Communism. Land was evenly distributed. Slavery and the sale of women was outlawed, as were foot-binding, prostitution, arranged marriages and polygamy. The Taipings were strongly against opium, alcohol, and tobacco. In short, the Communist Revolution may have been but a realization of an underground movement in China which began in the mid eighteen-hundreds.

The Taiping Rebellion played a significant role in ending China’s isolationist outlook. The Nian Rebellion, Boxer Rebellion, and the Communist Revolution all stem from the emotions and ideas which emerged from the Taiping vision. The influx of strange, new things had started in China an unsettling movement, away from the old ways of the ancestors and into the Western sphere of influence. The attempts of the Taipings to end this unrest and to reinstate a golden era are similar in many points to the Communist attempts in the same direction. After the Taiping Rebellion, China would never again be a realm unto herself. With the failure of the Taiping movement, the age of the emperors was finished.

The Taiping movement itself was a product of the clash between the East and the West which took place in the nineteenth century. The people of China, on the verge of joining the forming world community, took refuge briefly in their unique blend of traditional culture and modern idealism. For a time they fended off the foreigners, the weak Emperors, the crowding countries and strange cultures with this faith. When the Taiping Rebellion was crushed, the Chinese once again fled to an idealistic society, listening eagerly to the promises of Mao and Communism. In each of these cases, there was an inherent wish to return to the golden age of China, when the only threat to the unity of their lives was nature itself. The Taiping Rebellionwas a reaction against progress, more importantly against change. That action continues to mold the current events in China, a sign that the people, not the central authority, can control the future of China.


Irak/10e: Attention, un mensonge peut en cacher un autre ! (When everyone agreed about Iraq)

17 mars, 2013

La paix, bien sûr, mais la démocratie et la liberté ne sont-elles pas aussi des valeurs précieuses pour les chrétiens? Florence Taubman
If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow. Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal. President Clinton (February 1998)
[La mission des forces armées américaines et britanniques est d']attaquer les programmes d’armement nucléaires, chimiques et biologiques de l’Irak et sa capacité militaire à menacer ses voisins (…) On ne peut laisser Saddam Hussein menacer ses voisins ou le monde avec des armements nucléaires, des gaz toxiques, ou des armes biologiques. » (…) Il y a six semaines, Saddam Hussein avait annoncé qu’il ne coopérerait plus avec l’Unscom [la commission chargée du désarmement en Irak (…). D’autres pays [que l’Irak possèdent des armements de destruction massive et des missiles balistiques. Avec Saddam, il y a une différence majeure : il les a utilisés. Pas une fois, mais de manière répétée (…). Confronté au dernier acte de défiance de Saddam, fin octobre, nous avons mené une intense campagne diplomatique contre l’Irak, appuyée par une imposante force militaire dans la région (…). J’avais alors décidé d’annuler l’attaque de nos avions (…) parce que Saddam avait accepté nos exigences. J’avais conclu que la meilleure chose à faire était de donner à Saddam une dernière chance (…).  Les inspecteurs en désarmement de l’ONU ont testé la volonté de coopération irakienne (…). Hier soir, le chef de l’Unscom, Richard Butler, a rendu son rapport au secrétaire général de l’ONU [Kofi Annan. Les conclusions sont brutales, claires et profondément inquiétantes. Dans quatre domaines sur cinq, l’Irak n’a pas coopéré. En fait, il a même imposé de nouvelles restrictions au travail des inspecteurs (…). Nous devions agir et agir immédiatement (…).  J’espère que Saddam va maintenant finalement coopérer avec les inspecteurs et respecter les résolutions du Conseil de sécurité. Mais nous devons nous préparer à ce qu’il ne le fasse pas et nous devons faire face au danger très réel qu’il représente. Nous allons donc poursuivre une stratégie à long terme pour contenir l’Irak et ses armes de destruction massive et travailler jusqu’au jour où l’Irak aura un gouvernement digne de sa population (…). La dure réalité est qu’aussi longtemps que Saddam reste au pouvoir il menace le bien-être de sa population, la paix de la région et la sécurité du monde. La meilleure façon de mettre un terme définitif à cette menace est la constitution d’un nouveau gouvernement, un gouvernement prêt à vivre en paix avec ses voisins, un gouvernement qui respecte les droits de sa population. Bill Clinton (16.12.98)
Dans l’immédiat, notre attention doit se porter en priorité sur les domaines biologique et chimique. C’est là que nos présomptions vis-à-vis de l’Iraq sont les plus significatives : sur le chimique, nous avons des indices d’une capacité de production de VX et d’ypérite ; sur le biologique, nos indices portent sur la détention possible de stocks significatifs de bacille du charbon et de toxine botulique, et une éventuelle capacité de production.  Dominique De Villepin
Il est maintenant clair que les assurances données par Chirac ont joué un rôle crucial, persuadant Saddam Hussein de ne pas offrir les concessions qui auraient pu éviter une guerre et le changement de régime. Selon l’ex-vice président Tareq Aziz, s’exprimant depuis sa cellule devant des enquêteurs américains et irakiens, Saddam était convaincu que les Français, et dans une moindre mesure, les Russes allaient sauver son régime à la dernière minute. Amir Taheri
Comme l’exemple d’usage chimique contre les populations kurdes de 1987-1988 en avait apporté la preuve, ces armes avaient aussi un usage interne. Thérèse Delpech
Les inspecteurs n’ont jamais pu vérifier ce qu’il était advenu de 3,9 tonnes de VX (…) dont la production entre 1988 et 1990 a été reconnue par l’Irak. Bagdad a déclaré que les destructions avaient eu lieu en 1990 mais n’en a pas fourni de preuves. En février 2003 (…) un document a été fourni [par Bagdad] à l’Unmovic pour tenter d’expliquer le devenir d’environ 63 % du VX manquant. Auparavant, les Irakiens prétendaient ne pas détenir un tel document. » Idem pour l’anthrax, dont l’Irak affirmait avoir détruit le stock en 1991. Mais, « en mars 2003, l’Unmovic concluait qu’il existait toujours, très probablement, 10 000 litres d’anthrax non détruits par l’Irak... Comme pour le VX, l’Irak a fourni à l’ONU, en février 2003, un document sur ce sujet qui ne pouvait permettre de conclure quelles quantités avaient été détruites … Thérèse Delpech
Je pense que c’est à cause de l’unanimité, tout le monde était contre la guerre, les gens étaient contents de lire dans les journaux combien la guerre était mauvaise, comme le président français l’avait prédit. (…) Dans la phase du Saddamgrad Patrice Claude et Rémy Ourdan du Monde ont inventé des atrocités, produit des témoignages en phase avec ce qu’ils ne pouvaient voir. (…) Sur les fedayyin de Saddam, les gardes les plus brutaux du dictateur, ses SS, Ourdain a dit que les fedayyin n’ont pas combattu parce qu’ils étaient effrayés de la façon dont les GI’s tuaient tout le monde, dont un grand nombre de civils. Alain Hertoghe
Even when viewed through a post-war lens, documentary evidence of messages are consistent with the Iraqi Survey Group’s conclusion that Saddam was at least keeping a WMD program primed for a quick re-start the moment the UN Security Council lifted sanctions. Iraqi Perpectives Project (March 2006)
Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a de facto link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.  Iraqi Perspectives Project (Saddam and Terrorism, Nov. 2007, released Mar. 2008)
Beginning in 1994, the Fedayeen Saddam opened its own paramilitary training camps for volunteers, graduating more than 7,200 « good men racing full with courage and enthusiasm » in the first year. Beginning in 1998, these camps began hosting « Arab volunteers from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, ‘the Gulf,’ and Syria. » It is not clear from available evidence where all of these non-Iraqi volunteers who were « sacrificing for the cause » went to ply their newfound skills. Before the summer of 2002, most volunteers went home upon the completion of training. But these camps were humming with frenzied activity in the months immediately prior to the war. As late as January 2003, the volunteers participated in a special training event called the « Heroes Attack. » This training event was designed in part to prepare regional Fedayeen Saddam commands to « obstruct the enemy from achieving his goal and to support keeping peace and stability in the province.  » Study (Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia)
The information that the Russians have collected from their sources inside the American Central Command in Doha is that the United States is convinced that occupying Iraqi cities are impossible, and that they have changed their tactic. Captured Iraqi document  (« Letter from Russian Official to Presidential Secretary Concerning American Intentions in Iraq », March 25, 2003)
Est-ce que les peuples du Moyen-Orient sont hors d’atteinte de la liberté? Est-ce que des millions d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants sont condamnés par leur histoire et leur culture au despotisme? Sont-ils les seuls à ne pouvoir jamais connaître la liberté ou même à ne pas avoir le choix? Bush (2003)
La raison pour laquelle je continue de dire qu’il y a un lien entre l’Irak, Saddam et Al-Qaida est parce qu’il y a un lien entre l’Irak et Al-Qaida. (…) Cette administration n’a jamais dit que les attentats du 11/9 ont été orchestrés entre Saddam et Al Qaeda. Nous avons dit qu’il y avait de nombreux contacts entre Saddam Hussein et Al Qaeda. George W. Bush (Washington Post, 2004)
Avec notre aide, les peuples du Moyen-Orient s’avancent maintenant pour réclamer leur liberté. De Kaboul à Bagdad et à Beyrouth, il y a des hommes et des femmes courageux qui risquent leur vie chaque jour pour les mêmes libertés que nous apprécions. Et elles ont une question pour nous : Avons-nous le courage de faire  au Moyen-Orient ce que nos pères et grands-pères ont accompli en Europe et en Asie ? En prenant position avec les chefs et les réformateurs démocratiques, en donnant notre voix aux espoirs des hommes et des femmes décents, nous leur offrons une voix hors du radicalisme. Et nous enrôlons la force la plus puissante pour la paix et la modération au Moyen-Orient : le désir de millions d’être libres. (…) En ce tout début de siècle, l’Amérique rêve au jour où les peuples du Moyen-Orient quitteront le désert du despotisme pour les jardins fertiles de la liberté – et reprendront leur place légitime dans un monde de paix et de prospérité. Nous rêvons au jour où les nations de cette région reconnaitront que leur plus grande ressource n’est pas le pétrole de leur sous-sol – mais le talent et la créativité de leurs populations. Nous rêvons au jour où les mères et les pères de tout le Moyen-Orient verront un avenir d’espoir et d’opportunités pour leurs enfants. Et quand ce beau jour viendra, les nuages de la guerre seront balayés, l’appel du radicalisme diminuera… et nous laisserons à nos enfants un monde meilleur et plus sûr. Bush (11/9/2006)  
Le projet de révolution démocratique mondiale peut faire sourire. Mais ce n’est pas totalement sans raison que les néoconservateurs, qui l’ont inspiré, se targuent d’avoir contribué, sous le deuxième mandat de M. Reagan, à la démocratisation en Asie, en Amérique latine et en Europe. Ils souhaitent aujourd’hui mettre un terme à «l’exception moyen-orientale» : à la fois par intérêt et par idéalisme, l’Administration américaine veut rompre avec des décennies d’accommodement avec les dictatures de la région au nom de la stabilité (condition nécessaire, notamment, à l’accès régulier à un pétrole bon marché). Il s’agirait en effet de gagner la «quatrième guerre mondiale», comme a été gagnée la «troisième», c’est-à-dire la guerre froide. Le pari est évidemment difficile. Pour des raisons tactiques, les États-Unis doivent aujourd’hui ménager des régimes autoritaires tels que l’Arabie saoudite, dont ils ont besoin pour la lutte antiterroriste. (…) De ce fait, Paul Wolfowitz n’a pas tort de suggérer que le combat engagé par les États-Unis durera plus longtemps que la guerre froide et sera plus dur que la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Mais, si le résultat est incertain, le mouvement lui est bien engagé. Les révolutions pacifiques en Géorgie et en Ukraine ont été appuyées discrètement par des organisations publiques et privées américaines. Certes, ce qu’il est convenu d’appeler le «printemps arabe» repose aussi sur des dynamiques locales et a bien sûr bénéficié d’événements imprévus tels que la mort de Yasser Arafat ou l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri. Mais la pression américaine a joué un rôle non négligeable. En mai 2004, choisissant de «se couper les cheveux avant que les Américains ne les tondent» – selon les termes d’un diplomate, les dirigeants de la Ligue arabe se sont engagés à étendre les pratiques démocratiques, à élargir la participation des citoyens à la vie publique et à renforcer la société civile. Même le président Assad semble aux abois lorsqu’il dit publiquement qu’il «n’est pas Saddam Hussein» et qu’il «veut négocier»… (…). La question géopolitique centrale de notre temps reste donc bien celle qui avait été au coeur de l’affrontement franco-américain de 2002-2003 : faut-il préférer la stabilité au risque de l’injustice, ou la démocratisation au risque du chaos ? Optimiste et risqué, le pari américain n’en reste pas moins éthiquement défendable et met du coup l’Europe, qui se veut une «puissance morale» (si l’on en croit le président de la Commission, M. Barroso), en porte-à-faux. L’Union européenne s’est révélée être une force capable de promouvoir simultanément la stabilité et la démocratisation, mais seulement dans son environnement immédiat. Pour le reste, elle n’a pas de stratégie alternative, le «processus de Barcelone» ayant eu du point de vue politique des résultats plus que mitigés. Il lui reste donc à choisir entre approuver, s’opposer ou accompagner le combat américain. Bruno Tertrais (mars 2005)
By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction. Wired magazine (2010)
It’s more than a little ironic that, with its newest document dump from the Iraq campaign, WikiLeaks may have just bolstered one of the Bush administration’s most controversial claims about the Iraq war: that Iran supplied many of the Iraq insurgency’s deadliest weapons and worked hand-in-glove with some of its most lethal militias. The documents indicate that Iran was a major combatant in the Iraq war, as its elite Quds Force trained Iraqi Shiite insurgents and imported deadly weapons like the shape-charged Explosively Formed Projectile bombs into Iraq for use against civilians, Sunni militants and U.S. troops. A report from 2006 claims “neuroparalytic” chemical weapons from Iran were smuggled into Iraq. (It’s one of many, many documents recounting WMD efforts in Iraq.) Others indicate that Iran flooded Iraq with guns and rockets, including the Misagh-1 surface-to-air missile, .50 caliber rifles, rockets and much more. As the New York Times observes, Iranian agents plotted to kidnap U.S. troops from out of their Humvees — something that occurred in Karbala in 2007, leaving five U.S. troops dead. (It’s still not totally clear if the Iranians were responsible.) Wired
A partir de la Guerre Froide, cette région est devenue stratégique de par ses ressources nécessaires au premier consommateur mondial d’énergie, mais aussi de par la rivalité idéologique entre l’URSS et les Etats-Unis. Cette époque fut dominée par la pensée de Kissinger qui prôna en conformité avec la « Realpolitik », l’immobilisme politique des régimes arabes comme option nécessaire à la consolidation de l’influence américaine. En échange d’une approbation de la diplomatie américaine, les régimes se voyaient soutenus. Les limites de cette politique ont commencé à se faire sentir lorsque les Etats-Unis en 1979 ont continué à appuyer le Shah d’Iran, ignorant alors qu’une population était en train de se soulever, donnant naissance à l’islamisme politique. Dans les années 80, le président Reagan introduisit une vision opposée au réalisme, attenant à une vision idéaliste d’une mission américaine d’exporter les justes valeurs au reste du monde. C’est dans son discours de Juin 1982 que Reagan parla « d’une croisade pour la liberté qui engagera la foi et le courage de la prochaine génération». Le président Bush père et Clinton reprirent une vision plus « réaliste » dans un nouveau contexte de sortie de Guerre Froide. Malgré « le nouvel ordre mondial » prôné par Bush père, son action n’alla pas jusqu’à Bagdad et préféra laisser un régime connu en place. Le 11 Septembre 2001 a révélé les limites de l’immobilisme politique des pays arabes, lorsque certains régimes soutenus n’ont pu s’opposer aux islamistes radicaux. Les néo-conservateurs qui participaient alors au gouvernement de G.W Bush, décidèrent de passer à l’action et de bousculer l’ordre établi dans la région, afin de pérenniser leur accès aux ressources énergétiques, mais aussi probablement pour d’autres raisons. Notamment selon G. Ayache « pour montrer (leur) force par rapport à la Chine dont le statut international ne cesse de croître et dont les besoins énergétiques sont appelés à concurrencer ceux des Etats-Unis(…), et dans l’objectif proclamé de lutte contre le terrorisme.» Les néo-conservateurs se sont dès le début prononcés pour la redistribution des cartes politiques dans cette région, donc un changement de régimes. Le nouveau président américain voulut se poser dans la lignée des présidents qui ont marqué l’histoire. Lors de son discours du 11 Septembre 2006, il s’est adressé en ces termes au peuple américain : « Ayez la patience de faire ce que nos pères et nos grands-pères ont fait pour l’Europe et pour l’Asie.» En fait, le vieux projet de Reagan d’exportation de la démocratie fut remis au goût du jour à travers l’annonce du projet de Grand Moyen-Orient en Novembre 2003 qui prôna la nécessité d’une démocratisation sans limites. Les néo-conservateurs qui avaient participé au deuxième mandat de Reagan revendiquèrent leur apport à la démocratisation en Asie, en Amérique latine et en Europe dans les années 80 et 90. Il était donc temps selon eux de mettre fin à la situation stagnante au Moyen-Orient. La théorie des dominos était censée s’appliquer à la région en partant de l’Irak, même si elle pouvait mettre un certain temps à se réaliser selon les dynamiques locales. Alia Al Jiboury
Depuis la chute de la dictature de Ben Ali en Tunisie, les dictateurs et autres despotes arabes tremblent devant le vent de liberté, transformé en tempête. Les peuples arabes, compressés depuis des décennies, rêvent de liberté et de démocratie. Ils finissent, à tour de rôle, par réaliser le projet de George W. Bush, qu’ils avaient tant dénoncé. Mediarabe.info (février 2011)
Though the Iraq War later became a favorite Democratic club for bashing George W. Bush, Republicans and Democrats alike had long understood that Saddam was a deadly menace who had to be forcibly eradicated. In 1998 President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, making Saddam’s removal from power a matter of US policy. "If the history of the last six years has taught us anything," Kerry had said two years earlier, "it is that Saddam Hussein does not understand diplomacy, he only understands power." But bipartisan harmony was an early casualty of the war. Once it became clear that Saddam didn’t have the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons that were a major justification for the invasion, unity gave way to recrimination. It didn’t matter that virtually everyone – Republicans and Democrats, CIA analysts and the UN Security Council, even Saddam’s own military officers – had been sure the WMD would be found. Nor did it matter that Saddam had previously used WMD to exterminate thousands of men, women, and children. The temptation to spin an intelligence failure as a deliberate "lie" was politically irresistible. When the relatively quick toppling of Saddam was followed by a long and bloody insurgency, opposition to the war intensified. For many it became an intractable article of faith that victory was not an option. The war to remove Saddam was not merely "Bush’s folly," but – as Senate majority leader Harry Reid called it in 2007 — "the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of this country." But then came Bush’s "surge," and the course of the war shifted dramatically for the better. By the time Bush left office, the insurgency was crippled, violence was down 90 percent, and Iraqis were being governed by politicians they had voted for. It was far from perfect, but "something that looks an awful lot like democracy is beginning to take hold in Iraq," reported Newsweek in early 2010. On its cover the magazine proclaimed: "Victory at Last." And so it might have been, if America’s new commander-in-chief hadn’t been so insistent on pulling the plug. In October 2011, President Obama – overriding his military commanders, who had recommended keeping 18,000 troops on the ground – announced that all remaining US servicemen would be out of Iraq by the end of the year. Politically, it was a popular decision; most Americans were understandably weary of Iraq. But abandoning Iraqis and their frail, fledgling democracy was reckless. (…) The invasion of Iraq 10 years ago ended the reign of a genocidal tyrant, and ensured that his monstrous sons could never succeed him. It struck a shaft of fear into other dictators, leading Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, for example, to relinquish his WMD. It let Iraqis find out how much better their lives could be under democratic self-government. Like all wars, even wars of liberation, it took an awful toll. The status quo ante was worse. Jeff Jacoby
Iraq, I suggested, would wind up “at a bare minimum, the least badly governed state in the Arab world, and, at best, pleasant, civilized and thriving.” I’ll stand by my worst-case scenario there. Unlike the emerging “reforms” in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria, politics in Iraq has remained flawed but, by the standards of the grimly Islamist Arab Spring, broadly secular. So I like the way a lot of the trees fell. But I missed the forest. (…) Granted that most of the Arab world, from Tangiers to Alexandria, is considerably less “multicultural” than it was in mid century, the remorseless extinction of Iraq’s Christian community this last decade is appalling — and, given that it happened on America’s watch, utterly shameful. Like the bland acknowledgement deep in a State Department “International Religious Freedom Report” that the last church in Afghanistan was burned to the ground in 2010, it testifies to the superpower’s impotence, not “internationally” but in client states entirely bankrolled by us. Foreigners see this more clearly than Americans. As Goh Chok Tong, the prime minister of Singapore, said on a visit to Washington in 2004, “The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the U.N. The central issue is America’s credibility and will to prevail.” Just so. If you live in Tikrit or Fallujah, the Iraq War was about Iraq. If you live anywhere else on the planet, the Iraq War was about America, and the unceasing drumbeat of “quagmire” and “exit strategy” communicated to the world an emptiness at the heart of American power — like the toppled statue of Saddam that proved to be hollow. On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, mobs trashed U.S. embassies across the region with impunity. A rather more motivated crowd showed up in Benghazi, killed four Americans, including the ambassador, and correctly calculated they would face no retribution. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, these guys have reached their own judgment about American “credibility” and “will” — as have more potent forces yet biding their time, from Moscow to Beijing. (…) Nevertheless, in the grim two-thirds-of-a-century roll call of America’s un-won wars, Iraq today is less un-won than Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan, and that is not nothing. The war dead of America and its few real allies died in an honorable cause. But armies don’t wage wars, nations do. And, back on the home front, a vast percentage of fair-weather hawks who decided that it was all too complicated, or a bit of a downer, or Bush lied, or where’s the remote, revealed America as profoundly unserious. A senator who votes for war and then decides he’d rather it had never started is also engaging in “alternative history” — albeit of the kind in which Pam Ewing steps into the shower at Southfork and writes off the previous season of Dallas as a bad dream. In non-alternative history, in the only reality there is, once you’ve started a war, you have two choices: to win it or to lose it. Withdrawing one’s “support” for a war you’re already in advertises nothing more than a kind of geopolitical ADHD. Mark Steyn

Attention, un mensonge peut en cacher un autre !

Bill Clinton, le Congrès, Madeleine Albright, l’inspecteur nucléaire Richard Butler, Gore, Hillary Clinton, Kerry, Edward Kennedy, John Edwards, Tom Daschle, Biden, Harry Reid, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd, Jay Rockefeller, 72% de l’opinion publique …

Y avait-il, aux Etats-Unis mêmes sans parler de notre Villepin national et des services secrets allemands, quelqu’un qui ne croyait pas en mars 2003 à l’existence (confirmée d’ailleurs depuis par Wikileaks) d’ADM en Irak ?

Retour, à la veille du 10e anniversaire du lancement de l’Opération Liberté pour l’Irak  et avec  le professeur du United States Naval War College  Stephen F. Knott, sur le mythe devenu depuis vérité d’évangile (et motivation d’ailleurs, pour le contrer, de tant de blogs dont celui-ci) des prétendus "mensonges" de l’Administration Bush sur les raisons de la guerre  …

Qui, avec tous ses risques, apporta le premier régime élu démocratiquement, Israël mis à part, du Moyen-Orient …

Et sans lequel il n’y aurait probablement pas eu, aussi mitigé soit son bilan, de "printemps arabe"

When Everyone Agreed About Iraq

For years before the war, a bipartisan consensus thought Saddam possessed WMD.

Stephen F. Knott

WSJ

March 15, 2013

At 5:34 a.m. on March 20, 2003, American, British and other allied forces invaded Iraq. One of the most divisive conflicts in the nation’s history would soon be labeled " Bush’s War."

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime became official U.S. policy in 1998, when President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act—a bill passed 360-38 by the House of Representatives and by unanimous consent in the Senate. The law called for training and equipping Iraqi dissidents to overthrow Saddam and suggested that the United Nations establish a war-crimes tribunal for the dictator and his lieutenants.

The legislation was partly the result of frustration over the undeclared and relatively unheralded "No-Fly Zone War" that had been waged since 1991. Saddam’s military repeatedly fired on U.S. and allied aircraft that were attempting to prevent his regime from destroying Iraqi opposition forces in northern and southern Iraq.

According to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Hugh Shelton, in 1997 a key member of President Bill Clinton’s cabinet (thought by most observers to have been Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) asked Gen. Shelton whether he could arrange for a U.S. aircraft to fly slowly and low enough that it would be shot down, thereby paving the way for an American effort to topple Saddam. Kenneth Pollack, a member of Mr. Clinton’s National Security Council staff, would later write in 2002 that it was a question of "not whether but when" the U.S. would invade Iraq. He wrote that the threat presented by Saddam was "no less pressing than those we faced in 1941."

Radicalized by the events of 9/11, George W. Bush gradually concluded that a regime that had used chemical weapons against its own people and poison gas against Iran, invaded Iran and Kuwait, harbored some of the world’s most notorious terrorists, made lucrative payments to the families of suicide bombers, fired on American aircraft almost daily, and defied years of U.N. resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction was a problem. The former chief U.N. weapons inspector, an Australian named Richard Butler, testified in July 2002 that "it is essential to recognize that the claim made by Saddam’s representatives, that Iraq has no WMD, is false."

In the U.S., there was a bipartisan consensus that Saddam possessed and continued to develop WMD. Former Vice President Al Gore noted in September 2002 that Saddam had "stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton observed that Saddam hoped to increase his supply of chemical and biological weapons and to "develop nuclear weapons." Then-Sen. John Kerry claimed that "a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his [Saddam's] hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

Even those opposed to using force against Iraq acknowledged that, as then-Sen. Edward Kennedy put it, "we have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing" WMD. When it came time to vote on the authorization for the use of force against Iraq, 81 Democrats in the House voted yes, joined by 29 Democrats in the Senate, including the party’s 2004 standard bearers, John Kerry and John Edwards, plus Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Joe Biden, Mrs. Clinton, and Sens. Harry Reid, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd and Jay Rockefeller. The latter, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Saddam would "likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years."

Support for the war extended far beyond Capitol Hill. In March 2003, a Pew Research Center poll indicated that 72% of the American public supported President Bush’s decision to use force.

If Mr. Bush "lied," as the common accusation has it, then so did many prominent Democrats—and so did the French, whose foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, claimed in February 2003 that "regarding the chemical domain, we have evidence of [Iraq's] capacity to produce VX and yperite [mustard gas]; in the biological domain, the evidence suggests the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxin." Germany’s intelligence chief August Hanning noted in March 2002 that "it is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years."

According to interrogations conducted after the invasion, Saddam’s own generals believed that he had WMD and expected him to use these weapons as the invasion force neared Baghdad.

The war in Iraq was authorized by a bipartisan congressional coalition, supported by prominent media voices and backed by the public. Yet on its 10th anniversary Americans will be told of the Bush administration’s duplicity in leading us into the conflict. Many members of the bipartisan coalition that committed the U.S. to invade Iraq 10 years ago have long since washed their hands of their share of responsibility.

We owe it to history—and, more important, to all those who died—to recognize that this wasn’t Bush’s war, it was America’s war.

Mr. Knott, a professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College, is the author of "Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics" (University Press of Kansas, 2012).

Voir aussi:

WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results

Noah Shachtman

Wired

10.23.10

By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction.

An initial glance at the WikiLeaks war logs doesn’t reveal evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime — the Bush administration’s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq. But chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam’s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents.

In August 2004, for instance, American forces surreptitiously purchased what they believed to be containers of liquid sulfur mustard, a toxic “blister agent” used as a chemical weapon since World War I. The troops tested the liquid, and “reported two positive results for blister.” The chemical was then “triple-sealed and transported to a secure site” outside their base.

Three months later, in northern Iraq, U.S. scouts went to

look in on a “chemical weapons” complex. “One of the bunkers has been tampered with,” they write. “The integrity of the seal [around the complex] appears intact, but it seems someone is interesting in trying to get into the bunkers.”

Meanwhile, the second battle of Fallujah was raging in Anbar province. In the southeastern corner of the city, American forces came across a “house with a chemical lab … substances found are similar to ones (in lesser quantities located a previous chemical lab.” The following day, there’s a call in another part of the city for explosive experts to dispose of a “chemical cache.”

Nearly three years later, American troops were still finding WMD in the region. An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells “that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. “The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.” Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, “the rounds tested positive for mustard.”

In WikiLeaks’ massive trove of nearly 392,000 Iraq war logs are hundreds of references to chemical and biological weapons. Most of those are intelligence reports or initial suspicions of WMD that don’t pan out. In July 2004, for example, U.S. forces come across a Baghdad building with gas masks, gas filters, and containers with “unknown contents” inside. Later investigation revealed those contents to be vitamins.

But even late in the war, WMDs were still being unearthed. In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents. “These rounds were most likely left over from the [Saddam]-era regime. Based on location, these rounds may be an AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] cache. However, the rounds were all total disrepair and did not appear to have been moved for a long time.”

A small group — mostly of the political right — has long maintained that there was more evidence of a major and modern WMD program than the American people were led to believe. A few Congressmen and Senators gravitated to the idea, but it was largely dismissed as conspiratorial hooey.

The WMD diehards will likely find some comfort in these newly-WikiLeaked documents. Skeptics will note that these relatively small WMD stockpiles were hardly the kind of grave danger that the Bush administration presented in the run-up to the war.

But the more salient issue may be how insurgents and Islamic extremists (possibly with the help of Iran) attempted to use these lethal and exotic arms. As Spencer noted earlier, a January 2006 war log claims that “neuroparalytic” chemical weapons were smuggled in from Iran.

That same month, then “chemical weapons specialists” were apprehended in Balad. These “foreigners” were there specifically “to support the chemical weapons operations.” The following month, an intelligence report refers to a “chemical weapons expert” that “provided assistance with the gas weapons.” What happened to that specialist, the WikiLeaked document doesn’t say.

Voir également:

Chemical Weapons, Iranian Agents and Massive Death Tolls Exposed in WikiLeaks’ Iraq Docs

Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman

Wired

10.22.10

As the insurgency raged in Iraq, U.S. troops struggling to fight a shadowy enemy killed civilians, witnessed their Iraqi partners abuse detainees and labored to reduce Iran’s influence over the fighting.

None of these phenomena are unfamiliar to observers of the Iraq war. But this afternoon, the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks released a trove of nearly 392,000 U.S. military reports from Iraq that bring a new depth and detail to the horrors of one of America’s most controversial wars ever. We’re still digging through the just-released documents, but here’s a quick overview of what they contain.

(Our sister blog Threat Level looks at how Friday’s document dump could affect Bradley Manning, who’s already charged in other WikiLeaks releases.)

It Was Iran’s War, Too

No one would accuse WikiLeaks of being pro-war. Not when the transparency group titled its single most famous leak “Collateral Murder.” Not when its founder, Julian Assange, said that its trove of reports from the Afghan conflict suggested evidence for thousands of American “war crimes.”

So it’s more than a little ironic that, with its newest document dump from the Iraq campaign, WikiLeaks may have just bolstered one of the Bush administration’s most controversial claims about the Iraq war: that Iran supplied many of the Iraq insurgency’s deadliest weapons and worked hand-in-glove with some of its most lethal militias.

The documents indicate that Iran was a major combatant in the Iraq war, as its elite Quds Force trained Iraqi Shiite insurgents and imported deadly weapons like the shape-charged Explosively Formed Projectile bombs into Iraq for use against civilians, Sunni militants and U.S. troops.

A report from 2006 claims “neuroparalytic” chemical weapons from Iran were smuggled into Iraq. (It’s one of many, many documents recounting WMD efforts in Iraq.) Others indicate that Iran flooded Iraq with guns and rockets, including the Misagh-1 surface-to-air missile, .50 caliber rifles, rockets and much more.

As the New York Times observes, Iranian agents plotted to kidnap U.S. troops from out of their Humvees — something that occurred in Karbala in 2007, leaving five U.S. troops dead. (It’s still not totally clear if the Iranians were responsible.)

High Civilian Death Tolls

Over 66,000 deaths classified as “civilians” are listed in the documents, which span the years between 2004 and 2009. According to an initial assessment by the Iraq Body Count, an organization that tallies reports of civilian casualties, that’s 15,000 more dead Iraqi civilians than the United States has previously acknowledged.

“This data should never have been withheld from the public,” Iraq Body Count told the Guardian.

In one incident highlighted by The New York Times, Marines who couldn’t get a car carrying an Iraqi family to stop at a Fallujah checkpoint after warning them with a flare opened fire on the car, killing a woman and wounding her husband and two children. Confusion at checkpoints was a common feature of the Iraq war, placing U.S. troops who didn’t speak Arabic in a murky situation of judging who posed a threat to them.

Iraqi Detainee Abuse

The United States spent billions to train and equip Iraqi security forces, a mission that continues to this day. But while under U.S. tutelage, Iraqi soldiers and police abused detainees in their custody. And even after the 2004 Abu Ghraib detainee-abuse scandal, U.S. troops sometimes tolerated accounts of Iraqi abuse, writing “no investigation is necessary” in one case.

That wasn’t uniformly the case: In a 2005 report, U.S. troops discovered “a hand cranked generator with wire clamps” at an Iraqi police station in Baghdad where a detainee claimed to have been brutalized. The report says the Americans took the generator as evidence and reported the incident to a two-star general — but it doesn’t specify if the general was American or Iraqi.

As expected, the Pentagon denounced WikiLeaks’ disclosure of the nearly 400,000 documents. “We deplore Wikileaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies,” e-mails Geoff Morrell, spokesman for Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “We know terrorist organizations have been mining the leaked Afghan documents for information to use against us and this Iraq leak is more than four times as large. By disclosing such sensitive information, Wikileaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us. The only responsible course of action for Wikileaks at this point is to return the stolen material and expunge it from their websites as soon as possible.”

WikiLeaks appears to have learned from the criticism of its last document dump, however. According to the Guardian, which has pored through the documents under a press blackout for weeks, WikiLeaks didn’t release all the information in an Iraq-deaths database, in order to protect the identities of Iraqis who worked with the United States — a correction for something that it didn’t sufficiently do when releasing U.S. military documents from Afghanistan this summer.

We’re still digging through the documents. We’ll bring you more soon. And in comments, tell us what you’re seeing — and what you’re interested in learning more about.

Voir encore:

WikiLeaks docs prove Saddam had WMD, threats remain

Seth Mandel

Weekly blitz

October 28, 2010

WikiLeaks’ latest publication of Iraq war documents contains a lot of information that most reasonable people would prefer remained unknown, such as the names of Iraqi informants who will now be hunted for helping the U.S.

And although the anti-war left welcomed the release of the documents, they would probably cringe at one of the most significant finds of this latest crop of reports: Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Wired magazine’s Danger Room reports. "But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction."

That is, there definitively were weapons of mass destruction and elements of a WMD program in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq when U.S.-led coalition troops entered the country to depose Hussein.

Predictably, the liberal media did their best to either ignore the story–like the New York Times and Washington Post did–or spin it. It’s not an easy choice to make, since ignoring the story makes you look out of the loop and hurts your reputation as an informative publication, yet spinning the story means actively attempting to confuse and mislead your readers. CBS News chose the latter.

"WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: No Evidence of Massive WMD Caches" read the headline on CBS News’ online. Here is the story’s opening paragraph:

"The nearly 400,000 Iraq war log documents released by WikiLeaks on Friday were full of evidence of abuses, civilian deaths and the chaos of war, but clear evidence of weapons of mass destruction–the Bush administration’s justification for invading Iraq–appears to be missing."

There are two falsehoods in that sentence, demonstrating the difficulty in trying to spin a clear fact. The Bush administration’s justification for invading Iraq was much broader than WMD–in fact, it was similar to the litany of reasons the Clinton administration signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which specifically called for regime change in Iraq as the official policy of the United States government (Iraq had repeatedly violated international law, Iraq had failed to comply with the obligations that ended the Gulf War, Iraq had circumvented U.N. resolutions, etc.).

"If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow," President Clinton said in February 1998. "Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal."

The second falsehood was the phrase "appears to be missing." In August 2004, American soldiers seized a toxic "blister agent," a chemical weapon used since the First World War, Wired reported. In Anbar province, they discovered a chemical lab and a "chemical cache." Three years later, U.S. military found buried WMD, and even as recent as 2008 found chemical munitions.

This isn’t the first time Iraq war documents shattered a media myth about Saddam’s regime. In 2008, a Pentagon study of Iraqi documents, as well as audio and video recordings, revealed connections between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Called the Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP), the report–based on more than 600,000 captured original documents and thousands of hours of audio and video recordings–proved conclusively that Saddam had worked with terrorist organizations that were plotting attacks on American targets around the world.

One way to identify a media narrative in deep trouble is the naked attempt to draw conclusions for the reader instead of just presenting the story. The CBS report on the leaked WMD documents is a case in point of the reporter telling the reader what they ought to think, knowing full well that otherwise the facts of the case would likely lead the reader to the opposite conclusion.

"At this point," CBS reporter Dan Farber desperately pleads, "history will still record that the Bush administration went into Iraq under an erroneous threat assessment that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing and hoarding weapons of mass destruction."

That’s as close as the liberal mainstream media will get to admitting they were wrong. It’s their version of a confession. The myth that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was WMD-free has met its demise.

And these weapons couldn’t simply be the lost scraps of Saddam’s attempts to destroy the stockpile, as Ed Morrissey points out.

"Had Saddam Hussein wanted those weapons destroyed, no lower-ranking military officer would have dared defy him by keeping them hidden," he writes. "It would have taken dozens of officers to conspire to move and hide those weapons, as well as a like number of enlisted men, any and all of whom could have been a spy for the Hussein clique."

But now that we’ve answered the question of whether there were actual weapons of mass destruction in Iraq–there were and are–we may have a more significant question to answer: Who has possession of these weapons now?

"But the more salient issue may be how insurgents and Islamic extremists (possibly with the help of Iran) attempted to use these lethal and exotic arms," Wired reports. In 2006, for example, "neuroparalytic" chemical weapons were brought in from Iran.

"That same month, then ‘chemical weapons specialists’ were apprehended in Balad," the Wired report continues. "These ‘foreigners’ were there specifically ‘to support the chemical weapons operations.’ The following month, an intelligence report refers to a ‘chemical weapons expert’ that ‘provided assistance with the gas weapons.’ What happened to that specialist, the WikiLeaked document doesn’t say."

Seth Mandel is the Washington DC based correspondent of Weekly Blitz.

Voir encore:

President Clinton explains Iraq strike

CNN/TIME and Congressional Quarterly

December 16, 1998

CLINTON: Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.

Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq’s capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.

The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.

The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

The United States has patiently worked to preserve UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors. On occasion, we’ve had to threaten military force, and Saddam has backed down.

Faced with Saddam’s latest act of defiance in late October, we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region. The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam’s actions and to demand that he immediately come into compliance.

Eight Arab nations — Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman — warned that Iraq alone would bear responsibility for the consequences of defying the UN.

When Saddam still failed to comply, we prepared to act militarily. It was only then at the last possible moment that Iraq backed down. It pledged to the UN that it had made, and I quote, a clear and unconditional decision to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors.

I decided then to call off the attack with our airplanes already in the air because Saddam had given in to our demands. I concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate.

I made it very clear at that time what unconditional cooperation meant, based on existing UN resolutions and Iraq’s own commitments. And along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully, we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning.

Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq’s cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM’s chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan.

The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing.

In four out of the five categories set forth, Iraq has failed to cooperate. Indeed, it actually has placed new restrictions on the inspectors. Here are some of the particulars.

Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites. For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party’s other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.

Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM’s ability to obtain necessary evidence. For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM’s effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.

It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM’s questions.

Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.

Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors. Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.

So Iraq has abused its final chance.

As the UNSCOM reports concludes, and again I quote, "Iraq’s conduct ensured that no progress was able to be made in the fields of disarmament.

"In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq’s prohibited weapons program."

In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.

Saddam’s deception has defeated their effectiveness. Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.

This situation presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere. The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors. Saddam has failed to seize the chance.

And so we had to act and act now.

Let me explain why.

First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.

Second, if Saddam can crippled the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community — led by the United States — has simply lost its will. He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday — make no mistake — he will use it again as he has in the past.

Third, in halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license. If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.

That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team — including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser — I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.

They are designed to degrade Saddam’s capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.

At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam. If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price. We acted today because, in the judgment of my military advisers, a swift response would provide the most surprise and the least opportunity for Saddam to prepare.

If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler’s report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.

Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and, therefore, would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East.

That is something we wanted very much to avoid without giving Iraq’s a month’s head start to prepare for potential action against it.

Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike. I hope Saddam will come into cooperation with the inspection system now and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. But we have to be prepared that he will not, and we must deal with the very real danger he poses.

So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people.

First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq or moving against his own Kurdish citizens.

The credible threat to use force, and when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.

Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions. Sanctions have cost Saddam more than $120 billion — resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.

We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq’s neighbors and less food for its people.

The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.

The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government — a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.

The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm’s way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq’s military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.

Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm’s way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.

We must be prepared for these realities. At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.

Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.

And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

Because we’re acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.

Let me close by addressing one other issue. Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.

But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America’s vital interests, we will do so.

In the century we’re leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we’ll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.

Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.

COMPLEMENT (18.03.13):

Ten Years Ago, an Honorable War Began With Wide Support

Now the U.S. has bailed out of Iraq leaving behind little trace. And a strongman is in charge.

Fouad Ajami

The WSJ

March 18, 2013

Nowadays, few people step forth to speak well of the Iraq War, to own up to the support they gave that American campaign in the Arab world. Yet Operation Iraqi Freedom, launched 10 years ago this week, was once a popular war. We had struck into Afghanistan in 2001 to rout al Qaeda and the terrorists’ Taliban hosts—but the 9/11 killers who brought ruin onto American soil were not Afghan. They were young Arabs, forged in the crucible of Arab society, in the dictators’ prisons and torture chambers. Arab financiers and preachers gave them the means and the warrant for their horrific deeds.

America’s previous venture into Iraq, a dozen years earlier, had been a lightning strike: The Iraqi dictator was evicted from Kuwait and then spared. Saddam Hussein’s military machine was all rust and decay by 2003, but he swaggered and let the world believe that he had in his possession a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. The Arab redeemer, as he had styled himself, lacked the guile that might have saved him. A great military expedition was being readied against him in London and Washington, but he gambled to the bitter end that George W. Bush would not pull the trigger.

On the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom—the first bombs fell on March 19—well over 70% of the American public supported upending the Saddam regime. The temptation to depict the war as George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s is convenient but utterly false. This was a war waged with congressional authorization, with the endorsement of popular acceptance, and with the sanction of more than a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for Iraq’s disarmament.

Those unburdened by knowledge of the ways of that region would come to insist that there had been no operational links between the Iraqi despot and al Qaeda. These newborn critics would insist on a distinction between secular terrorism and religious terrorism, but it was a distinction without a difference.

The rationale for the war sustained a devastating blow in the autumn of 2004 when Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. arms inspector for Iraq, issued a definitive report confirming that Saddam had possessed no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. The war now stood on its own—and many of its former supporters claimed that this wasn’t what they had signed up for. Yet the "architects" of the war could not pull the plug on it. They soldiered on, offering a new aim: the reform and freedom of Iraq, and the example of a decent Iraq in the "heart of the Arab world."

President Bush, seen in this image from television, addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House, on March 19, 2003. Bush said U.S. forces launched a strike against targets of military opportunity in Iraq, describing the action as the opening salvo in an operation to disarm Iraq and to free its people.

There were very few takers for the new rationale. In the oddest of twists, American liberalism now mocked the very idea that liberty could put down roots in an Arab- Muslim setting.

Nor were there takers, among those watching from lands around Iraq, for the idea of freedom midwifed by American power. To Iraq’s east lay the Iranian despotism, eager to thwart and frustrate the American project. To the west in Syria there was the Baath dictatorship of the House of Assad. And beyond there was the Sunni Arab order of power, where America was despised for giving power to Shiites. For a millennium, the Shiite Arabs had not governed, and yet now they ruled in Baghdad, a city that had been the seat of the Islamic caliphate.

A stoical George W. Bush held the line amid American disaffection and amid the resistance of a region invested in the failure of the Iraq campaign. He doubled down with the troop "surge" and remained true to the proposition that liberty could stick on Arab soil.

There is no way of writing a convincing alternative history of the region without this war. That kind of effort is inherently speculative, subject to whim and preference. Perhaps we could have let Saddam be, could have tolerated the misery he inflicted on his people, convinced ourselves that the sanctions imposed on his regime were sufficient to keep him quarantined. But a different history played out. It delivered the Iraqis from a tyranny that they would have never been able to overthrow on their own.

The American disappointment with Iraq helped propel Barack Obama to power. There were strategic gains that the war had secured in Iraq, but Mr. Obama had no interest in them. Iraq was the "war of choice" that had to be brought to a "responsible close," he said. The focus instead would be on that "war of necessity" in Afghanistan.

A skilled politician, Mr. Obama made the Iraqi government an offer meant to be turned down—a residual American force that could hardly defend itself, let alone provide meaningful protection for the fledgling new order in Baghdad. Predictably, Iraq’s rulers decided to go it alone as 2011 drew to a close. They had been navigating a difficult course between Iran and the U.S. The choice was made easy for them, the Iranian supreme leader was next door, the liberal superpower was in retreat.

Heading for the exits, Mr. Obama praised Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq." The praise came even as Mr. Maliki was beginning to erect a dictatorship bent on marginalizing the country’s Kurds and Sunni Arabs and even those among the Shiites who questioned his writ.

Two weeks ago, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, issued his final report, called "Learning from Iraq." The report was methodical and detailed, interspersed with the testimonies of American and Iraqi officials. One testimony, by an Iraqi technocrat, the acting minister of interior, Adnan al-Asadi, offered a compelling image: "With all the money the U.S. has spent, you can go into any city in Iraq and you can’t find one building or project built by the U.S. government. You can fly in a helicopter around Baghdad or other cities, but you can’t point a finger at a single project that was built and completed by the United States."

It was no fault of the soldiers who fought this war, or of the leaders who launched it, that their successors lacked the patience to stick around Iraq and safekeep what had been gained at an incalculable cost in blood and treasure.

Mr. Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of "The Syrian Rebellion" (Hoover Press, 2012).

COMPLEMENT (20.03.13):

On balance, was the Iraq war worth it?

Jeff Jacoby

The Boston Globe

March 20, 2013

TEN YEARS AGO this week, the United States led an invasion of Iraq with the explicit purpose of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The preceding months had been filled with vehement protests against the impending war, expressed in editorials, in advertisements, and in rallies so vast that some of them made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. With so many people against the invasion, who supported it?

Well, if you were like the great majority of Americans – you did. In February and March 2003, Newsweek’s polls showed 70 percent of the public in favor of military action against Iraq; Gallup and Pew Research Center surveys showed the same thing. Congress had authorized the invasion a few months earlier with strong bipartisan majorities; among the many Democrats voting for the war were Senators John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden.

The invasion of Iraq 10 years ago ended the reign of a genocidal tyrant, and ensured that his monstrous sons could never succeed him.

Though the Iraq War later became a favorite Democratic club for bashing George W. Bush, Republicans and Democrats alike had long understood that Saddam was a deadly menace who had to be forcibly eradicated. In 1998 President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, making Saddam’s removal from power a matter of US policy. "If the history of the last six years has taught us anything," Kerry had said two years earlier, "it is that Saddam Hussein does not understand diplomacy, he only understands power."

But bipartisan harmony was an early casualty of the war. Once it became clear that Saddam didn’t have the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons that were a major justification for the invasion, unity gave way to recrimination. It didn’t matter that virtually everyone – Republicans and Democrats, CIA analysts and the UN Security Council, even Saddam’s own military officers – had been sure the WMD would be found. Nor did it matter that Saddam had previously used WMD to exterminate thousands of men, women, and children. The temptation to spin an intelligence failure as a deliberate "lie" was politically irresistible.

When the relatively quick toppling of Saddam was followed by a long and bloody insurgency, opposition to the war intensified. For many it became an intractable article of faith that victory was not an option. The war to remove Saddam was not merely "Bush’s folly," but – as Senate majority leader Harry Reid called it in 2007 — "the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of this country."

But then came Bush’s "surge," and the course of the war shifted dramatically for the better.

By the time President Bush left office, Iraq had been transformed from a "republic of fear" into a relatively peaceful constitutional democracy.

By the time Bush left office, the insurgency was crippled, violence was down 90 percent, and Iraqis were being governed by politicians they had voted for. It was far from perfect, but "something that looks an awful lot like democracy is beginning to take hold in Iraq," reported Newsweek in early 2010. On its cover the magazine proclaimed: "Victory at Last."

And so it might have been, if America’s new commander-in-chief hadn’t been so insistent on pulling the plug.

In October 2011, President Obama – overriding his military commanders, who had recommended keeping 18,000 troops on the ground – announced that all remaining US servicemen would be out of Iraq by the end of the year. Politically, it was a popular decision; most Americans were understandably weary of Iraq. But abandoning Iraqis and their frail, fledgling democracy was reckless.

"It freed Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to be more of a Shiite sectarian than he could have been with the US looking over his shoulder," military historian Max Boot observed this week. And with Maliki moving against his Sunni opponents, some of them "are making common cause once again with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, [which] has recovered from its near-death experience" during the surge. It is cold comfort that so many urgently warned of just such an outcome in 2011.

So was the Iraq war worth it? On that, Americans are a long way from a consensus. It is never clear in the immediate aftermath of any war what history’s judgment will be. Two decades ago, the 1991 Gulf War was regarded as a triumph. In retrospect, the decision to leave Saddam in power – and to let him murderously crush an uprising we had encouraged – looks like a tragic blunder.

But this much we do know: The invasion of Iraq 10 years ago ended the reign of a genocidal tyrant, and ensured that his monstrous sons could never succeed him. It struck a shaft of fear into other dictators, leading Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, for example, to relinquish his WMD. It let Iraqis find out how much better their lives could be under democratic self-government. Like all wars, even wars of liberation, it took an awful toll. The status quo ante was worse.

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe. His website is http://www.JeffJacoby.com).

COMPLEMENT (22.03.13):

Geopolitical ADHD

Mark Steyn

National Review online

March 22, 2013

Ten years ago, along with three-quarters of the American people, including the men just appointed as President Obama’s secretaries of state and defense, I supported the invasion of Iraq. A decade on, unlike most of the American people, including John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, I’ll stand by that original judgment.

None of us can say what would have happened had Saddam Hussein remained in power. He might now be engaged in a nuclear-arms race with Iran. One or other of his even more psychotic sons, the late Uday or Qusay, could be in power. The Arab Spring might have come to Iraq, and surely even more bloodily than in Syria.

But these are speculations best left to the authors of “alternative histories.” In the real world, how did things turn out?

Three weeks after Operation Shock and Awe began, the early-bird naysayers were already warning of massive humanitarian devastation and civil war. Neither happened. Overcompensating somewhat for all the doom-mongering, I wrote in Britain’s Daily Telegraph that “a year from now Basra will have a lower crime rate than most London boroughs.” Close enough. Major General Andy Salmon, the British commander in southern Iraq, eventually declared of Basra that “on a per capita basis, if you look at the violence statistics, it is less dangerous than Manchester.”

Ten years ago, expert opinion was that Iraq was a phony-baloney entity imposed on the map by distant colonial powers. Joe Biden, you’ll recall, advocated dividing the country into three separate states, which for the Democrats held out the enticing prospect of having three separate quagmires to blame on Bush, but for the Iraqis had little appeal. “As long as you respect its inherently confederal nature,” I argued, “it’ll work fine.” As for the supposedly secessionist Kurds, “they’ll settle for being Scotland or Quebec.” And so it turned out. The Times of London, last week: “Ten Years after Saddam, Iraqi Kurds Have Never Had It So Good.” In Kurdistan as in Quebec, there is a pervasive unsavory tribal cronyism, but on the other hand, unlike Quebec City, Erbil is booming.

What of the rest of the country? Iraq, I suggested, would wind up “at a bare minimum, the least badly governed state in the Arab world, and, at best, pleasant, civilized and thriving.” I’ll stand by my worst-case scenario there. Unlike the emerging “reforms” in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria, politics in Iraq has remained flawed but, by the standards of the grimly Islamist Arab Spring, broadly secular.

So I like the way a lot of the trees fell. But I missed the forest.

On the previous Western liberation of Mesopotamia, when General Maude took Baghdad from the Turks in 1917, British troops found a very different city from the Saddamite squat of 2003: In a lively, jostling, cosmopolitan metropolis, 40 percent of the population was Jewish. I wasn’t so deluded as to think the Jews would be back, but I hoped something of Baghdad’s lost vigor might return. Granted that most of the Arab world, from Tangiers to Alexandria, is considerably less “multicultural” than it was in mid century, the remorseless extinction of Iraq’s Christian community this last decade is appalling — and, given that it happened on America’s watch, utterly shameful. Like the bland acknowledgement deep in a State Department “International Religious Freedom Report” that the last church in Afghanistan was burned to the ground in 2010, it testifies to the superpower’s impotence, not “internationally” but in client states entirely bankrolled by us.

Foreigners see this more clearly than Americans. As Goh Chok Tong, the prime minister of Singapore, said on a visit to Washington in 2004, “The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the U.N. The central issue is America’s credibility and will to prevail.” Just so. If you live in Tikrit or Fallujah, the Iraq War was about Iraq. If you live anywhere else on the planet, the Iraq War was about America, and the unceasing drumbeat of “quagmire” and “exit strategy” communicated to the world an emptiness at the heart of American power — like the toppled statue of Saddam that proved to be hollow. On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, mobs trashed U.S. embassies across the region with impunity. A rather more motivated crowd showed up in Benghazi, killed four Americans, including the ambassador, and correctly calculated they would face no retribution. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, these guys have reached their own judgment about American “credibility” and “will” — as have more potent forces yet biding their time, from Moscow to Beijing.

A few weeks after the fall of Saddam, on little more than a whim, I rented a beat-up Nissan at Amman Airport and, without telling the car-hire bloke, drove east across the Iraqi border and into the Sunni Triangle. I could not easily make the same journey today: Western journalists now require the permission of the central government to enter Anbar Province. But for a brief period in the spring of 2003 we were the “strong horse” and even a dainty little media gelding such as myself was accorded a measure of respect by the natives. At a rest area on the highway between Rutba and Ramadi, I fell into conversation with one of the locals. Having had to veer onto the median every few miles to dodge bomb craters, I asked him whether he bore any resentments toward his liberators. “Americans only in the sky,” he told me, grinning a big toothless grin as, bang on cue, a U.S. chopper rumbled up from over the horizon and passed high above our heads. “No problem.”

“Americans only in the sky” is an even better slogan in the Obama era of drone-alone warfare. In Iraq, there were a lot of boots on the ground, but when it came to non-military leverage (cultural, economic) Americans were content to remain “only in the sky.” And down on the ground other players filled the vacuum, some reasonably benign (the Chinese in the oil fields), others less so (the Iranians in everything else).

And so a genuinely reformed Middle East remains, like the speculative scenarios outlined at the top, in the realm of “alternative history.” Nevertheless, in the grim two-thirds-of-a-century roll call of America’s un-won wars, Iraq today is less un-won than Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan, and that is not nothing. The war dead of America and its few real allies died in an honorable cause. But armies don’t wage wars, nations do. And, back on the home front, a vast percentage of fair-weather hawks who decided that it was all too complicated, or a bit of a downer, or Bush lied, or where’s the remote, revealed America as profoundly unserious. A senator who votes for war and then decides he’d rather it had never started is also engaging in “alternative history” — albeit of the kind in which Pam Ewing steps into the shower at Southfork and writes off the previous season of Dallas as a bad dream. In non-alternative history, in the only reality there is, once you’ve started a war, you have two choices: to win it or to lose it. Withdrawing one’s “support” for a war you’re already in advertises nothing more than a kind of geopolitical ADHD.

Shortly after Gulf War One, when the world’s superpower assembled a mighty coalition to fight half-a-war to an inconclusive halt at the gates of Baghdad, Washington declined to get mixed up in the disintegrating Balkans. Colin Powell offered the following rationale: “We do deserts. We don’t do mountains.” Across a decade in Iraq, America told the world we don’t really do deserts, either.

— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.


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