Populisme: Les sionistes ont même inventé le nationalisme ! (From the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli UN resolution, the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible, but is again threatened by transnational elites, says Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony)

28 juillet, 2019

 

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Toi qui as fixé les frontières, dressé les bornes de la terre, tu as créé l’été, l’hiver !  Psaumes 74: 17
Où tu iras j’irai, où tu demeureras je demeurerai; ton peuple sera mon peuple, et ton Dieu sera mon Dieu. Ruth (Ruth 1: 16)
Un peuple connait, aime et défend toujours plus ses moeurs que ses lois. Montesquieu
L’arbre de la liberté doit être revivifié de temps en temps par le sang des patriotes et des tyrans. Jefferson
Condamner le nationalisme parce qu’il peut mener à la guerre, c’est comme condamner l’amour parce qu’il peut conduire au meurtre. C.K. Chesterton
Le patriotisme est l’exact contraire du nationalisme. Le nationalisme est l’exact contraire du patriotisme, il en est sa trahison. Emmanuel Macron
Les démocrates radicaux veulent remonter le temps, rendre de nouveau le pouvoir aux mondialistes corrompus et avides de pouvoir. Vous savez qui sont les mondialistes? Le mondialiste est un homme qui veut qu’il soit bon de vivre dans le monde entier sans, pour dire le vrai, se soucier de notre pays. Cela ne nous convient pas. (…) Vous savez, il y a un terme devenu démodé dans un certain sens, ce terme est « nationaliste ». Mais vous savez qui je suis? Je suis un nationaliste. OK? Je suis nationaliste. Saisissez-vous de ce terme! Donald Trump
We have a very clear policy. We want to preserve Hungary as a Hungarian country. We have a right for that. It’s a sovereign right of Hungary to decide whom we would like to allow to enter the territory of the country, and with whom we would like to live together. That must be a national decision … a matter of national sovereignty, and we don’t want to give that up. And we do not accept either Brussels, New York or Geneva taking these kinds of decisions instead of us. (…) We think that the illegal migration is a threat to the European future, a threat to the European culture and to the European civilization. We are a country which sticks strictly to national identity, which would like to preserve religious heritage, historic heritage and cultural heritage. We do not want to lose them. Péter Szijjártó (Hungary’s foreign minister)
So apparently Donald Trump wants to make this an election about what it means to be American. He’s got his vision of what it means to be American, and he’s challenging the rest of us to come up with a better one. In Trump’s version, “American” is defined by three propositions. First, to be American is to be xenophobic. The basic narrative he tells is that the good people of the heartland are under assault from aliens, elitists and outsiders. Second, to be American is to be nostalgic. America’s values were better during some golden past. Third, a true American is white. White Protestants created this country; everybody else is here on their sufferance. When you look at Trump’s American idea you realize that it contradicts the traditional American idea in every particular. In fact, Trump’s national story is much closer to the Russian national story than it is toward our own. It’s an alien ideology he’s trying to plant on our soil. ​ Trump’s vision is radically anti-American.​ The real American idea is not xenophobic, nostalgic or racist; it is pluralistic, future-oriented and universal. America is exceptional precisely because it is the only nation on earth that defines itself by its future, not its past. America is exceptional because from the first its citizens saw themselves in a project that would have implications for all humankind. America is exceptional because it was launched with a dream to take the diverse many and make them one — e pluribus unum.​ (…) Trump’s campaign is an attack on that dream. The right response is to double down on that ideal. The task before us is to create the most diverse mass democracy in the history of the planet — a true universal nation. It is precisely to weave the social fissures that Trump is inclined to tear. David Brooks
In the matter of immigration, mark this conservative columnist down as strongly pro-deportation. The United States has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system. They need to return whence they came. I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic points of American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.​ (…) Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be — when “we” had just come off the boat.​ O.K., so I’m jesting about deporting “real Americans” en masse. (Who would take them in, anyway?) But then the threat of mass deportations has been no joke with this administration.​ On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security seemed prepared to extend an Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows the children of illegal immigrants — some 800,000 people in all — to continue to study and work in the United States. The decision would have reversed one of Donald Trump’s ugly campaign threats to deport these kids, whose only crime was to have been brought to the United States by their parents. Yet the administration is still committed to deporting their parents, and on Friday the D.H.S. announced that even DACA remains under review — another cruel twist for young immigrants wondering if they’ll be sent back to “home” countries they hardly ever knew, and whose language they might barely even speak.​ Beyond the inhumanity of toying with people’s lives this way, there’s also the shortsightedness of it. We do not usually find happiness by driving away those who would love us. Businesses do not often prosper by firing their better employees and discouraging job applications. So how does America become great again by berating and evicting its most energetic, enterprising, law-abiding, job-creating, idea-generating, self-multiplying and God-fearing people?​ Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious; and who do the most to remake it so that our ideas, and our appeal, may stay fresh.​ That used to be a cliché, but in the Age of Trump it needs to be explained all over again. We’re a country of immigrants — by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out.​ Bret Stephens
Obama est le premier président américain élevé sans attaches culturelles, affectives ou intellectuelles avec la Grande-Bretagne ou l’Europe. Les Anglais et les Européens ont été tellement enchantés par le premier président américain noir qu’ils n’ont pu voir ce qu’il est vraiment: le premier président américain du Tiers-Monde. The Daily Mail
Culturellement, Obama déteste la Grande-Bretagne. Il a renvoyé le buste de Churchill sans la moindre feuille de vigne d’une excuse. Il a insulté la Reine et le Premier ministre en leur offrant les plus insignifiants des cadeaux. A un moment, il a même refusé de rencontrer le Premier ministre. Dr James Lucier (ancien directeur du comité des Affaire étrangères du sénat américain)
We want our country back ! Marion Maréchal
La jeune génération n’est pas encouragée à aimer notre héritage. On leur lave le cerveau en leur faisant honte de leur pays. (…) Nous, Français, devons nous battre pour notre indépendance. Nous ne pouvons plus choisir notre politique économique ou notre politique d’immigration et même notre diplomatie. Notre liberté est entre les mains de l’Union européenne. (…) Notre liberté est maintenant entre les mains de cette institution qui est en train de tuer des nations millénaires. Je vis dans un pays où 80%, vous m’avez bien entendu, 80% des lois sont imposées par l’Union européenne. Après 40 ans d’immigration massive, de lobbyisme islamique et de politiquement correct, la France est en train de passer de fille aînée de l’Eglise à petite nièce de l’islam. On entend maintenant dans le débat public qu’on a le droit de commander un enfant sur catalogue, qu’on a le droit de louer le ventre d’une femme, qu’on a le droit de priver un enfant d’une mère ou d’un père. (…) Aujourd’hui, même les enfants sont devenus des marchandises (…) Un enfant n’est pas un droit (…) Nous ne voulons pas de ce monde atomisé, individualiste, sans sexe, sans père, sans mère et sans nation. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) La Tradition n’est pas la vénération des cendres, elle est la passation du feu. (…)Je ne suis pas offensée lorsque j’entends le président Donald Trump dire ‘l’Amérique d’abord’. En fait, je veux l’Amérique d’abord pour le peuple américain, je veux la Grande-Bretagne d’abord pour le peuple britannique et je veux la France d’abord pour le peuple français. Comme vous, nous voulons reprendre le contrôle de notre pays. Vous avez été l’étincelle, il nous appartient désormais de nourrir la flamme conservatrice. Marion Maréchal
En Europe comme aux Etats-Unis, la contestation émerge sur les territoires les plus éloignés des métropoles mondialisées. La « France périphérique » est celle des petites villes, des villes moyennes et des zones rurales. En Grande-Bretagne, c’est aussi la « Grande-Bretagne périphérique » qui a voté pour le Brexit. Attention : il ne s’agit pas d’un rapport entre « urbains » et « ruraux ». La question est avant tout sociale, économique et culturelle. Ces territoires illustrent la sortie de la classe moyenne des catégories qui en constituaient hier le socle : ouvriers, employés, petits paysans, petits indépendants. Ces catégories ont joué le jeu de la mondialisation, elles ont même au départ soutenu le projet européen. Cependant, après plusieurs décennies d’adaptation aux normes de l’économie-monde, elles font le constat d’une baisse ou d’une stagnation de leur niveau de vie, de la précarisation des conditions de travail, du chômage de masse et, in fine, du blocage de l’ascenseur social. Sans régulation d’un libre-échange qui défavorise prioritairement ces catégories et ces territoires, le processus va se poursuivre. C’est pourquoi la priorité est de favoriser le développement d’un modèle économique complémentaire (et non alternatif) sur ces territoires qui cumulent fragilités socio-économiques et sédentarisation des populations. Cela suppose de donner du pouvoir et des compétences aux élus et collectivités de ces territoires. En adoptant le système économique mondialisé, les pays développés ont accouché de son modèle sociétal : le multiculturalisme. En la matière, la France n’a pas fait mieux (ni pire) que les autres pays développés. Elle est devenue une société américaine comme les autres, avec ses tensions et ses paranoïas identitaires. Il faut insister sur le fait que sur ces sujets, il n’y a pas d’un côté ceux qui seraient dans l’ouverture et de l’autre ceux qui seraient dans le rejet. Si les catégories supérieures et éduquées ne basculent pas dans le populisme, c’est parce qu’elles ont les moyens de la frontière invisible avec l’Autre. Ce sont d’ailleurs elles qui pratiquent le plus l’évitement scolaire et résidentiel. La question du rapport à l’autre n’est donc pas seulement posée pour les catégories populaires. Poser cette question comme universelle – et qui touche toutes les catégories sociales – est un préalable si l’on souhaite faire baisser les tensions. Cela implique de sortir de la posture de supériorité morale que les gens ne supportent plus. J’avais justement conçu la notion d’insécurité culturelle pour montrer que, notamment en milieu populaire, ce n’est pas tant le rapport à l’autre qui pose problème qu’une instabilité démographique qui induit la peur de devenir minoritaire et de perdre un capital social et culturel très important. Une peur qui concerne tous les milieux populaires, quelles que soient leurs origines. C’est en partant de cette réalité qu’il convient de penser la question du multiculturalisme. Christophe Guilluy
Pour la première fois, le modèle mondialisé des classes dominantes, dont Hillary Clinton était le parangon, a été rejeté dans le pays qui l’a vu naître. Fidèles à leurs habitudes, les élites dirigeantes déprécient l’expression de la volonté populaire quand elles en perdent le contrôle. Ainsi, les médias, à travers le cas de la Pennsylvanie – l’un des swing states qui ont fait le succès de Trump -, ont mis l’accent sur le refus de mobilité de la working class blanche, les fameux « petits Blancs », comme cause principale de la précarité et du déclassement. Le « bougisme », qui est la maladie de Parkinson de la mondialisation, confond les causes et les conséquences. Il est incapable de comprendre que, selon la formule de Christopher Lasch, « le déracinement déracine tout, sauf le besoin de racines ». L’élection de Trump, c’est le cri de révolte des enracinés du local contre les agités du global. (…) La gauche progressiste n’a eu de cesse, depuis les années 1980, que d’évacuer la question sociale en posant comme postulat que ce n’est pas la pauvreté qui interdit d’accéder à la réussite ou à l’emploi, mais uniquement l’origine ethnique. Pourtant, l’actuelle dynamique des populismes ne se réduit pas à la seule révolte identitaire. En contrepoint de la protestation du peuple-ethnos, il y a la revendication du peuple-démos, qui aspire à être rétabli dans ses prérogatives de sujet politique et d’acteur souverain de son destin. Le populisme est aussi et peut-être d’abord un hyperdémocratisme, selon le mot de Taguieff, une demande de démocratie par quoi le peuple manifeste sa volonté d’être représenté et gouverné selon ses propres intérêts. Or notre postdémocratie oscille entre le déni et le détournement de la volonté populaire. (…) Au XIXe siècle, la bourgeoisie a eu recours à la loi pour imposer le suffrage censitaire. Aujourd’hui, les classes dominantes n’en éprouvent plus la nécessité, elles l’obtiennent de facto : il leur suffit de neutraliser le vote populiste en l’excluant de toute représentation par le mode de scrutin et de provoquer l’abstention massive de l’électorat populaire, qui, convaincu de l’inutilité du vote, se met volontairement hors jeu. Ne vont voter lors des élections intermédiaires que les inclus, des fonctionnaires aux cadres supérieurs, et surtout les plus de 60 ans, qui, dans ce type de scrutin, représentent autour de 35 % des suffrages exprimés, alors qu’ils ne sont que 22 % de la population. Ainsi, l’écosystème de la génération de 68 s’est peu à peu transformé en un egosystème imposé à l’ensemble de la société. Dans notre postdémocratie, c’est le cens qui fait sens et se traduit par une surreprésentation des classes favorisées aux dépens de la France périphérique, de la France des invisibles. (…) On est arrivé à une situation où la majorité n’est plus une réalité arithmétique, mais un concept politique résultant d’une application tronquée du principe majoritaire. Dans l’Assemblée élue en 2012 avec une participation de 55 %, la majorité parlementaire socialiste ne représente qu’un peu plus de 16 % des inscrits. La majorité qui fait et défait les lois agit au nom d’à peine plus de 1 Français sur 6 ! Nous vivons sous le régime de ce qu’André Tardieu appelait déjà avant-guerre le « despotisme d’une minorité légale ». On assiste, avec le système de l’alternance unique entre les deux partis de gouvernement, à une privatisation du pouvoir au bénéfice d’une partitocratie dont la légitimité ne cesse de s’éroder. (…) Plus les partis ont perdu en légitimité, plus s’est imposée à eux l’obligation de verrouiller le système de crainte que la sélection des candidats à l’élection présidentielle ne leur échappe. Avec la crise de la représentation, le système partisan n’a plus ni l’autorité ni la légitimité suffisante pour imposer ses choix sans un simulacre de démocratie. Les primaires n’ont pas d’autre fonction que de produire une nouvelle forme procédurale de légitimation. En pratique, cela revient à remettre à une minorité partisane le pouvoir de construire l’offre politique soumise à l’ensemble du corps électoral. Entre 3 et 4 millions de citoyens vont préorienter le choix des 46 millions de Français en âge de voter. Or la sociologie des électeurs des primaires à droite comme à gauche ne fait guère de doute : il s’agit des catégories supérieures ou moyennes, qui entretiennent avec la classe politique un rapport de proximité. Les primaires auront donc pour effet d’aggraver la crise de représentation en renforçant le poids politique des inclus au moment même où il faudrait rouvrir le jeu démocratique. (…) D’un tel processus de sélection ne peuvent sortir que des produits de l’endogamie partisane, des candidats façonnés par le conformisme de la doxa et gouvernés par l’économisme. Des candidats inaccessibles à la dimension symbolique du pouvoir et imperméables aux legs de la tradition et de l’Histoire nationale. Sarkozy et Hollande ont illustré l’inaptitude profonde des candidats sélectionnés par le système à se hisser à la hauteur de la fonction. Dans ces conditions, il est à craindre que, quel que soit l’élu, l’élection de 2017 ne soit un coup à blanc, un coup pour rien. D’autant que les hommes de la classe dirigeante n’ont ni les repères historiques ni les bases culturelles pour défendre les sociabilités protectrices face aux ravages de la mondialisation. En somme, ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font parce qu’ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils défont. Quant au FN, privé de toute espérance du pouvoir, contrairement à ce qu’on voudrait nous faire croire, il offre un repoussoir utile à la classe dirigeante, qui lui permet de se survivre à bon compte. Il est à ce jour encore la meilleure assurance-vie du système. Patrick Buisson
Les «élites» françaises, sous l’inspiration et la domination intellectuelle de François Mitterrand, on voulu faire jouer au Front National depuis 30 ans, le rôle, non simplement du diable en politique, mais de l’Apocalypse. Le Front National représentait l’imminence et le danger de la fin des Temps. L’épée de Damoclès que se devait de neutraliser toute politique «républicaine». Cet imaginaire de la fin, incarné dans l’anti-frontisme, arrive lui-même à sa fin. Pourquoi? Parce qu’il est devenu impossible de masquer aux Français que la fin est désormais derrière nous. La fin est consommée, la France en pleine décomposition, et la république agonisante, d’avoir voulu devenir trop bonne fille de l’Empire multiculturel européen. Or tout le monde comprend bien qu’il n’a nullement été besoin du Front national pour cela. Plus rien ou presque n’est à sauver, et c’est pourquoi le Front national fait de moins en moins peur, même si, pour cette fois encore, la manœuvre du «front républicain», orchestrée par Manuel Valls, a été efficace sur les électeurs socialistes. Les Français ont compris que la fin qu’on faisait incarner au Front national ayant déjà eu lieu, il avait joué, comme rôle dans le dispositif du mensonge généralisé, celui du bouc émissaire, vers lequel on détourne la violence sociale, afin qu’elle ne détruise pas tout sur son passage. Remarquons que le Front national s’était volontiers prêté à ce dispositif aussi longtemps que cela lui profitait, c’est-à-dire jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Le parti anti-système a besoin du système dans un premier temps pour se légitimer. Nous approchons du point où la fonction de bouc émissaire, théorisée par René Girard  va être entièrement dévoilée et où la violence ne pourra plus se déchaîner vers une victime extérieure. Il faut bien mesurer le danger social d’une telle situation, et la haute probabilité de renversement qu’elle secrète: le moment approche pour ceux qui ont désigné la victime émissaire à la vindicte du peuple, de voir refluer sur eux, avec la vitesse et la violence d’un tsunami politique, la frustration sociale qu’ils avaient cherché à détourner. Les élections régionales sont sans doute un des derniers avertissements en ce sens. Les élites devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Y-a-t-il une solution pour échapper à une telle issue? Avouons que cette responsabilité est celle des élites en place, ayant entonné depuis 30 ans le même refrain. A supposer cependant que nous voulions les sauver, nous pourrions leur donner le conseil suivant: leur seule possibilité de survivre serait d’anticiper la violence refluant sur elles en faisant le sacrifice de leur innocence. Elles devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Pour cela, elles devraient admettre de déconstruire la gigantesque hallucination collective produite autour du Front national, hallucination revenant aujourd’hui sous la forme inversée du Sauveur. Ce faisant, elles auraient tort de se priver au passage de souligner la participation du Front national au dispositif, ce dernier s’étant prêté de bonne grâce, sous la houlette du Père, à l’incarnation de la victime émissaire. Il faut bien avouer que nos élites du PS comme des Républicains ne prennent pas ce chemin, démontrant soit qu’elles n’ont strictement rien compris à ce qui se passe dans ce pays depuis 30 ans, soit qu’elles l’ont au contraire trop bien compris, et ne peuvent plus en assumer le dévoilement, soit qu’elles espèrent encore prospérer ainsi. Il n’est pas sûr non plus que le Front national soit prêt à reconnaître sa participation au dispositif. Il y aurait intérêt pourtant pour pouvoir accéder un jour à la magistrature suprême. Car si un tel aveu pourrait lui faire perdre d’un côté son «aura» anti-système, elle pourrait lui permettre de l’autre, une alliance indispensable pour dépasser au deuxième tour des présidentielles le fameux «plafond de verre». Il semble au contraire après ces régionales que tout changera pour que rien ne change. Deux solutions qui ne modifient en rien le dispositif mais le durcissent au contraire se réaffirment. La première solution, empruntée par le PS et désirée par une partie des Républicains, consiste à maintenir coûte que coûte le discours du front républicain en recherchant un dépassement du clivage gauche/droite. Une telle solution consiste à aller plus loin encore dans la désignation de la victime émissaire, et à s’exposer à un retournement encore plus dévastateur. (…) Car sans même parler des effets dévastateurs que pourrait avoir, a posteriori, un nouvel attentat, sur une telle déclaration, comment ne pas remarquer que les dernières décisions du gouvernement sur la lutte anti-terroriste ont donné rétrospectivement raison à certaines propositions du Front national? On voit mal alors comment on pourrait désormais lui faire porter le chapeau de ce dont il n’est pas responsable, tout en lui ôtant le mérite des solutions qu’il avait proposées, et qu’on n’a pas hésité à lui emprunter! La deuxième solution, défendue par une partie des Républicains suivant en cela Nicolas Sarkozy, consiste à assumer des préoccupations communes avec le Front national, tout en cherchant à se démarquer un peu par les solutions proposées. Mais comment faire comprendre aux électeurs un tel changement de cap et éviter que ceux-ci ne préfèrent l’original à la copie? Comment les électeurs ne remarqueraient-ils pas que le Front national, lui, n’a pas changé de discours, et surtout, qu’il a précédé tout le monde, et a eu le mérite d’avoir raison avant les autres, puisque ceux-ci viennent maintenant sur son propre terrain? Comment d’autre part concilier une telle proximité avec un discours diabolisant le Front national et cherchant l’alliance au centre? Curieuses élites, qui ne comprennent pas que la posture «républicaine», initiée par Mitterrand, menace désormais de revenir comme un boomerang les détruire. Christopher Lasch avait écrit La révolte des élites, pour pointer leur sécession d’avec le peuple, c’est aujourd’hui le suicide de celles-ci qu’il faudrait expliquer, dernière conséquence peut-être de cette sécession. Vincent Coussedière
With their politicization of their victory, their expletive-filled speech, and their publicly expressed contempt for half their fellow citizens, the women of the U.S. women’s soccer team succeeded in endearing themselves to America’s left. But they earned the rest of the country’s disdain, which is sad. We really wanted to love the team. What we have here is yet another example of perhaps the most important fact in the contemporary world: Everything the left touches, it ruins. Dennis Prager
The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School. Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans. Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market. The New York Times opinion team issued a Fourth of July video about “the myth of America as the greatest nation on earth.” The Times’ journalists conceded that the United States is “just OK.” During a recent speech to students at a Minnesota high school, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) offered a scathing appraisal of her adopted country, which she depicted as a disappointment whose racism and inequality did not meet her expectations as an idealistic refugee. Omar’s family had fled worn-torn Somalia and spent four-years in a Kenyan refugee camp before reaching Minnesota, where Omar received a subsidized education and ended up a congresswoman. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup earlier this month. Team stalwart Megan Rapinoe refused to put her hand over heart during the playing of the national anthem, boasted that she would never visit the “f—ing White House” and, with others, nonchalantly let the American flag fall to the ground during the victory celebration. The city council in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meeting on the rationale that it wished not to offend a “diverse community.” The list of these public pushbacks at traditional American patriotic customs and rituals could be multiplied. They follow the recent frequent toppling of statues of 19th-century American figures, many of them from the South, and the renaming of streets and buildings to blot out mention of famous men and women from the past now deemed illiberal enemies of the people. Such theater is the street version of what candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have been saying for months. They want to disband border enforcement, issue blanket amnesties, demand reparations for descendants of slaves, issue formal apologies to groups perceived to be the subjects of discrimination, and rail against American unfairness, inequality, and a racist and sexist past. In their radical progressive view — shared by billionaires from Silicon Valley, recent immigrants and the new Democratic Party — America was flawed, perhaps fatally, at its origins. Things have not gotten much better in the country’s subsequent 243 years, nor will they get any better — at least not until America as we know it is dismantled and replaced by a new nation predicated on race, class and gender identity-politics agendas. In this view, an “OK” America is no better than other countries. As Barack Obama once bluntly put it, America is only exceptional in relative terms, given that citizens of Greece and the United Kingdom believe their own countries are just as exceptional. In other words, there is no absolute standard to judge a nation’s excellence. About half the country disagrees. It insists that America’s sins, past and present, are those of mankind. But only in America were human failings constantly critiqued and addressed. (…) The traditionalists see American history as a unique effort to overcome human weakness, bias and sin. That effort is unmatched by other cultures and nations, and explains why millions of foreign nationals swarm into the United States, both legally and illegally. (…) If progressives and socialists can at last convince the American public that their country was always hopelessly flawed, they can gain power to remake it based on their own interests. These elites see Americans not as unique individuals but as race, class and gender collectives, with shared grievances from the past that must be paid out in the present and the future. Victor Davis Hanson
America is changing. By 2043, we’ll be a nation [that’s] majority people of color, and that’s — that is the game here — that’s what folks don’t want to understand what’s happening in this country. Roland Martin (African-American journalist)
How’d we lose the working class? Ask yourself, what did we do for them? You called them stupid. You marginalized them, took them for granted and you didn’t talk to them. For 20 years, the right wing has invested tremendous amounts of money in talk radio, in television, in every possible platform to be in their ears, before their eyes, and on their minds. And they don’t call them stupid. Rick Smith (talk-show host)
On several polarizing issues, Democrats are refusing to offer the reassurances to moderate opinion that they once did. They’re not saying: We will secure the border and insist on an orderly asylum process, but do it in a humane way; we will protect the right to abortion while working to make it less common; we will protect gun rights while setting sensible limits on them. The old rhetorical guardrails — trust us, there’s a hard stop on how far left we’ll go — are gone. Ramesh Ponnuru
Trump also highlighted a basic fact about the nature of leftist ideology. Just as the Iranian regime views the United States and Israel as two sides of the same coin, with the ayatollahs dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan” and Israel, “the Little Satan,” so the radical left views the U.S. and Israel – the most powerful democracy in the world and the only democracy in the Middle East – as states with no moral foundation for existing. Although other presidents have spoken out against hatred of Jews and Israel on the one hand and hatred of America on the other, it is hard to think of another example of a U.S. leader making the case that the two hatreds are linked as Trump did this week. This is important, because they are linked. The haters see both America and the Jews as all-powerful forces who use their power to bend the world to their nefarious, avaricious, greedy aims. They stereotype both Americans and pro-Israel and traditional Jews as vulgar and fascist. Pew Research Center studies of European perspectives on Jews and Americans show a massive overlap between anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-American ones. As the American left has become more radical, it has also become more aligned with those toxic European attitudes towards both the United States and Israel. One example is evident at the U.S.-Mexico border. The left’s opposition to enforcing American immigration laws goes hand-in-hand with the view that the Jewish people have no right to national self-determination in their homeland and that the Jewish state has no right to exist. As political philosopher Yoram Hazony argued in his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, nationalism — and, indeed, the concept of a nation itself — is a biblical concept. The nation of Israel is the first nation. And the American Founding Fathers’ conception of the United States and the American nation was rooted in the biblical concept of nationhood and nationalism of the Jews. Hazony contends that anti-nationalism is both inherently antisemitic and anti-American. And it is also imperialist. Anti-nationalists support international and transnational legal constructs and institutions that deny distinct nations large and small the ability to determine their own unique course in the world. As repositories of the concept of distinct nations, nation-states are, in Hazony’s view, inherently freer and more cohesive societies than imperialist societies that insist that one-size-fits-all and that there are people better equipped than the people themselves to decide what is good for them. As Trump tweeted, the four sirens of the socialist revolution are a dire threat to the Democratic Party. By embracing the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib with their repeated statements against the United States, Jews and Israel and their tolerance for terrorist groups and terrorists, and by embracing Ocasio-Cortez who likens America to Nazi Germany, replete with “concentration camps,” the Democratic Party is indeed embracing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. And, as Trump tweeted, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans — and certainly not the president — who are making Israel a partisan issue. They are doing so by abandoning Israel and embracing antisemitic conceptions of nationalism and of the Jewish and American nations. Trump’s tweet storm, however controversial, showed that he is personally committed to fighting hatred of Jews and Israel. As he was being targeted as a racist by Democrats, the Department of Justice was holding a conference on combatting antisemitism. The conference, which placed a spotlight on campus antisemitism, did not shy away from discussing and condemning antisemitism on the left as well as on the right, and Islamic antisemitism. In his remarks before the conference, Attorney General Willian Barr discussed the galloping hostility Jewish students face in U.S. universities today. In his words, “On college campuses today, Jewish students who support Israel are frequently targeted for harassment, Jewish student organizations are marginalized, and progressive Jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and their heritage in order to be part of ‘intersectional’ causes.” (…) It is a testament to the left’s increasing embrace of anti-Jewish bigotry, and its rejection of America’s right to borders, — and through them, to self-government and self-determination — that Trump is being branded a racist for standing up to these distressing trends. And it is a testament to Trump’s moral courage that he is willing to speak the truth about antisemitism and anti-Americanism even at the cost of wall-to-wall calumny by Democrats and the media. Caroline Glick
This month, Netroots Nation met in Philadelphia. The choice was no accident. Pennsylvania will probably be the key swing state in 2020. Donald Trump won it by only 44,000 votes or seven-tenths of a percentage point. He lost the prosperous Philadelphia suburbs by more than Mitt Romney did in 2012 but more than made up for it with new support in “left behind” blue-collar areas such as Erie and Wilkes-Barre. You’d think that this history would inform activists at Netroots Nation about the best strategy to follow in 2020. Not really. Instead, Netroots events seemed to alternate between pandering presentations by presidential candidates and a bewildering array of “intersectionality” and identity-politics seminars. Senator Elizabeth Warren pledged that, if elected, she would immediately investigate crimes committed by border-control agents. Julian Castro, a former Obama-administration cabinet member, called for decriminalizing illegal border crossings. But everyone was topped by Washington governor Jay Inslee. “My first act will be to ask Megan Rapinoe to be my secretary of State,” he promised. Naming the woke, purple-haired star of the championship U.S. Women’s Soccer team, he said, would return “love rather than hate” to the center of America’s foreign policy. It is true that a couple of panels tried to address how the Left could appeal to voters who cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016. (…)  But that kind of introspection was rare at Netroots Nation. Elizabeth Warren explicitly rejected calls to keep Democrats from moving too far to the left in the next campaign (…) Warren and her supporters point to polls showing that an increasing number of Americans are worried about income inequality, climate change, and America’s image around the world. But are those the issues that actually motivate people to vote, or are they peripheral issues that aren’t central to the decision most voters make? Consider a Pew Research poll taken last year that asked respondents to rank 23 “policy priorities” from terrorism to global trade in order of importance. Climate change came in 22nd out of 23. There is a stronger argument that Democrats will have trouble winning over independent voters if they sprinting so far to the left that they go over a political cliff. (…) Many leftists acknowledge that Democrats are less interested than they used to be in trimming their sails to appeal to moderates. Such trimming is no longer necessary, as they see it, because the changing demographics of the country give them a built-in advantage. Almost everyone I encountered at Netroots Nation was convinced that President Trump would lose in 2020. (…) It’s a common mistake on both the right and the left to assume that minority voters will a) always vote in large numbers and b) will vote automatically for Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 in part because black turnout fell below what Barack Obama was able to generate. There is no assurance that black turnout can be restored in 2020. As for other ethnic groups, a new poll by Politico/Morning Consult this month found that Trump’s approval among Hispanics is at 42 percent. An Economist/YouGov poll showed Trump at 32 percent among Hispanics; another poll from The Hill newspaper and HarrisX has it at 35 percent. In 2016, Trump won only 29 to 32 percent of the Hispanic vote. Netroots Nation convinced me that progressive activists are self-confident, optimistic about the chances for a progressive triumph, and assured that a Trump victory was a freakish “black swan” event. But they are also deaf to any suggestion that their PC excesses had anything to do with Trump’s being in the White House. That is apt to be the progressive blind spot going into the 2020 election. John Fund
The immigrant is the pawn of Latin American governments who view him as inanimate capital, someone who represents thousands of dollars in future foreign-exchange remittances, as well as one less mouth to feed at home — if he crosses the border, legality be damned. If that sounds a cruel or cynical appraisal, then why would the Mexican government in 2005 print a comic booklet (“Guide for the Mexican Migrant”) with instructions to its citizens on how best to cross into the United States — urging them to break American law and assuming that they could not read? Yet for all the savagery dealt out to the immigrant — the callousness of his government, the shakedowns of the coyotes and cartels, the exploitation of his labor by new American employers — the immigrant himself is not entirely innocent. He knows — or does not care to know — that by entering the U.S., he has taken a slot from a would-be legal immigrant, one, unlike himself, who played by the rules and waited years in line for his chance to become an American. He knowingly violates U.S. immigration law. And when the first act of an immigrant is to enter the U.S. illegally, the second to reside there unlawfully, and the third so often to adopt false identities, he undermines American law on the expectation that he will receive exemptions not accorded to U.S. citizens, much less to other legal immigrants. In terms of violations of federal law, and crimes such as hit-and-run accidents and identity theft, the illegal immigrant is overrepresented in the criminal-justice system, and indeed in federal penitentiaries. Certainly, no Latin American government would allow foreigners to enter, reside, and work in their own country in the manner that they expect their own citizens to do so in America. Historically, the Mexican constitution, to take one example, discriminates in racial terms against both the legal and illegal immigrants, in medieval terms of ethnic essence. Some $30 billion in remittances are sent back by mostly illegal aliens to Central American governments and roughly another $30 billion to Mexico. But the full implications of that exploitation are rarely appreciated. Most impoverished illegal aliens who send such staggering sums back not only entered the United States illegally and live here illegally, but they often enjoy some sort of local, state, or federal subsidy. They work at entry-level jobs with the understanding that they are to scrimp and save, with the assistance of the American taxpayer, whose laws they have shredded, so that they can send cash to their relatives and friends back home. In other words, the remitters are like modern indentured servants, helots in hock to their governments that either will not or cannot help their families and are excused from doing so thanks to such massive remittances. In sum, they promote illegal immigration to earn such foreign exchange, to create an expatriate community in the United States that will romanticize a Guatemala or Oaxaca — all the more so,  the longer and farther they are away from it. Few of the impoverished in Mexico paste a Mexican-flag sticker on their window shield; many do so upon arrival in the United States. Illegal immigration is a safety valve, by which dissidents are thanked for marching north rather than on their own nations’ capitals. Latin American governments really do not care that much that their poor are raped while crossing the Mexican desert, or sold off by the drug cartels, or that they drown in the Rio Grande, but they suddenly weep when they reach American detention centers — a cynicism that literally cost hundreds their lives. America is increasingly becoming not so much a nonwhite nation as an assimilated, integrated, and intermarried country. Race, skin color, and appearance, if you will, are becoming irrelevant. The construct of “Latino” — Mexican-American? Portuguese? Spanish? Brazilian? — is becoming immaterial as diverse immigrants soon cannot speak Spanish, lose all knowledge of Latin America, and become indistinguishable in America from the descendants of southern Europeans, Armenians, or any other Mediterranean immigrant group. In other words, a Lopez or Martinez was rapidly becoming as relevant or irrelevant in terms of grievance politics, or perceived class, as a Pelosi, Scalise, De Niro, or Pacino. If Pelosi was named “Ocasio-Cortez” and AOC “Pelosi,” then no one would know, or much care, from their respective superficial appearance, who was of Puerto Rican background and who of Italian ancestry. Such a melting-pot future terrifies the ethnic activists in politics, academia, and the media who count on replenishing the numbers of unassimilated “Latinos,” in order to announce themselves the champions of collective grievance and disparity and thereby find careerist advantage. When 1 million of some of the most impoverished people on the planet arrive without legality, a high-school diploma, capital, or English, then they are likely to remain poor for a generation. And their poverty then offers supposed proof that America is a nativist or racist society for allowing such asymmetry to occur — a social-justice crime remedied best the by Latino caucus, the Chicano-studies department, the La Raza lawyers association, or the former National Council of La Raza. Yet, curb illegal immigration, and the entire Latino race industry goes the way of the Greek-, Armenian-, or Portuguese-American communities that have all found parity once massive immigration of their impoverished countrymen ceased and the formidable powers of the melting pot were uninterrupted. Democrats once were exclusionists — largely because they feared that illegal immigration eroded unionization and overtaxed the social-service resources of their poor citizen constituents. Cesar Chavez, for example, sent his thugs to the border to club illegal aliens and drive them back into Mexico, as if they were future strike breakers. Until recently, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton called for strict border enforcement, worried that the wages of illegal workers were driving down those of inner-city or barrio American youth. What changed? Numbers. Once the pool of illegal aliens reached a likely 20 million, and once their second-generation citizen offspring won anchor-baby legality and registered to vote, a huge new progressive constituency rose in the American Southwest — one that was targeted by Democrats, who alternately promised permanent government subsidies and sowed fears with constant charges that right-wing Republicans were abject racists, nativists, and xenophobes. Due to massive influxes of immigrants, and the flight of middle-class citizens, the California of Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, and Pete Wilson long ago ceased to exist. Indeed, there are currently no statewide Republican office-holders in California, which has liberal supermajorities in both state legislatures and a mere seven Republicans out of 53 congressional representatives. Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado are becoming Californized. Soon open borders will do the same to Arizona and Texas. No wonder that the Democratic party has been willing to do almost anything to become the enabler of open borders, whether that is setting up over 500 sanctuary-city jurisdictions, suing to block border enforcement in the courts, or extending in-state tuition, free medical care, and driver’s licenses to those who entered and reside in America illegally. If most immigrants were right-wing, middle-class, Latino anti-Communists fleeing Venezuela or Cuba, or Eastern European rightists sick of the EU, or angry French and Germans who were tired of their failed socialist governments, the Democratic party would be the party of closed borders and the enemy of legal, meritocratic, diverse, and measured immigration. Employers over the past 50 years learned fundamental truths about illegal immigrants. The impoverished young male immigrant, arriving without English, money, education, and legality, will take almost any job to survive, and so he will work all the harder once he’s employed. For 20 years or so, young immigrant workers remain relatively healthy. But once physical labor takes its toll on the middle-aged immigrant worker, the state always was expected to step in to assume the health care, housing, and sustenance cost of the injured, ill, and aging worker — thereby empowering the employer’s revolving-door use of a new generation of young workers. Illegality — at least until recently, with the advent of sanctuary jurisdictions — was seen as convenient, ensuring asymmetry between the employee and the employer, who could always exercise the threat of deportation for any perceived shortcoming in his alien work force. Note that those who hire illegal aliens claim that no Americans will do such work, at least at the wages they are willing to, or can, pay. That is the mea culpa that employers voice when accused of lacking empathy for out-of-work Americans. If employers were fined for hiring illegal aliens, or held financially responsible for their immigrant workers’ health care and retirements, or if they found that such workers were not very industrious and made poor entry-level laborers, then both the Wall Street Journal and the Chamber of Commerce would be apt to favor strict enforcement of immigration laws.  Wealthy progressives favor open borders and illegal immigration for a variety of reasons. The more immigrants, the cheaper, more available, and more industrious are nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, and gardeners — the silent army that fuels the contemporary, two-high-income, powerhouse household. Championing the immigrant poor, without living among them and without schooling one’s children with them or socializing among them, is the affluent progressive’s brand. And to the degree that the paradox causes any guilt, the progressive virtue-signals his loud outrage at border detentions, at separations between parents in court and children in custody, and at the contrast between the burly ICE officers and vulnerable border crossers. In medieval fashion, the farther the liberal advocate of open borders is from the objects of his moral concern, the louder and more empathetic he becomes. Most progressives also enjoy a twofer: inexpensive immigrant “help” and thereby enough brief exposure to the Other to authenticate their 8-to-5 caring. If border crossers were temporarily housed in vacant summer dorms at Stanford, Harvard, or Yale, or were accorded affordable-housing tracts for immigrant communities in the vast open spaces of Portola Valley and the Boulder suburbs, or if immigrant children were sent en masse to language-immersion programs at St. Paul’s, Sidwell Friends, or the Menlo School, then the progressive social-justice warrior would probably go mute. Victor Davis Hanson
À bien des égards, ce que l’on pourrait appeler la classe intellectuelle conservatrice s’est trouvée à la traîne et même parfois à contre-courant de la dernière campagne. Le Weekly Standard, hebdomadaire néoconservateur fondé par Bill Kristol — l’une des voix de droite les plus violemment critiques de l’administration —, en a payé le prix en cessant il y a peu de paraître. Une fois Trump élu, le pragmatisme a toutefois dominé l’attitude de cette galaxie d’institutions vis-à-vis de la Maison Blanche. Ne leur devant pas sa victoire ni son programme, le président a, quant à lui, su utiliser leurs ressources et leurs compétences quand elles lui étaient utiles. L’illustration la plus frappante de cette relation fut la place centrale qu’il donna aux recommandations de la Heritage Foundation (le plus grand think tank conservateur à Washington) et de la Federalist Society (une association influente rassemblant plus de 40 000 juristes conservateurs) pour la nomination des juges à la Cour Suprême (Neil Gorsuch et Brett Kavanaugh) et dans les degrés inférieurs du système judiciaire. Malgré un style de gouvernement indéniablement nouveau, Trump ne semblait donc pas avoir profondément affecté l’infrastructure institutionnelle d’où s’élaborent la majorité des politiques publiques aux États-Unis. Envisagé comme un phénomène personnel qui disparaîtrait avec lui, certains pouvaient encore penser qu’il ne laisserait avec son départ pas d’héritage profond sur les plans institutionnels et intellectuels. Une conférence comme il s’en organise pourtant des dizaines chaque année à Washington DC vient peut-être de changer la donne. Et si, de manière pour le moins inattendue, Trump s’avérait être depuis Reagan le président ayant eu le plus d’impact sur la fabrique des idées et des élites dans son pays? Le chercheur israélien à l’origine de l’événement, Yoram Hazony, s’est fait connaître à l’automne dernier en publiant The Virtue of Nationalism [La vertu du nationalisme], un livre où il s’emploie à critiquer l’idéal post-national qui a dominé l’éducation politique des élites ces dernières décennies. En organisant ce rassemblement d’intellectuels, de journalistes et d’hommes politiques, il entend désormais jeter les bases d’un mouvement intellectuel, le «conservatisme national», dont il propagera les idées au travers de la Edmund Burke Foundation — créée en janvier en vue de préparer l’événement. Le programme mélange des invités prestigieux (l’entrepreneur Peter Thiel, le présentateur de Fox News Tucker Carlson), des étoiles montantes (le jeune sénateur Josh Hawley et J. D. Vance, l’auteur du best-seller Hillbilly Elegy) et des figures établies (Rusty Reno de la revue First Things ou encore Christopher DeMuth, l’ancien responsable du think tank AEI). S’il est évident que de nombreuses divergences existent entre ces invités, notamment sur les questions de politique étrangère, ils s’accordent assez largement autour de certains points fondamentaux qui constituent à des degrés divers des changements d’orientation profonds par rapport au consensus conservateur antérieur. Ce consensus, aussi connu sous le nom de «fusionnisme», reposait sur la compatibilité de la défense du marché et du libre-échange avec celle des valeurs familiales et religieuses. Libertariens et conservateurs pouvaient ainsi agir côte à côte afin de laisser d’un côté l’État hors de l’entreprise et de l’autre, hors de la famille — attitude résumée par la formule lapidaire de Reagan: «Le gouvernement n’est pas la solution à nos problèmes. Le gouvernement est le problème.» Pour les tenants du «conservatisme national» le danger vient non plus principalement de l’État mais du secteur privé, et plus particulièrement des GAFA et de Wall Street. C’est également à l’État qu’ils s’en remettent pour préserver l’existence nationale de l’ingérence croissante des institutions supranationales. Étonnante dans le paysage politique américain, cette défense de l’État réaffirme la primauté du politique et avec lui du vecteur d’action collective qu’est la nation. La question n’est plus de savoir si l’intervention de l’État est intrinsèquement mauvaise et la liberté du marché intrinsèquement bonne, mais de déterminer dans chaque cas laquelle des deux correspond à l’intérêt et à la volonté de la nation. Le critère permettant de juger une mesure politique n’est plus sa conformité à l’intérêt économique ou aux droits de l’homme mais sa capacité à protéger et renforcer la citoyenneté. Car les normes au fondement de l’État de droit, les principes économiques du capitalisme, n’ont de validité pratique qu’en raison des sentiments communs et des qualités partagées qui constituent les modes de vie des populations qui les adoptent. En déconnectant l’individu de ses solidarités concrètes, une pratique aveugle du libéralisme a selon eux dépossédé les citoyens de ce mode de vie et de leur capacité d’action sur les plans individuels et collectifs. L’objectif du «conservatisme national» est de leur restituer ces deux choses. Or, des hommes que ne relie rien d’autre que le fait d’être porteurs des mêmes droits ne suffisent pas à faire une nation. Et c’est parce que l’existence de cette dernière ne peut plus être prise pour acquis que le danger qui pèse sur elle nécessite une action politique spécifique en rupture avec le consensus des libéraux et conservateurs traditionnels. Les réflexions sur le devenir des nations ne sont pas nouvelles, surtout en France, où des auteurs comme Pierre Manent ont depuis les années 90 mené une critique écoutée des conservateurs américains à l’égard du projet post-national. Ce qui est inédit, c’est qu’une action aussi structurée émerge en vue de former une nouvelle classe dirigeante sur le fondement de ces constats. Adversaires ou alliés de l’actuel président feraient bien de surveiller cette initiative. Si elle réalise son ambition la Edmund Burke Foundation pourrait parvenir à associer au changement immédiat impulsé par Donald Trump une éducation politique susceptible d’affecter sur le long terme la formation des élites américaines, ce à quoi son style de gouvernement et les techniques de communication qui le caractérisent ne sauraient parvenir à eux seuls. Le sénateur Josh Hawley, âgé de 39 ans (ancien procureur général de l’état du Missouri), fait figure de symbole de cette classe politique en devenir: «Une nation républicaine requiert une économie républicaine […] Une économie fondée sur les échanges monétaires à Wall Street ne bénéficie en dernier ressort qu’à ceux qui possèdent déjà de l’argent. Une telle économie ne saurait soutenir une grande nation.» Hostile à l’inflation des diplômes universitaires et aux multinationales, favorable aux droits de douane, défenseur de «l’Amérique moyenne», il représente peut-être ce que pourrait devenir le «trumpisme» sans Trump. Alexis Carré
President Trump is often accused of creating a needless rift with America’s European allies. The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, expressed a different view recently when he told a joint session of Congress: “Allies must spend more on defense—this has been the clear message from President Trump, and this message is having a real impact.” Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks reflect a growing recognition that strategic and economic realities demand a drastic change in the way the U.S. conducts foreign policy. The unwanted cracks in the Atlantic alliance are primarily a consequence of European leaders, especially in Germany and France, wishing to continue living in a world that no longer exists. The U.S. cannot serve as the enforcer for the Europeans’ beloved “rules-based international order” any more. Even in the 1990s, it was doubtful the U.S. could indefinitely guarantee the security of all nations, paying for George H.W. Bush’s “new world order” principally with American soldiers’ lives and American taxpayers’ dollars. Today a $22 trillion national debt and the voting public’s indifference to the dreams of world-wide liberal empire have depleted Washington’s ability to wage pricey foreign wars. At a time of escalating troubles at home, America’s estimated 800 overseas bases in 80 countries are coming to look like a bizarre misallocation of resources. And the U.S. is politically fragmented to an extent unseen in living memory, with uncertain implications in the event of a major war. This explains why the U.S. has not sent massive, Iraq-style expeditionary forces to defend Ukraine’s integrity or impose order in Syria. If there’s trouble on Estonia’s border with Russia, would the U.S. have the will to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on an indefinite mission 85 miles from St. Petersburg? Although Estonia joined NATO in 2004, the certainties of 15 years ago have broken down. On paper, America has defense alliances with dozens of countries. But these are the ghosts of a rivalry with the Soviet Union that ended three decades ago, or the result of often reckless policies adopted after 9/11. These so-called allies include Turkey and Pakistan, which share neither America’s values nor its interests, and cooperate with the U.S. only when it serves their purposes. Other “allies” refuse to develop a significant capacity for self-defense, and are thus more accurately regarded as American dependencies or protectorates. Liberal internationalists are right about one thing, however: America cannot simply turn its back on the world. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 demonstrated that the U.S. can and will be targeted on its own soil. An American strategic posture aimed at minimizing the danger from rival powers needs to focus on deterring Russia and China from wars of expansion; weakening China relative to the U.S. and thereby preventing it from attaining dominance over the world economy; and keeping smaller hostile powers such as North Korea and Iran from obtaining the capacity to attack America or other democracies. To attain these goals, the U.S. will need a new strategy that is far less costly than anything previous administrations contemplated. Mr. Trump has taken a step in the right direction by insisting that NATO allies “pay their fair share” of the budget for defending Europe, increasing defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product in accordance with NATO treaty obligations. But this framing of the issue doesn’t convey the problem’s true nature or its severity. The real issue is that the U.S. can no longer afford to assume responsibility for defending entire regions if the people living in them aren’t willing and able to build up their own credible military deterrent. The U.S. has a genuine interest, for example, in preventing the democratic nations of Eastern Europe from being absorbed into an aggressive Russian imperial state. But the principal interested parties aren’t Americans. The members of the Visegrád Group—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—have a combined population of 64 million and a 2017 GDP of $2 trillion (about 50% of Russia’s, according to CIA estimates). The principal strategic question is therefore whether these countries are willing to do what is necessary to maintain their own national independence. If they are—at a cost that could well exceed the 2% figure devised by NATO planners—then they could eventually shed their dependent status and come to the table as allies of the kind the U.S. could actually use: strong frontline partners in deterring Russian expansion. The same is true in other regions. Rather than carelessly accumulate dependencies, the U.S. must ask where it can develop real allies—countries that share its commitment to a world of independent nations, pursue democratic self-determination (although not necessarily liberalism) at home, and are willing to pay the price for freedom by taking primary responsibility for their own defense and shouldering the human and economic costs involved. Nations that demonstrate a commitment to these shared values and a willingness to fight when necessary should benefit from relations that may include the supply of advanced armaments and technologies, diplomatic cover in dealing with shared enemies, preferred partnership in trade, scientific and academic cooperation, and the joint development of new technologies. Fair-weather friends and free-riding dependencies should not. Perhaps the most important candidate for such a strategic alliance is India. Long a dormant power afflicted by poverty, socialism and an ideology of “nonalignment,” India has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-expanding economies. In contrast to the political oppression of the Chinese communist model, India has succeeded in retaining much of its religious conservatism while becoming an open and diverse country—by far the world’s most populous democracy—with a solid parliamentary system at both the federal and state levels. India is threatened by Islamist terrorism, aided by neighboring Pakistan; as well as by rapidly increasing Chinese influence, emanating from the South China Sea, the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, where the Chinese navy has established its first overseas base. India’s values, interests and growing wealth could establish an Indo-American alliance as the central pillar of a new alignment of democratic national states in Asia, including a strengthened Japan and Australia. But New Delhi remains suspicious of American intentions, and with good reason: Rather than unequivocally bet on an Indian partnership, the U.S. continues to play all sides, haphazardly switching from confrontation to cooperation with China, and competing with Beijing for influence in fanaticism-ridden Pakistan. The rationalizations for these counterproductive policies tend to focus on Pakistan’s supposed logistical contributions to the U.S. war in Afghanistan—an example of how tactical considerations and the demands of bogus allies can stand in the way of meeting even the most pressing strategic needs. A similar confusion characterizes America’s relationship with Turkey. A U.S. ally during the Cold War, Turkey is now an expansionist Islamist power that has assisted the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al Qaeda and even ISIS; threatened Greece and Cyprus; sought Russian weapons; and recently expressed its willingness to attack U.S. forces in Syria. In reality, Turkey is no more an ally than Russia or China. Yet its formal status as the second-largest military in NATO guarantees that the alliance will continue to be preoccupied with pretense and make-believe, rather than the interests of democratic nations. Meanwhile, America’s most reliable Muslim allies, the Kurds, live under constant threat of Turkish invasion and massacre. The Middle East is a difficult region, in which few players share American values and interests, although all of them—including Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Iran—are willing to benefit from U.S. arms, protection or cash. Here too Washington should seek alliances with national states that share at least some key values and are willing to shoulder most of the burden of defending themselves while fighting to contain Islamist radicalism. Such natural regional allies include Greece, Israel, Ethiopia and the Kurds. A central question for a revitalized alliance of democratic nations is which way the winds will blow in Western Europe. For a generation after the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, U.S. administrations seemed willing to take responsibility for Europe’s security indefinitely. European elites grew accustomed to the idea that perpetual peace was at hand, devoting themselves to turning the EU into a borderless utopia with generous benefits for all. But Europe has been corrupted by its dependence on the U.S. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest economic power (with a GDP larger than Russia’s), cannot field more than a handful of operational combat aircraft, tanks or submarines. Yet German leaders steadfastly resist American pressure for substantial increases in their country’s defense capabilities, telling interlocutors that the U.S. is ruining a beautiful friendship. None of this is in America’s interest—and not only because the U.S. is stuck with the bill. When people live detached from reality, they develop all sorts of fanciful theories about how the world works. For decades, Europeans have been devising “transnationalist” fantasies to explain how their own supposed moral virtues, such as their rejection of borders, have brought them peace and prosperity. These ideas are then exported to the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world via international bodies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and other channels. Having subsidized the creation of a dependent socialist paradise in Europe, the U.S. now has to watch as the EU’s influence washes over America and other nations. For the moment, it is hard to see Germany or Spain becoming American allies in the new, more realistic sense of the term we have proposed. France is a different case, maintaining significant military capabilities and a willingness to deploy them at times. But the governments of these and other Western European countries remain ideologically committed to transferring ever-greater powers to international bodies and to the concomitant degradation of national independence. That doesn’t make them America’s enemies, but neither are they partners in defending values such as national self-determination. It is difficult to foresee circumstances under which they would be willing or able to arm themselves in keeping with the actual security needs of an emerging alliance of independent democratic nations. The prospects are better with respect to Britain, whose defense spending is already significantly higher, and whose public asserted a desire to regain independence in the Brexit referendum of 2016. With a population of more than 65 million and a GDP of $3 trillion (75% of Russia’s), the U.K. may yet become a principal partner in a leaner but more effective security architecture for the democratic world. Isolationists are also right about one thing: The U.S. cannot be, and should not try to be, the world’s policeman. Yet it does have a role to play in awakening democratic nations from their dependence-induced torpor, and assisting those that are willing to make the transition to a new security architecture based on self-determination and self-reliance. An alliance including the U.S., the U.K. and the frontline Eastern European nations, as well as India, Israel, Japan and Australia, among others, would be strong enough to exert sustained pressure on China, Russia and hostile Islamist groups. Helping these democratic nations become self-reliant regional actors would reduce America’s security burden, permitting it to close far-flung military installations and making American military intervention the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it would free American resources for the long struggle to deny China technological superiority, as well as for unforeseen emergencies that are certain to arise. Yoram Hazony and Ofir Haivry
In a universal political order . . . in which a single standard of right is held to be in force everywhere, tolerance for diverse political and religious standpoints must necessarily decline. (…) We should not let a hairbreadth of our freedom be given over to foreign bodies under any name whatsoever, or to foreign systems of law that are not determined by our own nations. (…) “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination. Yoram Hazony
Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah. Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante. J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes. De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste. Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde. Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste. Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul! Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire. Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme. (…) Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne. Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte. Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore. Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines. Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies. Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu. (…) Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent. On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique. Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme. Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier. C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral». (…) En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même. Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne. En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne! (…) Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même. La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté. Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens. Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël. Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident. La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain. C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman. Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis. Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne… Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation. (…) [le modèle nationaliste] permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières. Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures. Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux. Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental. À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès. Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple. Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf. Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre. Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas… (…) La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts. La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres. (…) Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme. Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité. Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël… Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale. (…) un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde. Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins. N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières? Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu. (…) le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise. (…) Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral. Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations. Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela. Yoram Hazony
Custom quite often wears the mask of nature, and we are taken in [by this] to the point that the practices adopted by nations, based solely on custom, frequently come to seem like natural and universal laws of mankind. John Selden
Selden, and the other profoundly learned men, who drew this petition of right, were as well acquainted, at least, with all the general theories concerning the “rights of men” [as any defenders of the revolution in France]. . . . But, for reasons worthy of that practical wisdom which superseded their theoretic science, they preferred this positive, recorded, hereditary title to all which can be dear to the man and the citizen, to that vague speculative right, which exposed their sure inheritance to be scrambled for and torn to pieces by every wild, litigious spirit. Edmund Burke
I believe the British government forms the best model the world ever produced. Hamilton
Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not reason that discovered the singular and admirable mechanism of the English constitution…. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them. John Dickinson
It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. John Story
The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest. . . . Rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Thomas Jefferson
The year 2016 marked a dramatic change of political course for the English-speaking world, with Britain voting for independence from Europe and the United States electing a president promising a revived American nationalism. Critics see both events as representing a dangerous turn toward “illiberalism” and deplore the apparent departure from “liberal principles” or “liberal democracy,” themes that surfaced repeatedly in conservative publications over the past year. Perhaps the most eloquent among the many spokesmen for this view has been William Kristol, who, in a series of essays in the Weekly Standard, has called for a new movement to arise “in defense of liberal democracy.” In his eyes, the historic task of American conservatism is “to preserve and strengthen American liberal democracy,” and what is needed now is “a new conservatism based on old conservative—and liberal—principles.” Meanwhile, the conservative flagship Commentary published a cover story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari entitled “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” seeking to raise the alarm about the dangers to liberalism posed by Brexit, Trump, and other phenomena. (…) But we see this confusion of conservatism with liberalism as historically and philosophically misguided. Anglo-American conservatism is a distinct political tradition—one that predates Locke by centuries. Its advocates fought for and successfully established most of the freedoms that are now exclusively associated with Lockean liberalism, although they did so on the basis of tenets very different from Locke’s. Indeed, when Locke published his Two Treatises of Government in 1689, offering the public a sweeping new rationale for the traditional freedoms already known to Englishmen, most defenders of these freedoms were justly appalled. They saw in this new doctrine not a friend to liberty but a product of intellectual folly that would ultimately bring down the entire edifice of freedom. Thus, liberalism and conservatism have been opposed political positions in political theory since the day liberal theorizing first set foot in England. Today’s confusion of conservative political thought with liberalism is in a way understandable, however. In the great twentieth-century battles against totalitarianism, conservatives and liberals were allies: They fought together, along with the Communists, against Nazism. After 1945, conservatives and liberals remained allies in the war against Communism. Over these many decades of joint struggle, what had for centuries been a distinction of vital importance was treated as if it were not terribly important, and in fact, it was largely forgotten. But since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, these circumstances have changed. The challenges facing the Anglo-American tradition are now coming from other directions entirely. Radical Islam, to name one such challenge, is a menace that liberals, for reasons internal to their own view of the political world, find difficult to regard as a threat and especially difficult to oppose in an effective manner. But even more important is the challenge arising from liberalism itself. It is now evident that liberal principles contribute little or nothing to those institutions that were for centuries the bedrock of the Anglo-American political order: nationalism, religious tradition, the Bible as a source of political principles and wisdom, and the family. Indeed, as liberalism has emerged victorious from the battles of the last century, the logic of its doctrines has increasingly turned liberals against all of these conservative institutions. On both of these fronts, the conservative and liberal principles of the Anglo-American tradition are now painfully at cross-purposes. The twentieth-century alliance between conservatism and liberalism is proving increasingly difficult to maintain. Among the effects of the long alliance between conservatism and liberalism has been a tendency of political figures, journalists, and academics to slip back and forth between conservative terms and ideas and liberal ones as if they were interchangeable. And until recently, there seemed to be no great harm in this. Now, however, it is becoming obvious that this lack of clarity is crippling our ability to think about a host of issues, from immigration and foreign wars to the content of the Constitution and the place of religion in education and public life. (…) Living in very different periods, these individuals nevertheless shared common ideas and principles and saw themselves as part of a common tradition of English, and later Anglo-American, constitutionalism. A politically traditionalist outlook of this kind was regarded as the mainstream in both England and America up until the French Revolution and only came to be called “conservative” during the nineteenth century, as it lost ground and became one of two rival camps. Because the name conservative dates from this time of decline, it is often wrongly asserted that those who continued defending the Anglo-American tradition after the revolution—men such as Burke and Hamilton—were the “first conservatives.” (…) The emergence of the Anglo-American conservative tradition can be identified with the words and deeds of a series of towering political and intellectual figures, among whom we can include individuals such as Sir John Fortescue, Richard Hooker, Sir Edward Coke, John Selden, Sir Matthew Hale, Sir William Temple, Jonathan Swift, Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, John Dickinson, and Alexander Hamilton. Men such as George Washington, John Adams, and John Marshall, often hastily included among the liberals, would also have placed themselves in this conservative tradition rather than with its opponents, whom they knew all too well.According to Fortescue, the English constitution provides for what he calls “political and royal government,” by which he means that English kings do not rule by their own authority alone (i.e., “royal government”), but together with the representatives of the nation in Parliament and in the courts (i.e., “political government”). In other words, the powers of the English king are limited by the traditional laws of the English nation, in the same way—as Fortescue emphasizes—that the powers of the Jewish king in the Mosaic constitution in Deuteronomy are limited by the traditional laws of the Israelite nation. This is in contrast with the Holy Roman Empire of Fortescue’s day, which was supposedly governed by Roman law, and therefore by the maxim that “what pleases the prince has the force of law,” and in contrast with the kings of France, who governed absolutely. Among other things, the English law is described as providing for the people’s representatives, rather than the king, to determine the laws of the realm and to approve requests from the king for taxes. In addition to this discussion of what later tradition would call the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, Fortescue also devotes extended discussion to the guarantee of due process under law, which he explores in his discussion of the superior protections afforded to the individual under the English system of trial by jury. Crucially, Fortescue consistently connects the character of a nation’s laws and their protection of private property to economic prosperity, arguing that limited government bolsters such prosperity, while an absolute government leads the people to destitution and ruin. In another of his writings, The Difference between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy (also known as The Governance of England, c. 1471), he starkly contrasts the well-fed and healthy English population living under their limited government with the French, whose government was constantly confiscating their property and quartering armies in their towns—at the residents’ expense—by unilateral order of the king. (…) Like later conservative tradition, Fortescue does not believe that either scripture or human reason can provide a universal law suitable for all nations. We do find him drawing frequently on the Mosaic constitution and the biblical “Four Books of Kings” (1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings) to assist in understanding the political order and the English constitution. Nevertheless, Fortescue emphasizes that the laws of each realm reflect the historic experience and character of each nation, just as the English common law is in accord with England’s historic experience. Thus, for example, Fortescue argues that a nation that is self-disciplined and accustomed to obeying the laws voluntarily rather than by coercion is one that can productively participate in the way it is governed. This, Fortescue proposes, was true of the people of England, while the French, who were of undisciplined character, could be governed only by the harsh and arbitrary rule of absolute royal government. On the other hand, Fortescue also insisted, again in keeping with biblical precedent and later conservative tradition, that this kind of national character was not set in stone, and that such traits could be gradually improved or worsened over time. (…) Fortescue wrote in the decades before the Reformation, and as a firm Catholic. But every page of his work breathes the spirit of English nationalism—the belief that through long centuries of experience, and thanks to a powerful ongoing identification with Hebrew Scripture, the English had succeeded in creating a form of government more conducive to human freedom and flourishing than any other known to man. First printed around 1545, Fortescue’s Praise of the Laws of England spoke in a resounding voice to that period of heightened nationalist sentiment in which English traditions, now inextricably identified with Protestantism, were pitted against the threat of invasion by Spanish-Catholic forces aligned with the Holy Roman Emperor. This environment quickly established Fortescue as England’s first great political theorist, paving the way for him to be read by centuries of law students in both England and America and by educated persons wherever the broader Anglo-American conservative tradition struck root. (…) the decisive chapter in the formation of modern Anglo-American conservatism: the great seventeenth-century battle between defenders of the traditional English constitution against political absolutism on one side, and against the first advocates of a Lockean universalist rationalism on the other (…) is dominated by the figure of John Selden (1584–1654), probably the greatest theorist of Anglo-American conservatism. (…) In 1628, Selden played a leading role in drafting and passing an act of Parliament called the Petition of Right, which sought to restore and safeguard “the divers rights and liberties of the subjects” that had been known under the traditional English constitution. Among other things, it asserted that “your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax . . . not set by common consent in Parliament”; that “no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs . . . but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land”; and that no man “should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.” In the Petition of Right, then, we find the famous principle of “no taxation without representation,” as well as versions of the rights enumerated in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments of the American Bill of Rights—all declared to be ancient constitutional English freedoms and unanimously approved by Parliament, before Locke was even born. Although not mentioned in the Petition explicitly, freedom of speech had likewise been reaffirmed by Coke as “an ancient custom of Parliament” in the 1590s and was the subject of the so-called Protestation of 1621 that landed Coke, then seventy years old, in the Tower of London for nine months. In other words, Coke, Eliot, and Selden risked everything to defend the same liberties that we ourselves hold dear in the face of an increasingly authoritarian regime. (…) But they did not do so in the name of liberal doctrines of universal reason, natural rights, or “self-evident” truths. These they explicitly rejected because they were conservatives, not liberals. (…) Selden sought to defend conservative traditions, including the English one, not only against the absolutist doctrines of the Stuarts but also against the claims of a universalist rationalism, according to which men could simply consult their own reason, which was the same for everyone, to determine the best constitution for mankind. This rationalist view had begun to collect adherents in England among followers of the great Dutch political theorist Hugo Grotius, whose On the Law of War and Peace (1625) suggested that it might be possible to do away with the traditional constitutions of nations by relying only on the rationality of the individual. (…) Selden responds to the claims of universal reason by arguing for a position that can be called historical empiricism. On this view, our reasoning in political and legal matters should be based upon inherited national tradition. This permits the statesman or jurist to overcome the small stock of observation and experience that individuals are able to accumulate during their own lifetimes (“that kind of ignorant infancy, which our short lives alone allow us”) and to take advantage of “the many ages of former experience and observation,” which permit us to “accumulate years to us, as if we had lived even from the beginning of time.” In other words, by consulting the accumulated experience of the past, we overcome the inherent weakness of individual judgement, bringing to bear the many lifetimes of observation by our forebears, who wrestled with similar questions under diverse conditions. (…)  Recalling the biblical Jeremiah’s insistence on an empirical study of the paths of old (Jer. 6:16), Selden argues that the correct method is that “all roads must be carefully examined. We must ask about the ancient paths, and only what is truly the best may be chosen.”  (…) Selden recognizes that, in making these selections from the traditions of the past, we tacitly rely upon a higher criterion for selection, a natural law established by God, which prescribes “what is truly best” for mankind in the most elementary terms. In his Natural and National Law, Selden explains that this natural law has been discovered over long generations since the biblical times and has come down to us in various versions. Of these, the most reliable is that of the Talmud, which describes the seven laws of the children of Noah prohibiting murder, theft, sexual perversity, cruelty to beasts, idolatry and defaming God, and requiring courts of law to enforce justice. The experience of thousands of years has taught us that these laws frame the peace and prosperity that is the end of all nations, and that they are the unseen root from which the diverse laws of all the nations ultimately derive. (…) In doing so, he seeks to gradually approach, by trial and error, the best that is possible for each nation. (…)  But (…) Stuart absolutism eventually pressed England toward civil war and, finally, to a Puritan military dictatorship that not only executed the king but destroyed Parliament and the constitution as well. Selden did not live to see the constitution restored. The regicide regime subsequently offered England several brand-new constitutions, none of which proved workable, and within eleven years it had collapsed. In 1660, two eminent disciples of Selden, Edward Hyde (afterward Earl of Clarendon) and Sir Matthew Hale, played a leading role in restoring the constitution and the line of Stuart kings. When the Catholic James II succeeded to the throne in 1685, fear of a relapse into papism and even of a renewed attempt to establish absolutism moved the rival political factions of the country to unite in inviting the next Protestants in line to the throne. The king’s daughter Mary and her husband, Prince William of Orange, the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, crossed the channel to save Protestant England and its constitution. Parliament, having confirmed the willingness of the new joint monarchs to protect the English from “all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties,” in 1689 established the new king and queen on the throne and ratified England’s famous Bill of Rights. This new document reasserted the ancient rights invoked in the earlier Petition of Right, among other things affirming the right of Protestant subjects to “have arms for their defense” and the right of “freedom of speech and debates” in Parliament, and that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”—the basis for the First, Second, and Eighth Amendments of the American Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was quickly extended to the wider public, with the termination of English press licensing laws a few years later. The restoration of a Protestant monarch and the adoption of the Bill of Rights were undertaken by a Parliament united around Seldenian principles. What came to be called the “Glorious Revolution” was glorious precisely because it reaffirmed the traditional English constitution and protected the English nation from renewed attacks on “their religion, rights and liberties.” Such attacks came from absolutists like Sir Robert Filmer on the one hand, whose Patriarcha (published posthumously, 1680) advocated authoritarian government as the only legitimate one, and by radicals like John Locke on the other. Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) responded to the crisis by arguing for the right of the people to dissolve the traditional constitution and reestablish it according to universal reason. Over the course of the seventeenth century, English conservatism was formed into a coherent and unmistakable political philosophy utterly opposed both to the absolutism of the Stuarts, Hobbes, and Filmer (what would later be called “the Right”), as well as to liberal theories of universal reason advanced first by Grotius and then by Locke (“the Left”). The centrist conservative view was to remain the mainstream understanding of the English constitution for a century and a half, defended by leading Whig intellectuals in works from William Atwood’s Fundamental Constitution of the English Government (1690) to Josiah Tucker’s A Treatise of Civil Government (1781), which strongly opposed both absolutism and Lockean theories of universal rights. This is the view upon which men like Blackstone, Burke, Washington, and Hamilton were educated. Not only in England but in British America, lawyers were trained in the common law by studying Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England (1628–44) and Hale’s History of the Common Law of England (1713). In both, the law of the land was understood to be the traditional English constitution and common law, amended as needed for local purposes. (…)  We have described the Anglo-American conservative tradition as subscribing to a historical empiricism, which proposes that political knowledge is gained by examining the long history of the customary laws of a given nation and the consequences when these laws have been altered in one direction or another. Conservatives understand that a jurist must exercise reason and judgment, of course. But this reasoning is about how best to adapt traditional law to present circumstances, making such changes as are needed for the betterment of the state and of the public, while preserving as much as possible the overall frame of the law. To this we have opposed a standpoint that can be called rationalist. Rationalists have a different view of the role of reason in political thought, and in fact a different understanding of what reason itself is. Rather than arguing from the historical experience of nations, they set out by asserting general axioms that they believe to be true of all human beings, and that they suppose will be accepted by all human beings examining them with their native rational abilities. From these they deduce the appropriate constitution or laws for all men. (…) Locke is known philosophically as an empiricist. But his reputation in this regard is based largely on his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1689), which is an influential exercise in empirical psychology. His Second Treatise of Government is not, however, a similar effort to bring an empirical standpoint to the theory of the state. Instead, it begins with a series of axioms that are without any evident connection to what can be known from the historical and empirical study of the state. Among other things, Locke asserts that, (1) prior to the establishment of government, men exist in a “state of nature,” in which (2) “all men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom,” as well as in (3) a “state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another.” Moreover, (4) this state of nature “has a law of nature to govern it”; and (5) this law of nature is, as it happens, nothing other than human “reason” itself, which “teaches all mankind, who will but consult it.” It is this universal reason, the same among all mankind, that leads them to (6) terminate the state of nature, “agreeing together mutually to enter into . . . one body politic” by an act of free consent. From these six axioms, Locke then proceeds to deduce the proper character of the political order for all nations on earth. (…)  Faced with this mass of unverifiable assertions, empiricist political theorists such as Hume, Smith, and Burke rejected all of Locke’s axioms and sought to rebuild political philosophy on the basis of things that can be known from history and from an examination of actual human societies and governments. (…) While Locke’s rationalist theories made limited headway in England, they were all the rage in France. Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762) went where others had feared to tread, embracing Locke’s system of axioms for correct political thought and calling upon mankind to consent only to the one legitimate constitution dictated by reason. Within thirty years, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the other French imitators of Locke’s rationalist politics received what they had demanded in the form of the French Revolution. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was followed by the Reign of Terror for those who would not listen to reason. Napoleon’s imperialist liberalism rapidly followed, bringing universal reason and the “rights of man” to the whole of continental Europe by force of arms, at a cost of millions of lives. In 1790, a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, the Anglo-Irish thinker and Whig parliamentarian Edmund Burke composed his famous defense of the English constitutional tradition against the liberal doctrines of universal reason and universal rights, entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke’s argument is frequently quoted today by conservatives who assume that his target was Rousseau and his followers in France. But Burke’s attack was not primarily aimed at Rousseau, who had few enthusiasts in Britain or America at the time. The actual target of his attack was contemporary followers of Grotius and Locke—individuals such as Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Charles James Fox, Charles Grey, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Price, who was the explicit subject of Burke’s attack in the first pages of Reflections on the Revolution in France, had opened his Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776) with the assertion that “the principles on which I have argued form the foundation of every state as far as it is free; and are the same with those taught by Mr. Locke.” And much the same could be said of the others, all of whom followed Locke in claiming that the only true foundation for political and constitutional thought was precisely in those “general theories concerning the rights of men” that Burke believed would bring turmoil and death to one country after another. The carnage taking place in France triggered a furious debate in England. It pitted supporters of the conservatism of Coke and Selden (both Whigs and Tories) against admirers of Locke’s universal rights theories (the so-called New Whigs). The conservatives insisted that these theories would uproot every traditional political and religious institution in England, just as they were doing in France. (…) Burke’s conservative defense of the traditional English constitution enjoyed a large measure of success in Britain, where it was continued after his death by figures such as Canning, Wellington, and Disraeli. That this is so is obvious from the fact that institutions such as the monarchy, the House of Lords, and the established Church of England, not to mention the common law itself, were able to withstand the gale winds of universal reason and universal rights, and to this day have their staunch supporters. But what of America? Was the American revolution an upheaval based on Lockean universal reason and universal rights? To hear many conservatives talk today, one would think this were so, and that there never were any conservatives in the American mainstream, only liberals of different shades. The reality, however, was rather different. When the American English, as Burke called them, rebelled against the British monarch, there were already two distinct political theories expressed among the rebels, and the opposition between these two camps only grew with time. First, there were those who admired the English constitution that they had inherited and studied. Believing they had been deprived of their rights under the English constitution, their aim was to regain these rights. Identifying themselves with the tradition of Coke and Selden, they hoped to achieve a victory against royal absolutism comparable to what their English forefathers had achieved in the Petition of Right and Bill of Rights. To individuals of this type, the word revolution still had its older meaning, invoking something that “revolves” and would, through their efforts, return to its rightful place—in effect, a restoration. Alexander Hamilton was probably the best-known exponent of this kind of conservative politics (…) And it is evident that they were quietly supported behind the scenes by other adherents of this view, among them the president of the convention, General George Washington. Second, there were true revolutionaries, liberal followers of Locke such as Jefferson, who detested England and believed—just as the French followers of Rousseau believed—that the dictates of universal reason made the true rights of man evident to all. For them, the traditional English constitution was not the source of their freedoms but rather something to be swept away before the rights dictated by universal reason. And indeed, during the French Revolution, Jefferson and his supporters embraced it as a purer version of what the Americans had started. (…) The tension between these conservative and liberal camps finds rather dramatic expression in America’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson in 1776, is famous for resorting, in its preamble, to the Lockean doctrine of universal rights as “self-evident” before the light of reason. Similarly, the Articles of Confederation, negotiated the following year as the constitution of the new United States of America, embody a radical break with the traditional English constitution. These Articles asserted the existence of thirteen independent states, at the same time establishing a weak representative assembly over them without even the power of taxation, and requiring assent by nine of thirteen states to enact policy. The Articles likewise made no attempt at all to balance the powers of this assembly, effectively an executive, with separate legislative or judicial branches of government. The Articles of Confederation came close to destroying the United States. After a decade of disorder in both foreign and economic affairs, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution, drafted at a convention initiated by Hamilton and James Madison, and presided over by a watchful Washington, while Jefferson was away in France. Anyone comparing the Constitution that emerged with the earlier Articles of Confederation immediately recognizes that what took place at this convention was a reprise of the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Despite being adapted to the American context, the document that the convention produced proposed a restoration of the fundamental forms of the English constitution: a strong president, designated by an electoral college (in place of the hereditary monarchy); the president balanced in strikingly English fashion by a powerful bicameral legislature with the power of taxation and legislation; the division of the legislature between a quasi-aristocratic, appointed Senate and a popularly elected House; and an independent judiciary. Even the American Bill of Rights of 1789 is modeled upon the Petition of Right and the English Bill of Rights, largely elaborating the same rights that had been described by Coke and Selden and their followers, and breathing not a word anywhere about universal reason or universal rights. The American Constitution did depart from the traditional English constitution, however, adapting it to local conditions on certain key points. The Americans, who had no nobility and no tradition of hereditary office, declined to institute these now. Moreover, the Constitution of 1787 allowed slavery, which was forbidden in England—a wretched innovation for which America would pay a price the framers could not have imagined in their wildest nightmares. Another departure—or apparent departure—was the lack of a provision for a national church, enshrined in the First Amendment in the form of a prohibition on congressional legislation “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The English constitutional tradition, of course, gave a central role to the Protestant religion, which was held to be indispensable and inextricably tied to English identity (although not incompatible with a broad measure of toleration). But the British state, in certain respects federative, permitted separate, officially established national churches in Scotland and Ireland. This British acceptance of a diversity of established churches is partially echoed in the American Constitution, which permitted the respective states to support their own established churches, or to require that public offices in the state be held by Protestants or by Christians, well into the nineteenth century. When these facts are taken into account, the First Amendment appears less an attempt to put an end to established religion than a provision for keeping the peace among the states by delegating forms of religious establishment to the state level. As early as 1802, however, Jefferson, now president, announced  that the First Amendment’s rejection of a national church in fact should be interpreted as an “act of the whole American people . . . building a wall of separation between church and state.” This characterization of the American Constitution as endorsing a “separation of church and state” was surely overwrought, and more compatible with French liberalism—which regarded public religion as abhorrent to reason—than with the actual place of state religion among “the whole American people” at the time. Yet on this point, Jefferson has emerged victorious. In the years that followed, his “wall of separation between church and state” interpretation was increasingly considered to be an integral part of the American Constitution, even if one that had not been included in the actual text. Lockean liberalism grew increasingly dominant in America after Jefferson’s election. Hamilton’s death in a duel in 1804, at the age of 47, was an especially heavy blow that left American conservatism without its most able spokesman. Nevertheless, the tradition of Selden and Burke was taken up by Americans of the next generation, including two of the country’s most prominent jurists, New York chancellor James Kent (1763–1847) and Supreme Court justice Joseph Story (1779–1845). Story’s influence was especially significant. Although appointed to the Supreme Court by Jefferson in the hope of undermining Chief Justice John Marshall, Story’s opinions almost immediately displayed the opposite inclination, and continued to do so throughout his thirty-four-year tenure on the court. Perhaps Story’s greatest contribution to the American conservative tradition is his famous Commentaries on the Constitution (3 vols., 1833), which were dedicated to Marshall and went on to be the most important and influential interpretation of the American constitutional tradition in the nineteenth century. These were overtly conservative in spirit, citing Burke with approval and repeatedly criticizing not only Locke’s theories but Jefferson himself. Among other things, Story forcefully rejected Jefferson’s claim that the American founding had been based on universal rights determined by reason, emphasizing that it was the rights of the English traditional law that Americans had always recognized and continued to recognize. (…) With Selden, we believe that, in their campaign for universal “liberal democracy,” liberals have confused certain historical-empirical principles of the traditional Anglo-American constitution, painstakingly developed and inculcated over centuries (Principle 1), for universal truths that are equally accessible to all human beings, regardless of historical or cultural circumstances. This means that, like all rationalists, they are engaged in applying local truths, which may hold good under certain conditions, to quite different situations and circumstances, where they often go badly wrong. For conservatives, these failures—for example, the repeated collapse of liberal constitutions in places such as Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, and Iraq, among many others—suggest that the principles in question have been overextended and should be regarded as true only within a narrower range of conditions. Liberals, on the other hand, explain such failures as a result of “poor implementation,” leaving liberal democracy as a universal truth that remains untouched by experience and unassailable, no matter what the circumstances. (…) Burke and Hamilton belonged to a generation that was still educated in the significance of the Anglo-American tradition as a whole. Only a few decades later, this had begun to change, and by the end of the nineteenth century, conservative views were increasingly in the minority and defensive both in Britain and America. But conservatism was really only broken in a decisive way by Franklin Roosevelt in America in 1932, and by Labour in Britain in 1945. At this point, socialism displaced liberalism as the worldview of the parties of the “Left,” driving some liberals to join with the last vestiges of the conservative tradition in the parties of the “Right.” In this environment, new leaders and movements did arise and succeed from time to time in raising the banner of Anglo-American conservatism once more. But these conservatives were living on a shattered political and philosophical landscape, having lost much of the chain of transmission that had connected earlier conservatives to their forefathers. Thus their roots remained shallow, and their victories, however impressive, brought about no long-term conservative restoration. The most significant of these conservative revivals was, of course, the one that reached its peak in the 1980s under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher and Reagan were genuine and instinctive conservatives, displaying traditional Anglo-American conservative attachments to nation and religion, as well as to limited government and individual freedom. They also recognized and gave voice to the profound “special relationship” that binds Britain and America together. Coming to power at a time of deep crisis in the struggle against Communism, their renewed conservatism succeeded in winning the Cold War and freeing foreign nations from oppression, in addition to liberating their own economies, which had long been shackled by socialism. In both countries, these triumphs shifted political discourse rightward for a generation. Yet the Reagan-Thatcher moment, for all its success, failed to touch the depths of the political culture in America and Britain. Confronted by a university system devoted almost exclusively to socialist and liberal theorizing, their movement at no point commanded the resources needed to revive Anglo-American conservatism as a genuine force in fundamental arenas such as jurisprudence, political theory, history, philosophy, and education—disciplines without which a true restoration was impossible. Throughout the conservative revival of the 1980s, academic training in government and political theory, for instance, continued to maintain its almost complete boycott of conservative thinkers such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale, just as it continued its boycott of the Bible as a source of English and American political principles. Similarly, academic jurisprudence remained a subject that is taught as a contest among abstract liberal theories. Education of this kind meant that a degree from a prestigious university all but guaranteed one’s ignorance of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, but only a handful of conservative intellectual figures, most visibly Russell Kirk and Irving Kristol, seem to have been alert to the seriousness of this problem. On the whole, the conservative revival of those years remained resolutely focused on the pressing policy issues of the day, leaving liberalism virtually unchallenged as the worldview that conservatives were taught at university or when they picked up a book on the history of ideas. (…) There may have been genuine advantages to soft-pedaling differences between conservatives and liberals until the 1980s, when all the strength that could be mustered had to be directed toward defeating Communism abroad and socialism at home. But we are no longer living in the 1980s. Those battles were won, and today we face new dangers. The most important among these is the inability of countries such as America and Britain, having been stripped of the nationalist and religious traditions that held them together for centuries, to sustain themselves while a universalist liberalism continues, year after year, to break down these historic foundations of their strength. Under such conditions of internal disintegration, there is a palpable danger that liberal rationalism, having established itself in a monopoly position in the state, will drive a broad public that cannot accept its regimented view of the world into the hands of genuinely authoritarian movements. Liberals of various persuasions have, in their own way, sought to warn us about this, from Fareed Zakaria’s “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” in Foreign Affairs (1997) to the Economist’s “Illiberalism: Playing with Fear” (2016) and Commentary’s “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” mentioned earlier. These and many other publications have made intensive use of the term illiberal as an epithet to describe those who have strayed from the path of Lockean liberalism. In so doing, they divide the political universe into two: there are liberals—those decent persons who are willing to exercise reason in the universally accepted manner and come to the appropriate liberal conclusions; and there are those others—the “illiberals,” who, out of ignorance, resentment, or some atavistic hatred, will not get with the program. When things are divided up this way, the latter group ends up including everyone from Brexiteers, Trump supporters, Evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews to dictators, Iranian ayatollahs, and Nazis. Once things are framed in this way, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that everyone in that second group is in some degree a threat that must be combated. We conservatives, however, have our own preferred division of the political universe: one in which Anglo-American conservatism appears as a distinct political category that is obviously neither authoritarian nor liberal. With the rest of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, we uphold the principles of limited government and individual liberties. But we also see clearly (again, in keeping with our conservative tradition) that the only forces that give the state its internal coherence and stability, holding limited government in place while staving off authoritarianism, are our nationalist and religious traditions. These nationalist and religious principles are not liberal. They are prior to liberalism, in conflict with liberalism, and presently being destroyed by liberalism. Our world desperately needs to hear a clear conservative voice. Any continued confusion of conservative principles with the liberalism on our Left, or with the authoritarianism on our Right, can only do harm. The time has arrived when conservatives must speak in our own voice again. In doing so, we will discover that we can provide the political foundations that so many now seek, but have been unable to find.
In our own day, we recognize the clash between conservatism and liberalism in the following areas, among others (here described only very briefly, and so in overly simple terms): Liberal Empire. Because liberalism is thought to be a dictate of universal reason, liberals tend to believe that any country not already governed as a liberal democracy should be pressed—or even coerced—to adopt this form of government. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that different societies are held together and kept at peace in different ways, so that the universal application of liberal doctrines often brings collapse and chaos, doing more harm than good. International Bodies. Similarly, liberals believe that, since liberal principles are universal, there is little harm done in reassigning the powers of government to international bodies. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that such international organizations possess no sound governing traditions and no loyalty to particular national populations that might restrain their spurious theorizing about universal rights. They therefore see such bodies as inevitably tending to arbitrariness and autocracy. Immigration. Liberals believe that, since liberal principles are accessible to all, there is nothing to be feared in large-scale immigration from countries with national and religious traditions very different from ours. Conservatives see successful large-scale immigration as possible only where the immigrants are strongly motivated to integrate and assisted in assimilating the national traditions of their new home country. In the absence of these conditions, the result will be chronic intercultural tension and violence. Law. Liberals regard the laws of a nation as emerging from the tension between positive law and the pronouncements of universal reason, as expressed by the courts. Conservatives reject the supposed universal reason of judges, which often amounts to little more than their succumbing to passing fashion. But conservatives also oppose an excessive regard for written documents, which leads, for example, to the liberal mythology of America as a “creedal nation” (or a “propositional nation”) created and defined solely by the products of abstract reason that are supposedly found in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Economy. Liberals regard the universal market economy, operating without regard to borders, as a dictate of universal reason and applicable equally to all nations. They therefore recognize no legitimate economic aims other than the creation of a “level field” on which all nations participate in accordance with universal, rational rules. Conservatives regard the market economy and free enterprise as indispensable for the advancement of the nation in its wealth and wellbeing. But they see economic arrangements as inevitably varying from one country to another, reflecting the particular historical experiences and innovations of each nation as it competes to gain advantage for its people. Education. Liberals believe that schools should teach students to recognize the Lockean goods of liberty and equality as the universal aims of political order, and to see America’s founding political documents as having largely achieved these aims. Conservatives believe education should focus on the particular character of the Anglo-American constitutional and religious tradition, with its roots in the Bible, and on the way in which this tradition has given rise to a unique family of nations with a distinctive political thought and practice that has influenced the world. Public Religion. Liberals believe that universal reason is the necessary and sufficient basis for just and moral government. This means that the religious traditions of the nation, which had earlier been the basis for a public understanding of justice and right, can be replaced in public discourse by universal reason itself. In its current form, liberalism asserts that all governments should embrace a Jeffersonian “wall separating church and state,” whose purpose is to banish the influence of religion from public life, relegating it to the private sphere. Conservatives hold that none of this is true. They see human reason as producing a constant profusion of ever-changing views concerning justice and morals—a fact that is evident today in the constant assertion of new and rapidly multiplying human rights. Conservatives hold that the only stable basis for national independence, justice, and public morals is a strong biblical tradition in government and public life. They reject the doctrine of separation of church and state, instead advocating an integration of religion into public life that also offers broad toleration of diverse religious views.
Hazony reviews the history of the conflict between nationalism and imperialism, from the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli U.N. resolution. The political concept of the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible. Ancient Israel was a national state posed against empires in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and Rome. Hazony de­clares that the Israelite nation was not based on race but on a “shared understanding of history, language, and religion.” He cites Exodus, noting that some Egyptians joined the Hebrews in fleeing Pharaoh, and points out that other foreigners joined the Jewish people once they had accepted “Israel’s God, laws, and understanding of history.” In Hazony’s telling, after the fall of the Roman imperium, the ideal of a universal empire lived on in the papacy and in the German-led Holy Roman Empire. The emergence of Protestantism resurrected the Hebrew Bible’s concept of the national state. For example, Dutch Protestant rebels in their war with imperial Spain modeled themselves on ancient Israelis fighting for national freedom against the Egyptian and Babylonian empires. The Thirty Years’ War was not simply a religious conflict but a struggle that pitted nationalism against imperialism, with the states of France (Catholic), the Netherlands (Calvinist), and Sweden (Lutheran) fighting against the German-Spanish Hapsburg empire.  Hazony describes a new “Protestant construction” of the West inspired by the Hebrew Bible. It was based on two core principles: national self-determination and a “moral minimum” order, roughly corresponding to recognizing the Ten Commandments as natural law. This Protestant construction has been challenged by a “liberal construction” based on individual rights and a universal order. Beginning in the Enlightenment with Locke and Kant, but particularly since World War II, the liberal construction has largely replaced the Protestant construction among Western elites, though Hazony optimistically remarks that the ideas of the Protestant construction are still strong in the U.S. and Britain. Further, the liberal construction has proved to be illiberal, leading to the suppression of free speech, “public shaming” campaigns, and “heresy hunts.” Hazony laments that “Western democracies are rapidly becoming one big university campus.” Hazony asserts that the “neutral state is a myth.” While the national state has historically been successful, a purely “neutral” or “civic” state based only on formal law and abstract principles and without attachments to a particular culture, language, religion, tradition, history, or shared sacrifice is unable to inspire the necessary mutual loyalty and national cohesion required for a free society to survive. He identifies the United States, Britain, and France as national, as opposed to neutral or civic, states.  One of Hazony’s most powerful insights is his understanding of the role that hatred plays in the conflict between nationalists and globalists. One hears repeatedly that nationalism means hatred of the “other.” Hazony, however, successfully flips the argument. He notes that “anti-nationalist hate” is as great as or greater than the hatred emanating from nationalists. In fact, the forces supporting universalism hate the particular, especially when particularist resistance to globalist homogenization “proves itself resilient and enduring.” Thus, “liberal internationalism is not merely a positive agenda. . . . It is an imperialist ideology that incites against . . . nationalists, seeking their delegitimization wherever they appear” throughout the West. Nowhere is this clearer than in the intense antipathy such liberal internationalists feel towards Israel. (…) He concludes that since World War II, and particularly since the 1990s, in elite circles in the West, a Kantian post-national moral paradigm has replaced the old liberal-nationalist paradigm of a world of independent states in which the Zionist dream was born.  This new paradigm insists that national states should increasingly cede sovereignty to supranational institutions, especially in matters of war and peace. In the new paradigm, Israel’s use of force to defend itself is seen as morally illegitimate. The leadership of the European Union and American progressives, for the most part, adheres to the new post-national paradigm; hence, they constantly excoriate Israeli attempts at self-defense.  Hazony declares that “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination.” (There is also a faction of Americans, Hazony writes, who favor a different, more muscular type of imperialist project: the establishment of a pax Americana in which America would serve as a contemporary Roman empire, providing peace and security for the entire world and policing the internal affairs of recalcitrant national states that are insufficiently liberal.)  For the EU and Western progressives, Hazony explains, the horror of Auschwitz was the result of atrocities committed by a national state, Germany, infused with a fanatical nationalism. But, as Hazony argues, Hitler’s genocide was inspired by a belief in Aryan racial superiority and imperialism. Hitler cared little for the German nation per se. For example, near the end of World War II, he told his confidant Albert Speer not to “worry” about the “German people”; they might as well perish, for “they had proven to be the weaker [nation] and the future belongs solely to the stronger eastern nation.” Not exactly the sentiments of a true nationalist. On the other hand, Hazony says, for Israelis, Auschwitz was the result of powerlessness: Jews did not have their own national state and the requisite military capability to protect themselves. (…) It is exactly this very human aspiration for national independence hailed by the liberal nationalists of yesteryear (e.g., Garibaldi, Kossuth, Herzl) that the new imperialists of 21st-century globalism (Merkel, Juncker, Soros) scorn. Hazony writes that other nations too have been subject to campaigns of vilification from European and transnational elites when they have ignored supranational authority and acted as independent national states. The United States, in particular, has been excoriated (since long before the Trump administration) for refusing to join the Interna­tional Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol and for deciding for itself when its national interest requires the use of force. Recently, globalist wrath “has been extended to Britain” because it returned “to a course of national independence and self-determination and to nations such as Czechia, Hungary, and Poland that insist on maintaining an immigration policy of their own that does not conform to the European Union’s theories concerning refugee resettlement. John Fonte
Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah. Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante. J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes. De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste. Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde. Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste. Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul! Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire. Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme. (…) Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne. Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte. Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore. Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines. Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies. Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu. (…) Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent. On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique. Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme. Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier. C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral». (…) En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même. Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne. En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne! (…) Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même. La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté. Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens. Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël. Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident. La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain. C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman. Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis. Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne… Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation. (…) [le modèle nationaliste] permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières. Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures. Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux. Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental. À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès. Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple. Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf. Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre. Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas… (…) La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts. La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres. (…) Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme. Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité. Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël… Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale. (…) un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde. Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins. N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières? Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu. (…) le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise. (…) Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral. Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations. Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela. Yoram Hazony

Après l’école, Supermanl’humourla fête nationale, Thanksgiving, les droits civiques, les Harlem globetrotters et le panier à trois points, le soft power, l’Amérique, le génocide et même eux-mêmes  et sans parler des chansons de Noël et de la musique pop ou d’Hollywood, la littérature, les poupées Barbie… le look WASP, … la nation  !

Y a-t-il une élite intellectuelle trumpiste?
Alexis Carré

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – La tenue de la National Conservatism Conference réunissant des intellectuels conservateurs américains invite le politologue Alexis Carré à se demander s’il existe une élite intellectuelle représentative des idées de Donald Trump.

Alexis Carré est doctorant en philosophie politique à l’École normale supérieure. Il travaille sur les mutations de l’ordre libéral. Suivez-le sur Twitter et sur son site.


La victoire de Donald J. Trump ne fut pas exactement celle d’un intellectuel. Contrairement à celle de Ronald Reagan, elle n’a pas non plus été précédée par la création ou la mobilisation de think tanks et autres organismes de recherche qui structurent habituellement la discussion publique aux États-Unis, tout en servant d’écurie de formation pour les futurs cadres gouvernementaux. À bien des égards, ce que l’on pourrait appeler la classe intellectuelle conservatrice s’est trouvée à la traîne et même parfois à contre-courant de la dernière campagne. Le Weekly Standard, hebdomadaire néoconservateur fondé par Bill Kristol — l’une des voix de droite les plus violemment critiques de l’administration —, en a payé le prix en cessant il y a peu de paraître.

Une fois Trump élu, le pragmatisme a toutefois dominé l’attitude de cette galaxie d’institutions vis-à-vis de la Maison Blanche. Ne leur devant pas sa victoire ni son programme, le président a, quant à lui, su utiliser leurs ressources et leurs compétences quand elles lui étaient utiles. L’illustration la plus frappante de cette relation fut la place centrale qu’il donna aux recommandations de la Heritage Foundation (le plus grand think tank conservateur à Washington) et de la Federalist Society (une association influente rassemblant plus de 40 000 juristes conservateurs) pour la nomination des juges à la Cour Suprême (Neil Gorsuch et Brett Kavanaugh) et dans les degrés inférieurs du système judiciaire. Malgré un style de gouvernement indéniablement nouveau, Trump ne semblait donc pas avoir profondément affecté l’infrastructure institutionnelle d’où s’élaborent la majorité des politiques publiques aux États-Unis. Envisagé comme un phénomène personnel qui disparaîtrait avec lui, certains pouvaient encore penser qu’il ne laisserait avec son départ pas d’héritage profond sur les plans institutionnels et intellectuels. Une conférence comme il s’en organise pourtant des dizaines chaque année à Washington DC vient peut-être de changer la donne. Et si, de manière pour le moins inattendue, Trump s’avérait être depuis Reagan le président ayant eu le plus d’impact sur la fabrique des idées et des élites dans son pays?

Une force de frappe en devenir

Le chercheur israélien à l’origine de l’événement, Yoram Hazony, s’est fait connaître à l’automne dernier en publiant The Virtue of Nationalism [La vertu du nationalisme], un livre où il s’emploie à critiquer l’idéal post-national qui a dominé l’éducation politique des élites ces dernières décennies. En organisant ce rassemblement d’intellectuels, de journalistes et d’hommes politiques, il entend désormais jeter les bases d’un mouvement intellectuel, le «conservatisme national», dont il propagera les idées au travers de la Edmund Burke Foundation — créée en janvier en vue de préparer l’événement.

Le programme mélange des invités prestigieux (l’entrepreneur Peter Thiel, le présentateur de Fox News Tucker Carlson), des étoiles montantes (le jeune sénateur Josh Hawley et J. D. Vance, l’auteur du best-seller Hillbilly Elegy) et des figures établies (Rusty Reno de la revue First Things ou encore Christopher DeMuth, l’ancien responsable du think tank AEI). S’il est évident que de nombreuses divergences existent entre ces invités, notamment sur les questions de politique étrangère, ils s’accordent assez largement autour de certains points fondamentaux qui constituent à des degrés divers des changements d’orientation profonds par rapport au consensus conservateur antérieur.

La fin du consensus libéral et conservateur à droite 

Ce consensus, aussi connu sous le nom de «fusionnisme», reposait sur la compatibilité de la défense du marché et du libre-échange avec celle des valeurs familiales et religieuses. Libertariens et conservateurs pouvaient ainsi agir côte à côte afin de laisser d’un côté l’État hors de l’entreprise et de l’autre, hors de la famille — attitude résumée par la formule lapidaire de Reagan: «Le gouvernement n’est pas la solution à nos problèmes. Le gouvernement

est le problème.» Pour les tenants du «conservatisme national» le danger vient non plus principalement de l’État mais du secteur privé, et plus particulièrement des GAFA et de Wall Street. C’est également à l’État qu’ils s’en remettent pour préserver l’existence nationale de l’ingérence croissante des institutions supranationales. Étonnante dans le paysage politique américain, cette défense de l’État réaffirme la primauté du politique et avec lui du vecteur d’action collective qu’est la nation.

La question n’est plus de savoir si l’intervention de l’État est intrinsèquement mauvaise et la liberté du marché intrinsèquement bonne, mais de déterminer dans chaque cas laquelle des deux correspond à l’intérêt et à la volonté de la nation. Le critère permettant de juger une mesure politique n’est plus sa conformité à l’intérêt économique ou aux droits de l’homme mais sa capacité à protéger et renforcer la citoyenneté. Car les normes au fondement de l’État de droit, les principes économiques du capitalisme, n’ont de validité pratique qu’en raison des sentiments communs et des qualités partagées qui constituent les modes de vie des populations qui les adoptent.

En déconnectant l’individu de ses solidarités concrètes, une pratique aveugle du libéralisme a selon eux dépossédé les citoyens de ce mode de vie et de leur capacité d’action sur les plans individuels et collectifs. L’objectif du «conservatisme national» est de leur restituer ces deux choses. Or, des hommes que ne relie rien d’autre que le fait d’être porteurs des mêmes droits ne suffisent pas à faire une nation. Et c’est parce que l’existence de cette dernière ne peut plus être prise pour acquis que le danger qui pèse sur elle nécessite une action politique spécifique en rupture avec le consensus des libéraux et conservateurs traditionnels.

Vers une nouvelle élite?

Les réflexions sur le devenir des nations ne sont pas nouvelles, surtout en France, où des auteurs comme Pierre Manent ont depuis les années 90 mené une critique écoutée des conservateurs américains à l’égard du projet post-national. Ce qui est inédit, c’est qu’une action aussi structurée émerge en vue de former une nouvelle classe dirigeante sur le fondement de ces constats. Adversaires ou alliés de l’actuel président feraient bien de surveiller cette initiative. Si elle réalise son ambition la Edmund Burke Foundation pourrait parvenir à associer au changement immédiat impulsé par Donald Trump une éducation politique susceptible d’affecter sur le long terme la formation des élites américaines, ce à quoi son style de gouvernement et les techniques de communication qui le caractérisent ne sauraient parvenir à eux seuls.

Le sénateur Josh Hawley, âgé de 39 ans (ancien procureur général de l’état du Missouri), fait figure de symbole de cette classe politique en devenir: «Une nation républicaine requiert une économie républicaine […] Une économie fondée sur les échanges monétaires à Wall Street ne bénéficie en dernier ressort qu’à ceux qui possèdent déjà de l’argent. Une telle économie ne saurait soutenir une grande nation.» Hostile à l’inflation des diplômes universitaires et aux multinationales, favorable aux droits de douane, défenseur de «l’Amérique moyenne», il représente peut-être ce que pourrait devenir le «trumpisme» sans Trump.

Voir aussi:

Yoram Hazony : «Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale»
Paul Sugy
Le Figaro

21/12/2018

FIGAROVOX/GRAND ENTRETIEN – Le nationalisme est sur toutes les lèvres, et pourtant, affirme Yoram Hazony, ce concept n’a jamais été aussi mal compris. Le philosophe entend réhabiliter la «vertu du nationalisme», qu’il oppose à la «tentation impérialiste», et promouvoir la vision d’un monde fondé sur l’indépendance et la liberté des nations.

Yoram Hazony est spécialiste de la Bible et docteur en philosophie politique.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoram_Hazony

Il a fondé le Herzl Institute et enseigne la philosophie et la théologie à Jérusalem.

Ce penseur de la droite israélienne est également auteur de nombreux articles publiés dans les journaux américains les plus prestigieux, du New York Times au Wall Street Journal.

Presque inconnu en France, son livre The Virtue of Nationalism a suscité un vif débat aux Etats-Unis.

LE FIGARO MAGAZINE. – Le 11 novembre dernier, Emmanuel Macron déclarait aux chefs d’Etat du monde entier: «Le nationalisme est la trahison du patriotisme.» Qu’en pensez-vous?

Yoram HAZONY. –

Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah.

Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante.

J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes.

De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste.

Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde.

Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste.

Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul!

Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire.

Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme.

Donald Trump, lui, avait déclaré il y a quelques semaines: «Je suis nationaliste.» Y a-t-il aujourd’hui un retour du nationalisme?

Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne.

Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte.

Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore.

Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines.

Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies.

Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu.

Quel est ce «nouvel empire libéral» dont vous parlez? Et qu’entendez-vous exactement par «impérialisme»?

Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent.

On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique.

Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme.

Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier.

C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral».

Bien sûr, tous les «impérialistes libéraux» ne sont pas d’accord entre eux sur la stratégie à employer!

L’impérialisme américain a voulu imposer de force la démocratie dans un certain nombre de pays, comme en Yougoslavie, en Irak, en Libye ou en Afghanistan.

En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même.

Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne.

En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne!

Est-ce que, selon vous, le nationalisme et l’impérialisme sont deux visions de l’ordre mondial qui s’affrontaient déjà dans la Bible?

Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même.

La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté.

Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens.

Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël.

Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident.

La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain.

C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman.

Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis.

Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne…

Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation.

Pourquoi le modèle nationaliste est-il meilleur, selon vous?

Parce que ce modèle permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières.

Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures.

Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux.

Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental.

À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès.

Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple.

Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf.

Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre.

Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas…

Mais ce «nouvel ordre international» n’a-t-il pas permis, malgré tout, un certain nombre de progrès en facilitant les échanges marchands ou en créant une justice pénale internationale, par exemple?

Peut-être, mais nous n’avons pas besoin d’un nouvel impérialisme pour permettre l’essor du commerce international ou pour traîner en justice les criminels.

Des nations indépendantes sont tout à fait capables de se coordonner entre elles.

Alors, certes, il y aura toujours quelques désaccords à surmonter, et il faudra pour cela un certain nombre de négociations.

Et je suis tout à fait capable de comprendre que d’aucuns soient tentés de se dire que, si on crée un gouvernement mondial, on s’épargne toutes ces frictions.

Mais c’est là une immense utopie.

La diversité des nations rend strictement impossible de convenir, universellement, d’une vision unique en matière de commerce et d’immigration, de justice, de religion, de guerre ou de paix.

La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts.

La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres.

Ne redoutez-vous pas la compétition accrue à laquelle se livreraient les nations dans un monde tel que vous le souhaitez? Au risque de renforcer le rejet ou la haine de ses voisins?

Dans mon livre, je consacre un chapitre entier à cette objection qui m’est souvent faite.

Il arrive parfois qu’à force de vouloir le meilleur pour les siens, on en vienne à haïr les autres, lorsque ceux-ci sont perçus comme des rivaux.

Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme.

Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité.

Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël…

Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale.

En quoi le nationalisme est-il une «vertu»?

Dans le sens où un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde.

Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins.

N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières?

Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu.

Le nationaliste, lui, dessine une frontière par terre et dit au reste du monde: «Au-delà de cette limite, je renonce à faire imposer ma volonté. Je laisse mes voisins libres d’être différents.»

Un universaliste répondra que c’est immoral, car c’est la marque d’une profonde indifférence à l’égard des autres.

Mais c’est en réalité tout l’inverse: le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise.

Que vous inspirent les difficultés qu’ont les Britanniques à mettre en œuvre le Brexit? N’est-il pas déjà trop tard pour revenir en arrière?

Non, il n’est pas trop tard.

Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral.

Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations.

Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela.

Voir également:

In Defense of Nations
John Fonte
National Review
September 13, 2018

The Virtue of Nationalism, by Yoram Hazony (Basic, 304 pp., $18.99)

If the great struggle of the 20th century was between Western liberal democracy and totalitarianism, the major fault line of the 21st century is within the democratic family, pitting those who believe nations should be self-governing and sovereign against powerful forces advancing “global governance” by supranational authorities.

In a new book that will become a classic, Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony identifies this conflict as one “between nationalism and imperialism,” which he describes as “two irreconcilably opposed ways of thinking about political order.” Further, “the debate between nationalism and imperialism is upon us.” This “fault line” at “the heart of Western public life is not going away,” and one must “choose.”

Hazony poses the question: What would the best political order for the world look like? A universal empire with global law? A collection of autonomous tribes? Or an order of independent national states? He chooses the last model over universalism (i.e., empire, including the soft “global governance” variety) and tribalism. He explains that, first, unlike the rule of tribes, the national state establishes internal security and order and reduces the threat of violence. Second, unlike empire, the scope of the national state is limited, because it is confined to exercising authority within its borders.

Third, it provides for what Bill Buckley’s Yale mentor Willmoore Kendall called the greatest right of all, national freedom, the collective right of a free people to rule themselves. Fourth, national freedom permits nations to develop their own institutions “that may be tested through painstaking trial and error over centuries.” Thus, what might be called the sovereigntist option tends toward a realistic empirical style of governance as opposed to a utopian rationalist outlook. Hazony contrasts Margaret Thatcher’s empirical approach to economics, for example, with an overly rationalistic perspective that often leads to unworkable utopianism (e.g., socialist economics in practice).

Fifth, Hazony, quoting John Stuart Mill, argues that, historically, individual rights have been protected best in national states, particularly in England and America. He maintains that in a “universal political order . . . in which a single standard of right is held to be in force everywhere, tolerance for diverse political and religious standpoints must necessarily decline.” This is exactly what has happened as transnational progressive elites, including organs of the EU, the U.N., and, significantly, the American Bar Association, have promoted a “global rule of law” that is intolerant of longstanding religious and patriotic beliefs.

Hazony boldly declares that we should resist all efforts to establish supranational global institutions: “We should not let a hairbreadth of our freedom be given over to foreign bodies under any name whatsoever, or to foreign systems of law that are not determined by our own nations.” 

Hazony reviews the history of the conflict between nationalism and imperialism, from the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli U.N. resolution. The political concept of the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible. Ancient Israel was a national state posed against empires in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and Rome. Hazony de­clares that the Israelite nation was not based on race but on a “shared understanding of history, language, and religion.” He cites Exodus, noting that some Egyptians joined the Hebrews in fleeing Pharaoh, and points out that other foreigners joined the Jewish people once they had accepted “Israel’s God, laws, and understanding of history.”

In Hazony’s telling, after the fall of the Roman imperium, the ideal of a universal empire lived on in the papacy and in the German-led Holy Roman Empire. The emergence of Protestantism resurrected the Hebrew Bible’s concept of the national state. For example, Dutch Protestant rebels in their war with imperial Spain modeled themselves on ancient Israelis fighting for national freedom against the Egyptian and Babylonian empires. The Thirty Years’ War was not simply a religious conflict but a struggle that pitted nationalism against imperialism, with the states of France (Catholic), the Netherlands (Calvinist), and Sweden (Lutheran) fighting against the German-Spanish Hapsburg empire.

Hazony describes a new “Protestant construction” of the West inspired by the Hebrew Bible. It was based on two core principles: national self-determination and a “moral minimum” order, roughly corresponding to recognizing the Ten Commandments as natural law. This Protestant construction has been challenged by a “liberal construction” based on individual rights and a universal order. Beginning in the Enlightenment with Locke and Kant, but particularly since World War II, the liberal construction has largely replaced the Protestant construction among Western elites, though Hazony optimistically remarks that the ideas of the Protestant construction are still strong in the U.S. and Britain. Further, the liberal construction has proved to be illiberal, leading to the suppression of free speech, “public shaming” campaigns, and “heresy hunts.” Hazony laments that “Western democracies are rapidly becoming one big university campus.”

Hazony asserts that the “neutral state is a myth.” While the national state has historically been successful, a purely “neutral” or “civic” state based only on formal law and abstract principles and without attachments to a particular culture, language, religion, tradition, history, or shared sacrifice is unable to inspire the necessary mutual loyalty and national cohesion required for a free society to survive. He identifies the United States, Britain, and France as national, as opposed to neutral or civic, states. 

One of Hazony’s most powerful insights is his understanding of the role that hatred plays in the conflict between nationalists and globalists. One hears repeatedly that nationalism means hatred of the “other.” Hazony, however, successfully flips the argument. He notes that “anti-nationalist hate” is as great as or greater than the hatred emanating from nationalists. In fact, the forces supporting universalism hate the particular, especially when particularist resistance to globalist homogenization “proves itself resilient and enduring.”

Thus, “liberal internationalism is not merely a positive agenda. . . . It is an imperialist ideology that incites against . . . nationalists, seeking their delegitimization wherever they appear” throughout the West. Nowhere is this clearer than in the intense antipathy such liberal internationalists feel towards Israel.

As a proud nationalist, Hazony de­clares, “My first concern is for Israel.” He examines the hostility directed at the Jewish state by “many” in Europe and, increasingly, in America. He concludes that since World War II, and particularly since the 1990s, in elite circles in the West, a Kantian post-national moral paradigm has replaced the old liberal-nationalist paradigm of a world of independent states in which the Zionist dream was born. 

This new paradigm insists that national states should increasingly cede sovereignty to supranational institutions, especially in matters of war and peace. In the new paradigm, Israel’s use of force to defend itself is seen as morally illegitimate. The leadership of the European Union and American progressives, for the most part, adheres to the new post-national paradigm; hence, they constantly excoriate Israeli attempts at self-defense.

Hazony declares that “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination.” (There is also a faction of Americans, Hazony writes, who favor a different, more muscular type of imperialist project: the establishment of a pax Americana in which America would serve as a contemporary Roman empire, providing peace and security for the entire world and policing the internal affairs of recalcitrant national states that are insufficiently liberal.)

For the EU and Western progressives, Hazony explains, the horror of Auschwitz was the result of atrocities committed by a national state, Germany, infused with a fanatical nationalism. But, as Hazony argues, Hitler’s genocide was inspired by a belief in Aryan racial superiority and imperialism. Hitler cared little for the German nation per se. For example, near the end of World War II, he told his confidant Albert Speer not to “worry” about the “German people”; they might as well perish, for “they had proven to be the weaker [nation] and the future belongs solely to the stronger eastern nation.” Not exactly the sentiments of a true nationalist.

On the other hand, Hazony says, for Israelis, Auschwitz was the result of powerlessness: Jews did not have their own national state and the requisite military capability to protect themselves. Hazony quotes David Ben-Gurion’s famous World War II address in November 1942. He noted that there was “no Jewish army” and declared: Give us the right to fight and die as Jews. . . . We demand the right . . . to a homeland and independence.” It is exactly this very human aspiration for national independence hailed by the liberal nationalists of yesteryear (e.g., Garibaldi, Kossuth, Herzl) that the new imperialists of 21st-century globalism (Merkel, Juncker, Soros) scorn. 

Hazony writes that other nations too have been subject to campaigns of vilification from European and transnational elites when they have ignored supranational authority and acted as independent national states. The United States, in particular, has been excoriated (since long before the Trump administration) for refusing to join the Interna­tional Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol and for deciding for itself when its national interest requires the use of force. Recently, globalist wrath “has been extended to Britain” because it returned “to a course of national independence and self-determination and to nations such as Czechia, Hungary, and Poland that insist on maintaining an immigration policy of their own that does not conform to the European Union’s theories concerning refugee resettlement.”

A serious scholar, Hazony is a consistent thinker and is intellectually honest to a fault. As a result, many potential allies in the political-ideological struggle against transnational progressivism might well object to his critical portrayal of, for example, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Konrad Adenauer, Charles Krauthammer, the British Empire, a pax Americana, the papacy, and medieval Christianity, to say nothing of the World Trade Organi­zation and President George H. W. Bush’s “new world order.”

My only serious substantive difference with Hazony concerns his interpretation of John Locke and natural rights, a subject directly related to the American Founding and, therefore, to the crux of American nationalism. Hazony presents Locke as overly focused on individual autonomy and detached from the national state and the culture necessary to sustain it. However, in his famous Second Treatise, Locke explicitly favors the nationalist over the imperialist perspective, lauding “an entire, free, independent society, to be governed by its own laws” and decrying “the delivery . . . of the people into the subjection of a foreign power, either by the prince or the legislature.”

Locke in his other writing also emphasizes the centrality of morality, religion, and family, as well as individual rights, thereby supporting Hazony’s “moral minimum” for the well-being of any independent commonwealth. In any case, it should be stressed that the philosophical basis of the American Founding is much more than the theories of John Locke (as Hazony agrees). Leo Strauss, Harry Jaffa, and, recently, Thomas G. West in his brilliant and definitive work The Political Theory of the American Founding have argued that from the beginning, the American regime has contained pre-Enlighten­ment, pre-liberal, non-rational elements that are essential to its vitality and success.

Further, the law of nature and the natural rights envisioned by the American Founders were held to be accompanied by an equal set of duties and virtues commensurate with those rights, including the republican virtue of patriotism. Neither Locke nor, certainly, the Founders were utopian, but instead they balanced a belief in reason with an empirical outlook and a realistic view of human nature.

Caveats aside, Yoram Hazony has written a magnificent affirmation of democratic nationalism and sovereignty. The book is a tour de force that has the potential to significantly shape the debate between the supporters of supranational globalism and those of national-state democracy. The former will attempt to marginalize Hazony. Crucial will be the response of the Western (particularly American) center-right intelligentsia. Will mainstream conservatives embrace Hazony’s core thesis (with requisite qualifications) and recognize that they have been given a powerful intellectual and moral argument, or will this opportunity be squandered in sectarian squabbling over exactly what Locke meant and how to redefine “liberalism” in the 21st-century global world? 

Voir de plus:

What Is Conservatism?

May 20, 2017

The year 2016 marked a dramatic change of political course for the English-speaking world, with Britain voting for independence from Europe and the United States electing a president promising a revived American nationalism. Critics see both events as representing a dangerous turn toward “illiberalism” and deplore the apparent departure from “liberal principles” or “liberal democracy,” themes that surfaced repeatedly in conservative publications over the past year. Perhaps the most eloquent among the many spokesmen for this view has been William Kristol, who, in a series of essays in the Weekly Standard, has called for a new movement to arise “in defense of liberal democracy.” In his eyes, the historic task of American conservatism is “to preserve and strengthen American liberal democracy,” and what is needed now is “a new conservatism based on old conservative—and liberal—principles.” Meanwhile, the conservative flagship Commentary published a cover story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari entitled “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” seeking to raise the alarm about the dangers to liberalism posed by Brexit, Trump, and other phenomena.

These and similar examples demonstrate once again that more than a few prominent conservatives in America and Britain today consider themselves to be not only conservatives but also liberals at the same time. Or, to get to the heart of the matter, they see conservatism as a branch or species of liberalism—to their thinking, the “classical” and most authentic form of liberalism. According to this view, the foundations of conservatism are to be found, in significant measure, in the thought of the great liberal icon John Locke and his followers. It is to this tradition, they say, that we must turn for the political institutions—including the separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism—that secure the freedoms of religion, speech, and the press; the right of private property; and due process under law. In other words, if we want limited government and, ultimately, the American Constitution, then there is only one way to go: Lockean liberalism provides the theoretical basis for the ordered freedom that conservatives strive for, and liberal democracy is the only vehicle for it.

Many of those who have been most outspoken on this point have been our long-time friends. We admire and are grateful for their tireless efforts on behalf of conservative causes, including some in which we have worked together as partners. But we see this confusion of conservatism with liberalism as historically and philosophically misguided. Anglo-American conservatism is a distinct political tradition—one that predates Locke by centuries. Its advocates fought for and successfully established most of the freedoms that are now exclusively associated with Lockean liberalism, although they did so on the basis of tenets very different from Locke’s. Indeed, when Locke published his Two Treatises of Government in 1689, offering the public a sweeping new rationale for the traditional freedoms already known to Englishmen, most defenders of these freedoms were justly appalled. They saw in this new doctrine not a friend to liberty but a product of intellectual folly that would ultimately bring down the entire edifice of freedom. Thus, liberalism and conservatism have been opposed political positions in political theory since the day liberal theorizing first set foot in England.

Today’s confusion of conservative political thought with liberalism is in a way understandable, however. In the great twentieth-century battles against totalitarianism, conservatives and liberals were allies: They fought together, along with the Communists, against Nazism. After 1945, conservatives and liberals remained allies in the war against Communism. Over these many decades of joint struggle, what had for centuries been a distinction of vital importance was treated as if it were not terribly important, and in fact, it was largely forgotten.

But since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, these circumstances have changed. The challenges facing the Anglo-American tradition are now coming from other directions entirely. Radical Islam, to name one such challenge, is a menace that liberals, for reasons internal to their own view of the political world, find difficult to regard as a threat and especially difficult to oppose in an effective manner. But even more important is the challenge arising from liberalism itself. It is now evident that liberal principles contribute little or nothing to those institutions that were for centuries the bedrock of the Anglo-American political order: nationalism, religious tradition, the Bible as a source of political principles and wisdom, and the family. Indeed, as liberalism has emerged victorious from the battles of the last century, the logic of its doctrines has increasingly turned liberals against all of these conservative institutions. On both of these fronts, the conservative and liberal principles of the Anglo-American tradition are now painfully at cross-purposes. The twentieth-century alliance between conservatism and liberalism is proving increasingly difficult to maintain.

Among the effects of the long alliance between conservatism and liberalism has been a tendency of political figures, journalists, and academics to slip back and forth between conservative terms and ideas and liberal ones as if they were interchangeable. And until recently, there seemed to be no great harm in this. Now, however, it is becoming obvious that this lack of clarity is crippling our ability to think about a host of issues, from immigration and foreign wars to the content of the Constitution and the place of religion in education and public life. In these and other areas, America, Britain, and their allies can neither recognize the difficulties ahead nor develop appropriate responses to them without a strong and intellectually capable conservatism. But to have a strong and intellectually capable conservatism, we must be able to see clearly what the Anglo-American conservative tradition is and what it is about. And to do this, we have to disentangle it from its old opponent—liberalism.

In this essay, we seek to clarify the historical and philosophical differences between the two major Anglo-American political traditions, conservative and liberal. We will begin by looking at some important events in the emergence of Anglo-American conservatism and its conflict with liberalism. After that, we will use these historical events as a basis for drawing some political distinctions that will be highly relevant for our own political context.

Fortescue and the Birth of Anglo-American Conservatism

The emergence of the Anglo-American conservative tradition can be identified with the words and deeds of a series of towering political and intellectual figures, among whom we can include individuals such as Sir John Fortescue, Richard Hooker, Sir Edward Coke, John Selden, Sir Matthew Hale, Sir William Temple, Jonathan Swift, Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, John Dickinson, and Alexander Hamilton. Men such as George Washington, John Adams, and John Marshall, often hastily included among the liberals, would also have placed themselves in this conservative tradition rather than with its opponents, whom they knew all too well.

Living in very different periods, these individuals nevertheless shared common ideas and principles and saw themselves as part of a common tradition of English, and later Anglo-American, constitutionalism. A politically traditionalist outlook of this kind was regarded as the mainstream in both England and America up until the French Revolution and only came to be called “conservative” during the nineteenth century, as it lost ground and became one of two rival camps.

Because the name conservative dates from this time of decline, it is often wrongly asserted that those who continued defending the Anglo-American tradition after the revolution—men such as Burke and Hamilton—were the “first conservatives.” But one has to view history in a peculiar and distorted way to see these men as having founded the tradition they were defending. In fact, neither the principles they upheld nor the arguments with which they defended them were new. They read them in the books of earlier thinkers and political figures such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale. These men, the intellectual and political forefathers of Burke and Hamilton, are conservatives in just the same way that John Locke is a liberal. The term was not yet in use, but the ideas that it designates are easily recognizable in their writings, their speeches, and their deeds.

Where does the tradition of Anglo-American conservatism begin? Any date one chooses will be somewhat arbitrary. Even the earliest surviving English legal compilations, dating from the twelfth century, are arguably recognizable as forerunners of this conservative tradition. But we will not make the case for this claim here. Instead, we will begin on what seems to us indisputable ground—with the writings of Sir John Fortescue, which date from the late fifteenth century. Fortescue (c. 1394–1479) occupies a position in the Anglo-American conservative tradition somewhat analogous to Locke in the later liberal tradition: although not the founder of this tradition, he is nonetheless its first truly outstanding expositor and the model in light of which the entire subsequent tradition developed.1 It is here that any conservative should begin his or her education in the Anglo-American tradition.

For eight years during the Wars of the Roses, beginning in 1463, John Fortescue lived in France with the court of the young prince Edward of Lancaster, the “Red Rose” claimant to the English throne, who had been driven into exile by the “White Rose” king Edward IV of York. Fortescue had been a member of Parliament and for nearly two decades chief justice of the King’s Bench, the English Supreme Court. In the exiled court, he became the nominal chancellor of England. While in exile, Fortescue composed several treatises on the constitution and laws of England, foremost among them a small book entitled Praise of the Laws of England.

Although Praise of the Laws of England is often mischaracterized as a work on law, anyone picking it up will immediately recognize it for what it is: an early great work of English political philosophy. Far from being a sterile rehearsal of existing law, it is written as a dialogue between the chancellor of England and the young prince he is educating, so that he may wisely rule his realm. It offers a theorist’s explanation of the reasons for regarding the English constitution as the best model of political government known to man. (Those who have been taught that it was Montesquieu who first argued that, of all constitutions, the English constitution is the one best suited for human freedom will be dismayed to find that this argument is presented more clearly by Fortescue nearly three hundred years earlier, in a work with which Montesquieu was probably familiar.)

According to Fortescue, the English constitution provides for what he calls “political and royal government,” by which he means that English kings do not rule by their own authority alone (i.e., “royal government”), but together with the representatives of the nation in Parliament and in the courts (i.e., “political government”). In other words, the powers of the English king are limited by the traditional laws of the English nation, in the same way—as Fortescue emphasizes—that the powers of the Jewish king in the Mosaic constitution in Deuteronomy are limited by the traditional laws of the Israelite nation. This is in contrast with the Holy Roman Empire of Fortescue’s day, which was supposedly governed by Roman law, and therefore by the maxim that “what pleases the prince has the force of law,” and in contrast with the kings of France, who governed absolutely. Among other things, the English law is described as providing for the people’s representatives, rather than the king, to determine the laws of the realm and to approve requests from the king for taxes.

In addition to this discussion of what later tradition would call the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, Fortescue also devotes extended discussion to the guarantee of due process under law, which he explores in his discussion of the superior protections afforded to the individual under the English system of trial by jury. Crucially, Fortescue consistently connects the character of a nation’s laws and their protection of private property to economic prosperity, arguing that limited government bolsters such prosperity, while an absolute government leads the people to destitution and ruin. In another of his writings, The Difference between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy (also known as The Governance of England, c. 1471), he starkly contrasts the well-fed and healthy English population living under their limited government with the French, whose government was constantly confiscating their property and quartering armies in their towns—at the residents’ expense—by unilateral order of the king. The result of such arbitrary taxation and quartering is, as Fortescue writes, that the French people have been “so impoverished and destroyed that they may hardly live. . . . Verily, they live in the most extreme poverty and misery, and yet they dwell in one of the most fertile parts of the world.”

Like later conservative tradition, Fortescue does not believe that either scripture or human reason can provide a universal law suitable for all nations. We do find him drawing frequently on the Mosaic constitution and the biblical “Four Books of Kings” (1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings) to assist in understanding the political order and the English constitution. Nevertheless, Fortescue emphasizes that the laws of each realm reflect the historic experience and character of each nation, just as the English common law is in accord with England’s historic experience. Thus, for example, Fortescue argues that a nation that is self-disciplined and accustomed to obeying the laws voluntarily rather than by coercion is one that can productively participate in the way it is governed. This, Fortescue proposes, was true of the people of England, while the French, who were of undisciplined character, could be governed only by the harsh and arbitrary rule of absolute royal government. On the other hand, Fortescue also insisted, again in keeping with biblical precedent and later conservative tradition, that this kind of national character was not set in stone, and that such traits could be gradually improved or worsened over time.

Fortescue was eventually permitted to return to England, but his loyalty to the defeated House of Lancaster meant that he never returned to power. He was to play the part of chancellor of England only in his philosophical dialogue, Praise of the Laws of England. His book, however, went on to become one of the most influential works of political thought in history. Fortescue wrote in the decades before the Reformation, and as a firm Catholic. But every page of his work breathes the spirit of English nationalism—the belief that through long centuries of experience, and thanks to a powerful ongoing identification with Hebrew Scripture, the English had succeeded in creating a form of government more conducive to human freedom and flourishing than any other known to man. First printed around 1545, Fortescue’s Praise of the Laws of England spoke in a resounding voice to that period of heightened nationalist sentiment in which English traditions, now inextricably identified with Protestantism, were pitted against the threat of invasion by Spanish-Catholic forces aligned with the Holy Roman Emperor. This environment quickly established Fortescue as England’s first great political theorist, paving the way for him to be read by centuries of law students in both England and America and by educated persons wherever the broader Anglo-American conservative tradition struck root.

The Greatest Conservative: John Selden

We turn now to the decisive chapter in the formation of modern Anglo-American conservatism: the great seventeenth-century battle between defenders of the traditional English constitution against political absolutism on one side, and against the first advocates of a Lockean universalist rationalism on the other. This chapter in the story is dominated by the figure of John Selden (1584–1654), probably the greatest theorist of Anglo-American conservatism.

Under the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, Fortescue’s account of the virtues of England’s traditional institutions had become an integral part of the self-understanding of a politically independent English nation. But in 1603, Elizabeth died childless and was succeeded by her distant relative, the king of Scotland, James Stuart. The Stuart kings had little patience for English theories of “political and royal rule.” In fact, James, himself a thinker of some ability, had four years earlier penned a political treatise of his own, in which he explained that kings rule by divine right and the laws of the realm are, as the title of his book suggested, a Basilikon Doron (Greek for “Royal Gift”). In other words, the laws are the king’s freely given gift, which he can choose to make or revoke as he pleases. James was too prudent a man to openly press for his absolutist theories among his English subjects, and he insisted that he meant to respect their traditional constitution. But the English, who had bought thousands of copies of the king’s book when he ascended to their throne, were never fully convinced. Indeed, the policies of James and, later, his son Charles I constantly rekindled suspicions that the Stuarts’ aim was a creeping authoritarianism that would eventually leave England as bereft of freedom as France.

When this question finally came to a head, most of the members of the English Parliament and common lawyers proved willing to risk their careers, their freedom, and even their lives in the defense of Fortescue’s “political and royal rule.” Among these were eminent names such as Sir John Eliot and the chief justice of the King’s Bench, Sir Edward Coke. But in the generation that bore the full brunt of the new absolutist ideas, it was John Selden who stood above all others. The most important common lawyer of his generation, he was also a formidable political philosopher and polymath who knew more than twenty languages. Selden became a prominent leader in Parliament, where he joined the older Coke in a series of clashes with the king. In this period, Parliament denied the king’s right to imprison Englishmen without showing cause, to impose taxes and forced loans without the approval of Parliament, to quarter soldiers in private homes, and to wield martial law in order to circumvent the laws of the land.

In 1628, Selden played a leading role in drafting and passing an act of Parliament called the Petition of Right, which sought to restore and safeguard “the divers rights and liberties of the subjects” that had been known under the traditional English constitution. Among other things, it asserted that “your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax . . . not set by common consent in Parliament”; that “no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs . . . but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land”; and that no man “should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.”

In the Petition of Right, then, we find the famous principle of “no taxation without representation,” as well as versions of the rights enumerated in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments of the American Bill of Rights—all declared to be ancient constitutional English freedoms and unanimously approved by Parliament, before Locke was even born. Although not mentioned in the Petition explicitly, freedom of speech had likewise been reaffirmed by Coke as “an ancient custom of Parliament” in the 1590s and was the subject of the so-called Protestation of 1621 that landed Coke, then seventy years old, in the Tower of London for nine months.

In other words, Coke, Eliot, and Selden risked everything to defend the same liberties that we ourselves hold dear in the face of an increasingly authoritarian regime. (In fact, John Eliot was soon to die in the king’s prison.) But they did not do so in the name of liberal doctrines of universal reason, natural rights, or “self-evident” truths. These they explicitly rejected because they were conservatives, not liberals. Let’s try to understand this.

Selden saw himself as an heir to Fortescue and, in fact, was involved in republishing the Praise for the Laws of England in 1616. His own much more extensive theoretical defense of English national traditions appeared in the form of short historical treatises on English law, as well as in a series of massive works (begun while Selden was imprisoned on ill-defined sedition charges for his activities in the 1628–29 Parliament) examining political theory and law in conversation with classical rabbinic Judaism. The most famous of these was his monumental Natural and National Law (1640). In these works, Selden sought to defend conservative traditions, including the English one, not only against the absolutist doctrines of the Stuarts but also against the claims of a universalist rationalism, according to which men could simply consult their own reason, which was the same for everyone, to determine the best constitution for mankind. This rationalist view had begun to collect adherents in England among followers of the great Dutch political theorist Hugo Grotius, whose On the Law of War and Peace (1625) suggested that it might be possible to do away with the traditional constitutions of nations by relying only on the rationality of the individual.

Then as now, conservatives could not understand how such a reliance on alleged universal reason could be remotely workable, and Selden’s Natural and National Law includes an extended attack on such theories in its first pages. There Selden argues that, everywhere in history, “unrestricted use of pure and simple reason” has led to conclusions that are “intrinsically inconsistent and dissimilar among men.” If we were to create government on the basis of pure reason alone, this would not only lead to the eventual dissolution of government but to widespread confusion, dissention, and perpetual instability as one government is changed for another that appears more reasonable at a given moment. Indeed, following Fortescue, Selden rejects the idea that a universally applicable system of rights is even possible. As he writes in an earlier work, what “may be most convenient or just in one state may be as unjust and inconvenient in another, and yet both excellently as well framed as governed.” With regard to those who believe that their reasoning has produced the universal truths that should be evident to all men, he shrewdly warns that

custom quite often wears the mask of nature, and we are taken in [by this] to the point that the practices adopted by nations, based solely on custom, frequently come to seem like natural and universal laws of mankind.

Selden responds to the claims of universal reason by arguing for a position that can be called historical empiricism. On this view, our reasoning in political and legal matters should be based upon inherited national tradition. This permits the statesman or jurist to overcome the small stock of observation and experience that individuals are able to accumulate during their own lifetimes (“that kind of ignorant infancy, which our short lives alone allow us”) and to take advantage of “the many ages of former experience and observation,” which permit us to “accumulate years to us, as if we had lived even from the beginning of time.” In other words, by consulting the accumulated experience of the past, we overcome the inherent weakness of individual judgement, bringing to bear the many lifetimes of observation by our forebears, who wrestled with similar questions under diverse conditions.

This is not to say that Selden is willing to accept the prescription of the past blindly. He pours scorn on those who embrace errors originating in the distant past, which, he says, have often been accepted as true by entire communities and “adopted without protest, and loaded onto the shoulders of posterity like so much baggage.” Recalling the biblical Jeremiah’s insistence on an empirical study of the paths of old (Jer. 6:16), Selden argues that the correct method is that “all roads must be carefully examined. We must ask about the ancient paths, and only what is truly the best may be chosen.” But for Selden, the instrument for such examination and selection is not the wild guesswork of individual speculation concerning various hypothetical possibilities. In the life of a nation, the inherited tradition of legal opinions and legislation preserves a multiplicity of perspectives from different times and circumstances, as well as the consequences for the nation when the law has been interpreted one way or another. Looking back upon these varied and changing positions within the tradition, and considering their real-life results, one can distinguish the true precepts of the law from the false turns that have been taken in the past. As Selden explains:

The way to find out the Truth is by others’ mistakings: For if I [wish] to go to such [and such] a place, and [some]one had gone before me on the right-hand [side], and he was out, [while] another had gone on the left-hand, and he was out, this would direct me to keep the middle way that peradventure would bring me to the place I desired to go.

Selden thus turns, much as the Hebrew Bible does, to a form of pragmatism to explain what is meant when statesmen and jurists speak of truth. The laws develop through a process of trial and error over generations, as we come to understand how peace and prosperity (“what is truly best,” “the place I desired to go”) arise from one turn rather than another.

Selden recognizes that, in making these selections from the traditions of the past, we tacitly rely upon a higher criterion for selection, a natural law established by God, which prescribes “what is truly best” for mankind in the most elementary terms. In his Natural and National Law, Selden explains that this natural law has been discovered over long generations since the biblical times and has come down to us in various versions. Of these, the most reliable is that of the Talmud, which describes the seven laws of the children of Noah prohibiting murder, theft, sexual perversity, cruelty to beasts, idolatry and defaming God, and requiring courts of law to enforce justice. The experience of thousands of years has taught us that these laws frame the peace and prosperity that is the end of all nations, and that they are the unseen root from which the diverse laws of all the nations ultimately derive.

Nonetheless, Selden emphasizes that no nation can govern itself by directly appealing to such fundamental law, because “diverse nations, as diverse men, have their diverse collections and inferences, and so make their diverse laws to grow to what they are, out of one and the same root.” Each nation thus builds its own unique effort to implement the natural law according to an understanding based on its own unique experience and conditions. It is thus wise to respect the different laws found among nations, both those that appear right to us and those that appear mistaken, for different perspectives may each have something to contribute to our pursuit of the truth. (Selden’s treatment of the plurality of human knowledge is cited by Milton as a basis for his defense of freedom of speech in Areopagitica.)

Selden thus offers us a picture of a philosophical parliamentarian or jurist. He must constantly maintain the strength and stability of the inherited national edifice as a whole—but also recognize the need to make repairs and improvements where these are needed. In doing so, he seeks to gradually approach, by trial and error, the best that is possible for each nation.

Selden’s view of the underlying principles of what was to become the Anglo-American traditional constitution is perhaps the most balanced and sophisticated ever written. But neither his intellectual powers nor his personal bravery, nor that of his colleagues in Parliament, were enough to save the day. Stuart absolutism eventually pressed England toward civil war and, finally, to a Puritan military dictatorship that not only executed the king but destroyed Parliament and the constitution as well. Selden did not live to see the constitution restored. The regicide regime subsequently offered England several brand-new constitutions, none of which proved workable, and within eleven years it had collapsed.

In 1660, two eminent disciples of Selden, Edward Hyde (afterward Earl of Clarendon) and Sir Matthew Hale, played a leading role in restoring the constitution and the line of Stuart kings. When the Catholic James II succeeded to the throne in 1685, fear of a relapse into papism and even of a renewed attempt to establish absolutism moved the rival political factions of the country to unite in inviting the next Protestants in line to the throne. The king’s daughter Mary and her husband, Prince William of Orange, the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, crossed the channel to save Protestant England and its constitution. Parliament, having confirmed the willingness of the new joint monarchs to protect the English from “all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties,” in 1689 established the new king and queen on the throne and ratified England’s famous Bill of Rights. This new document reasserted the ancient rights invoked in the earlier Petition of Right, among other things affirming the right of Protestant subjects to “have arms for their defense” and the right of “freedom of speech and debates” in Parliament, and that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”—the basis for the First, Second, and Eighth Amendments of the American Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was quickly extended to the wider public, with the termination of English press licensing laws a few years later.

The restoration of a Protestant monarch and the adoption of the Bill of Rights were undertaken by a Parliament united around Seldenian principles. What came to be called the “Glorious Revolution” was glorious precisely because it reaffirmed the traditional English constitution and protected the English nation from renewed attacks on “their religion, rights and liberties.” Such attacks came from absolutists like Sir Robert Filmer on the one hand, whose Patriarcha (published posthumously, 1680) advocated authoritarian government as the only legitimate one, and by radicals like John Locke on the other. Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) responded to the crisis by arguing for the right of the people to dissolve the traditional constitution and reestablish it according to universal reason.

The Challenge from Locke and Liberalism

Over the course of the seventeenth century, English conservatism was formed into a coherent and unmistakable political philosophy utterly opposed both to the absolutism of the Stuarts, Hobbes, and Filmer (what would later be called “the Right”), as well as to liberal theories of universal reason advanced first by Grotius and then by Locke (“the Left”). The centrist conservative view was to remain the mainstream understanding of the English constitution for a century and a half, defended by leading Whig intellectuals in works from William Atwood’s Fundamental Constitution of the English Government (1690) to Josiah Tucker’s A Treatise of Civil Government (1781), which strongly opposed both absolutism and Lockean theories of universal rights. This is the view upon which men like Blackstone, Burke, Washington, and Hamilton were educated. Not only in England but in British America, lawyers were trained in the common law by studying Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England (1628–44) and Hale’s History of the Common Law of England (1713). In both, the law of the land was understood to be the traditional English constitution and common law, amended as needed for local purposes.

Because Locke is today recognized as the decisive figure in the liberal tradition, it is worth looking more carefully at why his political theory was so troubling for conservatives. We have described the Anglo-American conservative tradition as subscribing to a historical empiricism, which proposes that political knowledge is gained by examining the long history of the customary laws of a given nation and the consequences when these laws have been altered in one direction or another. Conservatives understand that a jurist must exercise reason and judgment, of course. But this reasoning is about how best to adapt traditional law to present circumstances, making such changes as are needed for the betterment of the state and of the public, while preserving as much as possible the overall frame of the law. To this we have opposed a standpoint that can be called rationalist. Rationalists have a different view of the role of reason in political thought, and in fact a different understanding of what reason itself is. Rather than arguing from the historical experience of nations, they set out by asserting general axioms that they believe to be true of all human beings, and that they suppose will be accepted by all human beings examining them with their native rational abilities. From these they deduce the appropriate constitution or laws for all men.

Locke is known philosophically as an empiricist. But his reputation in this regard is based largely on his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1689), which is an influential exercise in empirical psychology. His Second Treatise of Government is not, however, a similar effort to bring an empirical standpoint to the theory of the state. Instead, it begins with a series of axioms that are without any evident connection to what can be known from the historical and empirical study of the state. Among other things, Locke asserts that, (1) prior to the establishment of government, men exist in a “state of nature,” in which (2) “all men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom,” as well as in (3) a “state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another.” Moreover, (4) this state of nature “has a law of nature to govern it”; and (5) this law of nature is, as it happens, nothing other than human “reason” itself, which “teaches all mankind, who will but consult it.” It is this universal reason, the same among all mankind, that leads them to (6) terminate the state of nature, “agreeing together mutually to enter into . . . one body politic” by an act of free consent. From these six axioms, Locke then proceeds to deduce the proper character of the political order for all nations on earth.

Three important things should be noticed about this set of axioms. The first is that the elements of Locke’s political theory are not known from experience. The “perfect freedom” and “perfect equality” that define the state of nature are ideal forms whose relationship with empirical reality is entirely unclear. Nor can the identity of natural law with reason, or the assertion that the law dictated by reason “teaches all mankind,” or the establishment of the state by means of purely consensual social contract, be known empirically. All of these things are stipulated as when setting out a mathematical system.

The second thing to notice is that there is no reason to think that any of Locke’s axioms are in fact true. Faced with this mass of unverifiable assertions, empiricist political theorists such as Hume, Smith, and Burke rejected all of Locke’s axioms and sought to rebuild political philosophy on the basis of things that can be known from history and from an examination of actual human societies and governments.

Third, Locke’s theory not only dispenses with the historical and empirical basis for the state, it also implies that such inquiries are, if not entirely unnecessary, then of secondary importance. If there exists a form of reason that is accessible to “all mankind, who will but consult it,” and that reveals to all the universal laws of nature governing the political realm, then there will be little need for the historically and empirically grounded reasoning of men such as Fortescue, Coke, and Selden. All men, if they will just gather together and consult with their own reason, can design a government that will be better than anything that “the many ages of experience and observation” produced in England. On this view, the Anglo-American conservative tradition—far from having brought into being the freest and best constitution ever known to mankind—is in fact shot through with unwarranted prejudice and an obstacle to a better life for all. Locke’s theory thus pronounces, in other words, the end of Anglo-American conservatism, and the end of the traditional constitution that conservatives still held to be among the most precious things on earth.

While Locke’s rationalist theories made limited headway in England, they were all the rage in France. Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762) went where others had feared to tread, embracing Locke’s system of axioms for correct political thought and calling upon mankind to consent only to the one legitimate constitution dictated by reason. Within thirty years, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the other French imitators of Locke’s rationalist politics received what they had demanded in the form of the French Revolution. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was followed by the Reign of Terror for those who would not listen to reason. Napoleon’s imperialist liberalism rapidly followed, bringing universal reason and the “rights of man” to the whole of continental Europe by force of arms, at a cost of millions of lives.2

In 1790, a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, the Anglo-Irish thinker and Whig parliamentarian Edmund Burke composed his famous defense of the English constitutional tradition against the liberal doctrines of universal reason and universal rights, entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France. In one passage, Burke asserted that

Selden, and the other profoundly learned men, who drew this petition of right, were as well acquainted, at least, with all the general theories concerning the “rights of men” [as any defenders of the revolution in France]. . . . But, for reasons worthy of that practical wisdom which superseded their theoretic science, they preferred this positive, recorded, hereditary title to all which can be dear to the man and the citizen, to that vague speculative right, which exposed their sure inheritance to be scrambled for and torn to pieces by every wild, litigious spirit.

In this passage, Burke correctly emphasizes that Selden and the other great conservative figures of his day had been quite familiar with the “general theories concerning the ‘rights of men’” that had now been used to overthrow the state in France. He then goes on to endorse Selden’s argument that universal rights, since they are based only on reason rather than “positive, recorded, hereditary title,” can be said to give everyone a claim to absolutely anything. Adopting a political theory based on such universal rights has one obvious meaning: that the “sure inheritance” of one’s nation will immediately be “scrambled for and torn to pieces” by “every wild litigious spirit” who knows how to use universal rights to make ever new demands.

Burke’s argument is frequently quoted today by conservatives who assume that his target was Rousseau and his followers in France. But Burke’s attack was not primarily aimed at Rousseau, who had few enthusiasts in Britain or America at the time. The actual target of his attack was contemporary followers of Grotius and Locke—individuals such as Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Charles James Fox, Charles Grey, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Price, who was the explicit subject of Burke’s attack in the first pages of Reflections on the Revolution in France, had opened his Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776) with the assertion that “the principles on which I have argued form the foundation of every state as far as it is free; and are the same with those taught by Mr. Locke.” And much the same could be said of the others, all of whom followed Locke in claiming that the only true foundation for political and constitutional thought was precisely in those “general theories concerning the rights of men” that Burke believed would bring turmoil and death to one country after another.

The carnage taking place in France triggered a furious debate in England. It pitted supporters of the conservatism of Coke and Selden (both Whigs and Tories) against admirers of Locke’s universal rights theories (the so-called New Whigs). The conservatives insisted that these theories would uproot every traditional political and religious institution in England, just as they were doing in France. It is against the backdrop of this debate that Burke reportedly stated in Parliament that, of all the books ever written, the Second Treatise was “one of the worst.”

 Liberalism and Conservatism in America

Burke’s conservative defense of the traditional English constitution enjoyed a large measure of success in Britain, where it was continued after his death by figures such as Canning, Wellington, and Disraeli. That this is so is obvious from the fact that institutions such as the monarchy, the House of Lords, and the established Church of England, not to mention the common law itself, were able to withstand the gale winds of universal reason and universal rights, and to this day have their staunch supporters.

But what of America? Was the American revolution an upheaval based on Lockean universal reason and universal rights? To hear many conservatives talk today, one would think this were so, and that there never were any conservatives in the American mainstream, only liberals of different shades. The reality, however, was rather different. When the American English, as Burke called them, rebelled against the British monarch, there were already two distinct political theories expressed among the rebels, and the opposition between these two camps only grew with time.

First, there were those who admired the English constitution that they had inherited and studied. Believing they had been deprived of their rights under the English constitution, their aim was to regain these rights. Identifying themselves with the tradition of Coke and Selden, they hoped to achieve a victory against royal absolutism comparable to what their English forefathers had achieved in the Petition of Right and Bill of Rights. To individuals of this type, the word revolution still had its older meaning, invoking something that “revolves” and would, through their efforts, return to its rightful place—in effect, a restoration. Alexander Hamilton was probably the best-known exponent of this kind of conservative politics, telling the assembled delegates to the constitutional convention of 1787, for example, that “I believe the British government forms the best model the world ever produced.” Or, as John Dickinson told the convention: “Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not reason that discovered the singular and admirable mechanism of the English constitution…. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them.” And it is evident that they were quietly supported behind the scenes by other adherents of this view, among them the president of the convention, General George Washington.

Second, there were true revolutionaries, liberal followers of Locke such as Jefferson, who detested England and believed—just as the French followers of Rousseau believed—that the dictates of universal reason made the true rights of man evident to all. For them, the traditional English constitution was not the source of their freedoms but rather something to be swept away before the rights dictated by universal reason. And indeed, during the French Revolution, Jefferson and his supporters embraced it as a purer version of what the Americans had started. As he wrote in a notorious letter in 1793 justifying the revolution in France: “The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest. . . . [R]ather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.”

The tension between these conservative and liberal camps finds rather dramatic expression in America’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson in 1776, is famous for resorting, in its preamble, to the Lockean doctrine of universal rights as “self-evident” before the light of reason. Similarly, the Articles of Confederation, negotiated the following year as the constitution of the new United States of America, embody a radical break with the traditional English constitution. These Articles asserted the existence of thirteen independent states, at the same time establishing a weak representative assembly over them without even the power of taxation, and requiring assent by nine of thirteen states to enact policy. The Articles likewise made no attempt at all to balance the powers of this assembly, effectively an executive, with separate legislative or judicial branches of government.

The Articles of Confederation came close to destroying the United States. After a decade of disorder in both foreign and economic affairs, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution, drafted at a convention initiated by Hamilton and James Madison, and presided over by a watchful Washington, while Jefferson was away in France. Anyone comparing the Constitution that emerged with the earlier Articles of Confederation immediately recognizes that what took place at this convention was a reprise of the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Despite being adapted to the American context, the document that the convention produced proposed a restoration of the fundamental forms of the English constitution: a strong president, designated by an electoral college (in place of the hereditary monarchy); the president balanced in strikingly English fashion by a powerful bicameral legislature with the power of taxation and legislation; the division of the legislature between a quasi-aristocratic, appointed Senate and a popularly elected House; and an independent judiciary. Even the American Bill of Rights of 1789 is modeled upon the Petition of Right and the English Bill of Rights, largely elaborating the same rights that had been described by Coke and Selden and their followers, and breathing not a word anywhere about universal reason or universal rights.

The American Constitution did depart from the traditional English constitution, however, adapting it to local conditions on certain key points. The Americans, who had no nobility and no tradition of hereditary office, declined to institute these now. Moreover, the Constitution of 1787 allowed slavery, which was forbidden in England—a wretched innovation for which America would pay a price the framers could not have imagined in their wildest nightmares.

Another departure—or apparent departure—was the lack of a provision for a national church, enshrined in the First Amendment in the form of a prohibition on congressional legislation “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The English constitutional tradition, of course, gave a central role to the Protestant religion, which was held to be indispensable and inextricably tied to English identity (although not incompatible with a broad measure of toleration). But the British state, in certain respects federative, permitted separate, officially established national churches in Scotland and Ireland. This British acceptance of a diversity of established churches is partially echoed in the American Constitution, which permitted the respective states to support their own established churches, or to require that public offices in the state be held by Protestants or by Christians, well into the nineteenth century. When these facts are taken into account, the First Amendment appears less an attempt to put an end to established religion than a provision for keeping the peace among the states by delegating forms of religious establishment to the state level.

As early as 1802, however, Jefferson, now president, announced  that the First Amendment’s rejection of a national church in fact should be interpreted as an “act of the whole American people . . . building a wall of separation between church and state.” This characterization of the American Constitution as endorsing a “separation of church and state” was surely overwrought, and more compatible with French liberalism—which regarded public religion as abhorrent to reason—than with the actual place of state religion among “the whole American people” at the time. Yet on this point, Jefferson has emerged victorious. In the years that followed, his “wall of separation between church and state” interpretation was increasingly considered to be an integral part of the American Constitution, even if one that had not been included in the actual text.

Lockean liberalism grew increasingly dominant in America after Jefferson’s election. Hamilton’s death in a duel in 1804, at the age of 47, was an especially heavy blow that left American conservatism without its most able spokesman. Nevertheless, the tradition of Selden and Burke was taken up by Americans of the next generation, including two of the country’s most prominent jurists, New York chancellor James Kent (1763–1847) and Supreme Court justice Joseph Story (1779–1845). Story’s influence was especially significant. Although appointed to the Supreme Court by Jefferson in the hope of undermining Chief Justice John Marshall, Story’s opinions almost immediately displayed the opposite inclination, and continued to do so throughout his thirty-four-year tenure on the court. Perhaps Story’s greatest contribution to the American conservative tradition is his famous Commentaries on the Constitution (3 vols., 1833), which were dedicated to Marshall and went on to be the most important and influential interpretation of the American constitutional tradition in the nineteenth century. These were overtly conservative in spirit, citing Burke with approval and repeatedly criticizing not only Locke’s theories but Jefferson himself. Among other things, Story forcefully rejected Jefferson’s claim that the American founding had been based on universal rights determined by reason, emphasizing that it was the rights of the English traditional law that Americans had always recognized and continued to recognize. As he wrote:

[This] has been the uniform doctrine in America ever since the settlement of the colonies. The universal principle (and the practice has conformed to it) has been, that the common law is our birthright and inheritance, and that our ancestors brought hither with them upon their emigration all of it, which was applicable to their situation. The whole structure of our present jurisprudence stands upon the original foundations of the common law.

Regarding the American Constitution’s deviation from English tradition in the matter of a national religion, Story’s view was appropriately balanced. On the one hand, he confirmed “the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s conscience” as an integral part of the nation’s constitutional heritage. At the same time, he asserted the traditional Anglo-American conservative view that “the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well-being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice.” For this reason, he was confident that the ongoing circumstances of his day, in which some of the states continued to “support and sustain, in some form, the Christian religion,” as being “without the slightest suspicion that it was against the principles of public law or republican liberty.” Story thus recognized no wall of separation between the government and religion at the state level as being either required by the American constitution or desirable.

As for the breach in conservative principles that had opened up with the barring of an establishment of religion at the national level, Story wrote with prescient concern:

It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape.

Principles of the Conservative Tradition

As we have seen, the period between John Selden and Edmund Burke gave rise to two highly distinct and conflicting Anglo-American political traditions, conservative and liberal. Both were opposed to royal absolutism and devoted to freedom. But they were bitterly divided on theoretical grounds, as well as on a wide range of policy matters. Indeed, many of the principal issues that divided these two traditions continue to divide liberals and conservatives today.

What is the substance of the Anglo-American conservative political tradition? We can summarize the principles of conservatism as they appeared in the writings and deeds of the early architects of this tradition as follows:

(1) Historical Empiricism. The authority of government derives from constitutional traditions known, through the long historical experience of a given nation, to offer stability, well-being, and freedom. These traditions are refined through trial and error over many centuries, with repairs and improvements being introduced where necessary, while maintaining the integrity of the inherited national edifice as a whole. Such empiricism entails a skeptical standpoint with regard to the divine right of the rulers, the universal rights of man, or any other abstract, universal systems. Written documents express and consolidate the constitutional traditions of the nation, but they can neither capture nor define this political tradition in its entirety.

(2) Nationalism. The diversity of national experiences means that different nations will have different constitutional and religious traditions. The Anglo-American tradition harkens back to principles of a free and just national state, charting its own course without foreign interference, whose origin is in the Bible. These include a conception of the nation as arising out of diverse tribes, its unity anchored in common traditional law and religion. Such nationalism is not based on race, embracing new members who declare that “your people is my people, and your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16).

(3) Religion. The state upholds and honors the biblical God and religious practices common to the nation. These are the centerpiece of the national heritage and indispensable for justice and public morals. At the same time, the state offers wide toleration to religious and social views that do not endanger the integrity and well-being of the nation as a whole.

(4) Limited Executive Power. The powers of the king (or president) are limited by the laws of the nation, which he neither determines nor adjudicates. The powers of the king (or president) are limited by the representatives of the people, whose advice and consent he must obtain both respecting the laws and taxation.

(5) Individual Freedoms. The security of the individual’s life and property is mandated by God as the basis for a society that is both peaceful and prosperous, and is to be protected against arbitrary actions of the state. The ability of the nation to seek truth and conduct sound policy depends on freedom of speech and debate. These and other fundamental rights and liberties are guaranteed by law, and may be infringed upon only by due process of law.

These principles can serve as a useful summary of the conservative political tradition as it existed long before Locke and long before liberalism, serving as the basis for the restoration of the English constitution in 1689, and for the restoration that was the ratification of the American Constitution of 1787. Moreover, we see them as principles that we can affirm today, and which can serve as a sound basis for political conservatism in Britain, America, and other countries in our time.

Conservatism versus Liberalism in Current Affairs

How do these conservative principles conflict with those of liberalism? We understand the crucial differences between ourselves and our liberal friends in the following way:

Liberalism is a political doctrine based on the assumption that reason is everywhere the same and accessible, in principle, to all individuals; and that one need only consult reason to arrive at the one form of government that is everywhere the best, for all mankind. In its current form, liberalism asserts that this one best form of government is “liberal democracy.” This is a term popularized in the 1920s to describe a type kind of government that borrows certain principles from the earlier Anglo-American conservative tradition, including those limiting executive power and guaranteeing individual freedoms (Principles 4 and 5 above). But liberalism regards these principles as stand-alone entities, detachable from the broader Anglo-American tradition in which they arose. Liberals thus tend to have few, if any, qualms about discarding the national and religious foundations of Anglo-American government (Principles 2 and 3), regarding these as unnecessary, if not simply contrary to universal reason.

With Selden, we believe that, in their campaign for universal “liberal democracy,” liberals have confused certain historical-empirical principles of the traditional Anglo-American constitution, painstakingly developed and inculcated over centuries (Principle 1), for universal truths that are equally accessible to all human beings, regardless of historical or cultural circumstances. This means that, like all rationalists, they are engaged in applying local truths, which may hold good under certain conditions, to quite different situations and circumstances, where they often go badly wrong. For conservatives, these failures—for example, the repeated collapse of liberal constitutions in places such as Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, and Iraq, among many others—suggest that the principles in question have been overextended and should be regarded as true only within a narrower range of conditions. Liberals, on the other hand, explain such failures as a result of “poor implementation,” leaving liberal democracy as a universal truth that remains untouched by experience and unassailable, no matter what the circumstances.

The liberal assertion that Principles 4 and 5 are universal truths that are readily recognized by all human beings has had far-reaching consequences even in the United States and Britain. The fact is that what is now called “liberal democracy” refers not to the traditional Anglo-American constitution but to a rationalist reconstruction of it that has been entirely detached from the Protestant religion and the Anglo-American nationalist tradition.  Far from being a time-tested form of government, this liberal-democratic ideal is something new to both America and Britain, dating only from the mid-twentieth century. The claim that liberal-democratic regimes of this kind can be maintained for long without the conservative principles they have blithely discarded is a hypothesis now being tested for the first time. Those who believe that a favorable outcome of this experiment is assured draw this conclusion not from historical or empirical evidence, for we have none. Rather, their confidence derives from the closed Lockean-rationalist system that holds them captive, preventing them from being able to anticipate any of the other quite possible outcomes before us.

These pronounced differences between conservatives and liberals do not, of course, remain at the rarified level of political theory. They quickly lead to disagreements over proposed policy, expressed in somewhat different ways from one generation to the next. In our own day, we recognize the clash between conservatism and liberalism in the following areas, among others (here described only very briefly, and so in overly simple terms):

Liberal Empire. Because liberalism is thought to be a dictate of universal reason, liberals tend to believe that any country not already governed as a liberal democracy should be pressed—or even coerced—to adopt this form of government. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that different societies are held together and kept at peace in different ways, so that the universal application of liberal doctrines often brings collapse and chaos, doing more harm than good.

International Bodies. Similarly, liberals believe that, since liberal principles are universal, there is little harm done in reassigning the powers of government to international bodies. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that such international organizations possess no sound governing traditions and no loyalty to particular national populations that might restrain their spurious theorizing about universal rights. They therefore see such bodies as inevitably tending to arbitrariness and autocracy.

Immigration. Liberals believe that, since liberal principles are accessible to all, there is nothing to be feared in large-scale immigration from countries with national and religious traditions very different from ours. Conservatives see successful large-scale immigration as possible only where the immigrants are strongly motivated to integrate and assisted in assimilating the national traditions of their new home country. In the absence of these conditions, the result will be chronic intercultural tension and violence.

Law. Liberals regard the laws of a nation as emerging from the tension between positive law and the pronouncements of universal reason, as expressed by the courts. Conservatives reject the supposed universal reason of judges, which often amounts to little more than their succumbing to passing fashion. But conservatives also oppose an excessive regard for written documents, which leads, for example, to the liberal mythology of America as a “creedal nation” (or a “propositional nation”) created and defined solely by the products of abstract reason that are supposedly found in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Economy. Liberals regard the universal market economy, operating without regard to borders, as a dictate of universal reason and applicable equally to all nations. They therefore recognize no legitimate economic aims other than the creation of a “level field” on which all nations participate in accordance with universal, rational rules. Conservatives regard the market economy and free enterprise as indispensable for the advancement of the nation in its wealth and wellbeing. But they see economic arrangements as inevitably varying from one country to another, reflecting the particular historical experiences and innovations of each nation as it competes to gain advantage for its people.

Education. Liberals believe that schools should teach students to recognize the Lockean goods of liberty and equality as the universal aims of political order, and to see America’s founding political documents as having largely achieved these aims. Conservatives believe education should focus on the particular character of the Anglo-American constitutional and religious tradition, with its roots in the Bible, and on the way in which this tradition has given rise to a unique family of nations with a distinctive political thought and practice that has influenced the world.

Public Religion. Liberals believe that universal reason is the necessary and sufficient basis for just and moral government. This means that the religious traditions of the nation, which had earlier been the basis for a public understanding of justice and right, can be replaced in public discourse by universal reason itself. In its current form, liberalism asserts that all governments should embrace a Jeffersonian “wall separating church and state,” whose purpose is to banish the influence of religion from public life, relegating it to the private sphere. Conservatives hold that none of this is true. They see human reason as producing a constant profusion of ever-changing views concerning justice and morals—a fact that is evident today in the constant assertion of new and rapidly multiplying human rights. Conservatives hold that the only stable basis for national independence, justice, and public morals is a strong biblical tradition in government and public life. They reject the doctrine of separation of church and state, instead advocating an integration of religion into public life that also offers broad toleration of diverse religious views.

The Restoration of Conservatism?

Burke and Hamilton belonged to a generation that was still educated in the significance of the Anglo-American tradition as a whole. Only a few decades later, this had begun to change, and by the end of the nineteenth century, conservative views were increasingly in the minority and defensive both in Britain and America. But conservatism was really only broken in a decisive way by Franklin Roosevelt in America in 1932, and by Labour in Britain in 1945. At this point, socialism displaced liberalism as the worldview of the parties of the “Left,” driving some liberals to join with the last vestiges of the conservative tradition in the parties of the “Right.” In this environment, new leaders and movements did arise and succeed from time to time in raising the banner of Anglo-American conservatism once more. But these conservatives were living on a shattered political and philosophical landscape, having lost much of the chain of transmission that had connected earlier conservatives to their forefathers. Thus their roots remained shallow, and their victories, however impressive, brought about no long-term conservative restoration.

The most significant of these conservative revivals was, of course, the one that reached its peak in the 1980s under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher and Reagan were genuine and instinctive conservatives, displaying traditional Anglo-American conservative attachments to nation and religion, as well as to limited government and individual freedom. They also recognized and gave voice to the profound “special relationship” that binds Britain and America together. Coming to power at a time of deep crisis in the struggle against Communism, their renewed conservatism succeeded in winning the Cold War and freeing foreign nations from oppression, in addition to liberating their own economies, which had long been shackled by socialism. In both countries, these triumphs shifted political discourse rightward for a generation.

Yet the Reagan-Thatcher moment, for all its success, failed to touch the depths of the political culture in America and Britain. Confronted by a university system devoted almost exclusively to socialist and liberal theorizing, their movement at no point commanded the resources needed to revive Anglo-American conservatism as a genuine force in fundamental arenas such as jurisprudence, political theory, history, philosophy, and education—disciplines without which a true restoration was impossible. Throughout the conservative revival of the 1980s, academic training in government and political theory, for instance, continued to maintain its almost complete boycott of conservative thinkers such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale, just as it continued its boycott of the Bible as a source of English and American political principles. Similarly, academic jurisprudence remained a subject that is taught as a contest among abstract liberal theories. Education of this kind meant that a degree from a prestigious university all but guaranteed one’s ignorance of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, but only a handful of conservative intellectual figures, most visibly Russell Kirk and Irving Kristol, seem to have been alert to the seriousness of this problem. On the whole, the conservative revival of those years remained resolutely focused on the pressing policy issues of the day, leaving liberalism virtually unchallenged as the worldview that conservatives were taught at university or when they picked up a book on the history of ideas.

This is why conservative discourse today is so often just a pastiche of liberal themes and principles, with the occasional reference to Burke or Hamilton thrown in as a rhetorical ornament. We have not made the effort necessary to understand the intellectual and political heritage for which these great Anglo-American conservatives stood their ground, to know what it was and what it was about. As a consequence, conservatives remain uprooted from the wisdom of past generations and speak so unpersuasively when they talk of passing the tradition to future generations. For one cannot pass on what one does not have.

There may have been genuine advantages to soft-pedaling differences between conservatives and liberals until the 1980s, when all the strength that could be mustered had to be directed toward defeating Communism abroad and socialism at home. But we are no longer living in the 1980s. Those battles were won, and today we face new dangers. The most important among these is the inability of countries such as America and Britain, having been stripped of the nationalist and religious traditions that held them together for centuries, to sustain themselves while a universalist liberalism continues, year after year, to break down these historic foundations of their strength. Under such conditions of internal disintegration, there is a palpable danger that liberal rationalism, having established itself in a monopoly position in the state, will drive a broad public that cannot accept its regimented view of the world into the hands of genuinely authoritarian movements.

Liberals of various persuasions have, in their own way, sought to warn us about this, from Fareed Zakaria’s “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” in Foreign Affairs (1997) to the Economist’s “Illiberalism: Playing with Fear” (2016) and Commentary’s “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” mentioned earlier. These and many other publications have made intensive use of the term illiberal as an epithet to describe those who have strayed from the path of Lockean liberalism. In so doing, they divide the political universe into two: there are liberals—those decent persons who are willing to exercise reason in the universally accepted manner and come to the appropriate liberal conclusions; and there are those others—the “illiberals,” who, out of ignorance, resentment, or some atavistic hatred, will not get with the program. When things are divided up this way, the latter group ends up including everyone from Brexiteers, Trump supporters, Evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews to dictators, Iranian ayatollahs, and Nazis. Once things are framed in this way, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that everyone in that second group is in some degree a threat that must be combated.

We conservatives, however, have our own preferred division of the political universe: one in which Anglo-American conservatism appears as a distinct political category that is obviously neither authoritarian nor liberal. With the rest of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, we uphold the principles of limited government and individual liberties. But we also see clearly (again, in keeping with our conservative tradition) that the only forces that give the state its internal coherence and stability, holding limited government in place while staving off authoritarianism, are our nationalist and religious traditions. These nationalist and religious principles are not liberal. They are prior to liberalism, in conflict with liberalism, and presently being destroyed by liberalism.

Our world desperately needs to hear a clear conservative voice. Any continued confusion of conservative principles with the liberalism on our Left, or with the authoritarianism on our Right, can only do harm. The time has arrived when conservatives must speak in our own voice again. In doing so, we will discover that we can provide the political foundations that so many now seek, but have been unable to find.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume I, Number 2 (Summer 2017): 219–46.

Notes

Fortescue is now available in an easily readable edition, transcribed in modern English spelling. See John Fortescue, On the Laws and Governance of England, ed. Shelley Lockwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).2 Our account diverges here from that of Leo Strauss, who presents Rousseau as a critic of Locke and asserts that “the first crisis of modernity occurred in the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.” See Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), 252. Strauss is right in seeing Rousseau, especially in his Discourses, as demanding a return to the cohesive community of classical antiquity, as well as to the virtues that are required to maintain such social cohesion and to wage wars in defense of the community. But it is a mistake to regard this demand as initiating “the first crisis of modernity.” What is now regarded as political modernity is more accurately regarded as emerging from the conservative tradition represented by Fortescue, Coke, and Selden. The first crisis of modernity is that which universalist-rationalists such as Grotius and Locke initiate against this conservative tradition. In certain ways, Rousseau does side with earlier conservative tradition, which likewise held that Lockean rationalism would make social cohesion impossible and destroy the possibility of virtue. But while Rousseau believed he could revive social cohesion and virtue while retaining Locke’s liberal axioms as a point of departure, Anglo-American conservatism regards this entire effort as futile. The intractable contradictions in Rousseau’s thought derive from the fact that there is no way to square this circle. Once liberal axioms are accepted, there is neither any need for, nor any possibility of, the social cohesion and virtue that Rousseau insists are necessary. Rousseau’s “civil religion” and his nation-state have no hope of playing the role that the traditional religion and nation play in conservative thought. These are ersatz creations of the Lockean universe, in which Rousseau’s thought remains imprisoned.

Voir par ailleurs:

Why America Needs New Alliances

Yoram Hazony and Ofir Haivry
Wal Street Journal
June 11, 2019

President Trump is often accused of creating a needless rift with America’s European allies. The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, expressed a different view recently when he told a joint session of Congress: “Allies must spend more on defense—this has been the clear message from President Trump, and this message is having a real impact.”

Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks reflect a growing recognition that strategic and economic realities demand a drastic change in the way the U.S. conducts foreign policy. The unwanted cracks in the Atlantic alliance are primarily a consequence of European leaders, especially in Germany and France, wishing to continue living in a world that no longer exists. The U.S. cannot serve as the enforcer for the Europeans’ beloved “rules-based international order” any more. Even in the 1990s, it was doubtful the U.S. could indefinitely guarantee the security of all nations, paying for George H.W. Bush’s “new world order” principally with American soldiers’ lives and American taxpayers’ dollars.

Today a $22 trillion national debt and the voting public’s indifference to the dreams of world-wide liberal empire have depleted Washington’s ability to wage pricey foreign wars. At a time of escalating troubles at home, America’s estimated 800 overseas bases in 80 countries are coming to look like a bizarre misallocation of resources. And the U.S. is politically fragmented to an extent unseen in living memory, with uncertain implications in the event of a major war.

This explains why the U.S. has not sent massive, Iraq-style expeditionary forces to defend Ukraine’s integrity or impose order in Syria. If there’s trouble on Estonia’s border with Russia, would the U.S. have the will to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on an indefinite mission 85 miles from St. Petersburg? Although Estonia joined NATO in 2004, the certainties of 15 years ago have broken down.

On paper, America has defense alliances with dozens of countries. But these are the ghosts of a rivalry with the Soviet Union that ended three decades ago, or the result of often reckless policies adopted after 9/11. These so-called allies include Turkey and Pakistan, which share neither America’s values nor its interests, and cooperate with the U.S. only when it serves their purposes. Other “allies” refuse to develop a significant capacity for self-defense, and are thus more accurately regarded as American dependencies or protectorates.

Liberal internationalists are right about one thing, however: America cannot simply turn its back on the world. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 demonstrated that the U.S. can and will be targeted on its own soil. An American strategic posture aimed at minimizing the danger from rival powers needs to focus on deterring Russia and China from wars of expansion; weakening China relative to the U.S. and thereby preventing it from attaining dominance over the world economy; and keeping smaller hostile powers such as North Korea and Iran from obtaining the capacity to attack America or other democracies.

To attain these goals, the U.S. will need a new strategy that is far less costly than anything previous administrations contemplated. Mr. Trump has taken a step in the right direction by insisting that NATO allies “pay their fair share” of the budget for defending Europe, increasing defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product in accordance with NATO treaty obligations.

But this framing of the issue doesn’t convey the problem’s true nature or its severity. The real issue is that the U.S. can no longer afford to assume responsibility for defending entire regions if the people living in them aren’t willing and able to build up their own credible military deterrent.

The U.S. has a genuine interest, for example, in preventing the democratic nations of Eastern Europe from being absorbed into an aggressive Russian imperial state. But the principal interested parties aren’t Americans. The members of the Visegrád Group—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—have a combined population of 64 million and a 2017 GDP of $2 trillion (about 50% of Russia’s, according to CIA estimates). The principal strategic question is therefore whether these countries are willing to do what is necessary to maintain their own national independence. If they are—at a cost that could well exceed the 2% figure devised by NATO planners—then they could eventually shed their dependent status and come to the table as allies of the kind the U.S. could actually use: strong frontline partners in deterring Russian expansion.

The same is true in other regions. Rather than carelessly accumulate dependencies, the U.S. must ask where it can develop real allies—countries that share its commitment to a world of independent nations, pursue democratic self-determination (although not necessarily liberalism) at home, and are willing to pay the price for freedom by taking primary responsibility for their own defense and shouldering the human and economic costs involved.

Nations that demonstrate a commitment to these shared values and a willingness to fight when necessary should benefit from relations that may include the supply of advanced armaments and technologies, diplomatic cover in dealing with shared enemies, preferred partnership in trade, scientific and academic cooperation, and the joint development of new technologies. Fair-weather friends and free-riding dependencies should not.

Perhaps the most important candidate for such a strategic alliance is India. Long a dormant power afflicted by poverty, socialism and an ideology of “nonalignment,” India has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-expanding economies. In contrast to the political oppression of the Chinese communist model, India has succeeded in retaining much of its religious conservatism while becoming an open and diverse country—by far the world’s most populous democracy—with a solid parliamentary system at both the federal and state levels. India is threatened by Islamist terrorism, aided by neighboring Pakistan; as well as by rapidly increasing Chinese influence, emanating from the South China Sea, the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, where the Chinese navy has established its first overseas base.

India’s values, interests and growing wealth could establish an Indo-American alliance as the central pillar of a new alignment of democratic national states in Asia, including a strengthened Japan and Australia. But New Delhi remains suspicious of American intentions, and with good reason: Rather than unequivocally bet on an Indian partnership, the U.S. continues to play all sides, haphazardly switching from confrontation to cooperation with China, and competing with Beijing for influence in fanaticism-ridden Pakistan. The rationalizations for these counterproductive policies tend to focus on Pakistan’s supposed logistical contributions to the U.S. war in Afghanistan—an example of how tactical considerations and the demands of bogus allies can stand in the way of meeting even the most pressing strategic needs.

A similar confusion characterizes America’s relationship with Turkey. A U.S. ally during the Cold War, Turkey is now an expansionist Islamist power that has assisted the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al Qaeda and even ISIS; threatened Greece and Cyprus; sought Russian weapons; and recently expressed its willingness to attack U.S. forces in Syria. In reality, Turkey is no more an ally than Russia or China. Yet its formal status as the second-largest military in NATO guarantees that the alliance will continue to be preoccupied with pretense and make-believe, rather than the interests of democratic nations. Meanwhile, America’s most reliable Muslim allies, the Kurds, live under constant threat of Turkish invasion and massacre.

The Middle East is a difficult region, in which few players share American values and interests, although all of them—including Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Iran—are willing to benefit from U.S. arms, protection or cash. Here too Washington should seek alliances with national states that share at least some key values and are willing to shoulder most of the burden of defending themselves while fighting to contain Islamist radicalism. Such natural regional allies include Greece, Israel, Ethiopia and the Kurds.

A central question for a revitalized alliance of democratic nations is which way the winds will blow in Western Europe. For a generation after the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, U.S. administrations seemed willing to take responsibility for Europe’s security indefinitely. European elites grew accustomed to the idea that perpetual peace was at hand, devoting themselves to turning the EU into a borderless utopia with generous benefits for all.

But Europe has been corrupted by its dependence on the U.S. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest economic power (with a GDP larger than Russia’s), cannot field more than a handful of operational combat aircraft, tanks or submarines. Yet German leaders steadfastly resist American pressure for substantial increases in their country’s defense capabilities, telling interlocutors that the U.S. is ruining a beautiful friendship.

None of this is in America’s interest—and not only because the U.S. is stuck with the bill. When people live detached from reality, they develop all sorts of fanciful theories about how the world works. For decades, Europeans have been devising “transnationalist” fantasies to explain how their own supposed moral virtues, such as their rejection of borders, have brought them peace and prosperity. These ideas are then exported to the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world via international bodies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and other channels. Having subsidized the creation of a dependent socialist paradise in Europe, the U.S. now has to watch as the EU’s influence washes over America and other nations.

For the moment, it is hard to see Germany or Spain becoming American allies in the new, more realistic sense of the term we have proposed. France is a different case, maintaining significant military capabilities and a willingness to deploy them at times. But the governments of these and other Western European countries remain ideologically committed to transferring ever-greater powers to international bodies and to the concomitant degradation of national independence. That doesn’t make them America’s enemies, but neither are they partners in defending values such as national self-determination. It is difficult to foresee circumstances under which they would be willing or able to arm themselves in keeping with the actual security needs of an emerging alliance of independent democratic nations.

The prospects are better with respect to Britain, whose defense spending is already significantly higher, and whose public asserted a desire to regain independence in the Brexit referendum of 2016. With a population of more than 65 million and a GDP of $3 trillion (75% of Russia’s), the U.K. may yet become a principal partner in a leaner but more effective security architecture for the democratic world.

Isolationists are also right about one thing: The U.S. cannot be, and should not try to be, the world’s policeman. Yet it does have a role to play in awakening democratic nations from their dependence-induced torpor, and assisting those that are willing to make the transition to a new security architecture based on self-determination and self-reliance. An alliance including the U.S., the U.K. and the frontline Eastern European nations, as well as India, Israel, Japan and Australia, among others, would be strong enough to exert sustained pressure on China, Russia and hostile Islamist groups.

Helping these democratic nations become self-reliant regional actors would reduce America’s security burden, permitting it to close far-flung military installations and making American military intervention the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it would free American resources for the long struggle to deny China technological superiority, as well as for unforeseen emergencies that are certain to arise.

Voir aussi:

Jaco Gericke’s ‘The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion’

Yoram Hazony
Jerusalem letters
November 7, 2013

The universities are no “ivory tower.” They are more like radio towers, broadcasting certain ways of looking at the world into the society we live in. Of course, radio waves are difficult to detect. If you don’t know what to look for, you’ll think there’s nothing going on at all. And the same thing is true for the academic transmission of ideas, which takes place through the medium of our children. While at university, our children are immersed in a particular range of ideas, and it is ideas within this range that they usually end up seeing as normal and legitimate. Show me the ideas that are ascendant in the universities of America and Europe today, and I will show you the thoughts that will dominate public discourse throughout the Western world—including Israel, of course—a generation or two from now.

That’s why I like to keep track of trends in ideas at the universities, even in disciplines far removed from the things I am presently writing about myself. I like to know what is going to happen in the world. I like to know what everyone is going to be thinking a generation from now.

Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most important intellectual trends taking place in the universities right now is a pronounced shift toward a greater openness to the Hebrew Bible (“Tanach”), belief in God, and religion generally. This is happening slowly, but the indicators are clear. In a previous letter, I wrote about the rise of Christian theology as a legitimate discipline in mainstream philosophy departments. In this letter, I want to touch on another significant indicator in the same direction.

As is well known, university treatments of the Bible have for generations focused on attempts at reconstructing the compositional histories of various biblical texts. The devotion of vast resources to this project over the last two hundred years has yielded little in the way of firm answers as to how the Bible was really composed. But what it has done is to divert attention from what I take to be the most interesting and important parts of Biblical Studies: Figuring out the ideas that the Hebrew Scriptures were meant to bring into the world, and working out their place in the intellectual history of mankind down to our own day.

In the last generation, however, there has been a growing interest in academic scholarship aimed at trying to understand the ideas of the Bible—the metaphysics, theory of knowledge, ethics, and political thought that are in fact characteristic of the biblical worldview. Among the most recent entries in this project are my own The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture(Cambridge 2012)which has just won the second place award for best book in Theology and Religion in 2012 given by the Association of American Publishers, academic division; Dru Johnson’s Biblical Knowing (Wipf and Stock, 2013); and Jaco Gericke’s The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion (Society of Biblical Literature, 2012). The interest in such books by leading academic presses, at academic conferences, in academic journals, and on prize committees is a clear indication that something new and potentially quite significant is taking place.

Below is a review of Gericke’s book that I wrote at the request of the German theological journal Theologische Literaturzeitung, and which appeared in print a few weeks ago. But before getting into my thoughts on the book itself, I’d like to say a few words about its author, Jaco Gericke. Jaco (pronounced “Yaku”) is a young Old Testament scholar at North-West University in South Africa. He entered a graduate program in theology in order to become a Christian minister, but academic Bible study ended up destroying his Christian faith rather than deepening it. When he finished his Ph.D. in 2003, Jaco added an appendix to his doctoral dissertation called “Autobiography of a Died-Again Christian,” in which he declared the end of his allegiance with Christianity.

It is fascinating and painful reading. But perhaps more fascinating is what happened afterward. Over the next decade, Jaco gradually constructed a new agenda for his intellectual life. Boldly declaring that university “biblical scholars have not made a beginning in coming to terms with the conceptual content” of the Hebrew Scriptures—an assessment that is surely right—Jaco remade himself into an intellectual historian of the ideas of the Bible. His aim now is to try to initiate a “new era” in academic research and instruction into the Hebrew Bible by seeking an objective clarification of the philosophy explicit and implicit in the biblical texts.

I very much admire this fellow, whom I met this summer for the first time at a Bible conference organized by my new institute, the Herzl Institute / Machon Herzl in Jerusalem. I admire the fact that, unlike others who have broken with Christianity, Jaco has rebuilt his life so as to try and contribute something truly positive to our understanding of the Bible. He is back in the game, lecturing with a winning gentleness that masks an extraordinary passion to understand what the Bible really was all about.

Moved by his life’s journey and his academic work, I invited Jaco over for Shabbat and had him tell his story to my children. Changing what the Western world thinks of the Bible is a prodigious undertaking. It means moving a mountain. Yet in face to face conversation, you get the feeling that despite the disappointments he has experienced, or perhaps because of them, Jaco Gericke is someone who may be able to pull this off.

So here is my review of Gericke’s book, The Hebrew Bible and the Philosophy of Religion. His next book is going to be about the biblical God.

II.

In academia, philosophy and Bible studies tend to react to one another like oil and water. Each discipline possesses a finely tuned repertoire of arguments for why the other is not really relevant to its concerns. Some of these arguments go back centuries and speak to deeply held premises that guide scholars in each field. But Jacko Gericke wants to change all that, and his new book The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion presents a compelling case for why we would be better off if the wall separating the study of Hebrew Scripture from philosophical investigation were torn down.

Gericke’s book is in two parts: The first argues that philosophy (or more exactly, “philosophy of religion”) is crucial to the study of the Hebrew Bible. The second consists of case studies in the theology, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics of Hebrew Scripture, which seek to show that the theoretical discussion in the first half of the book is more than just talk. Both parts reflect a staggering quantity of reading in the relevant disciplines, and Gericke’s careful citations are going to be a crucial roadmap for anyone approaching the question of the relationship between Bible and philosophy from now on.

Are philosophical tools really crucial for the study of the Hebrew Bible? Gericke’s argument is refreshingly candid: The biblical texts, he says, are riddled with concepts and assumptions—“metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical assumptions about the nature of reality, existence, life, knowledge, truth, belief, good and evil, value, and so on”—that are different from our own. Without a conscious effort to reconstruct these concepts and assumptions, we cannot “prevent ourselves from reading our own anachronistic philosophical-theological assumptions into and onto the biblical discourse.” Tools for engaging in such philosophical reconstruction are familiar and are commonly employed by scholars who seek to describe the views of other ancient philosophies and religions, but “for a number of historical reasons, the study of ancient Israelite religion has been one of the few” such areas of study that have remained “utterly lacking in a philosophical approach.” Consequently, there exists a “yawning philosophical gap in research on the Hebrew Bible.”

Gericke believes that Old Testament scholars have frequently expended their energies on anachronistic readings that have forced the texts to express late theological conceptions that were entirely unknown to the biblical authors. His hope is that with the introduction of philosophical techniques for reconstructing the actual ideas found in the biblical texts, we can enter into a “new era” in the academic study of the Bible—“one in which both believer and skeptic can together read the ancient texts” from a “relatively neutral” perspective such as that which is normally accepted when approaching the study of Greek philosophy or any other ancient culture.

Gericke is at his best when he is cataloguing and demolishing various anachronisms that have been dragged into current readings of the Hebrew Bible from medieval or modern theology. Among these are “dualist metaphysical assumptions,” including the distinctions between supernatural and naturaltranscendent and immanentreality and appearance,religious and secular. The absence of such oppositions means, for example, that the Bible knows of no “other” world, and that gods, far from being “ineffable,” are for the biblical authors a “natural kind.” Similarly, Gericke turns time and again to debunking the claims of “perfect being” theology to be describing the God of Hebrew Scripture. He shows that medieval conceptions of God’s perfection are responsible for creating the so-called “problem of evil,” and that theodicy in the modern sense is unknown in the Hebrew Scriptures because the biblical God is not assumed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, or all-good. Gericke also questions whether the biblical authors would have recognized a distinction between “revelation” and “nature,” and suggests that in biblical narrative, worldly events may have been accepted as evidence that God has “spoken.”

Gericke offers some powerful constructive arguments, especially in the area of ethics. He rejects the common belief that the biblical ethics is a form of “divine command theory” (i.e., that God’s will defines what is morally right), and shows convincingly that the Bible assumes a standard of right that is independent of God’s will. But he is not as confident in his claims about biblical metaphysics and epistemology. For instance, Gericke makes a great case for the need for a careful clarification of the biblical concept of a “god,” but the results of his study on the subject are inconclusive. His tentative suggestion that the authors of the biblical narratives may have known that what they were writing was fiction covers old ground, and I don’t think Gericke’s version of this proposal is any more persuasive than its predecessors. A more credible and interesting suggestion, also presented tentatively, is that the biblical texts tend to rely on an evidentialist theory of knowledge—that is, the view that one’s beliefs can only be justified by evidence.

Overall, Gericke’s case studies are more successful in clarifying what the Bible does not say than in reconstructing what it does. I don’t see this as an objection to the book. Gericke says his constructive proposals are preliminary. His principal aim is to propose a research agenda that will introduce profound changes in the way the Hebrew Bible is studied and taught in the university setting, and to describe methods by which this agenda can be pursued. And this he does in a manner that is compelling and much needed.

I do have some questions about the way Gericke frames his vision for a “new era” in Bible scholarship. In particular, I wonder at Gericke’s references to the “folk philosophical presuppositions” of the biblical texts, and to their “precritical” or “prephilosophical” character. Occasionally, he will also mention that the texts are “naïve” or “primitive” as well. All of this makes it sound as though the authors of the Bible were only capable of dim premonitions concerning the metaphysical or ethical issues that we later readers are fortunate enough to have firmly in our grasp.

But if Gericke is right that modern “biblical scholars have not made a beginning in coming to terms with the conceptual content” of the Hebrew Bible, then all these judgments about the supposedly naïve and uncritical nature of biblical thought may be premature. Perhaps an impartial philosophical elucidation of the Hebrew Bible such as Gericke proposes will lead to the conclusion that the prophets and scholars who assembled these texts were in fact quite conscious of the positions they were advancing in opposition to their surroundings and to one another? Perhaps what Gericke is calling the “philosophical assumptions” of the biblical texts, or at least some of them, are actually the intended philosophical teachings of these works? Indeed, the fact that such a possibility is so foreign to so many scholars may be a consequence of the very same prejudices that Gericke is at such pains to combat.

This is a wonderful book, brimming with intellectual energy. I cannot help marveling at the love of the Hebrew Bible that Gericke continues to exhibit, given the pain and disappointments in his personal spiritual life, which he is trusting enough to mention to his readers in passing. I have no doubt that there will be others who will be moved by the vision he articulates, and who will wish to take part in pursuing it.

Voir enfin:

Trump’s Tweetstorm Correctly Linked Anti-Americanism to Antisemitism
President Donald Trump’s tweets on Sunday drew predictable condemnation. But aside from the partisan debate about whether they were racist, they contained an important truth: hatred of Jews and hatred of America are linked
Caroline Glick
Breitbart
17 Jul 2019

Trump told the so-called “squad” of radical Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — they could leave the country if they hate it so much. He drew criticism because he said that they came from foreign countries; in fact, only Omar did.

But Trump also highlighted a basic fact about the nature of leftist ideology. Just as the Iranian regime views the United States and Israel as two sides of the same coin, with the ayatollahs dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan” and Israel, “the Little Satan,” so the radical left views the U.S. and Israel – the most powerful democracy in the world and the only democracy in the Middle East – as states with no moral foundation for existing.

Although other presidents have spoken out against hatred of Jews and Israel on the one hand and hatred of America on the other, it is hard to think of another example of a U.S. leader making the case that the two hatreds are linked as Trump did this week.

This is important, because they are linked. The haters see both America and the Jews as all-powerful forces who use their power to bend the world to their nefarious, avaricious, greedy aims. They stereotype both Americans and pro-Israel and traditional Jews as vulgar and fascist.

Pew Research Center studies of European perspectives on Jews and Americans show a massive overlap between anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-American ones. As the American left has become more radical, it has also become more aligned with those toxic European attitudes towards both the United States and Israel.

One example is evident at the U.S.-Mexico border. The left’s opposition to enforcing American immigration laws goes hand-in-hand with the view that the Jewish people have no right to national self-determination in their homeland and that the Jewish state has no right to exist. As political philosopher Yoram Hazony argued in his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, nationalism — and, indeed, the concept of a nation itself — is a biblical concept. The nation of Israel is the first nation. And the American Founding Fathers’ conception of the United States and the American nation was rooted in the biblical concept of nationhood and nationalism of the Jews.

Hazony contends that anti-nationalism is both inherently antisemitic and anti-American. And it is also imperialist. Anti-nationalists support international and transnational legal constructs and institutions that deny distinct nations large and small the ability to determine their own unique course in the world. As repositories of the concept of distinct nations, nation-states are, in Hazony’s view, inherently freer and more cohesive societies than imperialist societies that insist that one-size-fits-all and that there are people better equipped than the people themselves to decide what is good for them.

As Trump tweeted, the four sirens of the socialist revolution are a dire threat to the Democratic Party. By embracing the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib with their repeated statements against the United States, Jews and Israel and their tolerance for terrorist groups and terrorists, and by embracing Ocasio-Cortez who likens America to Nazi Germany, replete with “concentration camps,” the Democratic Party is indeed embracing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

And, as Trump tweeted, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans — and certainly not the president — who are making Israel a partisan issue. They are doing so by abandoning Israel and embracing antisemitic conceptions of nationalism and of the Jewish and American nations.

Trump’s tweet storm, however controversial, showed that he is personally committed to fighting hatred of Jews and Israel. As he was being targeted as a racist by Democrats, the Department of Justice was holding a conference on combatting antisemitism. The conference, which placed a spotlight on campus antisemitism, did not shy away from discussing and condemning antisemitism on the left as well as on the right, and Islamic antisemitism.

In his remarks before the conference, Attorney General Willian Barr discussed the galloping hostility Jewish students face in U.S. universities today.

In his words, “On college campuses today, Jewish students who support Israel are frequently targeted for harassment, Jewish student organizations are marginalized, and progressive Jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and their heritage in order to be part of ‘intersectional’ causes.”

He added: “We must ensure for the future of our country and our society – that college campuses remain open to ideological diversity and respectful of people of all faiths.”

In her remarks at the Justice Department conference, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos championed Israel, and discussed actions her department is taking to combat campus antisemitism and specifically the so-called “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel and its American supporters.

In DeVos’s words, the BDS campaign is “one of the most pernicious threats” of antisemitism on college campuses.

“These bullies claim they stand for human rights, but we all known that BDS stands for antisemitism,” she said.

She noted that education department intervention forced Williams College to cancel an antisemitic ruling against a Jewish campus group, and that the department is currently investigating the use of federal funds by Duke University and the University of North Carolina to finance a conference featuring antisemitic and pro-terror speakers.

It is a testament to the left’s increasing embrace of anti-Jewish bigotry, and its rejection of America’s right to borders, — and through them, to self-government and self-determination — that Trump is being branded a racist for standing up to these distressing trends.

And it is a testament to Trump’s moral courage that he is willing to speak the truth about antisemitism and anti-Americanism even at the cost of wall-to-wall calumny by Democrats and the media.


Martin Luther King Day: Attention, un faux peut en cacher un autre ! (Fraud fit for a King: Israel, anti-zionism and the misuse of MLK)

21 janvier, 2019
Jews-and-Civil-RightsLe rabbin Abraham Joshua Heschel (deuxième à droite), lors de la marche à Selma avec le Révérend Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunche, le républicain John Lewis, le révérend Fred Shuttlesworth et le révérend CT Vivian. (Crédit : Autorisation de Susannah Heschel)
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/IWCYJpSJaQY/hqdefault.jpg

Image result for LETJUSTICE ROLLS DOWN LIKE WATERS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS LIKE A MIGHTY STREAM aMOS 5

Ne parlez pas comme ça. Quand des gens critiquent les sionistes ils veulent parler des Juifs. Ce que vous dites là, c’est de l’antisémitisme ! Martin Luther King
Je ne sais pas ce qui va arriver maintenant. Nous avons devant nous des journées difficiles. Mais peu m’importe ce qui va m’arriver, car je suis allé jusqu’au sommet de la montagne. Je ne m’inquiète plus. Comme tout le monde, je voudrais vivre longtemps. La longévité a son prix. Mais je ne m’en soucie guère. Je veux simplement que la volonté de Dieu soit faite. Et il m’a permis d’atteindre le sommet de la montagne. J’ai regardé autour de moi. Et j’ai vu la Terre promise. Il se peut que je n’y pénètre pas avec vous. Mais je veux vous faire savoir, ce soir, que notre peuple atteindra la Terre promise. Je suis heureux, ce soir. Je ne m’inquiète de rien. Je ne crains aucun homme. Mes yeux ont vu la gloire de la venue du Seigneur. Martin Luther King
Whenever I return to the New England states, I never feel like a stranger because I’ve spent some three or four years in this area attending Boston University and Harvard University, so I feel like I’m coming home when I come back this way. (..) Now tonight I would like to use as a subject the question of progress in the area of race relations for indeed that is a desperate question on the lips of  hundreds and thousands of people all over our nation, indeed, people all over the world. They’re asking from time to time whether there has been any real progress in the area of race relations in the United States. There are three possible answers to the question of progress in the area of race relations. First, that is the attitude of extreme optimism. The extreme optimist would contend that we have made marvelous strides in the area of race relations. He would point proudly to the gains that have been made in the area of civil rights over the last few decades. And from this, the extreme optimist would conclude that the problem is just about solved now and that we can sit down comfortably by the wayside and wait on the coming of the inevitable. The second attitude that can be taken is that of extreme pessimism. The extreme pessimist would contend that we have made only minor strides in the area of race relations. He would argue that the deep rumblings of discontent from the South, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and the birth of white citizens councils and the presence of Federal troops in Little Rock, Arkansas are all indicative of the fact that we have retrogressed rather than progressed, that we have created many more problems than we have solved. At times, he would get a little intellectual in his analysis and in his pessimistic conclusions. He may for instance turn to the realms of theology and seek to argue that hovering over every man is the tragic taint of original sin and he would misuse this doctrine to argue that at bottom human nature cannot be changed. He may even move to the realms of psychology and seek to show the determinative effects of certain habit structures and attitudes once they have been molded. And from all of this he would conclude that there can be no progress in the area of race relations. Now what is interesting to notice is that the extreme optimist and the extreme pessimist agree on at least one point. They would both argue that we must sit down and do nothing in the area of race relations. The extreme optimist would say: ‘do nothing because integration is inevitable’. The extreme pessimist would say: ‘do nothing because integration is impossible’. But there is a third position that can be taken, namely the realistic position. The realist in this area seeks to combine the truths of two opposites while avoiding the extremes of both. So he would agree with the optimist that we have come a long, long way. But he would seek to balance that by agreeing with the pessimist that we have a long, long way to go. And it is this realistic position that I would like to use as a basis for our thinking together this evening. We have come a long, long way but realism impels us to admit that we have a long, long way to go. Martin Luther King
I think that the situation with the Negro people in this country is analogous to what happened with the Israelites in Egypt. They too had to wait for a leader, and I think all of us will agree that they have found this leader in Dr. Martin Luther King. Rabbi Klein (Temple Emanuel)
President Nasser of Egypt has initiated a blockade of an international waterway, the Straits of Tiran, Israel’s sea lane to Africa and Asia. This blockade may lead to a major conflagration. The Middle East has been an area of tension due to the threat of continuing terrorist attacks, as well as the recent Arab military mobilization along Israel’s borders. Let us recall that Israel is a new nation whose people are still recovering from the horror and decimation of the European holocaust. (…) We call on our fellow Americans of all persuasions and groupings and on the administration to support the independence, integrity, and freedom of Israel. Men of conscience all over the world bear a moral responsibility to support Israel’s right of passage through the Straits of Tiran. Pétition signée par Martin Luther King (The Moral Responsibility in the Middle East, NYT, 28.05.1967)
What is saddening is that respected public leaders like Martin Luther King who have courageously opposed American actions in Vietnam should now associate themselves with vague calls for American intervention on behalf of Israel. Letter to NYT (June 2, 1967)
Did you see the ad in the New York Times Sunday ? Th is was the ad they got me to sign with Bennett, etc. I really hadn’t seen the statement. I felt after seeing it, it was a little unbalanced and it is pro-Israel. It put us in the position almost of setting the turning-hawks on the Middle East while being doves in Vietnam and I wouldn’t have given a statement like that at all. Martin Luther King
The statement I signed in the N.Y. Times as you know was agree d with by a lot of people in the Jewish community. But there was those in the negro community [who] have been disappointed. SNCC for one has been very critical. The problem was that the N.Y. Times played it up as a total endorsement of Israel. What they printed up wasn’t the complete text, even the introduction wasn’t the text. I can’t back up on the statement now, my problem is whether I should make another statement, or maybe I could just avoid making a statement. I don’t want to make a statement that backs up on me; that wouldn’t be good. Well, what do you think? Martin Luther King
Well, I think these guarantees should all be worked out by the United Nations. I would hope that all of the nations, and particularly the Soviet Union and the United States, and I would say France and Great Britain, these four powers can really determine how that situation is going. I think the Israelis will have to have access to the Gulf of Aqaba. I mean the very survival of Israel may well depend on access to not only the Suez Canal, but the Gulf and the Strait of Tiran. These things are very important. But I think for the ultimate peace and security of the situation it will probably be necessary for Israel to give up this conquered territory because to hold on to it will only exacerbate the tensions and deepen the bitterness of the Arabs. Martin Luther King
I’d run into the situation where I’m damned if I say this and I’m damned if I say that no matter what I’d say, and I’ve already faced enough criticism including pro-Arab.(…) I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt. (…) most of it [the pilgrimage] would be Jerusalem and they [the Israelis] have annexed Jerusalem, and any way you say it they don’t plan to give it up. (…) I frankly have to admit that my instincts, and when I follow my instincts so to speak I’m usually right. . . . I just think that this would be a great mistake. I don’t think I could come out unscathed. Martin Luther King
It is with the deepest regret that I cancel my proposed pilgrimage to the Holy Land for this year, but the constant turmoil in the Middle East makes it extremely difficult to conduct a religious pilgrimage free of both political overtones and the fear of danger to the participants. Actually, I am aware that the danger is almost non-existent, but to the ordinary citizen who seldom goes abroad, the daily headlines of border clashes and propaganda statements produces a fear of danger which is insurmountable on the American scene. Martin Luther King (Letter to Mordechai Ben-Ami, the president of the Israeli airline El Al)
That a man like Martin Luther King could stand so openly with Israel, despite his own private qualms and criticism by younger, more radical, black Americans who had discovered the plight of the Palestinians, indicated the degree to which Zionism was embraced by the American mainstream. . . . One of the ways [King] reciprocated Jewish American support for desegregation in the United States was by turning a blind eye to the plight of the Palestinians. Ussama Makdisi (2010)
Israel does many bad things but it does not get reprimanded. (…) Israel is very strong, [Malaysians] cannot do much against it, but they do not have to demonstrate affection to it. The world is talking about freedom of speech, but whenever we say anything against Israel and the Jews, it is considered antisemitism. It is my right to criticize Israel for its policy regarding the Palestinians and say they do many bad things. Mahathir Bin Mohamad
Every January, with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday just around the corner, I have come to expect someone to misuse the good doctor’s words so as to push an agenda he would not likely have supported. (…) And yet (…) the one thing I never expected anyone to do would be to just make up a quote from King; a quote that he simply never said, and claim that it came from a letter that he never wrote, and was published in a collection of his essays that never existed. Frankly, this level of deception is something special. The hoax of which I speak is one currently making the rounds on the Internet, which claims to prove King’s steadfast support for Zionism. Indeed, it does more than that. In the item, entitled “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” King proclaims that criticism of Zionism is tantamount to anti-Semitism, and likens those who criticize Jewish nationalism as manifested in Israel, to those who would seek to trample the rights of blacks. Heady stuff indeed, and 100% bullshit, as any amateur fact checker could ascertain were they so inclined. But of course, the kinds of folks who push an ideology that required the expulsion of three-quarters-of-a-million Palestinians from their lands, and then lied about it, claiming there had been no such persons to begin with (as with Golda Meir’s infamous quip), can’t be expected to place a very high premium on truth. I learned this the hard way recently, when the Des Moines Jewish Federation succeeded in getting me yanked from the city’s MLK day events: two speeches I had been scheduled to give on behalf of the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ). Because of my criticisms of Israel—and because I as a Jew am on record opposing Zionism philosophically—the Des Moines shtetl decided I was unfit to speak at an MLK event. After sending the supposed King quote around, and threatening to pull out all monies from the Jewish community for future NCCJ events, I was dropped. The attack of course was based on a distortion of my own beliefs as well. Federation principal Mark Finkelstein claimed I had shown a disregard for the well-being of Jews, despite the fact that my argument has long been that Zionism in practice has made world Jewry less safe than ever. But it was his duplicity on King’s views that was most disturbing. Though Finkelstein only recited one line from King’s supposed “letter” on Zionism, he lifted it from the larger letter, which appears to have originated with Rabbi Marc Schneier, who quotes from it in his 1999 book, “Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Jewish Community.” Therein, one finds such over-the-top rhetoric as this: “I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews—this is God’s own truth.” The letter also was filled with grammatical errors that any halfway literate reader of King’s work should have known disqualified him from being its author, to wit: “Anti-Zionist is inherently anti Semitic, and ever will be so.” The treatise, it is claimed, was published on page 76 of the August, 1967 edition of Saturday Review, and supposedly can also be read in the collection of King’s work entitled, This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That the claimants never mention the publisher of this collection should have been a clear tip-off that it might not be genuine, and indeed it isn’t. The book doesn’t exist. As for Saturday Review, there were four issues in August of 1967. Two of the four editions contained a page 76. One of the pages 76 contains classified ads and the other contained a review of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album. No King letter anywhere. Yet its lack of authenticity hasn’t prevented it from having a long shelf-life. Not only does it pop up in the Schneier book, but sections of it were read by the Anti-Defamation League’s Michael Salberg in testimony before a House Subcommittee in July of 2001, and all manner of pro-Israel groups (from traditional Zionists to right-wing Likudites, to Christians who support ingathering Jews to Israel so as to prompt Jesus’ return), have used the piece on their websites. In truth, King appears never to have made any public comment about Zionism per se; and the only known statement he ever made on the topic, made privately to a handful of people, is a far cry from what he is purported to have said in the so-called “Letter to an Anti-Zionist friend.” In 1968, according to Seymour Martin Lipset, King was in Boston and attended a dinner in Cambridge along with Lipset himself and a number of black students. After the dinner, a young man apparently made a fairly harsh remark attacking Zionists as people, to which King responded: “Don’t talk like that. When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking Anti-Semitism.” Assuming this quote to be genuine, it is still far from the ideological endorsement of Zionism as theory or practice that was evidenced in the phony letter. After all, to respond to a harsh statement about individuals who are Zionists with the warning that such language is usually a cover for anti-Jewish bias is understandable. More than that, the comment was no doubt true for most, especially in 1968. It is a statement of opinion as to what people are thinking when they say a certain thing. It is not a statement as to the inherent validity or perfidy of a worldview or its effects. (…) So yes, King was quick to admonish one person who expressed hostility to Zionists as people. But he did not claim that opposition to Zionism was inherently anti-Semitic. And for those who criticize Zionism today and who like me are Jewish, to believe that we mean to attack Jews, as Jews, when we speak out against Israel and Zionism is absurd. As for King’s public position on Israel, it was quite limited and hardly formed a cornerstone of his worldview. In a meeting with Jewish leaders a few weeks before his death, King noted that peace for Israelis and Arabs were both important concerns. According to King, “peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity.” But such a statement says nothing about how Israel should be constituted, nor addresses the Palestinians at all, whose lives and challenges were hardly on the world’s radar screen in 1968. At the time, Israel’s concern was hostility from Egypt; and of course all would agree that any nation has the right not to be attacked by a neighbor. The U.S. had a right not to be attacked by the Soviet Union too—as King would have no doubt agreed, thereby affirming the United States’ right to exist. But would anyone claim that such a sentiment would have implied the right of the U.S. to exist as it did, say in 1957 or 1961, under segregation? Of course not. So too Israel. Its right to exist in the sense of not being violently destroyed by hostile forces does not mean the right to exist as a Jewish state per se, as opposed to the state of all its citizens. It does not mean the right to laws granting special privileges to Jews from around the world, over indigenous Arabs. It should also be noted that in the same paragraph where King reiterated his support for Israel’s right to exist, he also proclaimed the importance of massive public assistance to Middle Eastern Arabs, in the form of a Marshall Plan, so as to counter the poverty and desperation that often leads to hostility and violence towards Israeli Jews. This part of King’s position is typically ignored by the organized Jewish community, of course, even though it was just as important to King as Israel’s territorial integrity. As for what King would say today about Israel, Zionism, and the Palestinian struggle, one can only speculate. (…) But one thing is for sure. While King would no doubt roundly condemn Palestinian violence against innocent civilians, he would also condemn the state violence of Israel. He would condemn launching missile attacks against entire neighborhoods in order to flush out a handful of wanted terrorists. He would oppose the handing out of machine guns to religious fanatics from Brooklyn who move to the territories and proclaim their God-given right to the land, and the right to run Arabs out of their neighborhoods, or fence them off, or discriminate against them in a multitude of ways. He would oppose the unequal rationing of water resources between Jews and Arabs that is Israeli policy. He would oppose the degrading checkpoints through which Palestinian workers must pass to get to their jobs, or back to their homes after a long day of work. He would oppose the policy which allows IDF officers to shoot children throwing rocks, as young as age twelve. In other words, he would likely criticize the working out of Zionism on the ground, as it has actually developed in the real world, as opposed to the world of theory and speculation. These things seem imminently clear from any honest reading of his work or examination of his life. He would be a broker for peace. And it is a tragedy that instead of King himself, we are burdened with charlatans like those at the ADL, or the Des Moines Jewish Federation, or Rabbis like Marc Schneier who think nothing of speaking for the genuine article, in a voice not his own. Tim Wise
Ils ont oublié quel pays ils représentent. Nous sommes aux Etats-Unis où le boycott est un droit et fait partie de notre combat historique pour la liberté et l’égalité. Rashida Tlaib
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed the war, and more than 400,000 American service members were in Vietnam, their lives on the line. Many of King’s strongest allies urged him to remain silent about the war or at least to soft-pedal any criticism. They knew that if he told the whole truth about the unjust and disastrous war he would be falsely labeled a Communist, suffer retaliation and severe backlash, alienate supporters and threaten the fragile progress of the civil rights movement. King rejected all the well-meaning advice and said, “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” Quoting a statement by the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, he said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal” and added, “that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.” It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine. I have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States. Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns. Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers. Reading King’s speech at Riverside more than 50 years later, I am left with little doubt that his teachings and message require us to speak out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks and despite the complexity of the issues. King argued, when speaking of Vietnam, that even “when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict,” we must not be mesmerized by uncertainty. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.” And so, if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face. We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the U.S. government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the U.S. government has pledged in military support to Israel. And finally, we must, with as much courage and conviction as we can muster, speak out against the system of legal discrimination that exists inside Israel, a system complete with, according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians — such as the new nation-state law that says explicitly that only Jewish Israelis have the right of self-determination in Israel, ignoring the rights of the Arab minority that makes up 21 percent of the population. Of course, there will be those who say that we can’t know for sure what King would do or think regarding Israel-Palestine today. That is true. The evidence regarding King’s views on Israel is complicated and contradictory. Although the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee denounced Israel’s actions against Palestinians, King found himself conflicted. Like many black leaders of the time, he recognized European Jewry as a persecuted, oppressed and homeless people striving to build a nation of their own, and he wanted to show solidarity with the Jewish community, which had been a critically important ally in the civil rights movement. Ultimately, King canceled a pilgrimage to Israel in 1967 after Israel captured the West Bank. During a phone call about the visit with his advisers, he said, “I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt.” He continued to support Israel’s right to exist but also said on national television that it would be necessary for Israel to return parts of its conquered territory to achieve true peace and security and to avoid exacerbating the conflict. There was no way King could publicly reconcile his commitment to nonviolence and justice for all people, everywhere, with what had transpired after the 1967 war. Today, we can only speculate about where King would stand. Yet I find myself in agreement with the historian Robin D.G. Kelley, who concluded that, if King had the opportunity to study the current situation in the same way he had studied Vietnam, “his unequivocal opposition to violence, colonialism, racism and militarism would have made him an incisive critic of Israel’s current policies.” Indeed, King’s views may have evolved alongside many other spiritually grounded thinkers, like Rabbi Brian Walt, who has spoken publicly about the reasons that he abandoned his faith in what he viewed as political Zionism. (…) During more than 20 visits to the West Bank and Gaza, he saw horrific human rights abuses, including Palestinian homes being bulldozed while people cried — children’s toys strewn over one demolished site — and saw Palestinian lands being confiscated to make way for new illegal settlements subsidized by the Israeli government. He was forced to reckon with the reality that these demolitions, settlements and acts of violent dispossession were not rogue moves, but fully supported and enabled by the Israeli military. For him, the turning point was witnessing legalized discrimination against Palestinians — including streets for Jews only — which, he said, was worse in some ways than what he had witnessed as a boy in South Africa. (…) Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, aims to educate the American public about “the forced displacement of approximately 750,000 Palestinians that began with Israel’s establishment and that continues to this day.” (…) In view of these developments, it seems the days when critiques of Zionism and the actions of the State of Israel can be written off as anti-Semitism are coming to an end. There seems to be increased understanding that criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government is not, in itself, anti-Semitic. (…) the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (…) declared in a riveting speech last year that we cannot talk about justice without addressing the displacement of native peoples, the systemic racism of colonialism and the injustice of government repression. In the same breath he said: “I want to say, as clearly as I know how, that the humanity and the dignity of any person or people cannot in any way diminish the humanity and dignity of another person or another people. To hold fast to the image of God in every person is to insist that the Palestinian child is as precious as the Jewish child.” Guided by this kind of moral clarity, faith groups are taking action. In 2016, the pension board of the United Methodist Church excluded from its multibillion-dollar pension fund Israeli banks whose loans for settlement construction violate international law. Similarly, the United Church of Christ the year before passed a resolution calling for divestments and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Even in Congress, change is on the horizon. For the first time, two sitting members, Representatives Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2017, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, introduced a resolution to ensure that no U.S. military aid went to support Israel’s juvenile military detention system. Israel regularly prosecutes Palestinian children detainees in the occupied territories in military court. None of this is to say that the tide has turned entirely or that retaliation has ceased against those who express strong support for Palestinian rights. To the contrary, just as King received fierce, overwhelming criticism for his speech condemning the Vietnam War — 168 major newspapers, including The Times, denounced the address the following day — those who speak publicly in support of the liberation of the Palestinian people still risk condemnation and backlash. Bahia Amawi, an American speech pathologist of Palestinian descent, was recently terminated for refusing to sign a contract that contains an anti-boycott pledge stating that she does not, and will not, participate in boycotting the State of Israel. In November, Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for giving a speech in support of Palestinian rights that was grossly misinterpreted as expressing support for violence. Canary Mission continues to pose a serious threat to student activists. And just over a week ago, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, apparently under pressure mainly from segments of the Jewish community and others, rescinded an honor it bestowed upon the civil rights icon Angela Davis, who has been a vocal critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and supports B.D.S. But that attack backfired. Within 48 hours, academics and activists had mobilized in response. The mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, as well as the Birmingham School Board and the City Council, expressed outrage at the institute’s decision. The council unanimously passed a resolution in Davis’ honor, and an alternative event is being organized to celebrate her decades-long commitment to liberation for all. I cannot say for certain that King would applaud Birmingham for its zealous defense of Angela Davis’s solidarity with Palestinian people. But I do. In this new year, I aim to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom. My conscience leaves me no other choice. Michelle Alexander
In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides. Most of Israel’s wars haven’t been fought against Palestinians. Since the invasion of five Arab armies at the declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948, the Palestinians have made up a small number of the combatants facing the country. To someone here, zooming in to frame our problem as an Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes as much sense as describing the “America-Italy conflict” of 1944. American G.I.s were indeed dying in Italy that year, but an American instinctively knows that this can be understood only by seeing it as one small part of World War II. The actions of Americans in Italy can’t be explained without Japan, or without Germany, Russia, Britain and the numerous actors and sub-conflicts making up the larger war. Over the decades when Arab nationalism was the region’s dominant ideology, Israeli soldiers faced Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Iraqis. Today Israel’s most potent enemy is the Shiite theocracy in Iran, which is more than 1,000 miles away and isn’t Palestinian (or Arab). The gravest threat to Israel at close range is Hezbollah on our northern border, an army of Lebanese Shiites founded and funded by the IraniansThe antiaircraft batteries of the Russians, Iran’s patrons, already cover much of our airspace from their new Syrian positions. A threat of a lesser order is posed by Hamas, which is Palestinian — but was founded as the local incarnation of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, affiliated with the regional wave of Sunni radicalism, kept afloat with . Qatari cash and backed by Iran. If you see only an “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict, then nothing that Israelis do makes sense. (That’s why Israel’s enemies prefer this framing.) In this tightly cropped frame, Israelis are stronger, more prosperous and more numerous. The fears affecting big decisions, like what to do about the military occupation in the West Bank, seem unwarranted if Israel is indeed the far more powerful party. That’s not the way Israelis see it. Many here believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened around us in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors, Syria and Iraq, into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. When I look at the West Bank as an Israeli, I see 2.5 million Palestinian civilians living under military rule, with all the misery that entails. I’m seeing the many grave errors our governments have made in handling the territory and its residents, the construction of civilian settlements chief among them. But because I’m zoomed out, I’m also seeing Hezbollah (not Palestinian), and the Russians and Iranians (not Palestinian), and the Islamic State-affiliated insurgents (not Palestinian) on our border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. I’m considering the disastrous result of the power vacuum in Syria, which is a 90-minute drive from the West Bank. In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea — “like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation — if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm. But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen. The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunni and Shiite; between majority populations and minorities. If our small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now. Misunderstanding the predicament of Israelis and Palestinians as a problem that can be solved by an agreement between them means missing modest steps that might help people here. Could Israel, as some centrist strategists here recently suggested, freeze and shrink most civilian settlements while leaving the military in place for now? How can the greatest number of Palestinians be freed from friction with Israelis without creating a power vacuum that will bring the regional war to our doorstep? These questions can be addressed only if it’s clear what we’re talking about. Abandoning the pleasures of the simple story for the confusing realities of the bigger picture is emotionally unsatisfying. An observer is denied a clear villain or an ideal solution. But it does make events here comprehensible, and it will encourage Western policymakers to abandon fantastic visions in favor of a more reasonable grasp of what’s possible. And that, in turn, might lead to some tangible improvements in a world that could use fewer illusions and wiser leaders. Matti Friedman
In the past ten years, (…) we have seen an emerging new, new anti-Semitism. It is likely to become far more pernicious than both the old-right and new-left versions, because it is not just an insidiously progressive phenomenon. It has also become deeply embedded in popular culture and is now rebranded with acceptable cool among America’s historically ignorant youth. In particular, the new, new bigotry is “intersectional.” It serves as a unifying progressive bond among “marginalized” groups such as young Middle Easterners, Muslims, feminists, blacks, woke celebrities and entertainers, socialists, the “undocumented,” and student activists. Abroad, the new, new bigotry is fueled by British Labourites and anti-Israel EU grandees. Of course, the new, new anti-Semitism’s overt messages derive from both the old and the new. There is the same conspiratorial idea that the Jews covertly and underhandedly exert inordinate control over Americans (perhaps now as grasping sports-franchise owners or greedy hip-hop record executives). But the new, new anti-Semitism has added a number of subtler twists, namely that Jews are part of the old guard whose anachronistic standards of privilege block the emerging new constituency of woke Muslims, blacks, Latinos, and feminists. Within the Democratic party, such animus is manifested by young woke politicians facing an old white hierarchy. Progressive activist Linda Sarsour oddly singled out for censure Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, saying, “I’m talking to Chuck Schumer. I’m tired of white men negotiating on the backs of people of color and communities like ours.” In attacking Schumer, ostensibly a fellow progressive, Sarsour is claiming an intersectional bond forged in mutual victimization by whites — and thus older liberal Jews apparently either cannot conceive of such victimization or in fact are party to it. With a brief tweet, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez dismissed former Democratic senator Joe Lieberman’s worry over the current leftward drift of the new Democratic party. “New party, who dis?” she mocked, apparently suggesting that the 76-year-old former Democratic vice-presidential candidate was irrelevant to the point of nonexistence for the new progressive generation. Likewise, the generic invective against Trump — perhaps the most pro-Israel and pro-Jewish president of the modern era — as an anti-Semite and racist provides additional cover. Hating the supposedly Jew-hating Trump implies that you are not a Jew-hater yourself. Rap and hip-hop music now routinely incorporate anti-Semitic lyrics and themes of Jews as oppressors — note the lyrics of rappers such as Malice, Pusha T, The Clipse, Ghostface Killah, Gunplay, Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Mos Def, and Scarface. More recently, LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend, tweeted out the anti-Semitic lyrics of rapper 21 Savage: “We been getting that Jewish money, everything is Kosher.” LeBron was puzzled about why anyone would take offense, much less question him, a deified figure. He has a point, given that singling out Jews as money-grubbers, cheats, and conspirators has become a sort of rap brand, integral to the notion of the rapper as Everyman’s pushback against the universal oppressor. The music executive and franchise owner is the new Pawnbroker, and his demonization is often cast as no big deal at best and at worst as a sort of legitimate cry of the heart from the oppressed. Note that marquee black leaders — from Keith Ellison to Barack Obama to the grandees of the Congressional Black Caucus — have all had smiling photo-ops with the anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, a contemporary black version of Richard Spencer or the 1980s David Duke. Appearing with Farrakhan, however, never became toxic, even after he once publicly warned Jews, “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” Temple professor, former CNN analyst, and self-described path-breaking intellectual Marc Lamont Hill recently parroted the Hamas slogan of “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” — boilerplate generally taken to mean that the goal is the destruction of the current nation of Israel. And here, too, it’s understandable that Hill was shocked at the ensuing outrage — talk of eliminating Israel is hardly controversial in hip left-wing culture. The Democratic party’s fresh crop of representatives likewise reflects the new, new and mainlined biases, camouflaged in virulent anti-Israeli sentiment. Or, as Princeton scholar Robert George recently put it: The Left calls the tune, and just as the Left settled in on abortion in the early 1970s and marriage redefinition in the ’90s, it has now settled in on opposition to Israel – not merely the policies of its government, but its very existence as a Jewish state and homeland of the Jewish people. In that vein, Michigan’s new congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, assumed she’d face little pushback from her party when she tweeted out the old slur that Jewish supporters of Israel have dual loyalties: Opponents of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, which targets Israel, “forgot what country they represent,” she said. Ironically, Tlaib is not shy about her own spirited support of the Palestinians: She earlier had won some attention for an eliminationist map in her office that had the label “Palestine” pasted onto the Middle East, with an arrow pointing to Israel. Similarly, Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) — like Tlaib, a new female Muslim representative in the House — used to be candid in her views of Israel as an “apartheid regime”: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” On matters of apartheid, one wonders whether Omar would prefer to be an Arab citizen inside “evil” Israel or an Israeli currently living in Saudi Arabia or Egypt. Sarsour defended Omar with the usual anti-Israel talking points, in her now obsessive fashion. Predictably, her targets were old-style Jewish Democrats. This criticism of Omar, Sarsour said, “is not only coming from the right-wing but [from] some folks who masquerade as progressives but always choose their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.” Again, note the anti-Semitic idea that support for the only functioning democracy in the Middle East is proof of lackluster support for democracy and free speech. Out on the barricades, some Democrats, feminists, and Muslim activists, such as the co-founders of the “Women’s March,” Tamika Mallory and the now familiar Sarsour, have been staunch supporters of Louis Farrakhan (Mallory, for example, called him “the greatest of all time”). The New York Times recently ran a story of rivalries within the Women’s March, reporting that Mallory and Carmen Perez, a Latina activist, lectured another would-be co-leader, Vanessa Wruble, about her Jewish burdens. Wruble later noted: “What I remember — and what I was taken aback by — was the idea that Jews were specifically involved, and predominantly involved, in the slave trade, and that Jews make a lot of money off of black and brown bodies.” Progressive icon Alice Walker was recently asked by the New York Times to cite her favorite bedtime reading. She enjoyed And the Truth Will Set You Free, by anti-Semite crackpot David Icke, she said, because the book was “brave enough to ask the questions others fear to ask” and was “a curious person’s dream come true.” One wonders which “questions” needed asking, and what exactly was Walker’s “dream” that had come “true.” When called out on Walker’s preference for Icke (who in the past has relied on the 19th-century Russian forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in part to construct an unhinged conspiracy about ruling “lizard people”), the Times demurred, with a shrug: It did not censor its respondents’ comments, it said, or editorialize about them. These examples from contemporary popular culture, sports, politics, music, and progressive activism could be easily multiplied. The new, new anti-Semites do not see themselves as giving new life to an ancient pathological hatred; they’re only voicing claims of the victims themselves against their supposed oppressors. The new, new anti-Semites’ venom is contextualized as an “intersectional” defense from the hip, the young, and the woke against a Jewish component of privileged white establishmentarians — which explains why the bigoted are so surprised that anyone would be offended by their slurs. In our illiterate and historically ignorant era, the new, new hip anti-Semitism becomes a more challenging menace than that posed by prior buffoons in bedsheets or the clownish demagogues of the 1980s such as the once-rotund Al Sharpton in sweatpants. And how weird that a growing trademark of the new path-breaking identity politics is the old stereotypical dislike of Jews and hatred of Israel. Victor Davis Hanson
Nous tenons à vous informer que la « Lettre à un Ami Antisioniste »… prétendument écrite par le Dr Martin Luther King Jr, est, selon toute vraisemblance, un faux, bien que le message qui est à la base de la lettre ait été indéniablement exprimé par Martin Luther King Jr, lors d’une intervention de 1968, à Harvard, au cours de laquelle il a dit: « Quand les gens critiquent les Sionistes, ils parlent des juifs. Votre propos est antisémite ». (…) A l’origine, nous avions de forts doutes concernant l’authenticité de la « Lettre à un Ami Antisioniste », parce que le style du premier paragraphe semblait presque un pastiche de celui du discours du Dr King, « J’ai fait un rêve… ». En outre, nous n’avons trouvé aucune référence à la lettre avant 1999, ce qui était bizarre, car ce texte est une dénonciation si sensationnelle de l’antisionisme, qu’il aurait dû être largement cité. Mais, ensuite, nous avons trouvé la « lettre » dans le livre respectable de Rabbi Marc Schneier, publié en 1999 (« Shared Dreams » [Rêves partagés]), dont la préface était écrite par Martin Luther III. Etant donné que la famille King a la réputation d’être extrêmement attentive à l’héritage du Dr King, nous supposions qu’elle avait vérifié la fiabilité du livre avant de l’approuver. En outre, nous avions découvert que des citations de la « lettre » avaient été faites, le 31 juillet 2001, par Michael Salberg, de l’Anti-Defamation League, lors d’un témoignage devant le sous-Comité des Opérations Internationales et des Droits de l’Homme de la Commission pour les Relations internationales de la Chambre des Représentants des Etats-Unis. La même « source » où il était question de cette « lettre » (Saturday Review, août 1967), mentionnée dans le livre de Schneier, était également citée dans le témoignage. Comme beaucoup de membres de l’Anti-Defamation League avaient effectivement collaboré avec Martin Luther King Jr dans la lutte pour les droits civils, nous avons à nouveau supposé qu’ils étaient très bien informés de l’ouvrage concernant King et qu’ils avaient vérifié de manière approfondie tout ce qu’ils avaient choisi d’exposer devant le Congrès. Néanmoins, comme nous ne nous fions pas, en règle générale, aux recherches effectuées par quelqu’un d’autre, nous avons décidé de procéder à une contre-vérification, en examinant les anciens numéros de Saturday Review (le livre de Rabbi Schneier indiquait que la « lettre » avait été publiée dans l’édition d’août 1967 de la revue). Mais voilà, cette lettre ne figure pas dans les numéros d’août, outre que la page et le numéro de volume cités ne correspondent pas à ceux qu’utilise cette publication. CAMERA a également effectué une vérification auprès de l’Université de Boston, qui conserve les archives de l’œuvre du Dr King. Les archivistes ne sont pas davantage parvenus à localiser cette lettre. Force nous est de conclure que la lettre en question n’a pas été écrite par le Dr King. (Veuillez noter que nous ne suggérons pas que la « lettre » contrefaite soit l’œuvre de Rabbi Schneier.) Du fait que le message de la lettre (l’antisionisme est de l’antisémitisme) était bien celui qu’avait exprimé Martin Luther King Jr, nous pouvons comprendre que la famille de King et l’anti-Defamation League, n’aient pas éprouvé le besoin de vérifier la « Lettre à un ami antisioniste ». Cet épisode nous rappelle qu’il est important de vérifier l’authenticité et l’exactitude des sources, même quand elles semblent solides. Ci-après, une libre opinion, en date du 21 janvier 2002, du député républicain John Lewis, qui a travaillé en contact étroit avec le Dr King. Dans son article, il partage le point de vue du Dr King sur Israël, insistant sur la nature démocratique d’Israël et son besoin de sécurité. Il rapporte également que le Dr King a dit : « Quand les gens critiquent les Sionistes, ils veulent dire les Juifs, votre propos est antisémite. » Lee Green
Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge. This was an experience which was at once fascinating and moving: one witnessed Dr. King in action in a way one never got to see in public. He wanted to find what the Negro students at Harvard and other parts of the Boston area were thinking about various issues, and he very subtly cross-examined them for well over an hour and a half. He asked questions, and said very little himself. One of the young men present happened to make some remark against the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Seymour Martin Lipset
In 1966, King entered an agreement to lead a Holy Land pilgrimage, in partnership with Sandy Ray, pastor of a Baptist church in Brooklyn, who took up the promotion of the trip. King’s assistant, Andrew Young, visited Israel and Jordan in late 1966 to do advance planning with Jordanian and Israeli authorities. The pilgrimage was rumored to be in the works from that time, and King received letters of encouragement and invitations from the prime ministers of Israel and Jordan, and from the Israeli and Jordanian mayors of divided Jerusalem. On May 16, 1967, King publicly announced the plan at a news conference, reported by the New York Times the following day. The pilgrimage would take place in November, and King insisted that it would have no political significance whatsoever. The organizers hoped to attract five thousand participants, with the aim of generating revenue for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC). King was slated to preach on the Mount of Olives in Jordanian East Jerusalem (November 14), and at a specially constructed amphitheater near Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee in Israel (November 16). The pilgrims would pass from Jordan to Israel through the Man – delbaum Gate in Jerusalem. King, who knew the situation on the ground, thought he could strike just the right balance between Israel and Jordan. The Six-Day War threw a wrench into the plan. (…) King’s careful maneuvering before, during, and after the Six-Day War demonstrated a much deeper understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict than critics credit him with possessing. The two Palestinian-Americans who sought to dismiss the Cambridge quote suggested that the conflict “was probably not a subject he was well-versed on,” and that his public statements in praise of Israel “surely do not sound like the words of someone familiar with both sides of the story.” Not so. King had been to the Arab world, had a full grasp of the positions of the sides, and was wary of the possible pitfalls of favoring one over the other. He struck a delicate balance, speaking out or staying silent after careful assessments made in consultation with advisers who had their ears to the ground—Levison and Wachtel (both non-Zionists) in the Jewish community, and Andrew Young, whom King dispatched to the Middle East as his emissary. For this reason, it is an offense to history, if not to King’s memory, whenever someone today summons King’s ghost to offer unqualified support to Israel or the Palestinians. King understood moral complexity, he knew that millions waited upon his words, and he sought to resolve conflict, not accentuate it. The pursuit of an elusive balance marked his approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict while he lived. There is no obvious reason to presume he would have acted differently, had he lived longer. Martin Kramer
Aptly quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. is a common way to make a point or win an argument, and it’s no surprise that his new memorial in Washington includes an “Inscription Wall” of quotes carved in stone. It’s also no surprise that the quote about critics of Zionists didn’t make the cut for inclusion in the memorial. Still, it’s been put to use on many an occasion, most recently by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, in his address to the Knesset on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few years back it even cropped up in a State Department report on antisemitism. So I was perplexed to see it categorized as “disputed” on the extensive page of King quotes at Wikiquote—for better or worse, the go-to place to verify quotes. Indeed, as of this writing, it’s the only King quote so listed. The attempt to discredit the quote has been driven by politics. In particular, it’s the work of Palestinians and their sympathizers, who resent the stigmatizing of anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism. (…) King’s words were first reported by Seymour Martin Lipset, at that time the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, in an article he published in the magazine Encounter in December 1969—that is, in the year following King’s assassination. (…) For the next three-plus decades, no one challenged the credibility of this account. No wonder: Lipset, author of the classic Political Man (1960), was an eminent authority on American politics and society, who later became the only scholar ever to preside over both the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association. Who if not Lipset could be counted upon to report an event accurately? Nor was he quoting something said in confidence only to him or far back in time. Others were present at the same dinner, and Lipset wrote about it not long after the fact. He also told the anecdote in a magazine that must have had many subscribers in Cambridge, some of whom might have shared his “fascinating and moving” experience. The idea that he would have fabricated or falsified any aspect of this account would have seemed preposterous. That is, until almost four decades later, when two Palestinian-American activists suggested just that. Lipset’s account, they wrote, “seems on its face… credible.” There are still, however, a few reasons for casting doubt on the authenticity of this statement. According to the Harvard Crimson, “The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967” (“While You Were Away” 4/8/68). If this is true, Dr. King could not have been in Cambridge in 1968. Lipset stated he was in the area for a “fund-raising mission,” which would seem to imply a high profile visit. Also, an intensive inventory of publications by Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project accounts for numerous speeches in 1968. None of them are for talks in Cambridge or Boston. The timing of this doubt-casting, in 2004, was opportune: Lipset was probably unaware of it and certainly unable to respond to it. He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 2001, which left him immobile and speech-impaired. (He died of another stroke in 2006, at the age of 84.) Since then, others have reinforced the doubt, noting that Lipset gave “what seemed to be a lot of information on the background to the King quote, but without providing a single concrete, verifiable detail.” For just these reasons, the quote reported by Lipset was demoted to “disputed” status on King’s entry at Wikiquote. (…) Bear in mind Lipset’s precise testimony: King rebuked the student at a dinner in Cambridge “shortly before” King’s assassination, during a fundraising mission to Boston. It’s important to note that Lipset didn’t place the dinner in 1968. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, so “shortly before” could just as well have referred to the last months of 1967. In fact, King did come to Boston for the purposes of fundraising in late 1967—specifically, on Friday, October 27. Boston was the last stop in a week-long series of benefit concerts given by Harry Belafonte for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Here’s an advertisement for that tour, from the magazine Jet. In the archives of NBC, there is a clip of King greeting the audience at the Boston concert. The Boston Globe also reported King’s remarks and the benefit concert on its front page the next morning. Greetings by Martin Luther King, Jr., sandwiched between an introduction by Sidney Poitier and an act by Harry Belafonte, before 9,000 people in Boston Garden—it’s difficult to imagine any appearance more “high profile” than that. And the dinner in Cambridge? When King was assassinated, the Crimson, Harvard’s student newspaper, did write that he “was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967.” That had been a very public visit, during which King and Dr. Benjamin Spock held a press conference to announce plans for a “Vietnam Summer.” War supporters picketed King. But in actual fact, that wasn’t King’s last visit to Cambridge. In early October 1967, when news spread that King would be coming to Boston for the Belafonte concert, a junior member of Harvard’s faculty wrote to King from Cambridge, to extend an invitation from the instructor and his wife (…) Two days later, King’s secretary, Dora McDonald, sent a reply accepting the invitation on King’s behalf: “Dr. King asked me to say that he would be happy to have dinner with you.” King would be arriving in Boston at 2:43 in the afternoon. “Accompanying Dr. King will be Rev. Andrew Young, Rev. Bernard Lee and I.” Who was this member of the Harvard faculty? Martin Peretz. (…) But as Peretz noted in his invitation, “much has happened in recent months,” necessitating “some honest and tough and friendly dialogue.” Peretz was then (as he is today) an ardent supporter of Israel. The Six-Day War, only four months earlier, threatened to drive a wedge between those Jews and African-Americans, allied in common causes, who differed profoundly over the Middle East. The culmination came in August, when the radical Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) issued a newsletter claiming that “Zionist terror gangs” had “deliberately slaughtered and mutilated women, children and men, thereby causing the unarmed Arabs to panic, flee and leave their homes in the hands of the Zionist-Israeli forces.” The newsletter also denounced “the Rothschilds, who have long controlled the wealth of many European nations, [who] were involved in the original conspiracy with the British to create the ‘State of Israel’ and [who] are still among Israel’s chief supporters.” Peretz, who a few years earlier had been a supporter of SNCC, condemned the newsletter as vicious antisemitism, and Jewish supporters of the civil rights movement looked to King and the SCLC to do the same. It was against this background that King came to dinner at the Peretz home at 20 Larchwood Drive, Cambridge, in the early evening of October 27, 1967. A few days later, King’s aide, Andrew Young, thanked the couple for the delightful evening last Friday. (…) In fact, the evening’s significance would only become evident later, after King’s death. For the dinner was attended by Peretz’s senior Harvard colleague, Seymour Martin Lipset, and it was then and there that Lipset heard King rebuke a student who echoed the SNCC line on “Zionists”: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Peretz would later assert that King “grasped the identity between anti-Israel politics and anti-semitic ranting.” But it was Lipset who preserved King’s words to that effect, by publishing them soon after they were spoken. (And just to run the contemporary record against memory, I wrote to Peretz, to ask whether the much-quoted exchange did take place at his Cambridge home on that evening almost 45 years ago. His answer: “Absolutely.” I’ve written twice to Andrew Young to ask whether he has any recollection of the episode. I haven’t yet received a response.) Little more than five months after the Cambridge dinner, King lay dead, felled by an assassin in Memphis. (Peretz delivered a eulogy at the remembrance service in Harvard’s Memorial Church.) There’s plenty of room to debate the meaning of King’s words at the Cambridge dinner, and I’ve only hinted at their context. But the suggestion that King couldn’t possibly have spoken them, because he wasn’t in or near Cambridge when he was supposed to have said them, is now shown to be baseless. Lipset: “Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge.” Every particular of this statement is now corroborated by a wealth of detail. We now have a date, an approximate time of day, and a street address for the Cambridge dinner, all attested by contemporary documents. So will the guardians of Wikiquote redeem this quote from the purgatory of “disputed”? Let’s see if they have the decency to clear an eminent scholar of the suspicion of falsification, suggested by persons whose own sloppy inferences have been exposed as false. Martin Kramer

Attention: un faux peut en cacher un autre !

En ce nouveau Martin Luther King Day …

Qui aurait été son 90e anniversaire …

Et qui face à son lot habituel de reprises plus ou moins apocryphes de ses paroles …

Dont des citations bibliques sur des monuments publics mais aussi une prétendue Lettre à un ami antisioniste

Et entre une condamnation d’un chef d’Etat musulman et celle d’une membre musulmane du Congrès américain

Ne devrait pas manquer à l’instar de cette tribune du NYT il y a deux jours …

D’attribuer au vénéré pasteur de putatitves condamnations des prétendues exactions de l’Etat juif …

Qui se souvient …

Que suite à une tribune qu’il avait un peu rapidement signée avec ses nombreux soutiens juifs dans le NYT à la veille de la Guerre des Six jours il y a 50 ans …

Celui-ci se voyait accuser, comme le rappelait un historien palestino-américain il y a quelques années, de « soutenir si ouvertement Israël » ?

Mais surtout qui rappelle …

Avec l’historien américain Martin Kramer

Que jusqu’à annuler au dernier moment une visite en Terre sainte prévue de longue date …

Celui-ci avait en fait une position beaucoup plus équilibrée de la question ?

In the words of Martin Luther King…

Martin Kramer

Sandbox

March 12, 2012

“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Aptly quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. is a common way to make a point or win an argument, and it’s no surprise that his new memorial in Washington includes an “Inscription Wall” of quotes carved in stone. It’s also no surprise that the quote about critics of Zionists didn’t make the cut for inclusion in the memorial. Still, it’s been put to use on many an occasion, most recently by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, in his address to the Knesset on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few years back it even cropped up in a State Department report on antisemitism. So I was perplexed to see it categorized as “disputed” on the extensive page of King quotes at Wikiquote—for better or worse, the go-to place to verify quotes. Indeed, as of this writing, it’s the only King quote so listed.

The attempt to discredit the quote has been driven by politics. In particular, it’s the work of Palestinians and their sympathizers, who resent the stigmatizing of anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism. Just what sort of anti-Zionism crosses that fine line is a question beyond my scope here. But what of the quote itself? How was it first circulated? What is the evidence against it? And might some additional evidence resolve the question of its authenticity?

A repugnant suggestion

King’s words were first reported by Seymour Martin Lipset, at that time the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, in an article he published in the magazine Encounter in December 1969—that is, in the year following King’s assassination. Lipset:

Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge. This was an experience which was at once fascinating and moving: one witnessed Dr. King in action in a way one never got to see in public. He wanted to find what the Negro students at Harvard and other parts of the Boston area were thinking about various issues, and he very subtly cross-examined them for well over an hour and a half. He asked questions, and said very little himself. One of the young men present happened to make some remark against the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!”

For the next three-plus decades, no one challenged the credibility of this account. No wonder: Lipset, author of the classic Political Man (1960), was an eminent authority on American politics and society, who later became the only scholar ever to preside over both the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association. Who if not Lipset could be counted upon to report an event accurately? Nor was he quoting something said in confidence only to him or far back in time. Others were present at the same dinner, and Lipset wrote about it not long after the fact. He also told the anecdote in a magazine that must have had many subscribers in Cambridge, some of whom might have shared his “fascinating and moving” experience. The idea that he would have fabricated or falsified any aspect of this account would have seemed preposterous.

That is, until almost four decades later, when two Palestinian-American activists suggested just that. Lipset’s account, they wrote, “seems on its face… credible.”

There are still, however, a few reasons for casting doubt on the authenticity of this statement. According to the Harvard Crimson, “The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967” (“While You Were Away” 4/8/68). If this is true, Dr. King could not have been in Cambridge in 1968. Lipset stated he was in the area for a “fund-raising mission,” which would seem to imply a high profile visit. Also, an intensive inventory of publications by Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project accounts for numerous speeches in 1968. None of them are for talks in Cambridge or Boston.

The timing of this doubt-casting, in 2004, was opportune: Lipset was probably unaware of it and certainly unable to respond to it. He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 2001, which left him immobile and speech-impaired. (He died of another stroke in 2006, at the age of 84.) Since then, others have reinforced the doubt, noting that Lipset gave “what seemed to be a lot of information on the background to the King quote, but without providing a single concrete, verifiable detail.” For just these reasons, the quote reported by Lipset was demoted to “disputed” status on King’s entry at Wikiquote.

To all intents and purposes, this constitutes an assertion that Lipset might have fabricated both the occasion and the quote. To Lipset’s many students and colleagues, the mere suggestion is undoubtedly repugnant and perhaps unworthy of a response. But I’m not a student or colleague, nor did I know Lipset personally, so it seemed to me a worthy challenge to see whether I could verify Lipset’s account. Here are the results.

One Friday evening

Bear in mind Lipset’s precise testimony: King rebuked the student at a dinner in Cambridge “shortly before” King’s assassination, during a fundraising mission to Boston. It’s important to note that Lipset didn’t place the dinner in 1968. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, so “shortly before” could just as well have referred to the last months of 1967.

In fact, King did come to Boston for the purposes of fundraising in late 1967—specifically, on Friday, October 27. Boston was the last stop in a week-long series of benefit concerts given by Harry Belafonte for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Here’s an advertisement for that tour, from the magazine Jet.

In the archives of NBC, there is a clip of King greeting the audience at the Boston concert. The Boston Globe also reported King’s remarks and the benefit concert on its front page the next morning. Greetings by Martin Luther King, Jr., sandwiched between an introduction by Sidney Poitier and an act by Harry Belafonte, before 9,000 people in Boston Garden—it’s difficult to imagine any appearance more “high profile” than that.

And the dinner in Cambridge? When King was assassinated, the Crimson, Harvard’s student newspaper, did write that he “was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967.” That had been a very public visit, during which King and Dr. Benjamin Spock held a press conference to announce plans for a “Vietnam Summer.” War supporters picketed King.

But in actual fact, that wasn’t King’s last visit to Cambridge. In early October 1967, when news spread that King would be coming to Boston for the Belafonte concert, a junior member of Harvard’s faculty wrote to King from Cambridge, to extend an invitation from the instructor and his wife:

We would be anxious to be able to sit down and have a somewhat leisured meal with you, and perhaps with some other few people from this area whom you might like to meet. So much has happened in recent months that we are both quite without bearings, and are in need of some honest and tough and friendly dialogue…. So if you can find some time for dinner on Friday or lunch on Saturday, we are delighted to extend an invitation. If, however, your schedules do not permit, we of course will understand that. In any case, we look forward to seeing you at the Belafonte Concert and the party afterwards.

Two days later, King’s secretary, Dora McDonald, sent a reply accepting the invitation on King’s behalf: “Dr. King asked me to say that he would be happy to have dinner with you.” King would be arriving in Boston at 2:43 in the afternoon. “Accompanying Dr. King will be Rev. Andrew Young, Rev. Bernard Lee and I.”

Who was this member of the Harvard faculty? Martin Peretz.

This requires a bit of a digression. In October 1967, Peretz was a 29-year-old instructor of Social Studies at Harvard and an antiwar New Leftist. Four months earlier, he had married Anne Farnsworth, heiress to a sewing machine fortune. (Here are the Peretzes in Harvard Yard, just a few years later.) Even before their marriage, the couple had made the civil rights movement one of their causes, and Farnsworth had become a top-tier donor to the SCLC. A year earlier, Peretz had informed King that a luncheon with him was “one of the high points of my life”—and that “arrangements for the transfer of securities are now being made.” As Peretz later wrote, “I knew Martin Luther King Jr. decently well, at least as much as one can know a person who had already become both prophet and hero. I fundraised for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference.” Much of that charity began in the Peretz home.

But as Peretz noted in his invitation, “much has happened in recent months,” necessitating “some honest and tough and friendly dialogue.” Peretz was then (as he is today) an ardent supporter of Israel. The Six-Day War, only four months earlier, threatened to drive a wedge between those Jews and African-Americans, allied in common causes, who differed profoundly over the Middle East. The culmination came in August, when the radical Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) issued a newsletter claiming that “Zionist terror gangs” had “deliberately slaughtered and mutilated women, children and men, thereby causing the unarmed Arabs to panic, flee and leave their homes in the hands of the Zionist-Israeli forces.” The newsletter also denounced “the Rothschilds, who have long controlled the wealth of many European nations, [who] were involved in the original conspiracy with the British to create the ‘State of Israel’ and [who] are still among Israel’s chief supporters.” Peretz, who a few years earlier had been a supporter of SNCC, condemned the newsletter as vicious antisemitism, and Jewish supporters of the civil rights movement looked to King and the SCLC to do the same.

It was against this background that King came to dinner at the Peretz home at 20 Larchwood Drive, Cambridge, in the early evening of October 27, 1967. A few days later, King’s aide, Andrew Young, thanked the couple

for the delightful evening last Friday. It is almost too bad we had to go to the concert, but I think you will agree that the concert, too, proved enjoyable but I am also sure a couple of hours conversing with the group gathered in your home would have been more productive.

In fact, the evening’s significance would only become evident later, after King’s death. For the dinner was attended by Peretz’s senior Harvard colleague, Seymour Martin Lipset, and it was then and there that Lipset heard King rebuke a student who echoed the SNCC line on “Zionists”: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Peretz would later assert that King “grasped the identity between anti-Israel politics and anti-semitic ranting.” But it was Lipset who preserved King’s words to that effect, by publishing them soon after they were spoken. (And just to run the contemporary record against memory, I wrote to Peretz, to ask whether the much-quoted exchange did take place at his Cambridge home on that evening almost 45 years ago. His answer: “Absolutely.” I’ve written twice to Andrew Young to ask whether he has any recollection of the episode. I haven’t yet received a response.)

Corroborated

Little more than five months after the Cambridge dinner, King lay dead, felled by an assassin in Memphis. (Peretz delivered a eulogy at the remembrance service in Harvard’s Memorial Church.) There’s plenty of room to debate the meaning of King’s words at the Cambridge dinner, and I’ve only hinted at their context. But the suggestion that King couldn’t possibly have spoken them, because he wasn’t in or near Cambridge when he was supposed to have said them, is now shown to be baseless. Lipset: “Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge.” Every particular of this statement is now corroborated by a wealth of detail. We now have a date, an approximate time of day, and a street address for the Cambridge dinner, all attested by contemporary documents.

So will the guardians of Wikiquote redeem this quote from the purgatory of “disputed”? Let’s see if they have the decency to clear an eminent scholar of the suspicion of falsification, suggested by persons whose own sloppy inferences have been exposed as false.


Médias: Attention, un négationnisme peut en cacher un autre ! (After France inter, Télérama presents Galilee and Nazareth as « Israeli colonies »)

4 janvier, 2019

Secondhandsmoke
L’oppression mentale totalitaire est faite de piqûres de moustiques et non de grands coups sur la tête. (…) Quel fut le moyen de propagande le plus puissant de l’hitlérisme? Etaient-ce les discours isolés de Hitler et de Goebbels, leurs déclarations à tel ou tel sujet, leurs propos haineux sur le judaïsme, sur le bolchevisme? Non, incontestablement, car beaucoup de choses demeuraient incomprises par la masse ou l’ennuyaient, du fait de leur éternelle répétition.[…] Non, l’effet le plus puissant ne fut pas produit par des discours isolés, ni par des articles ou des tracts, ni par des affiches ou des drapeaux, il ne fut obtenu par rien de ce qu’on était forcé d’enregistrer par la pensée ou la perception. Le nazisme s’insinua dans la chair et le sang du grand nombre à travers des expressions isolées, des tournures, des formes syntaxiques qui s’imposaient à des millions d’exemplaires et qui furent adoptées de façon mécanique et inconsciente. Victor Klemperer (LTI, la langue du IIIe Reich)
Ce qui est grave dans le texte de l’abbé Pierre, c’est quand il parle de la Shoah de Josué. C’est abominable. Bien entendu, les textes sur Josué sont effrayants, mais ce sont des textes qui sont absolument courants dans la littérature de l’époque. Si vous prenez inversement la stèle de Mesha, roi de Moab, qui est au Louvre, vous avez les mêmes appels à l’extermination du voisin… On est donc dans cet univers-là. Alors parler de la Shoah à ce sujet est extrêmement grave. Les révisionnistes et les négationnistes français (…) ont une spécificité, qui les distingue des Italiens ou des Américains : leur filiation n’est pas d’extrême droite. Leur public, ceux qui les entendent et les suivent, est celui de Le Pen, pour appeler les choses par leur nom. Mais les intellectuels qui fournissent à ce public des denrées viennent en fait de l’ultra-gauche. Rassinier, cet ancien député socialiste devenu le père du révisionnisme, a fait, dans les années 50, le pont entre l’extrême droite et l’ultra-gauche. Pierre Vidal-Naquet
Alors là, je trouverai le fond du problème de la sensibilité d’un Juif, en lui disant : toutes vos énergies se trouvent mobilisées par la réinstallation du grand temple de Salomon à Jérusalem, bref, de l’ancienne cité du roi David et du roi Salomon. Or vous vous basez pour cela sur tout ce qui dans la Bible parle de Terre promise. Or, je ne peux pas ne pas me poser cette question : que reste-t-il d’une promesse lorsque ce qui a été promis, on vient de le prendre en tuant par de véritables génocides des peuples qui y habitaient, paisiblement, avant qu’ils y entrent ? Les jours … Quand on relit le livre de Josué, c’est épouvantable ! C’est une série de génocides, groupe par groupe, pour en prendre possession ! Alors foutez-nous la paix avec la parole de Terre promise ! Je crois que – c’est çà que j’ai au fond de mon coeur – que votre mission a été – ce qui, en fait, s’est accompli partiellement – la diaspora, la dispersion à travers le monde entier pour aller porter la connaissance que vous étiez jusqu’alors les seuls à porter, en dépit de toutes les idolâtries qui vous entouraient, etc. Abbé Pierre (passage censuré dans Dieu et les Hommes, publié dans Le secret de l’abbé Pierre de Michel-Antoine Burnier et Cécile Romane, Mille et une nuits)
Détestés à mort de toutes les classes de la société, tous enrichis par la guerre, dont ils ont profité sur le dos des Russes, des Boches et des Polonais, et assez disposés à une révolution sociale où ils recueilleraient beaucoup d’argent en échange de quelques mauvais coups. De Gaulle (détaché auprès de l’armée polonaise, sur les juifs de Varsovie, lettre à sa mère, 1919)
On pouvait se demander, en effet, et on se demandait même chez beaucoup de Juifs, si l’implantation de cette communauté sur des terres qui avaient été acquises dans des conditions plus ou moins justifiables et au milieu des peuples arabes qui lui étaient foncièrement hostiles, n’allait pas entraîner d’incessants, d’interminables, frictions et conflits. Certains même redoutaient que les Juifs, jusqu’alors dispersés, mais qui étaient restés ce qu’ils avaient été de tous temps, c’est-à-dire un peuple d’élite, sûr de lui-même et dominateur, n’en viennent, une fois rassemblés dans le site de leur ancienne grandeur, à changer en ambition ardente et conquérante les souhaits très émouvants qu’ils formaient depuis dix-neuf siècles. De Gaulle (conférence de presse du 27 novembre 1967)
Est-ce que tenter de remettre les pieds chez soi constitue forcément une agression imprévue ? Michel Jobert
Ce n’est pas une politique de tuer des enfants. Chirac (accueillant Barak à Paris, le 4 octobre 2000)
La situation est tragique mais les forces en présence au Moyen-Orient font qu’au long terme, Israël, comme autrefois les Royaumes francs, finira par disparaître. Cette région a toujours rejeté les corps étrangers. Dominique de Villepin (Paris, automne 2001)
Pourquoi accepterions-nous une troisième guerre mondiale à cause de ces gens là? Daniel Bernard (ambassadeur de France, après avoir qualifié Israël de « petit pays de merde », Londres, décembre 2001)
Les Israéliens se sont surarmés et en faisant cela, ils font la même faute que les Américains, celle de ne pas avoir compris les leçons de la deuxième guerre mondiale, car il n’y a jamais rien de bon à attendre d’une guerre. Et la force peut détruire, elle ne peut jamais rien construire, surtout pas la paix. Le fait d’être ivre de puissance et d’être seul à l’avoir, si vous n’êtes pas très cultivé, enfant d’une longue histoire et grande pratique, vous allez toujours croire que vous pouvez imposer votre vision. Israël vit encore cette illusion, les Israéliens sont probablement dans la période où ils sont en train de comprendre leurs limites. C’était Sharon le premier général qui s’est retiré de la bande de Gaza car il ne pouvait plus la tenir. Nous défendons absolument le droit à l’existence d’Israël et à sa sécurité, mais nous ne défendons pas son droit à se conduire en puissance occupante, cynique et brutale … Michel Rocard (Al Ahram, 2006)
Ecoutez, je rentre de Lyon plein d’indignation à l’égard de cet attentat odieux qui voulait frapper les israélites qui se rendaient à la synagogue et qui a frappé des Français innocents qui traversaient la rue Copernic. C’est un acte qui mérite d’être sévèrement sanctionné. Raymond Barre (le 3 octobre 1980, TFI, suite à l’attentat de la synagogue parisienne de la rue Copernic, 4 morts, 20 blessés)
C’était des Français qui circulaient dans la rue et qui se trouvent fauchés parce qu’on veut faire sauter une synagogue. Alors, ceux qui voulaient s’en prendre aux Juifs, ils auraient pu faire sauter la synagogue et les juifs. Mais pas du tout, ils font un attentat aveugle et y a 3 Français, non juifs, c’est une réalité, non juifs. Et cela ne veut pas dire que les Juifs, eux ne sont pas Français. (…) C’est « une campagne » « faite par le lobby juif le plus lié à la gauche » (…) « je considère que le lobby juif – pas seulement en ce qui me concerne – est capable de monter des opérations qui sont indignes et je tiens à le dire publiquement. Raymond Barre (20 février 2007, France Culture, diffusée le 1er mars)
J’ai tellement entendu les propos de M. Gollnisch à Lyon que cela finissait par ne plus m’émouvoir. Quand on entend à longueur de journée tout ce qui se dit à droite et à gauche, à la fin on n’y porte plus attention. Raymond Barre (01.03.2007)
Comme tous les ans durant la période de Noël, des milliers de pèlerins et touristes du monde entier convergent vers la ville de Bethléem. Mais pour les chrétiens de Gaza, soumis à des restrictions de mouvements, cette possibilité semble désormais relever du privilège. L’accès au territoire palestinien est en effet rigoureusement contrôlé par les autorités militaires israéliennes qui délivrent des permis d’entrée et de sortie. Chaque année, un certain nombre d’entre eux est concédé aux chrétiens de Gaza souhaitant se rendre à Jérusalem ou en Cisjordanie pour les fêtes de Noël et de Pâques. Pour Noël 2018, 500 permis de sortie ont été promis par Israël, mais en pratique, seuls 220 ont été effectivement délivrés pour le moment à des personnes âgées entre 16 et 35 ans ou de plus de 55 ans, ce qui donne lieu à des situations problématiques au sein de plusieurs familles: le père obtenant un permis mais pas la mère et inversement, ou des permis accordés aux enfants mais pas aux parents et inversement. Mgr Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, vicaire patriarcal pour Jérusalem et la Palestine avoue ne pas saisir la politique choisie par Israël dans ce domaine. «C’est une logique d’occupation que nous ne comprenons pas, ni ne justifions», assène-t-il. Pouvoir se rendre à Bethléem pour fêter Noël devrait être un droit naturel pour un chrétien gazaoui et non pas un privilège, déplore l’évêque italien. Mgr Marcuzzo se trouvait d’ailleurs à Gaza dimanche dernier, en compagnie de l’administrateur apostolique du patriarcat latin de Jérusalem, Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, pour célébrer Noël avec la petite communauté latine locale, selon une tradition désormais bien installée. Le vicaire patriarcal évoque une atmosphère générale empreinte de tristesse, même si la médiation égyptienne et qatarie entreprise ces derniers jours a fait baisser la tension dans le territoire palestinien, après des semaines de fièvre et d’affrontements liés aux «marches du retour». La présence chrétienne quant à elle s’amoindrit sensiblement. Face à des conditions de vie précaires et au manque évident de perspectives, l’émigration reste une tentation inexorable. On comptait il y a encore quelques années environ 3 000 chrétiens de toute confessions à Gaza; ils ne représentent aujourd’hui que 1 200 âmes, dont 120 catholiques latins. Vatican news
A Gaza également, l’ambiance est sombre (…) Une partie de la communauté chrétienne de la bande Gaza ne pourra pas se rendre dans la ville natale du Christ en raison des restrictions de circulation imposées par Israël qui comme chaque année n’a délivré des permis qu’au compte-gouttes. (…) Tous aimeraient être à Béthléem pour Noël, mais cette année seules 600 personnes ont reçu des permis, plus d’un tiers de la toute petite communauté chrétienne de l’enclave s’apprête donc à passer le réveillon sur place et sans grand enthousiasme.  (…) Un Noël maussade dans une bande de Gaza soumise à un sévère blocus israélien et ces restrictions de circulation concernent plus de deux millions de Palestiniens (…) Une situation qui a contribué à l’exode des chrétiens de Gaza. On en comptait 3.500 il y a 15 ans, selon les estimations, ils ne seraient plus qu’un millier aujourd’hui. France Inter
La radio du service public avait diffusé un reportage décrivant trois localités de Galilée comme des « colonies ». Suite à la mobilisation des lecteurs d’InfoEquitable, France Inter a corrigé cette faute en leur accordant désormais le statut bien plus représentatif de « villes ». (…) Nous indiquions que France Inter n’avait corrigé que la version écrite du reportage mais pas la bande audio. Or il s’avère que, presque à la même heure où nous publiions ces lignes, la médiatrice de Radio France annonçait, dans un échange avec un auditeur qui avait certainement suivi notre appel à protester auprès d’elle, que le son du reportage allait aussi être modifié. Deux heures après la parution de notre article, c’est ce qui a été fait et le reportage audio parle désormais aussi de « villes » et non plus de « colonies ». Aurélien Colly, le journaliste auteur du reportage, a également reconnu l’usage d’un terme inapproprié. Merci à Radio France d’avoir réagi et à nos lecteurs d’avoir permis la correction de cette erreur. Nous sommes satisfaits de la reconnaissance de cette erreur par la radio. Cependant, la correction sur le site ne s’accompagne d’aucun commentaire pour faire savoir aux lecteurs que le texte initial comportait une erreur importante. Plus grave, la chronique audio inchangée est toujours en ligne. Or, comme l’expliquait InfoEquitable dans l’article qui a poussé France Inter à réagir, le reportage reste très tendancieux. En particulier, il donne la parole à un « vieux forgeron libanais » supposément âgé d’une soixantaine d’année qui raconte des souvenirs qu’il ne pourrait avoir que s’il avait au moins 75 ans, traite les Juifs (pas les Israéliens, les Juifs !) de voleurs de terres et fait comprendre qu’Israël doit « redevenir la Palestine » (argument trompeur puisque la Palestine antérieure à 1948 fut une région sous mandat britannique et non un Etat arabe). L’homme appelle donc à éliminer l’Etat d’Israël et cela ne suscite aucun commentaire critique de la part du journaliste Aurélien Colly, envoyé spécial permanent de France Inter à Beyrouth, qui interviewe par ailleurs également un membre du Hezbollah sans préciser que ce mouvement est considéré comme terroriste par de nombreuses autorités dont celles de l’Union européenne… Au vu du reste de la chronique, le recours au terme de « colonies » pour désigner des localités situées sur le territoire internationalement reconnu d’Israël n’est pas anodin. Davantage qu’une simple erreur factuelle, il se situe en conformité avec la ligne du Hezbollah qui nie le droit aux Juifs d’avoir un Etat : raison pour laquelle nous avions intitulé notre première critique « France Inter reprend la propagande du Hezbollah ». Cette correction a minima suscite d’autres questions pour France Inter Est-ce que cette identification sans distanciation avec le narratif d’une organisation terroriste correspond aux standards journalistiques de France Inter, une radio financée par les contributions du public français ? Le journaliste a-t-il été sanctionné par la rédaction pour cette faute qui peut avoir des conséquences, en France, sur la sécurité des Juifs qui sont diabolisés dans le reportage (rappelons les paroles du « forgeron » : « Quand on était petit, on allait en Palestine. (…) Les Juifs n’étaient pas comme aujourd’hui, ils étaient sages, ils n’attaquaient personne, ne prenaient les terres de personne. ») ? Nous ne manquerons pas de publier une éventuelle réponse de France Inter à ces questions. InfoEquitable
Ces silhouettes permettent à Annemarie Jacir [NDLR la réalisatrice] de cerner une ville comme pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne, où la tension semble rôder en permanence entre les populations — musulmane à 60 % et chrétienne à 40 %. Télérama (première version)
Ces silhouettes permettent à Annemarie Jacir de cerner une ville, où la tension semble rôder en permanence entre les populations — musulmane à 60 % et chrétienne à 40 %. Télérama (version corrigée)
En novembre dernier, un correspondant de France Inter avait décrit trois localités de Galilée comme des « colonies ». La Galilée fait partie d’Israël depuis l’indépendance de ce pays en 1948 et cette description revenait à faire de l’Etat d’Israël dans son intégralité une colonie – sous-entendu, un pays occupant de manière illégitime un territoire ne lui appartenant pas ; un pays implicitement appelé à disparaître, donc. Après la révélation de cette erreur par InfoEquitable, la radio avait reconnu le problème et corrigé le reportage. Moins de deux mois plus tard, Télérama commet exactement la même erreur. Dans le numéro 3596 du 12 décembre 2018, le critique Pierre Murat donne son avis sur le film « Wajib : l’invitation au mariage ». L’histoire se déroule à Nazareth. Commençant par évoquer les personnages du film, Pierre Murat enchaîne : Ces silhouettes permettent à Annemarie Jacir [NDLR la réalisatrice] de cerner une ville comme pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne, où la tension semble rôder en permanence entre les populations — musulmane à 60 % et chrétienne à 40 %.  Nazareth, occupée par Israël ? Nazareth se trouve en Galilée, dans le district nord d’Israël. Elle en est la plus grande ville. Depuis 1948, cette région fait partie de l’Etat d’Israël. Il est courant que la Cisjordanie (ou Judée-Samarie, région occupée par la Jordanie de 1949 jusqu’à la victoire israélienne de 1967 qui fut obtenue après une guerre provoquée et perdue par la Jordanie et ses alliés arabes), soit décrite comme « territoire occupé par Israël ». Bien que cette terminologie nous paraisse inappropriée, elle peut se comprendre lorsqu’elle s’applique à la Cisjordanie du point de vue des partisans de la « solution à deux Etats », qui disent souhaiter un retrait total israélien de cette région, mais la coexistence d’un futur « Etat de Palestine » avec un Etat d’Israël restreint à ses frontières « d’avant 1967 ». Mais Nazareth n’est pas située en Cisjordanie (West Bank sur la carte ci-dessous). La ville, tout en étant habitée presque exclusivement par des minorités nationales (arabes musulmane et chrétienne), se trouve de façon incontestable dans les frontières internationalement reconnues de l’Etat juif. A moins de considérer Paris comme occupée par la France, ou Tokyo par le Japon, la seule manière de comprendre la désignation de Nazareth comme une ville occupée est la volonté de ne pas reconnaître la légitimité du pays dont elle fait partie, l’Etat d’Israël, et donc de le voir disparaître. Infoequitable
Dans son numéro 3598, daté du 12 décembre 2018, Télérama « aime beaucoup » Wajib : l’invitation au mariage, un film palestinien sorti sur les écrans en 2017 et dont l’actualité est la sortie en DVD. Dire que Télérama adôôôre tout ce qui est palestinien relève du pléonasme, mais ce qui va sans dire semble aller encore mieux pour l’hebdomadaire d’opinion quand il peut enfoncer le clou avec un maillet fabriqué du bois dont on fait la propagande antisioniste « Ces silhouettes permettent à Annemarie Jacir (la réalisatrice, NDLR) de cerner une ville comme pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne, où la tension semble rôder en permanence entre les populations — musulmane à 60 % et chrétienne à 40 %. (Télérama) » explique le critique, Pierre Murat. La ville « pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne », c’est Nazareth, surnommée « la capitale arabe d’Israël » (les mots importants –au pluriel, car il y en a deux– sont « arabe » et « Israël »). Capitale arabe d’Israël ? Oui. En 2017, cette ville israélienne comptait 76.551 habitants, majoritairement des Arabes israéliens, 69% musulmans et 30,9% chrétiens. En termes administratifs, Nazareth est la capitale régionale de la Galilée et c’est la seule zone urbaine israélienne de plus de 50.000 habitants qui possède une majorité arabe (Wikipédia). Dans la doxa antisioniste téléramienne (excusez encore le pléonasme), une ville à majorité arabe ne peut exister qu’en territoire occupé. De plus, si l’on constate une tension (qu’elle soit réelle ou cinématographique) entre musulmans et chrétiens, seuls les Juifs peuvent en être responsables, preuve que Nazareth est occupée. C’est ainsi qu’on boucle une boucle idéologique dans le groupe Le Monde. Cette annexion de Nazareth par une Palestine fantasmée est-elle seulement une grossière erreur de culture générale dans un magazine culturel ou bien une répétition à vocation pédagogique, consistant à faire entrer subliminalement dans l’inconscient du lecteur le substantif « occupation » chaque fois que l’adjectif « israélien » est utilisé ? Dans le narratif palestino-téléramien présentant Nazareth comme « occupée », la précision sur les populations en présence sert aussi à agréger musulmans et chrétiens comme victimes égalitaires du joug de l’occupant et à exonérer l’une des deux communautés ARABES (on le souligne) d’avoir lâché un rôdeur nommé tension. Au cas où le film lui-même (palestinien, on le rappelle, donc peut-être partial ?) ne suffirait pas à induire chez le spectateur, ou simplement chez le lecteur du magazine d’opinion, une animosité vis-à-vis de l’État juif, le critique en rajoute une couche : « Le fils ne peut supporter que son père, par prudence, par lâcheté, songe à inviter au mariage un ami juif — en fait, un « inspecteur du savoir » (sic) qui, depuis des années, surveille et censure son enseignement. » Décryptons : 1) Il est impossible qu’un Palestinien ait un ami juif. 2) Les Juifs sont tellement mauvais que survivre à la cohabitation avec eux implique une prudence confinant à la lâcheté. 3) Un Juif et un Palestinien ne sauraient avoir d’autres rapports que dominant/dominé. Le critique de Télérama partage probablement la croyance de son parti en l’apartheid de la part des Israéliens vis-à-vis des pauvre palestiniens. Même si aucun fait réel n’y apporte le moindre crédit, cela n’empêche pas le prosélytisme. En revanche, bien que les chiffres et les témoignages abondent de la maltraitance subie par les chrétiens d’Orient en général et ceux des Territoires palestiniens en particulier, il ne peut pas, il ne veut pas y croire. Pourtant, si Nazareth est bien la « capitale arabe d’Israël », si cette ville à majorité musulmane est la capitale régionale de la Galilée, c’est parce que les citoyens israéliens vivent dans un pays démocratique et que rien n’empêche une minorité au plan national de représenter une majorité au plan régional ou local. En revanche, s’il existe, en Cisjordanie, des implantations juives protégées par l’armée (ce qui se traduit en palestinolâtrie et donc en Télérama dans le texte par « colonies »), c’est parce que des Juifs seraient aussitôt assassinés s’ils tentaient d’y vivre comme le font les musulmans de l’autre côté de la Ligne verte. Comme Pierre Murat de Télérama ne veut pas le savoir, nulle allusion perfide autre qu’antisioniste ne salit sa critique. Cela dit, Annemarie Jacir a situé son film dans la Nazareth israélienne, où toutes les religions sont libres et égales devant la loi, pas dans la Bethléem palestinienne, où une seule minorité dhimmie est tolérée pour des raisons 100% économiques. Bethléem est située à environ 10 km au sud de Jérusalem. 30.000 habitants y vivaient en 2006 sous l’administration de l’Autorité palestinienne. 30.000 habitants en immense majorité musulmans, en immense majorité de moins en moins tolérants vis-à-vis de l’une des plus anciennes communautés chrétiennes au monde. La ville étant un lieu de pèlerinage chrétien, qui lui rapporte l’essentiel de ses revenus hors charité internationale, cette communauté survit encore. En revanche, le tombeau de la matriarche Rachel, situé à l’entrée de la ville, n’est accessible aux pèlerins juifs du monde entier qu’à leurs risques et périls, le péril encouru par les juifs israéliens étant la mort. Dans toute la Cisjordanie, y compris à Bethléem, la proportion des chrétiens baisse fortement. Ils ne représentent plus, dans la ville où est né Jésus, qu’un pourcentage de la population inférieur à 10% (La Croix), contre plus de 30% en 1993. Les chiffres ci-dessous montrent l’évolution de la population israélienne avec la part qu’y occupe chaque religion (Bureau des statistiques, Israël). En Israël, pas en Territoire palestinien, car Gaza est devenue Judenrein et quasiment Christianrein. Quant à l’Autorité palestinienne, elle « convainc » les chrétiens d’émigrer de Cisjordanie par harcèlement et persécutions, mais pas de façon assez ostensible pour se voir privée des subventions internationales. Liliane Messika

Attention: un négationnisme peut en cacher un autre !

Alors qu’après France inter (désinformation, avec Radio Vatican, comprise sur le Noël de Gaza) …
Télérama présente la Galilée et Nazareth (première ville israélienne à majorité arabe) comme « colonies israéliennes » (erreurs depuis corrigées, mais sans le préciser, sous la pression du site Infoequitable et peut-être aussi de l’excellente critique du blog de Liliane Messika) …
Comment ne pas repenser …
Au tristement fameux lapsus barrien des « Français innocents » bien sûr …
Dont, on s’en souvient, l’ancien premier ministre et maire de Lyon avait déploré la mort suite à l’attentat de la synagogue parisienne de la rue Copernic il y a bientôt 40 ans …
Mais également à ce tout aussi révélateur aveu du même un quart de siècle plus tard
Lorsque défendant sa défense de son ancien collègue et conseiller municipal Bruno Gollnish condamné pour négationnisme (mais blanchi deux ans plus tard) …
Il avait involontairement donné l’une des sources possibles de sa pensée en expliquant avoir « tellement entendu les propos de M. Gollnisch à Lyon que cela finissait par ne plus l’émouvoir et que « quand on entend à longueur de journée tout ce qui se dit à droite et à gauche, à la fin on n’y porte plus attention » …
A savoir cette sorte d’antisémitisme passif (comme le tabagisme du même nom dont la science médicale nous dit qu’il pourrait presque être pire que l’actif) ou involontaire, inconscient ou par défaut, devenu tellement ordinaire que l’on n’est est même plus conscient …
Qui n’est pas sans rappeler ces fameuses « piqûres de moustiques » de « l’oppression mentale totalitaire » dont Klemperer nous avait appris, on s’en souvient, qu’elles avaient été le  » moyen de propagande le plus puissant de l’hitlérisme » pour son adoption par le plus grand nombre « de façon mécanique et inconsciente » …
Mais qui sous sa forme modernisée et plus présentable de l’anti-israélisme, 80 ans plus tard, se diffuserait à jet continu et par petites touches homéopathiques et donc presque imperceptibles …
Et dont apparemment seraient à présent victimes …
Les médias mêmes qui en sont les principaux diffuseurs ?

L’idéologie à géographie variable de Télérama

Dans son numéro 3598, daté du 12 décembre 2018, Télérama « aime beaucoup » Wajib : l’invitation au mariage, un film palestinien sorti sur les écrans en 2017 et dont l’actualité est la sortie en DVD. Dire que Télérama adôôôre tout ce qui est palestinien relève du pléonasme, mais ce qui va sans dire semble aller encore mieux pour l’hebdomadaire d’opinion quand il peut enfoncer le clou avec un maillet fabriqué du bois dont on fait la propagande antisioniste.

Que c’est beau Nazareth, dans la nuit de l’intelligence

« Ces silhouettes permettent à Annemarie Jacir (la réalisatrice, NDLR) de cerner une ville comme pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne, où la tension semble rôder en permanence entre les populations — musulmane à 60 % et chrétienne à 40 %. (Télérama) » explique le critique, Pierre Murat.

La ville « pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne », c’est Nazareth, surnommée « la capitale arabe d’Israël » (les mots importants –au pluriel, car il y en a deux– sont « arabe » et « Israël »). Capitale arabe d’Israël ? Oui. En 2017, cette ville israélienne comptait 76.551 habitants, majoritairement des Arabes israéliens, 69% musulmans et 30,9% chrétiens. En termes administratifs, Nazareth est la capitale régionale de la Galilée et c’est la seule zone urbaine israélienne de plus de 50.000 habitants qui possède une majorité arabe (Wikipédia).

Dans la doxa antisioniste téléramienne (excusez encore le pléonasme), une ville à majorité arabe ne peut exister qu’en territoire occupé. De plus, si l’on constate une tension (qu’elle soit réelle ou cinématographique) entre musulmans et chrétiens, seuls les Juifs peuvent en être responsables, preuve que Nazareth est occupée. C’est ainsi qu’on boucle une boucle idéologique dans le groupe Le Monde[1].

Étude d’une sourate de Télérama

Cette annexion de Nazareth par une Palestine fantasmée est-elle seulement une grossière erreur de culture générale dans un magazine culturel[2] ou bien une répétition à vocation pédagogique, consistant à faire entrer subliminalement dans l’inconscient du lecteur le substantif « occupation » chaque fois que l’adjectif « israélien » est utilisé ?

Dans le narratif palestino-téléramien présentant Nazareth comme « occupée », la précision sur les populations en présence sert aussi à agréger musulmans et chrétiens comme victimes égalitaires du joug de l’occupant et à exonérer l’une des deux communautés ARABES (on le souligne) d’avoir lâché un rôdeur nommé tension.

Au cas où le film lui-même (palestinien, on le rappelle, donc peut-être partial ?) ne suffirait pas à induire chez le spectateur, ou simplement chez le lecteur du magazine d’opinion, une animosité vis-à-vis de l’État juif, le critique en rajoute une couche : « Le fils ne peut supporter que son père, par prudence, par lâcheté, songe à inviter au mariage un ami juif — en fait, un « inspecteur du savoir » (sic) qui, depuis des années, surveille et censure son enseignement. »

Décryptons : 1) Il est impossible qu’un Palestinien ait un ami juif. 2) Les Juifs sont tellement mauvais que survivre à la cohabitation avec eux implique une prudence confinant à la lâcheté. 3) Un Juif et un Palestinien ne sauraient avoir d’autres rapports que dominant/dominé.

Apartheid fantasmé et apartheid excusé, les deux mamelles de Télérama

Le critique de Télérama partage probablement la croyance de son parti en l’apartheid de la part des Israéliens vis-à-vis des pauvrepalestiniens. Même si aucun fait réel n’y apporte le moindre crédit, cela n’empêche pas le prosélytisme. En revanche, bien que les chiffres et les témoignages abondent de la maltraitance subie par les chrétiens d’Orient en général et ceux des Territoires palestiniens en particulier, il ne peut pas, il ne veut pas y croire.

Pourtant, si Nazareth est bien la « capitale arabe d’Israël », si cette ville à majorité musulmane est la capitale régionale de la Galilée, c’est parce que les citoyens israéliens vivent dans un pays démocratique et que rien n’empêche une minorité au plan national de représenter une majorité au plan régional ou local.

En revanche, s’il existe, en Cisjordanie, des implantations juives protégées par l’armée (ce qui se traduit en palestinolâtrie et donc en Télérama dans le texte par « colonies »), c’est parce que des Juifs seraient aussitôt assassinés s’ils tentaient d’y vivre comme le font les musulmans de l’autre côté de la Ligne verte.

Comme Pierre Murat de Télérama ne veut pas le savoir, nulle allusion perfide autre qu’antisioniste ne salit sa critique.

Cela dit, Annemarie Jacir a situé son film dans la Nazareth israélienne, où toutes les religions sont libres et égales devant la loi, pas dans la Bethléem palestinienne, où une seule minorité dhimmie[3] est tolérée pour des raisons 100% économiques.

Bethléem est située à environ 10 km au sud de Jérusalem. 30.000 habitants[4] y vivaient en 2006 sous l’administration de l’Autorité palestinienne. 30.000 habitants en immense majorité musulmans, en immense majorité de moins en moins tolérants vis-à-vis de l’une des plus anciennes communautés chrétiennes au monde. La ville étant un lieu de pèlerinage chrétien, qui lui rapporte l’essentiel de ses revenus hors charité internationale, cette communauté survit encore. En revanche, le tombeau de la matriarche Rachel, situé à l’entrée de la ville, n’est accessible aux pèlerins juifs du monde entier qu’à leurs risques et périls, le péril encouru par les juifs israéliens étant la mort.

Télérama ne laisse ni faits ni chiffres interférer avec son idéologie

Dans toute la Cisjordanie, y compris à Bethléem, la proportion des chrétiens baisse fortement. Ils ne représentent plus, dans la ville où est né Jésus, qu’un pourcentage de la population inférieur à 10% (La Croix), contre plus de 30% en 1993.

Les chiffres ci-dessous montrent l’évolution de la population israélienne avec la part qu’y occupe chaque religion (Bureau des statistiques, Israël). En Israël, pas en Territoire palestinien, car Gaza est devenue Judenrein et quasiment Christianrein. Quant à l’Autorité palestinienne, elle « convainc » les chrétiens d’émigrer de Cisjordanie par harcèlement et persécutions, mais pas de façon assez ostensible pour se voir privée des subventions internationales.

tableau Télérama.jpg

Si l’augmentation du nombre de chrétiens en Israël depuis 1993 n’est pas visible en termes de pourcentages, c’est en raison de l’augmentation substantielle du nombre des citoyens des deux autres confessions.

Le dernier recensement de la population palestinienne a été publié le 29 mars 2018. « Le recensement, a dit la présidente du BCPS (Bureau central palestinien des statistiques, NDLR), Ola Awad, a révélé que 97,9 % des Palestiniens étaient musulmans, alors que la population chrétienne était estimée à moins de 1 %. (Times of Israel Rapporté au total (4,78 millions), cela fait environ 45.000 personnes.

En Israël, où les chrétiens représentent, en 2017, 2% de la population totale, cela correspond à 175.960 habitants, alors qu’en 1950, ils comptaient pour 2,6% d’une la population qui n’atteignait pas le million, soit 26.000 personnes.

C’est donc une augmentation de 677% (oui, SIX CENT SOIXANTE-DIX-SEPT pour cent !)

Ce chiffre vaut plus que mille mots (maux ?) écrits dans Télérama. LM♦

Liliane Messika, mabatim.info

[1] Télérama appartient au groupe Le Monde depuis 2003, comme Le Monde diplomatique, vaisseau amiral de la propagande antisioniste en langue française depuis toujours.
[2]Télérama est un magazine culturel français à parution hebdomadaire (Wikipedia)
[3] « Un dhimmi est un terme historique du Droit musulman qui désigne un citoyen non-musulman d’un État musulman, lié à celui-ci par un ‘’pacte de protection’’ discriminatoire. » (Akadem)
[4] Données détaillées les plus récentes du Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, les chiffres de 2018 ne concernant que la globalité de la Cisjordanie.

Voir aussi:

Nazareth, « ville comme pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne » : il n’existe aucune justification à cette description, sauf à contester la légitimité de l’Etat d’Israël.

Mise à jour

Suite à l’article d’InfoEquitable, Télérama a corrigé sa phrase en supprimant dans la version internet de l’article la mention d‘occupation israélienne. InfoEquitable remercie la rédaction pour cette réaction.

 

 

Nous avons cependant demandé si un prochain numéro papier du magazine pourrait contenir un rectificatif à l’attention des lecteurs de l’édition du 12 décembre. Ce genre d’imprécision est en effet susceptible de nourrir le ressentiment contre Israël, et par extension contre les Juifs injustement accusés d’occuper un territoire ne leur appartenant pas. Les lecteurs de l’édition papier de Télérama méritent à notre avis d’être informés lorsqu’une telle erreur factuelle se produit. 

 

_ _ _

 

En novembre dernier, un correspondant de France Inter avait décrit trois localités de Galilée comme des « colonies ». La Galilée fait partie d’Israël depuis l’indépendance de ce pays en 1948 et cette description revenait à faire de l’Etat d’Israël dans son intégralité une colonie – sous-entendu, un pays occupant de manière illégitime un territoire ne lui appartenant pas ; un pays implicitement appelé à disparaître, donc. Après la révélation de cette erreur par InfoEquitable, la radio avait reconnu le problème et corrigé le reportage.

Moins de deux mois plus tard, Télérama commet exactement la même erreur. Dans le numéro 3596 du 12 décembre 2018, le critique Pierre Murat donne son avis sur le film « Wajib : l’invitation au mariage » (en complément à cette revue, nous recommandons à nos lecteur le décryptage, véritable « critique de la critique de Télérama », de Liliane Messika).

L’histoire se déroule à Nazareth. Commençant par évoquer les personnages du film, Pierre Murat enchaîne :

Ces silhouettes permettent à Annemarie Jacir [NDLR la réalisatrice] de cerner une ville comme pétrifiée par l’occupation israélienne, où la tension semble rôder en permanence entre les populations — musulmane à 60 % et chrétienne à 40 %.

Nazareth, occupée par Israël ?

Nazareth se trouve en Galilée, dans le district nord d’Israël. Elle en est la plus grande ville. Depuis 1948, cette région fait partie de l’Etat d’Israël.

Il est courant que la Cisjordanie (ou Judée-Samarie, région occupée par la Jordanie de 1949 jusqu’à la victoire israélienne de 1967 qui fut obtenue après une guerre provoquée et perdue par la Jordanie et ses alliés arabes), soit décrite comme « territoire occupé par Israël ». Bien que cette terminologie nous paraisse inappropriée, elle peut se comprendre lorsqu’elle s’applique à la Cisjordanie du point de vue des partisans de la « solution à deux Etats », qui disent souhaiter un retrait total israélien de cette région, mais la coexistence d’un futur « Etat de Palestine » avec un Etat d’Israël restreint à ses frontières « d’avant 1967 ».

Mais Nazareth n’est pas située en Cisjordanie (West Bank sur la carte ci-dessous). La ville, tout en étant habitée presque exclusivement par des minorités nationales (arabes musulmane et chrétienne), se trouve de façon incontestable dans les frontières internationalement reconnues de l’Etat juif.

A moins de considérer Paris comme occupée par la France, ou Tokyo par le Japon, la seule manière de comprendre la désignation de Nazareth comme une ville occupée est la volonté de ne pas reconnaître la légitimité du pays dont elle fait partie, l’Etat d’Israël, et donc de le voir disparaître.

Est-ce ce que la rédaction de Télérama souhaite ? Nos lecteurs peuvent poser la question à Télérama ici.

Nous avons pour notre part peine à croire que ce soit le cas, et serons rassurés si, comme France Inter a su le faireTélérama corrige la phrase en question.

Voir également:

La radio du service public avait diffusé un reportage décrivant trois localités de Galilée comme des « colonies ». Suite à la mobilisation des lecteurs d’InfoEquitable, France Inter a corrigé cette faute en leur accordant désormais le statut bien plus représentatif de « villes ».

 

—-

Mise à jour

Nous indiquions que France Inter n’avait corrigé que la version écrite du reportage mais pas la bande audio. Or il s’avère que, presque à la même heure où nous publiions ces lignes, la médiatrice de Radio France annonçait, dans un échange avec un auditeur qui avait certainement suivi notre appel à protester auprès d’elle, que le son du reportage allait aussi être modifié. Deux heures après la parution de notre article, c’est ce qui a été fait et le reportage audio parle désormais aussi de « villes » et non plus de « colonies ». 

 

 

Aurélien Colly, le journaliste auteur du reportage, a également reconnu l’usage d’un terme inapproprié.

 

 

Merci à Radio France d’avoir réagi et à nos lecteurs d’avoir permis la correction de cette erreur.

 

—-

Nous sommes satisfaits de la reconnaissance de cette erreur par la radio.

Cependant, la correction sur le site ne s’accompagne d’aucun commentaire pour faire savoir aux lecteurs que le texte initial comportait une erreur importante.

Plus grave, la chronique audio inchangée est toujours en ligne. Or, comme l’expliquait InfoEquitable dans l’article qui a poussé France Inter à réagir, le reportage reste très tendancieux.

 

 

En particulier, il donne la parole à un « vieux forgeron libanais » supposément âgé d’une soixantaine d’année qui raconte des souvenirs qu’il ne pourrait avoir que s’il avait au moins 75 ans, traite les Juifs (pas les Israéliens, les Juifs !) de voleurs de terres et fait comprendre qu’Israël doit « redevenir la Palestine » (argument trompeur puisque la Palestine antérieure à 1948 fut une région sous mandat britannique et non un Etat arabe). L’homme appelle donc à éliminer l’Etat d’Israël et cela ne suscite aucun commentaire critique de la part du journaliste Aurélien Colly, envoyé spécial permanent de France Inter à Beyrouth, qui interviewe par ailleurs également un membre du Hezbollah sans préciser que ce mouvement est considéré comme terroriste par de nombreuses autorités dont celles de l’Union européenne…

Au vu du reste de la chronique, le recours au terme de « colonies » pour désigner des localités situées sur le territoire internationalement reconnu d’Israël n’est pas anodin. Davantage qu’une simple erreur factuelle, il se situe en conformité avec la ligne du Hezbollah qui nie le droit aux Juifs d’avoir un Etat : raison pour laquelle nous avions intitulé notre première critique « France Inter reprend la propagande du Hezbollah ».

Cette correction a minima suscite d’autres questions pour France Inter

Est-ce que cette identification sans distanciation avec le narratif d’une organisation terroriste correspond aux standards journalistiques de France Inter, une radio financée par les contributions du public français ?

Le journaliste a-t-il été sanctionné par la rédaction pour cette faute qui peut avoir des conséquences, en France, sur la sécurité des Juifs qui sont diabolisés dans le reportage (rappelons les paroles du « forgeron »« Quand on était petit, on allait en Palestine. (…) Les Juifs n’étaient pas comme aujourd’hui, ils étaient sages, ils n’attaquaient personne, ne prenaient les terres de personne. ») ?

Nous ne manquerons pas de publier une éventuelle réponse de France Inter à ces questions.

Voir enfin:

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Télérama

La critique par Pierre Murat

Les marches sont rudes. Le vieux monsieur — il continue de fumer malgré sa récente opération du cœur — s’arrête, ahane, mais finit son ascension. Abu Shadi, prof renommé, sillonne les rues de Nazareth en compagnie de son fils, Shadi, spécialement rentré d’Italie, où il végète. Ces deux facteurs improvisés rencontrent des gens plus ou moins extravagants que la réalisatrice contemple avec tendresse : une vieille dame loufoque qui, pour Noël, a érigé, dans son salon, une crèche gigantesque ; un petit homme discret, tout gêné de devoir présenter à la compagnie son garçon, objet de railleries secrètes parce que « efféminé »… Ces silhouettes permettent à Annemarie Jacir de cerner une ville, où la tension semble rôder en permanence entre les populations — musulmane à 60 % et chrétienne à 40 %.

Elle rôde aussi, et éclate par accès subits, entre les deux héros. Le père reproche au fils d’avoir fui, mais, surtout, de vivre à l’étranger avec la fille d’un membre influent de l’OLP. Le fils ne peut supporter que son père, par prudence, par lâcheté, songe à inviter au mariage un ami juif — en fait, un « inspecteur du savoir » (sic) qui, depuis des années, surveille et censure son enseignement. D’autres souvenirs, encore plus amers et douloureux, surgissent. C’est dire que la cigarette partagée par les deux hommes, tandis que le soir tombe sur Nazareth, ne résout rien. La réalisatrice semble offrir cet instant suspendu à ses héros (interprétés par deux comédiens formidables, père et fils dans la vie) comme une récréation. Une trêve inattendue. Un petit moment de paix illusoire, insensé et d’autant plus précieux.


Conflit israélo-palestinien: On ne peut pas faire la paix avec un pays qui n’a pas le droit à l’existence (The more we continue speaking about Zionism only as a European movement that rose in response to European anti-Semitism, the more we feed the anti-Zionist narrative which depicts Israel as a Western colonialist project)

21 août, 2018

L’État d’Israël est né du même processus légitime qui a créé les autres nouveaux états de la région, conséquence du démantèlement de l’Empire ottoman après la Première Guerre mondiale. Conformément à la pratique traditionnelle des états victorieux, les puissances alliées, la France et l’Angleterre, ont créé le Liban, la Syrie, l’Irak et la Jordanie, et bien sûr Israël, pour consolider et protéger leurs intérêts nationaux. Ce droit légitime de réécrire la carte a peut-être été mal fait et à courte vue – des régions contenant de nombreuses sectes et groupes ethniques différents étaient de mauvais candidats pour devenir un État-nation, comme le prouve l’histoire de l’Irak et du Liban, alors que des candidats de premier plan pour le statut de nation comme les Kurdes ont été laissés de côté. Mais le droit de le faire a été conféré par la victoire des Alliés et la perte des Puissances centrales, le salaire vieux comme le monde du péché de ceux qui ont le malheur de déclencher une guerre et de la perdre. De même en Europe, l’Empire austro-hongrois a été démantelé et les nouveaux états de l’Autriche, de la Hongrie, de la Yougoslavie et de la Tchécoslovaquie ont été créés. Et l’Allemagne en tant qu’archi-agresseur a été punie par une perte substantielle de territoire, privant au passage quelque 10 millions d’Allemands de leur place légitime dans la patrie. Le titre de propriété d’Israël sur son propre pays est tout aussi légitime que celui de la Jordanie, de la Syrie et du Liban. Bruce Thornton
The Second Intifada brought the right back to power and nearly destroyed the Israeli left, something the international community still hasn’t internalized. Today our political debate isn’t between the right and the left anymore, but between the right and the center. The Labor Party, the founding party of Israel, is no longer capable of winning an election. That’s all a consequence of the Second Intifada, whose impact on my generation of Israelis was similar to the impact of 1947-48 on the founding generation of Israelis: It convinced us that there was no possibility for finding partners for partition among the current Palestinian leadership. (…) The Jewish people is divided into two camps. One is defending the Israeli narrative, the other is fighting for peace. The argument of this book is that the two are related: Peace won’t happen so long as our narrative is negated by the other side. You can’t make peace with a country that has no right to exist. (…) I live in the Middle East. I look around at my borders. I see Hezbollah, Hamas, Iranian Revolutionary Guards. I see a Palestinian national movement that still doesn’t accept the Jewish people’s right to define ourselves as a nation, as a people — and that’s true for all parts of the Palestinian national movement, from Fatah through Hamas. I don’t know any Israeli who’s optimistic about the immediate future. (…) If anything, we’re most likely heading toward war in the coming period, because of Iran’s growing military presence on our northern border. But at the same time we’re also seeing an unimagined shift in parts of the Arab world in attitudes toward Israel, thanks to a shared fear of an imperial Iran. Who would have imagined even two years ago that Saudi Arabia would be reaching out to Israel? This is the one unintended positive outcome of the disastrous Iranian deal: It brought the Sunnis and the Israelis together, against the deal. So we may well be heading toward war and peace simultaneously. This creates openings for us to tell our story. (…) In my writing and lecturing, going back to the 1990s Oslo years, I’ve warned about the delusions of a one-way peace process. My public life has been devoted to upholding what I consider an essential realism about Israel’s dilemma – that we can’t permanently rule another people but also can’t make peace with a Palestinian national movement that denies our right to exist as a sovereign nation. Now the Middle East is radically changing – we don’t yet know how. But we need to be smart and flexible in our approach. We need a combination of the openness of the left and the wariness of the right. That is what I would call a centrist sensibility. My experience in teaching Judaism and Jewish identity to Muslim American leaders over the last six years has taught me that the Muslim world generally doesn’t understand the relationship in Judaism between religion, peoplehood, land, and national sovereignty. The elements that we take for granted in our identity are almost entirely misunderstood in the Muslim world, where Jews are seen as a religious minority, rather than as a people with a religious identity, which is how Jews have traditionally seen themselves. (…) The notion that Judaism is more than a religion is a revelation to Muslims. That a Jew can be an atheist seems to Muslims inconceivable. If you’re a Muslim, or for that matter a Christian, you can’t be an atheist. So Judaism works differently than the other monotheistic faiths, because of the foundational identity of peoplehood. What does it mean that we’re a particularist faith rather than a universalist faith? Christianity and Islam believe that in the end of time everyone will be Christian or Muslim. Jews never imagined remaking humanity in our literal image. We believe that we have a universal goal that we’re working toward, which is the manifestation of the Divine Presence for all of humanity. That’s the vision of Isaiah: We’re a “peoplehood strategy” for a universal goal. (…) We’re marking 70 years of Israel’s existence – and also 70 years of siege and delegitimization against Israel. Zionism’s great and irreversible achievement is to have re-indigenized the Jewish people in this land. We’re here to stay – and so are our neighbors. Can we begin the long and painful process of finding a new language in which we can speak about the conflict and about a solution? (…) Like most Israelis, I don’t believe a Palestinian state can be created anytime soon. The most likely result of creating a Palestinian state now would be a Hamas takeover, creating another hostile entity on our border – our most sensitive border. With one Arab country after another self-destructing, we need to proceed with extreme caution. My model for how the Jewish people should interact with our neighbors comes from the biblical patriarch, Jacob. When Jacob was facing his brother Esau, and he wasn’t sure whether Esau was coming in peace or in war, Jacob divided his camp into two. One camp brought gifts, and the other camp was armed. (…) There is no Palestinian leader I can see who can or would give us what we minimally need for a deal, and that’s agreeing to confine Palestinian “right of return” to a Palestinian state. In the absence of that concession, there can be no deal. So I’m writing for the long term. (…) The more we continue speaking about Zionism only as a European movement that rose in response to European anti-Semitism, the more we feed the anti-Zionist narrative which depicts Israel as a Western colonialist project. If we keep relying on the Holocaust to justify Israel’s existence, we leave ourselves open to accusation that the Palestinians and the Arab world paid the price for what Europe did to the Jews. The narrative that we need to start telling is much more nuanced and more faithful to what Israel actually is. It’s a narrative that needs to take into account that, yes, while political Zionism did rise in Eastern Europe as an attempt to try to prevent the disaster we now call the Holocaust, in fact Zionism largely failed to save the Jews of Europe – but it did succeed in saving the Jews of the Middle East. Can you imagine if there were still large Jewish communities in Aleppo, in Sana’a, in Baghdad, in Benghazi? (…) Look at the fate of almost every minority in the Middle East today. What would the fate of the Jews of Syria or Iraq have been if they’d stayed? The notion that Zionism ruined the lives of the Jews of the Middle East is a 20th century story told by Israel’s enemies. The story we need to tell in the 21st century is: Thank God that Zionism extracted the Jews from societies that were going to implode 60-70 years later. It’s only in the last few years that we can fully appreciate Zionism’s rescue mission of the Jewish communities of this region. (…) Another example of how the old 20th century narrative does us a deep disservice is how we downplay the Zionism of longing. Zionism was the meeting point between need and longing. We have told the story of the Zionism of need. But we’ve neglected the story of the Zionism of longing. We’ve half-forgotten the story of how we managed to preserve the centrality of the land of Israel in Jewish consciousness, in every corner of the globe where Jews lived. It’s one of the most astonishing stories in human history. This book tries to retell the story of the Zionism of longing. That’s a story we need to tell our neighbors. It’s also a story we need to tell ourselves. (…) The exile didn’t end in 1948, with the creation of the state, but only in 1989, with the fall of the Soviet empire. With the fall of Communism, there were no longer large Jewish communities that were forcibly denied the right to emigrate, the right to choose between life in the Diaspora or Israel. Since 1989, almost every Jew now has that choice, for the first time in 2,000 years. There is no exile anymore. I not only celebrate our national rebirth, but also thriving Jewish communities around the world. We’re a very strange people. We lived with the centrality of the land of Israel in our consciousness, in our faith, and yet we lived as a people outside the land for most of our history. So diaspora is no less a part of us than homeland. To be a healthy people, we need a creative tension between these two parts of our being. Still, I wonder whether Jewish life in Europe is sustainable anymore. We’re being hit from so many directions there – the Islamists, the far left, the far right – that we may be seeing the last generation of European Jewry. The post-Holocaust European Jewish rebirth was a brave experiment, an act of trust in the new Europe. I fear that that experiment has failed. (…) One of my nightmares – Israelis have a list – is the disintegration of the American Jewish-Israeli relationship. We’re not there yet, but we seem to be heading that way. To some extent the tensions between our two communities are an unavoidable function of geography. American Jews live in the safest, most accepting diaspora in history, and we live in the most dangerous region on the planet. And so each community has developed a strategy that makes sense for its geography. American Jews have become flexible and open to their environment. Israelis have become the toughest kid on the block. Our dilemma is that the tactics we need to use to keep ourselves relatively safe in the Middle East are undermining our moral credibility among many American Jews, and that’s a different kind of strategic threat. My fear is that each community will take on the attributes of its geographical circumstances. That we will become brutal, and American Jews will become what my father, a Holocaust survivor, used to call “stupid Jews” – Jews who have forgotten the instincts of survival. (…) What can help American Jews and Israelis get to a more mature relationship – a relationship among Jewish grown-ups – is to remember that we live in one of the most interesting and fateful moments in Jewish history. Most of the dreams and fears of our ancestors have been fulfilled. For 2,000 years, Jews carried two great dreams and one great fear. The two dreams were that we would return home, or that we would find safe refuge outside our homeland. And the great fear was that the hatred against us would reach a tipping point and our non-Jewish neighbors would finally destroy us. Those dreams and that nightmare were realized before we were born. The only great dream that hasn’t yet happened is the coming of the messiah, and of course some Jews argue that we’re now in the messianic era. We live in a moment of profound confusion in Jewish life. That confusion is an entirely appropriate response to the reality we’ve inherited. I see our greatest challenge as understanding and re-adapting our story to these radically changed circumstances. What does it mean when some of the most significant elements of our story have been fulfilled? What do we do with that? What is our purpose in the world as a people? My intuition is that we have something urgent to say to the world about survival This is the first time in history that humanity has the ability to destroy itself. The Jewish people is history’s great survivor. Our job is to figure out what is the Jewish wisdom we need to share with the world. But for that to happen, we need to start seriously thinking about the meaning of our story. Yossi Klein Halevi

A l’heure ou, contrairement à un Monde arabe qui semble se réveiller …

Il n’y a guère plus que l’Occident pour crier au racisme concernant la loi de nationalité dont vient de se doter Israël …

Et à vouloir imposer à la seule véritable démocratie du Moyen-Orient …

Une paix impossible avec des gens qui n’ont, Arabes israéliens et leur drapeau palestinien compris, que sa destruction à la bouche …

Il faut lire d’urgence le dernier livre de Yossi Klein Halevi …

Rappelant les effets pervers aussi bien au Moyen-Orient même qu’en Occident …

D’une présentation du sionisme comme mouvement purement européen …

Qui fait en réalité le jeu des ennemis d’un Etat d’Israël réduit à un projet colonialiste occidental ..

Et partant a une punition infligée aux Arabes pour les crimes de l’Europe …

Alors que simple produit, comme la plupart des autres pays de la région ou même de nombre de pays européens, de l’application du droit des peuples à disposer d’eux-mêmes suite au démantèlement des grands empires ottoman ou austro-hongrois précipité par leur défaite lors de la Première guerre mondiale …

Il antédate non seulement sa renaissance européenne de plusieurs millénaires …

Mais c’est en fait au Moyent-Orient et au Maghreb qu’il a protégé les juifs d’un probable autre anéantissement …

New book coincides with storm over incendiary Abbas comments

Who we are, why we’re here: Israeli author explains Zionism to the Palestinians

We’re rightly outraged by enemy attacks on our legitimacy, says Yossi Klein Halevi. But we’ve never bothered to tell them our story. Hence his ‘Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor’

The Jerusalem-based author and journalist spent 11 years writing his previous book, “Like Dreamers” — which told the story of Israel’s evolution after the Six Day War through the lives of seven paratroopers who fought to reunite Jerusalem. By contrast, Klein Halevi says, “Letters” spilled out of him in what felt like 11 weeks. It was a book waiting to be written, he believes, a book he had spent his 35 years in Israel — half the lifespan of the modern Jewish state — preparing to write.

Its goal is nothing less than to explain to our Palestinian neighbors — some of whom he can literally see out of the window of his home in northern Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood — who we Jews are and what we are doing here. With Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas working assiduously to delegitimize the Jews’ presence here, the imperative could hardly be more pressing.

In an earlier book, “At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden,” Klein Halevi spent time with Christians and, far more dramatically, with Muslims in the Holy Land, listening, learning and trying to understand them. With this new book, he hopes that they will listen to him.

Unprecedentedly, however, Klein Halevi, 64, does not envisage this volume as a one-way street. His declared goal is for the book, with its chapter-letters, to prompt a dialogue with these Palestinian neighbors of ours. Therefore, it is being translated into Arabic. It will be made available online — on The Times Of Israel’s Arabic website – for free downloading. The author hopes that Palestinians and others across the Arab and Muslim world will respond to it. If they write, he promises, he will respond in kind — initiating an ongoing conversation, enabling our conflicted sides to better understand each other, and, thus, one day, perhaps even to accept and live peaceably alongside each other.

Klein Halevi takes pains to emphasize that he comes from the political right, that he is no naive believer in the possibilities of peace in the foreseeable future. But buoyed by his experiences in recent years heading a remarkable program at Jerusalem’s Hartman Institute that teaches visiting groups of American Muslim leaders about Judaism and Israel, he rejects the idea that the Arab world “hates us and always will hate us” as self-defeating, especially when he feels we Israeli Jews have made no real effort to tell our story to them.

Hence the book. Hence the weight of responsibility.

But that’s not all.

Despite the title and the key imperative of explaining Judaism and Zionism to our neighbors, Klein Halevi says he’s also written this book for us — for us Jews and Zionists who, he believes, have lost sight of central elements of our own story. We do ourselves and our cause a terrible disservice, he argues, by misrepresenting modern Israel as a story founded in European Jewry and the Holocaust; in fact Zionism patently failed to save European Jewry. What we should be internalizing, and explaining to others, is the unique fulfillment of what he calls the “Zionism of longing” — the “half-forgotten story of how we managed to preserve the centrality of the land of Israel in Jewish consciousness, in every corner of the globe where Jews lived” for thousands of years. “It’s one of the most astonishing stories in human history.”

I’ve known Yossi Klein Halevi for most of his 35 years in Israel, worked with him as a journalist, documented his groundbreaking Muslim Leadership Initiative at Hartman, interviewed him numerous times. He is one of the most articulate of thinkers, and one of the most insightful, graceful and careful of writers. What follows here is a transcript of a conversation we had in his Hartman office a few days ago, before he set off to the US to begin promoting this book.

Reading over our interview, I’m struck by the wisdom in almost every answer he offers to my questions, and by the originality of much of what he says — formulations that seem so necessary and obvious once you’ve read them, but that others have not managed to produce before.

As you’ll see high up in our conversation, two of his previous books were cursed by poor timing. Given those dark precedents, and given the immense potential benefit of Klein Halevi’s “Letters” for Palestinians, Israelis and anybody else who seeks a wiser, better world, one has to hope that this new book is blessed.

The Times of Israel: The book is due to come out when?

Yossi Klein Halevi: May 15.

And the Jerusalem embassy of the United States opens on?

May 14!

Okay, and this is a fortuitous set of circumstances, you think, or underlines why the book is so important, or…?

My mother-in-law said I should give the world fair warning before I publish another book. (Laughs)

Remind us: Because your book about your teenage membership in the Jewish Defense League came out around the time of the Rabin assassination…

“Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist,” my first book, came out two days after the Rabin assassination. My second book, “At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden,” which was about a journey I took into Islam and Christianity, came out on September 11, 2001. My last book, “Like Dreamers,” managed to avoid historic disasters.

Your second book presumably informed this new book, and maybe gave you the confidence to write it. And then there’s your work with Imam Abdullah Antepli and the Muslim Leadership Initiative at the Hartman Institute. Did that work give you the confidence that this book would not be a condescending and ignorant outreach to your Palestinian neighbor?

I see this book as a kind of sequel to the book I wrote about my journey into Palestinian Islam. That happened in the late ’90s, just before the Second Intifada, when it was still physically and emotionally possible to make that kind of journey. I spent a year in Palestinian society, listening to people’s stories, trying to see the conflict as much as possible through their eyes. And trying to experience something of Muslim devotional life, because that’s what interested me as a religious Jew, to see whether we could create a shared language for reconciliation that drew on our religious traditions.

This book is a belated sequel, almost two decades later. A lot has happened in the interim – especially the Second Intifada, which transformed Israeli society. The wound of the Second Intifada wasn’t just that we got the worst wave of terrorism in our history, but that the terrorism followed two Israeli offers for Palestinian statehood. And that shut me down, exhausted my capacity for outreach to the other side.

The Second Intifada brought the right back to power and nearly destroyed the Israeli left, something the international community still hasn’t internalized. Today our political debate isn’t between the right and the left anymore, but between the right and the center. The Labor Party, the founding party of Israel, is no longer capable of winning an election. That’s all a consequence of the Second Intifada, whose impact on my generation of Israelis was similar to the impact of 1947-48 on the founding generation of Israelis: It convinced us that there was no possibility for finding partners for partition among the current Palestinian leadership.

Presumably after writing your second book, you became deeply disillusioned with the chance of peace, because of the Second Intifada and all that has since played out. So does this book represent some kind of tentative revival of optimism, or would that be too strong a word?

This book isn’t about optimism or pessimism but an attempt to explain the Jewish and Israeli story to our neighbors – why the Jewish people never gave up its claim to this land even from afar, why I left my home in New York City in 1982 to move here. In my previous book I tried to listen to my neighbors. In this book I’m asking my neighbors to listen to me.

In all these years of conflict, no Israeli writer has written directly to our Palestinian neighbors, and to the Arab and Muslim worlds generally, explaining who we are and why we’re here

In all these years of conflict, no Israeli writer has written directly to our Palestinian neighbors, and to the Arab and Muslim worlds generally, explaining who we are and why we’re here. We defend our story to the whole world, but we don’t bother explaining ourselves to our neighbors. We’re rightly outraged by the daily attacks on our history and legitimacy that fill the Palestinian media and the Arab world’s media. But we’ve never tried to tell them our story.

This book combines the two commitments of my life: explaining and defending the Jewish narrative, and seeking partners in the Muslim world. The Jewish people is divided into two camps. One is defending the Israeli narrative, the other is fighting for peace. The argument of this book is that the two are related: Peace won’t happen so long as our narrative is negated by the other side. You can’t make peace with a country that has no right to exist.

Does this book not mark you out as some kind of inveterate optimist? That after all those years when you were too battered by reality, the optimism has resurfaced?

I live in the Middle East. I look around at my borders. I see Hezbollah, Hamas, Iranian Revolutionary Guards. I see a Palestinian national movement that still doesn’t accept the Jewish people’s right to define ourselves as a nation, as a people — and that’s true for all parts of the Palestinian national movement, from Fatah through Hamas. I don’t know any Israeli who’s optimistic about the immediate future.

We may well be heading toward war and peace simultaneously

If anything, we’re most likely heading toward war in the coming period, because of Iran’s growing military presence on our northern border. But at the same time we’re also seeing an unimagined shift in parts of the Arab world in attitudes toward Israel, thanks to a shared fear of an imperial Iran. Who would have imagined even two years ago that Saudi Arabia would be reaching out to Israel? This is the one unintended positive outcome of the disastrous Iranian deal: It brought the Sunnis and the Israelis together, against the deal. So we may well be heading toward war and peace simultaneously. This creates openings for us to tell our story.

In my writing and lecturing, going back to the 1990s Oslo years, I’ve warned about the delusions of a one-way peace process. My public life has been devoted to upholding what I consider an essential realism about Israel’s dilemma – that we can’t permanently rule another people but also can’t make peace with a Palestinian national movement that denies our right to exist as a sovereign nation.

Now the Middle East is radically changing – we don’t yet know how. But we need to be smart and flexible in our approach. We need a combination of the openness of the left and the wariness of the right. That is what I would call a centrist sensibility.

My experience in teaching Judaism and Jewish identity to Muslim American leaders over the last six years has taught me that the Muslim world generally doesn’t understand the relationship in Judaism between religion, peoplehood, land, and national sovereignty. The elements that we take for granted in our identity are almost entirely misunderstood in the Muslim world, where Jews are seen as a religious minority, rather than as a people with a religious identity, which is how Jews have traditionally seen themselves.

My book tries to explain the elements of Jewish identity, what our 4,000-year story means to me. This is my personal take on our story. As a Jewish writer living in a time when our story is under growing assault, I felt it was my responsibility to try to offer a Jewish and Israeli narrative.

The notion that Judaism is more than a religion is a revelation to Muslims. That a Jew can be an atheist seems to Muslims inconceivable. If you’re a Muslim, or for that matter a Christian, you can’t be an atheist. So Judaism works differently than the other monotheistic faiths, because of the foundational identity of peoplehood.

What does it mean that we’re a particularist faith rather than a universalist faith? Christianity and Islam believe that in the end of time everyone will be Christian or Muslim. Jews never imagined remaking humanity in our literal image. We believe that we have a universal goal that we’re working toward, which is the manifestation of the Divine Presence for all of humanity. That’s the vision of Isaiah: We’re a “peoplehood strategy” for a universal goal.

This lack of understanding of Jewish identity has direct bearing on the Muslim rejection of the legitimacy of Israel, the expression of the Jewish people’s national aspirations.

The elements of our identity that we take for granted are exactly what we need to explain about ourselves: Who are we? What is our relationship to this land? What does it mean that we maintained a kind of vicarious indigenousness with this land through 2,000 years of exile? What is Zionism? What is the relationship between Zionism and Judaism? Why are we the only people in history that managed, after thousands of years, to return to its land? In short: What is our story? And for me, the essence of Judaism is its story. I would define the Jews as a story we tell ourselves about who we think we are.

Our current prime minister and maybe some of his predecessors, however politely, would deride that approach. Netanyahu would say, you can explain until you’re blue in the face, and you can strive for morality, which is a lovely thing, but the only reason that we have survived, and the only way we will survive, is by being strong and exuding strength. It’s not about having them understand our narrative. It is about projecting strength. Sadat only made peace because he didn’t defeat us in the 1973 war…

I would agree with everything you’ve said except one word — “only.” The basis for our survival in the Middle East is our ability to defend ourselves. Beyond that, though, how are we going to navigate our relationships with those in the Arab world who may be prepared, for whatever reasons, to reexamine their relationships with us?

This notion of “they hate us and always will hate us,” when we haven’t made any real effort to explain our story, strikes me as self-defeating

For us to sit back and say, What’s the point in bothering to explain ourselves to our neighbors? They will never understand us” – it goes against what I’ve learned teaching American Muslims. This notion of “they hate us and always will hate us,” when we haven’t made any real effort to explain our story, strikes me as self-defeating.

So your book is directed not only at your Palestinian neighbors but the Arab world, the region, ideally?

Very much so. The book is being translated into Arabic. As you know, it will be put online — on The Times of Israel’s Arabic website – for free downloading, and that should be ready around the time that we release the book in English. And I am inviting Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims to respond. I will have somebody translating letters that come in response, and I will do my best to respond. I’ve already begun showing the book to Palestinians and getting written responses. If the responses are interesting enough, I may publish the exchanges as a sequel.

And I will try to bring this to Arab media, to start the first public conversation between an Israeli writer and our neighbors about who we are, why we see ourselves as indigenous to this land, and what is our shared future in the region.

Did you ever think about doing a program, similar to the one you do for American Muslim leaders, for Palestinian Muslim leaders?

Outside of my window, on the edge of my neighborhood in French Hill, is the separation barrier – a wall. That wall is both concrete and metaphorical. In the State of Israel, there are many efforts to bring together Jewish and Arab Israelis, but beyond that, it’s hard to initiate Palestinian-Israeli engagement on any level, let alone create a program for Palestinians that will teach Judaism and Jewish identity. We are occupying the Palestinians, while their national movement doesn’t accept our right to exist. I’d be delighted to do a program like that. But that is certainly premature.

In a way, the ideal version of this book would be a joint book, by an Israeli and a Palestinian author. You write about two states for two narratives. Yours is one of the narratives. Would you want to be able, five years from now, to publish the second edition of this, which is actually the two narratives?

I initially wanted to do a joint book, and I had a few Palestinian partners in mind. In the end I decided against it. I felt the need to have my own space to tell our story, to counter the assault on our narrative. What is happening to us in the twenty-first century is that the Jewish story of the twentieth century is being turned into its opposite – not a story of courage and faith and persistence but of evil. And so I needed to tell our story on its own, as a first step.

But I see this book as only a first step – an opening to a project that will be a conversation with our neighbors. In order to start a conversation, I needed to set out my beliefs: This is who I am. This is why I live in Israel. This is why my people returned home. This is how mainstream Israelis understand what happened here in 1948, in 1967, in 2000. And I needed to say that on its own, without being engaged at least initially in a debate or even a dialogue. All that will hopefully follow.

And where does this project go five years from now?

I’m open to taking this in any direction. Maybe there won’t be any substantive response and this will go nowhere. But I sense that this is a conducive time to test the waters.

We’re marking 70 years of Israel’s existence – and also 70 years of siege and delegitimization against Israel. Zionism’s great and irreversible achievement is to have re-indigenized the Jewish people in this land. We’re here to stay – and so are our neighbors. Can we begin the long and painful process of finding a new language in which we can speak about the conflict and about a solution?

Where does leadership fit into the context in which you wrote this book? Essentially it’s an indictment of failed leadership — on the other side, I would say.

On both sides. On the Palestinian side, the failure has been consistent, since the conflict began. There is no national movement that I can think of, anywhere, that has rejected more offers for statehood than the Palestinian leadership.

On our side, I fault our current leadership for not continuing the policy of previous governments, which was to state without equivocation to the Palestinians: We’re serious about a deal, if you are. A Palestinian state is a standing, ongoing offer, and we’re not going to undermine it by expanding settlement building into areas that we say, in principle, would be part of that state, whenever conditions make that possible.

Like most Israelis, I don’t believe a Palestinian state can be created anytime soon. The most likely result of creating a Palestinian state now would be a Hamas takeover, creating another hostile entity on our border – our most sensitive border. With one Arab country after another self-destructing, we need to proceed with extreme caution.

My model for how the Jewish people should interact with our neighbors comes from the biblical patriarch, Jacob. When Jacob was facing his brother Esau, and he wasn’t sure whether Esau was coming in peace or in war, Jacob divided his camp into two. One camp brought gifts, and the other camp was armed

But we also need to not take steps that will prevent the possibility of a two-state solution. And we need to make efforts to strengthen the Palestinian economy, to reach out to the wider region to involve Arab countries in an eventual arrangement.

My model for how the Jewish people should interact with our neighbors comes from the biblical patriarch, Jacob. When Jacob was facing his brother Esau, and he wasn’t sure whether Esau was coming in peace or in war, Jacob divided his camp into two. One camp brought gifts, and the other camp was armed.

Our relationship with the Muslim world is going to largely determine the physical safety of the Jewish people in the 21st century. It’s astonishing to me that we haven’t seriously begun to think about how do we live with 1.7 billion Muslims. Are there people in the Muslim world who might be open to a new kind of relationship with us? Shouldn’t we be exploring that possibility?

You write: “Israelis need to recognize the deep pain we’ve caused in pursuing our security needs…”

I’ve tried to create a language for reconciliation with our neighbors that centrist Israelis like myself can feel comfortable with. I have forced myself to go past my anger and resentment that is the legacy of the Second Intifada, and to try again to see my neighbors.

What I learned during the Second Intifada was how not to see them. I look at the hill outside my window every day — Palestinian villages on the hill just beyond the wall. I taught myself to see over them, to the desert view past them. That was an emotional protection during the years of suicide bombings. Without forgetting the bitter lessons that we learned during those years, without forgoing the deep necessity for wariness and self-protection, I am trying to teach myself how to see again, trying to teach myself how to be empathetic with my neighbors’ suffering, without sacrificing the integrity of my Israeli narrative.

I understand why Palestinians hang maps without Israel, because my internal map doesn’t have the word “Palestine”

This book is an attempt to explain how Israelis experience this conflict, how I experience this conflict, why I think peace hasn’t happened, and yet, why I still believe in the need for a two-state solution, as bad as that solution is.

My starting point in thinking conceptually about our conflict with the Palestinians is the same as the settlers’: All the land between the river and the sea belongs to us, by right. But I also acknowledge that there’s another people between the river and the sea that believes that all of this land is theirs. I understand why Palestinians hang maps without Israel, because my internal map doesn’t have the word “Palestine.”

My question to all of us, Israelis and Palestinians, is: What is our endpoint? We share maximalist claims to the whole land. But if the maximalist claim is a starting point and not the endpoint, then we can talk.

Partition has been on the table almost from the beginning of this conflict. It is not a good solution. Creating two states in this one little land – it’s a nightmare for both peoples. But the alternative – a one-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians devour each other – seems to me worse.

If there’s going to be a two-state solution, it has to come from a place where both sides understand that the other has sacrificed something essential in its historic claim. For Israel to give up Judea and Samaria is an amputation. I grew up on the right. As a teenager I wore a necklace with a silver map of the whole land of Israel according to the old Revisionist Zionist plan – both banks of the Jordan River. That’s my emotional legacy.

If you look at the dynamic of how peace has been made in this country, so far it has only been the right that has succeeded in withdrawing from territory. That’s because the public trusts the right — not only for security reasons, but for emotional and historic reasons. If I’m going to have a prime minister who will cede territory, I want that leader to say, I’m giving up something that belongs to me. Before I celebrate peace, I will mourn the loss of parts of my homeland.

Being very practical, then, do you think that Israel’s current prime minister would be prepared to make that amputation?

I once would have replied with a cautious yes. Netanyahu was never an ideological right-winger. At crucial moments in our history, the most important divide politically hasn’t been between left and right, but between the pragmatic right and the ideological or religious right.

The great threat to the religious right has always come from the pragmatic right. Think of Menachem Begin in Sinai and Ariel Sharon in Gaza. The settlers have been wary of Netanyahu too, and for good reason.

But the political tragedy of Netanyahu — there are other Netanyahu tragedies — is his failure to fashion a pragmatic right in his image. On his watch, large parts of Likud have turned hard right. If he would try to enter into a substantive peace process, much of his party would revolt. And so no, I don’t think he can do it, even if he wanted to.

The bigger “but,” of course, which is why you wrote the book, is with whom would he be entering a peace process?

There is no Palestinian leader I can see who can or would give us what we minimally need for a deal, and that’s agreeing to confine Palestinian “right of return” to a Palestinian state. In the absence of that concession, there can be no deal. So I’m writing for the long term.

Aren’t you writing to try and create a climate in which…?

I’m trying to model a Jewish conversation with Palestinians that is both empathic toward their suffering and affirming of our story.

I’ve written this book because this is the story I had to tell. And I hope there’ll be people on the other side who will hear it. What the results will be… You write and let it go.

One of the bittersweet experiences of writing a book is that as soon as it appears, it’s no longer yours. You sit with this creation in the privacy of your room, nobody sees it, and you can imagine all kinds of outcomes. But as soon as you release the book, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. I almost never go back to my other books. They’re strangers to me in a certain way. Every so often somebody will tell me something that they’ve read in one of the books, and I’ll say, Oh yeah, that was a good line! (Laughs.)

Writing this book was an interesting experience. “Like Dreamers” took me 11 years. This feels like it was written in 11 weeks … It’s a much shorter book. I call this the Twitter version of “Like Dreamers,” which was a very long book. I never imagined that I could just sit down and write a book quickly, but this one poured out. I couldn’t keep up with it. I’ve never had that writing experience before. I’m a very slow and plodding writer. So, in a way, this book wrote itself.

But in another sense, I’ve been writing this book for years. Along with celebrating the 70th anniversary of the state I’m marking a personal milestone — my thirty-fifth anniversary of moving to Israel, which is to say that I’ve lived in Israel for half the life of the state. This book really took me thirty-five years to write.

Thirty-five years of living in Israel.

Unbelievable. When I first came I thought I’d missed the story – the rest would be anti-climactic. Looking back on the Israeli roller-coaster of the last 35 years, that seems pretty funny.

What have you learned about our story?

One thing I’ve learned is that we’re telling ourselves and the world an outdated story. We’re still speaking about Israel as essentially a European Jewish story. Zionism begins in response to the pogroms and culminates in the Holocaust, which leads to the creation of Israel. That story already became obsolete to a great extent when Israel became a Mizrahi-majority state, which happened in the 1950s.

We’re just beginning culturally to absorb that fact. And it’s time for us to absorb that in our narrative as well.

Zionism largely failed to save the Jews of Europe – but it did succeed in saving the Jews of the Middle East

The more we continue speaking about Zionism only as a European movement that rose in response to European anti-Semitism, the more we feed the anti-Zionist narrative which depicts Israel as a Western colonialist project. If we keep relying on the Holocaust to justify Israel’s existence, we leave ourselves open to accusation that the Palestinians and the Arab world paid the price for what Europe did to the Jews.

The narrative that we need to start telling is much more nuanced and more faithful to what Israel actually is. It’s a narrative that needs to take into account that, yes, while political Zionism did rise in Eastern Europe as an attempt to try to prevent the disaster we now call the Holocaust, in fact Zionism largely failed to save the Jews of Europe – but it did succeed in saving the Jews of the Middle East. Can you imagine if there were still large Jewish communities in Aleppo, in Sana’a, in Baghdad, in Benghazi?

Let me play devil’s advocate: Yes, but they only became threatened because of this foreign, colonial enterprise called Israel, planted in the midst of the Middle East.

Look at the fate of almost every minority in the Middle East today. What would the fate of the Jews of Syria or Iraq have been if they’d stayed? The notion that Zionism ruined the lives of the Jews of the Middle East is a 20th century story told by Israel’s enemies. The story we need to tell in the 21st century is: Thank God that Zionism extracted the Jews from societies that were going to implode 60-70 years later. It’s only in the last few years that we can fully appreciate Zionism’s rescue mission of the Jewish communities of this region.

We’ve half-forgotten the story of how we managed to preserve the centrality of the land of Israel in Jewish consciousness, in every corner of the globe where Jews lived. It’s one of the most astonishing stories in human history

Another example of how the old 20th century narrative does us a deep disservice is how we downplay the Zionism of longing. Zionism was the meeting point between need and longing. We have told the story of the Zionism of need. But we’ve neglected the story of the Zionism of longing. We’ve half-forgotten the story of how we managed to preserve the centrality of the land of Israel in Jewish consciousness, in every corner of the globe where Jews lived. It’s one of the most astonishing stories in human history. This book tries to retell the story of the Zionism of longing. That’s a story we need to tell our neighbors. It’s also a story we need to tell ourselves.

Do you think Zionism’s salvation role is over now? Or when you look at parts of Europe and maybe even America…?

I hope it’s over. I hope that Jews will come to Israel not because they’re fleeing persecution or threat but because they want to join the most amazing experiment in Jewish history, which is the recreation of a people after two thousand years of dispersion and shattering.

The exile didn’t end in 1948, with the creation of the state, but only in 1989, with the fall of the Soviet empire. With the fall of Communism, there were no longer large Jewish communities that were forcibly denied the right to emigrate, the right to choose between life in the Diaspora or Israel. Since 1989, almost every Jew now has that choice, for the first time in 2,000 years. There is no exile anymore.

I not only celebrate our national rebirth, but also thriving Jewish communities around the world. We’re a very strange people. We lived with the centrality of the land of Israel in our consciousness, in our faith, and yet we lived as a people outside the land for most of our history. So diaspora is no less a part of us than homeland. To be a healthy people, we need a creative tension between these two parts of our being.

Still, I wonder whether Jewish life in Europe is sustainable anymore. We’re being hit from so many directions there – the Islamists, the far left, the far right – that we may be seeing the last generation of European Jewry. The post-Holocaust European Jewish rebirth was a brave experiment, an act of trust in the new Europe. I fear that that experiment has failed.

And the United States?

One of my nightmares – Israelis have a list – is the disintegration of the American Jewish-Israeli relationship. We’re not there yet, but we seem to be heading that way.

Our dilemma is that the tactics we need to use to keep ourselves relatively safe in the Middle East are undermining our moral credibility among many American Jews, and that’s a different kind of strategic threat

To some extent the tensions between our two communities are an unavoidable function of geography. American Jews live in the safest, most accepting diaspora in history, and we live in the most dangerous region on the planet. And so each community has developed a strategy that makes sense for its geography. American Jews have become flexible and open to their environment. Israelis have become the toughest kid on the block. Our dilemma is that the tactics we need to use to keep ourselves relatively safe in the Middle East are undermining our moral credibility among many American Jews, and that’s a different kind of strategic threat.

My fear is that each community will take on the attributes of its geographical circumstances. That we will become brutal, and American Jews will become what my father, a Holocaust survivor, used to call “stupid Jews” – Jews who have forgotten the instincts of survival. I think my father, who died many years ago, would have been appalled by Netanyahu’s cynical manipulation of desperate African asylum seekers. And I don’t have to imagine what he would have said about those American Jews who have publicly sided with Linda Sarsour. Why is it so hard for some Jews to understand that decency and self-preservation aren’t mutually exclusive?

One of the reasons I sit at the Hartman Institute is because I am committed – unconditionally – to the American Jewish-Israeli relationship. Sometimes I get furious at American Jews, just as they get furious at us. During the Iran deal, which I see as an existential threat to Israel, I was so angry at American Jews for failing to stop it that I wrote an op-ed essentially saying what some American Jews have been saying to Israel: I’ve had it with you, I can’t continue this relationship. Fortunately I never published it, and my fit passed.

Each side can find lots of reasons to be disappointed with the other. But I don’t have any other Jewish people. We need to stop obsessing only on the failures of each community and also celebrate each community’s remarkable achievements. The emergence of either American Jewry or the State of Israel would have been enough to change Jewish life for centuries. The simultaneous emergence of these two great Jewish experiments is unprecedented in Jewish history.

What can help American Jews and Israelis get to a more mature relationship – a relationship among Jewish grown-ups – is to remember that we live in one of the most interesting and fateful moments in Jewish history. Most of the dreams and fears of our ancestors have been fulfilled. For 2,000 years, Jews carried two great dreams and one great fear. The two dreams were that we would return home, or that we would find safe refuge outside our homeland. And the great fear was that the hatred against us would reach a tipping point and our non-Jewish neighbors would finally destroy us. Those dreams and that nightmare were realized before we were born.

The only great dream that hasn’t yet happened is the coming of the messiah, and of course some Jews argue that we’re now in the messianic era. We live in a moment of profound confusion in Jewish life. That confusion is an entirely appropriate response to the reality we’ve inherited. I see our greatest challenge as understanding and re-adapting our story to these radically changed circumstances.

What does it mean when some of the most significant elements of our story have been fulfilled? What do we do with that? What is our purpose in the world as a people? My intuition is that we have something urgent to say to the world about survival.

This is the first time in history that humanity has the ability to destroy itself. The Jewish people is history’s great survivor. Our job is to figure out what is the Jewish wisdom we need to share with the world. But for that to happen, we need to start seriously thinking about the meaning of our story.


Hommage: De la seule nation qui vénère le même Dieu qu’il y a 3 000 ans au seul pays fondé sur une idée (On the Fourth of July, honoring American exceptionalism and an exceptional American, Charles Krauthammer)

4 juillet, 2018
Israël est l’incarnation pure et simple de la continuité juive : c’est la seule nation au monde qui habite la même terre, porte le même nom, parle la même langue et vénère le même Dieu qu’il y a 3000 ans. En creusant le sol, on peut trouver des poteries du temps de David, des pièces de l’époque de Bar Kochba, et des parchemins vieux de 2000 ans, écrits de manière étonnamment semblable à celle qui, aujourd’hui, vante les crèmes glacées de la confiserie du coin. Charles Krauthammer

En ce nouvel anniversaire du « seul pays fondé sur une idée, l’idée de liberté » …

Comment ne pas avoir une pensée …

Pour l’un de ses plus fidèles et regrettés hérauts

Issu justement de la seule nation qui vénère le même Dieu qu’il y a 3 000 ans ?

On the Fourth of July, Honoring American Exceptionalism and an Exceptional American, Charles Krauthammer

Amid all the pomp and parades, the fireworks and other illuminations, the hot dogs and the ice cream, the home runs and the World Cup goals, let us be sure to pause on this Fourth of July holiday and say with grateful hearts and proud voices, “Happy birthday, America!”

This land—our land—is 242 years young today.

Led by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Ben Franklin, our Founding Fathers signed a document that raised high the banner of independence and challenged England, at the time the most powerful nation in the world.

Remarked one delegate as he signed the Declaration of Independence, “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.”

What was the central idea of this revolutionary declaration that Jefferson, its author, called “an expression of the American mind”? Here is what Charles Krauthammer, the TV commentator and syndicated columnist, said: “America is the only country ever founded on an idea … and the idea is liberty.”

Many of us in Washington, D.C., are still lamenting the June 21 death of Krauthammer, who had a commanding grasp of politics, including foreign policy, that sprang from his intellect, his medical training and practice, and his formation in the Jewish tradition.

Krauthammer was very much like a Founder. Whether they agreed with him or not, those who knew him commented on his grace, civility, and humor. He combined the character of George Washington, the prudential mind of James Madison, and the wit of Franklin.

Asked how he could go from being a speechwriter for Walter Mondale to a political commentator on Fox News, he replied, “I was young once.”  He was a happy warrior even though he dealt with more difficulties—he was a quadriplegic from the age of 22—than most of us can imagine.

He could sum up a politician or a historical trend in just a few words. One year into the Obama administration, he wrote, “Fairness through leveling is the essence of Obamaism.” Toward the end of President Barack Obama’s first term, he summed up the four years: “The greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective.”

Krauthammer excelled at explaining our times. He coined the phrase “the Reagan Doctrine” to explain President Ronald Reagan’s support of anti-communist forces in Afghanistan and Nicaragua, and extolled Winston Churchill as the 20th century’s most indispensable leader. Paraphrasing the Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, he said, “The free lunch is the essence of modern liberalism.”

He was ever generous toward the rising generation. The co-author of this commentary will be always grateful for his support at the start of her academic career. Krauthammer would meet with her students who learned much about politics from him, although nearly all disagreed with him—at least at the beginning.

On one occasion, she took her students to see the satirical troupe “Capitol Steps,” and Krauthammer was there with his family, laughing at the anti-conservative sallies.

In the introduction to his book “Things That Matter,” Krauthammer referred to Adams and Jefferson and their tempered hopes for the durability of liberty.

He was not pessimistic, but realistic, about the future, writing: “The lesson of our history is that the task of merely maintaining strong and sturdy the structures of a constitutional order is unending, the continuing and ceaseless work of every generation.”

He was a prime example of someone who knows that man does not live by politics alone. His favorite diversion (after chess) was baseball, specifically the up-and-down, in-and-out, always unpredictable Washington Nationals, about whom he would wax poetic.

You get there [to the park], and the twilight’s gleaming, the popcorn’s popping, the kids’re romping, and everyone’s happy. The joy of losing consists in this: Where there are no expectations, there is no disappointment.

But Krauthammer, liberal-turned-conservative, psychiatrist-turned-political commentator, expected good things from the people. He wrote of the tea party revolt, “No matter how far the ideological pendulum swings in the short term, in the end, the bedrock common sense of the American people will prevail.”

In his final column, he wrote: “I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”

Of course, his was not a small, but rather a leading, role, one that will serve as a model for those with the right ideas who take up the responsibility of keeping this exceptional nation on the road to liberty.

So—along with “Happy Birthday, America!”—we say to Charles Krauthammer, a mentor and an inspiration who will be missed beyond measure: “May God bless you and keep you.”

At Last, Zion

The Weekly Standard

I. A SMALL NATION

Milan Kundera once defined a small nation as « one whose very existence may be put in question at any moment; a small nation can disappear, and it knows it. »

The United States is not a small nation. Neither is Japan. Or France. These nations may suffer defeats. They may even be occupied. But they cannot disappear. Kundera’s Czechoslovakia could — and once did. Prewar Czechoslovakia is the paradigmatic small nation: a liberal democracy created in the ashes of war by a world determined to let little nations live free; threatened by the covetousness and sheer mass of a rising neighbor; compromised fatally by a West grown weary « of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing »; left truncated and defenseless, succumbing finally to conquest. When Hitler entered Prague in March 1939, he declared, « Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist. »

Israel too is a small country. This is not to say that extinction is its fate. Only that it can be.

Moreover, in its vulnerability to extinction, Israel is not just any small country. It is the only small country — the only period, period — whose neighbors publicly declare its very existence an affront to law, morality, and religion and make its extinction an explicit, paramount national goal. Nor is the goal merely declarative. Iran, Libya, and Iraq conduct foreign policies designed for the killing of Israelis and the destruction of their state. They choose their allies (Hamas, Hezbollah) and develop their weapons (suicide bombs, poison gas, anthrax, nuclear missiles) accordingly. Countries as far away as Malaysia will not allow a representative of Israel on their soil nor even permit the showing of Schindler’s List lest it engender sympathy for Zion.

Others are more circumspect in their declarations. No longer is the destruction of Israel the unanimous goal of the Arab League, as it was for the thirty years before Camp David. Syria, for example, no longer explicitly enunciates it. Yet Syria would destroy Israel tomorrow if it had the power. (Its current reticence on the subject is largely due to its post-Cold War need for the American connection.)

Even Egypt, first to make peace with Israel and the presumed model for peacemaking, has built a vast U.S.-equipped army that conducts military exercises obviously designed for fighting Israel. Its huge « Badr ’96 » exercises, for example, Egypt’s largest since the 1973 war, featured simulated crossings of the Suez Canal.

And even the PLO, which was forced into ostensible recognition of Israel in the Oslo Agreements of 1993, is still ruled by a national charter that calls in at least fourteen places for Israel’s eradication. The fact that after five years and four specific promises to amend the charter it remains unamended is a sign of how deeply engraved the dream of eradicating Israel remains in the Arab consciousness.

II. THE STAKES

The contemplation of Israel’s disappearance is very difficult for this generation. For fifty years, Israel has been a fixture. Most people cannot remember living in a world without Israel.

Nonetheless, this feeling of permanence has more than once been rudely interrupted — during the first few days of the Yom Kippur War when it seemed as if Israel might be overrun, or those few weeks in May and early June 1967 when Nasser blockaded the Straits of Tiran and marched 100,000 troops into Sinai to drive the Jews into the sea.

Yet Israel’s stunning victory in 1967, its superiority in conventional weaponry, its success in every war in which its existence was at stake, has bred complacency. Some ridicule the very idea of Israel’s impermanence. Israel, wrote one Diaspora intellectual, « is fundamentally indestructible. Yitzhak Rabin knew this. The Arab leaders on Mount Herzl [at Rabin’s funeral] knew this. Only the land-grabbing, trigger-happy saints of the right do not know this. They are animated by the imagination of catastrophe, by the thrill of attending the end. »

Thrill was not exactly the feeling Israelis had when during the Gulf War they entered sealed rooms and donned gas masks to protect themselves from mass death — in a war in which Israel was not even engaged. The feeling was fear, dread, helplessness — old existential Jewish feelings that post- Zionist fashion today deems anachronistic, if not reactionary. But wish does not overthrow reality. The Gulf War reminded even the most wishful that in an age of nerve gas, missiles, and nukes, an age in which no country is completely safe from weapons of mass destruction, Israel with its compact population and tiny area is particularly vulnerable to extinction.

Israel is not on the edge. It is not on the brink. This is not ’48 or ’67 or ’73. But Israel is a small country. It can disappear. And it knows it.

It may seem odd to begin an examination of the meaning of Israel and the future of the Jews by contemplating the end. But it does concentrate the mind. And it underscores the stakes. The stakes could not be higher. It is my contention that on Israel — on its existence and survival — hangs the very existence and survival of the Jewish people. Or, to put the thesis in the negative, that the end of Israel means the end of the Jewish people. They survived destruction and exile at the hands of Babylon in 586 B.C. They survived destruction and exile at the hands of Rome in 70 A.D., and finally in 132 A.D. They cannot survive another destruction and exile. The Third Commonwealth — modern Israel, born just 50 years ago — is the last.

The return to Zion is now the principal drama of Jewish history. What began as an experiment has become the very heart of the Jewish people — its cultural, spiritual, and psychological center, soon to become its demographic center as well. Israel is the hinge. Upon it rest the hopes — the only hope – – for Jewish continuity and survival.

III. THE DYING DIASPORA

In 1950, there were 5 million Jews in the United States. In 1990, the number was a slightly higher 5.5 million. In the intervening decades, overall U.S. population rose 65 percent. The Jews essentially tread water. In fact, in the last half-century Jews have shrunk from 3 percent to 2 percent of the American population. And now they are headed for not just relative but absolute decline. What sustained the Jewish population at its current level was, first, the postwar baby boom, then the influx of 400,000 Jews, mostly from the Soviet Union.

Well, the baby boom is over. And Russian immigration is drying up. There are only so many Jews where they came from. Take away these historical anomalies, and the American Jewish population would be smaller today than today. In fact, it is now headed for catastrophic decline. Steven Bayme, director of Jewish Communal Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, flatly predicts that in twenty years the Jewish population will be down to four million, a loss of nearly 30 percent. In twenty years! Projecting just a few decades further yields an even more chilling future.

How does a community decimate itself in the benign conditions of the United States? Easy: low fertility and endemic intermarriage.

The fertility rate among American Jews is 1.6 children per woman. The replacement rate (the rate required for the population to remain constant) is 2.1. The current rate is thus 20 percent below what is needed for zero growth. Thus fertility rates alone would cause a 20 percent decline in every generation. In three generations, the population would be cut in half.

The low birth rate does not stem from some peculiar aversion of Jewish women to children. It is merely a striking case of the well-known and universal phenomenon of birth rates declining with rising education and socio- economic class. Educated, successful working women tend to marry late and have fewer babies.

Add now a second factor, intermarriage. In the United States today more Jews marry Christians than marry Jews. The intermarriage rate is 52 percent. (A more conservative calculation yields 47 percent; the demographic effect is basically the same.) In 1970, the rate was 8 percent.

Most important for Jewish continuity, however, is the ultimate identity of the children born to these marriages. Only about one in four is raised Jewish. Thus two-thirds of Jewish marriages are producing children three-quarters of whom are lost to the Jewish people. Intermarriage rates alone would cause a 25 percent decline in population in every generation. (Math available upon request.) In two generations, half the Jews would disappear.

Now combine the effects of fertility and intermarriage and make the overly optimistic assumption that every child raised Jewish will grow up to retain his Jewish identity (i.e., a zero dropout rate). You can start with 100 American Jews; you end up with 60. In one generation, more than a third have disappeared. In just two generations, two out of every three will vanish.

One can reach this same conclusion by a different route (bypassing the intermarriage rates entirely). A Los Angeles Times poll of American Jews conducted in March 1998 asked a simple question: Are you raising your children as Jews? Only 70 percent said yes. A population in which the biological replacement rate is 80 percent and the cultural replacement rate is 70 percent is headed for extinction. By this calculation, every 100 Jews are raising 56 Jewish children. In just two generations, 7 out of every 10 Jews will vanish.

The demographic trends in the rest of the Diaspora are equally unencouraging. In Western Europe, fertility and intermarriage rates mirror those of the United States. Take Britain. Over the last generation, British Jewry has acted as a kind of controlled experiment: a Diaspora community living in an open society, but, unlike that in the United States, not artificially sustained by immigration. What happened? Over the last quarter- century, the number of British Jews declined by over 25 percent.

Over the same interval, France’s Jewish population declined only slightly. The reason for this relative stability, however, is a one-time factor: the influx of North African Jewry. That influx is over. In France today only a minority of Jews between the ages of twenty and forty-four live in a conventional family with two Jewish parents. France, too, will go the way of the rest.

« The dissolution of European Jewry, » observes Bernard Wasserstein in Vanishing Diaspora: The Jews in Europe since 1945, « is not situated at some point in the hypothetical future. The process is taking place before our eyes and is already far advanced. » Under present trends, « the number of Jews in Europe by the year 2000 would then be not much more than one million — the lowest figure since the last Middle Ages. »

In 1990, there were eight million.

The story elsewhere is even more dispiriting. The rest of what was once the Diaspora is now either a museum or a graveyard. Eastern Europe has been effectively emptied of its Jews. In 1939, Poland had 3.2 million Jews. Today it is home to 3,500. The story is much the same in the other capitals of Eastern Europe.

The Islamic world, cradle to the great Sephardic Jewish tradition and home to one-third of world Jewry three centuries ago, is now practically Judenrein. Not a single country in the Islamic world is home to more than 20,000 Jews. After Turkey with 19,000 and Iran with 14,000, the country with the largest Jewish community in the entire Islamic world is Morocco with 6, 100. There are more Jews in Omaha, Nebraska.

These communities do not figure in projections. There is nothing to project. They are fit subjects not for counting but for remembering. Their very sound has vanished. Yiddish and Ladino, the distinctive languages of the European and Sephardic Diasporas, like the communities that invented them, are nearly extinct.

IV. THE DYNAMICS OF ASSIMILATION

Is it not risky to assume that current trends will continue? No. Nothing will revive the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the Islamic world. And nothing will stop the rapid decline by assimilation of Western Jewry. On the contrary. Projecting current trends — assuming, as I have done, that rates remain constant — is rather conservative: It is risky to assume that assimilation will not accelerate. There is nothing on the horizon to reverse the integration of Jews into Western culture. The attraction of Jews to the larger culture and the level of acceptance of Jews by the larger culture are historically unprecedented. If anything, the trends augur an intensification of assimilation.

It stands to reason. As each generation becomes progressively more assimilated, the ties to tradition grow weaker (as measured, for example, by synagogue attendance and number of children receiving some kind of Jewish education). This dilution of identity, in turn, leads to a greater tendency to intermarriage and assimilation. Why not? What, after all, are they giving up? The circle is complete and self-reinforcing.

Consider two cultural artifacts. With the birth of television a half- century ago, Jewish life in America was represented by The Goldbergs: urban Jews, decidedly ethnic, heavily accented, socially distinct. Forty years later The Goldbergs begat Seinfeld, the most popular entertainment in America today. The Seinfeld character is nominally Jewish. He might cite his Jewish identity on occasion without apology or self- consciousness — but, even more important, without consequence. It has not the slightest influence on any aspect of his life.

Assimilation of this sort is not entirely unprecedented. In some ways, it parallels the pattern in Western Europe after the emancipation of the Jews in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The French Revolution marks the turning point in the granting of civil rights to Jews. As they began to emerge from the ghetto, at first they found resistance to their integration and advancement. They were still excluded from the professions, higher education, and much of society. But as these barriers began gradually to erode and Jews advanced socially, Jews began a remarkable embrace of European culture and, for many, Christianity. In A History of Zionism, Walter Laqueur notes the view of Gabriel Riesser, an eloquent and courageous mid-19th-century advocate of emancipation, that a Jew who preferred the non-existent state and nation of Israel to Germany should be put under police protection not because he was dangerous but because he was obviously insane.

Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) was a harbinger. Cultured, cosmopolitan, though firmly Jewish, he was the quintessence of early emancipation. Yet his story became emblematic of the rapid historical progression from emancipation to assimilation: Four of his six children and eight of his nine grandchildren were baptized.

In that more religious, more Christian age, assimilation took the form of baptism, what Henrich Heine called the admission ticket to European society. In the far more secular late-20th century, assimilation merely means giving up the quaint name, the rituals, and the other accouterments and identifiers of one’s Jewish past. Assimilation today is totally passive. Indeed, apart from the trip to the county courthouse to transform, say, (shmattes by) Ralph Lifshitz into (Polo by) Ralph Lauren, it is marked by an absence of actions rather than the active embrace of some other faith. Unlike Mendelssohn’s children, Seinfeld required no baptism.

We now know, of course, that in Europe, emancipation through assimilation proved a cruel hoax. The rise of anti-Semitism, particularly late-19th- century racial anti-Semitism culminating in Nazism, disabused Jews of the notion that assimilation provided escape from the liabilities and dangers of being Jewish. The saga of the family of Madeleine Albright is emblematic. Of her four Jewish grandparents — highly assimilated, with children some of whom actually converted and erased their Jewish past — three went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps as Jews.

Nonetheless, the American context is different. There is no American history of anti-Semitism remotely resembling Europe’s. The American tradition of tolerance goes back 200 years to the very founding of the country. Washington’s letter to the synagogue in Newport pledges not tolerance — tolerance bespeaks non-persecution bestowed as a favor by the dominant upon the deviant — but equality. It finds no parallel in the history of Europe. In such a country, assimilation seems a reasonable solution to one’s Jewish problem. One could do worse than merge one’s destiny with that of a great and humane nation dedicated to the proposition of human dignity and equality.

Nonetheless, while assimilation may be a solution for individual Jews, it clearly is a disaster for Jews as a collective with a memory, a language, a tradition, a liturgy, a history, a faith, a patrimony that will all perish as a result.

Whatever value one might assign to assimilation, one cannot deny its reality. The trends, demographic and cultural, are stark. Not just in the long-lost outlands of the Diaspora, not just in its erstwhile European center, but even in its new American heartland, the future will be one of diminution, decline, and virtual disappearance. This will not occur overnight. But it will occur soon — in but two or three generations, a time not much further removed from ours today than the founding of Israel fifty years ago.

V. ISRAELI EXCEPTIONALISM

Israel is different. In Israel the great temptation of modernity — assimilation — simply does not exist. Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.

Because most Israelis are secular, however, some ultra-religious Jews dispute Israel’s claim to carry on an authentically Jewish history. So do some secular Jews. A French critic (sociologist Georges Friedmann) once called Israelis « Hebrew-speaking gentiles. » In fact, there was once a fashion among a group of militantly secular Israeli intellectuals to call themselves  » Canaanites, » i.e., people rooted in the land but entirely denying the religious tradition from which they came.

Well then, call these people what you will. « Jews, » after all, is a relatively recent name for this people. They started out as Hebrews, then became Israelites. « Jew » (derived from the Kingdom of Judah, one of the two successor states to the Davidic and Solomonic Kingdom of Israel) is the post- exilic term for Israelite. It is a latecomer to history.

What to call the Israeli who does not observe the dietary laws, has no use for the synagogue, and regards the Sabbath as the day for a drive to the beach — a fair description, by the way, of most of the prime ministers of Israel? It does not matter. Plant a Jewish people in a country that comes to a standstill on Yom Kippur; speaks the language of the Bible; moves to the rhythms of the Hebrew (lunar) calendar; builds cities with the stones of its ancestors; produces Hebrew poetry and literature, Jewish scholarship and learning unmatched anywhere in the world — and you have continuity.

Israelis could use a new name. Perhaps we will one day relegate the word Jew to the 2,000-year exilic experience and once again call these people Hebrews. The term has a nice historical echo, being the name by which Joseph and Jonah answered the question: « Who are you? »

In the cultural milieu of modern Israel, assimilation is hardly the problem. Of course Israelis eat McDonald’s and watch Dallas reruns. But so do Russians and Chinese and Danes. To say that there are heavy Western (read: American) influences on Israeli culture is to say nothing more than that Israel is as subject to the pressures of globalization as any other country. But that hardly denies its cultural distinctiveness, a fact testified to by the great difficulty immigrants have in adapting to Israel.

In the Israeli context, assimilation means the reattachment of Russian and Romanian, Uzbeki and Iraqi, Algerian and Argentinian Jews to a distinctively Hebraic culture. It means the exact opposite of what it means in the Diaspora: It means giving up alien languages, customs, and traditions. It means giving up Christmas and Easter for Hanukkah and Passover. It means giving up ancestral memories of the steppes and the pampas and the savannas of the world for Galilean hills and Jerusalem stone and Dead Sea desolation. That is what these new Israelis learn. That is what is transmitted to their children. That is why their survival as Jews is secure. Does anyone doubt that the near- million Soviet immigrants to Israel would have been largely lost to the Jewish people had they remained in Russia — and that now they will not be lost?

Some object to the idea of Israel as carrier of Jewish continuity because of the myriad splits and fractures among Israelis: Orthodox versus secular, Ashkenazi versus Sephardi, Russian versus sabra, and so on. Israel is now engaged in bitter debates over the legitimacy of conservative and reform Judaism and the encroachment of Orthodoxy upon the civic and social life of the country.

So what’s new? Israel is simply recapitulating the Jewish norm. There are equally serious divisions in the Diaspora, as there were within the last Jewish Commonwealth: « Before the ascendancy of the Pharisees and the emergence of Rabbinic orthodoxy after the fall of the Second Temple, » writes Harvard Near East scholar Frank Cross, « Judaism was more complex and variegated than we had supposed. » The Dead Sea Scrolls, explains Hershel Shanks, « emphasize a hitherto unappreciated variety in Judaism of the late Second Temple period, so much so that scholars often speak not simply of Judaism but of Judaisms. »

The Second Commonwealth was a riot of Jewish sectarianism: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, apocalyptics of every stripe, sects now lost to history, to say nothing of the early Christians. Those concerned about the secular- religious tensions in Israel might contemplate the centuries-long struggle between Hellenizers and traditionalists during the Second Commonwealth. The Maccabean revolt of 167-4 B.C., now celebrated as Hanukkah, was, among other things, a religious civil war among Jews.

Yes, it is unlikely that Israel will produce a single Jewish identity. But that is unnecessary. The relative monolith of Rabbinic Judaism in the Middle Ages is the exception. Fracture and division is a fact of life during the modern era, as during the First and Second Commonwealths. Indeed, during the period of the First Temple, the people of Israel were actually split into two often warring states. The current divisions within Israel pale in comparison.

Whatever identity or identities are ultimately adopted by Israelis, the fact remains that for them the central problem of Diaspora Jewry — suicide by assimilation — simply does not exist. Blessed with this security of identity, Israel is growing. As a result, Israel is not just the cultural center of the Jewish world, it is rapidly becoming its demographic center as well. The relatively high birth rate yields a natural increase in population. Add a steady net rate of immigration (nearly a million since the late 1980s), and Israel’s numbers rise inexorably even as the Diaspora declines.

Within a decade Israel will pass the United States as the most populous Jewish community on the globe. Within our lifetime a majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. That has not happened since well before Christ.

A century ago, Europe was the center of Jewish life. More than 80 percent of world Jewry lived there. The Second World War destroyed European Jewry and dispersed the survivors to the New World (mainly the United States) and to Israel. Today, 80 percent of world Jewry lives either in the United States or in Israel. Today we have a bipolar Jewish universe with two centers of gravity of approximately equal size. It is a transitional stage, however. One star is gradually dimming, the other brightening.

Soon an inevitably the cosmology of the Jewish people will have been transformed again, turned into a single-star system with a dwindling Diaspora orbiting around. It will be a return to the ancient norm: The Jewish people will be centered — not just spiritually but physically — in their ancient homeland.

VI. THE END OF DISPERSION

The consequences of this transformation are enormous. Israel’s centrality is more than just a question of demography. It represents a bold and dangerous new strategy for Jewish survival.

For two millennia, the Jewish people survived by means of dispersion and isolation. Following the first exile in 586 B.C. and the second exile in 70 A. D. and 132 A.D., Jews spread first throughout Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean Basin, then to northern and eastern Europe and eventually west to the New World, with communities in practically every corner of the earth, even unto India and China.

Throughout this time, the Jewish people survived the immense pressures of persecution, massacre, and forced conversion not just by faith and courage, but by geographic dispersion. Decimated here, they would survive there. The thousands of Jewish villages and towns spread across the face of Europe, the Islamic world, and the New World provided a kind of demographic insurance. However many Jews were massacred in the First Crusade along the Rhine, however many villages were destroyed in the 1648-1649 pogroms in Ukraine, there were always thousands of others spread around the globe to carry on.

This dispersion made for weakness and vulnerability for individual Jewish communities. Paradoxically, however, it made for endurance and strength for the Jewish people as a whole. No tyrant could amass enough power to threaten Jewish survival everywhere.

Until Hitler. The Nazis managed to destroy most everything Jewish from the Pyrenees to the gates of Stalingrad, an entire civilization a thousand years old. There were nine million Jews in Europe when Hitler came to power. He killed two-thirds of them. Fifty years later, the Jews have yet to recover. There were sixteen million Jews in the world in 1939. Today, there are thirteen million.

The effect of the Holocaust was not just demographic, however. It was psychological, indeed ideological, as well. It demonstrated once and for all the catastrophic danger of powerlessness. The solution was self-defense, and that meant a demographic reconcentration in a place endowed with sovereignty, statehood, and arms.

Before World War II there was great debate in the Jewish world over Zionism. Reform Judaism, for example, was for decades anti-Zionist. The Holocaust resolved that debate. Except for those at the extremes — the ultra-Orthodox right and far left — Zionism became the accepted solution to Jewish powerlessness and vulnerability. Amid the ruins, Jews made a collective decision that their future lay in self-defense and territoriality, in the ingathering of the exiles to a place where they could finally acquire the means to defend themselves.

It was the right decision, the only possible decision. But oh so perilous. What a choice of place to make one’s final stand: a dot on the map, a tiny patch of near-desert, a thin ribbon of Jewish habitation behind the flimsiest of natural barriers (which the world demands that Israel relinquish). One determined tank thrust can tear it in half. One small battery of nuclear- tipped Scuds can obliterate it entirely.

To destroy the Jewish people, Hitler needed to conquer the world. All that is needed today is to conquer a territory smaller than Vermont. The terrible irony is that in solving the problem of powerlessness, the Jews have necessarily put all their eggs in one basket, a small basket hard by the waters of the Mediterranean. And on its fate hinges everything Jewish.

VII. THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE

What if the Third Jewish Commonwealth meets the fate of the first two? The scenario is not that far-fetched: A Palestinian state is born, arms itself, concludes alliances with, say, Iraq and Syria. War breaks out between Palestine and Israel (over borders or water or terrorism). Syria and Iraq attack from without. Egypt and Saudi Arabia join the battle. The home front comes under guerilla attack from Palestine. Chemical and biological weapons rain down from Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Israel is overrun.

Why is this the end? Can the Jewish people not survive as they did when their homeland was destroyed and their political independence extinguished twice before? Why not a new exile, a new Diaspora, a new cycle of Jewish history?

First, because the cultural conditions of exile would be vastly different. The first exiles occurred at a time when identity was nearly coterminous with religion. An expulsion two millennia later into a secularized world affords no footing for a reestablished Jewish identity.

But more important: Why retain such an identity? Beyond the dislocation would be the sheer demoralization. Such an event would simply break the spirit. No people could survive it. Not even the Jews. This is a people that miraculously survived two previous destructions and two millennia of persecution in the hope of ultimate return and restoration. Israel is that hope. To see it destroyed, to have Isaiahs and Jeremiahs lamenting the widows of Zion once again amid the ruins of Jerusalem is more than one people could bear.

Particularly coming after the Holocaust, the worst calamity in Jewish history. To have survived it is miracle enough. Then to survive the destruction of that which arose to redeem it — the new Jewish state — is to attribute to Jewish nationhood and survival supernatural power.

Some Jews and some scattered communities would, of course, survive. The most devout, already a minority, would carry on — as an exotic tribe, a picturesque Amish-like anachronism, a dispersed and pitied remnant of a remnant. But the Jews as a people would have retired from history.

We assume that Jewish history is cyclical: Babylonian exile in 586 B.C., followed by return in 538 B.C. Roman exile in 135 A.D., followed by return, somewhat delayed, in 1948. We forget a linear part of Jewish history: There was one other destruction, a century and a half before the fall of the First Temple. It went unrepaired. In 722 B.C., the Assyrians conquered the other, larger Jewish state, the northern kingdom of Israel. (Judah, from which modern Jews are descended, was the southern kingdom.) This is the Israel of the Ten Tribes, exiled and lost forever.

So enduring is their mystery that when Lewis and Clark set off on their expedition, one of the many questions prepared for them by Dr. Benjamin Rush at Jefferson’s behest was this: « What Affinity between their [the Indians’] religious Ceremonies & those of the Jews? » « Jefferson and Lewis had talked at length about these tribes, » explains Stephen Ambrose. « They speculated that the lost tribes of Israel could be out there on the Plains. »

Alas, not. The Ten Tribes had melted away into history. As such, they represent the historical norm. Every other people so conquered and exiled has in time disappeared. Only the Jews defied the norm. Twice. But never, I fear, again.


Gaza: Quand la condamnation tourne à l’incitation (Behind the smoke and mirrors, guess who’s abetting Hamas’s carefully planned and orchestrated military operation to break through the border of a sovereign state and commit mass murder in the communities beyond using their own civilians as cover ?)

19 mai, 2018
Malheur à ceux qui appellent le mal bien, et le bien mal, qui changent les ténèbres en lumière, et la lumière en ténèbres, qui changent l’amertume en douceur, et la douceur en amertume! Esaïe 5: 20
« Dionysos contre le « crucifié » : la voici bien l’opposition. Ce n’est pas une différence quant au martyr – mais celui-ci a un sens différent. La vie même, son éternelle fécondité, son éternel retour, détermine le tourment, la destruction, la volonté d’anéantir pour Dionysos. Dans l’autre cas, la souffrance, le « crucifié » en tant qu’il est « innocent », sert d’argument contre cette vie, de formulation de sa condamnation.  (…) L’individu a été si bien pris au sérieux, si bien posé comme un absolu par le christianisme, qu’on ne pouvait plus le sacrifier : mais l’espèce ne survit que grâce aux sacrifices humains… La véritable philanthropie exige le sacrifice pour le bien de l’espèce – elle est dure, elle oblige à se dominer soi-même, parce qu’elle a besoin du sacrifice humain. Et cette pseudo-humanité qui s’institue christianisme, veut précisément imposer que personne ne soit sacrifié. Nietzsche
Où est Dieu? cria-t-il, je vais vous le dire! Nous l’avons tué – vous et moi! Nous tous sommes ses meurtriers! Mais comment avons-nous fait cela? Comment avons-nous pu vider la mer? Qui nous a donné l’éponge pour effacer l’horizon tout entier? Dieu est mort! (…) Et c’est nous qui l’avons tué ! (…) Ce que le monde avait possédé jusqu’alors de plus sacré et de plus puissant a perdu son sang sous nos couteaux (…) Quelles solennités expiatoires, quels jeux sacrés nous faudra-t-il inventer? Nietzsche
Le christianisme est une rébellion contre la loi naturelle, une protestation contre la nature. Poussé à sa logique extrême, le christianisme signifierait la culture systématique de l’échec humain. […] Mais il n’est pas question que le national-socialisme se mette un jour à singer la religion en établissant une forme de culte. Sa seule ambition doit être de construire scientifiquement une doctrine qui ne soit rien de plus qu’un hommage à la raison […] Il n’est donc pas opportun de nous lancer maintenant dans un combat avec les Églises. Le mieux est de laisser le christianisme mourir de mort naturelle. Une mort lente a quelque chose d’apaisant. Le dogme du christianisme s’effrite devant les progrès de la science. La religion devra faire de plus en plus de concessions. Les mythes se délabrent peu à peu. Il ne reste plus qu’à prouver que dans la nature il n’existe aucune frontière entre l’organique et l’inorganique. Quand la connaissance de l’univers se sera largement répandue, quand la plupart des hommes sauront que les étoiles ne sont pas des sources de lumière mais des mondes, peut-être des mondes habités comme le nôtre, alors la doctrine chrétienne sera convaincue d’absurdité […] Tout bien considéré, nous n’avons aucune raison de souhaiter que les Italiens et les Espagnols se libèrent de la drogue du christianisme. Soyons les seuls à être immunisés contre cette maladie. Adolf Hitler
Nous avons constaté que le sport était la religion moderne du monde occidental. Nous savions que les publics anglais et américain assis devant leur poste de télévision ne regarderaient pas un programme exposant le sort des Palestiniens s’il y avait une manifestation sportive sur une autre chaîne. Nous avons donc décidé de nous servir des Jeux olympiques, cérémonie la plus sacrée de cette religion, pour obliger le monde à faire attention à nous. Nous avons offert des sacrifices humains à vos dieux du sport et de la télévision et ils ont répondu à nos prières. Terroriste palestinien (Jeux olympiques de Munich, 1972)
La même force culturelle et spirituelle qui a joué un rôle si décisif dans la disparition du sacrifice humain est aujourd’hui en train de provoquer la disparition des rituels de sacrifice humain qui l’ont jadis remplacé. Tout cela semble être une bonne nouvelle, mais à condition que ceux qui comptaient sur ces ressources rituelles soient en mesure de les remplacer par des ressources religieuses durables d’un autre genre. Priver une société des ressources sacrificielles rudimentaires dont elle dépend sans lui proposer d’alternatives, c’est la plonger dans une crise qui la conduira presque certainement à la violence. Gil Bailie
More ink equals more blood,  newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks. It’s a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a « common-interest game. Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money « as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers. Bruno S. Frey et Dominic Rohner
Amidst the national mourning for the many innocent lives lost in these senseless shooting sprees, it is critical not to overreact and overrespond to the menacing acts of a few. It is, of course, of little comfort to those families and communities impacted in Santa Fe as well as Parkland, Florida, and Benton, Kentucky, but this is not routine. Schools are not under siege. Rather, this more likely reflects a short-term contagion effect in which angry dispirited youngsters are inspired by others whose violent outbursts serve as fodder for national attention. That should subside once we stop obsessing over the risk. History provides an important lesson about how crime contagions arise and eventually play themselves out. Over the five-year time span from 1997 through 2001, America witnessed seven multiple-fatality school rampages with a combined 32 killed and 85 others injured, more such incidents and casualties than during the past five years. (…) Many observers have expressed concern for the excessive attention given to mass shooters of today and the deadliest of yesteryear. CNN’s Anderson Cooper has campaigned against naming names of mass shooters, and 147 criminologists, sociologists, psychologists and other human-behavior experts recently signed on to an open letter urging the media not to identify mass shooters or display their photos. While I appreciate the concern for name and visual identification of mass shooters for fear of inspiring copycats as well as to avoid insult to the memory of those they slaughtered, names and faces are not the problem. It is the excessive detail — too much information — about the killers, their writings, and their backgrounds that unnecessarily humanizes them. We come to know more about them — their interests and their disappointments — than we do about our next door neighbors. Too often the line is crossed between news reporting and celebrity watch. At the same time, we focus far too much on records. We constantly are reminded that some shooting is the largest in a particular state over a given number of years, as if that really matters. Would the massacre be any less tragic if it didn’t exceed the death toll of some prior incident? Moreover, we are treated to published lists of the largest mass shootings in modern US history. For whatever purpose we maintain records, they are there to be broken and can challenge a bitter and suicidal assailant to outgun his violent role models. Although the spirited advocacy of students around the country regarding gun control is to be applauded, we need to keep some perspective about the risk. Slogans like, “I want to go to my graduation, not to my grave,” are powerful, yet hyperbolic. As often said, even one death is one too many, and we need to take the necessary steps to protect children, including expanded funding for school teachers and school psychologists. Still, despite the occasional tragedy, our schools are safe, safer than they have been for decades. James Alan Fox (Northeastern University)
Hélas les morts ne sont que d’un seul côté. Benoit Hamon
A Gaza et dans les territoires occupés, ils ont [les meurtres de violées] représenté deux tiers des homicides » (…) Les femmes palestiniennes violées par les soldats israéliens sont systématiquement tuées par leur propre famille. Ici, le viol devient un crime de guerre, car les soldats israéliens agissent en parfaite connaissance de cause. Sara Daniel (Le Nouvel Observateur, le 8 novembre 2001)
Dans le numéro 1931 du Nouvel Observateur, daté du 8 novembre 2001, Sara Daniel a publié un reportage sur le « crime d’honneur » en Jordanie. Dans son texte, elle révélait qu’à Gaza et dans les territoires occupés, les crimes dits d’honneur qui consistent pour des pères ou des frères à abattre les femmes jugées légères représentaient une part importante des homicides. Le texte publié, en raison d’un défaut de guillemets et de la suppression de deux phrases dans la transmission, laissait penser que son auteur faisait sienne l’accusation selon laquelle il arrivait à des soldats israéliens de commettre un viol en sachant, de plus, que les femmes violées allaient être tuées. Il n’en était évidemment rien et Sara Daniel, actuellement en reportage en Afghanistan, fait savoir qu’elle déplore très vivement cette erreur qui a gravement dénaturé sa pensée. Une mise au point de Sara Daniel (Le Nouvel Observateur, le 15 novembre 2001)
Pendant qu’une petite fille palestinienne mourait d’avoir inhalé des gaz lacrymogènes à Gaza, à Jérusalem, à moins d’une heure et demie de là par la route, on sablait le champagne, lundi, pour fêter le déménagement de l’ambassade américaine. Malgré les snipers israéliens, les Gazaouis auront donc continué à se presser devant la clôture de séparation de cette prison maudite et à ciel ouvert que représente l’enclave de Gaza, honte d’Israël et de la communauté internationale, pour achever la « Marche du grand retour », entamée le 30 mars et censée se conclure ce 15 mai. Une marche pour réclamer les terres perdues au moment de la création d’Israël, il y a soixante-dix ans, mais surtout la fin du blocus israélo-égyptien qui étouffe Gaza. Au cours de ce lundi noir, 59 personnes ont été tuées, et plus de 2.400 ont été blessées par balles. Encore une fois le conflit israélo-palestinien a joué la guerre des images, au cours de ce jour si symbolique. Les Israéliens fêtaient les 70 ans de la naissance de leur Etat, le miracle de son existence, l’incroyable longévité de ce confetti minuscule entouré de nations hostiles. Les Palestiniens commémoraient, eux, leur « catastrophe », leur Nakba, qui les a poussés sur les routes de l’exil, dans l’indifférence d’une communauté internationale lassée par un conflit interminable, happée par d’autres hécatombes plus pressantes. C’est avec cette Marche que les Gazaouis ont tenté de revenir sur la carte des préoccupations mondiales et de rappeler leur agonie à un monde qui les oublie. Pendant ce temps, Israéliens, Américains, Saoudiens et Egyptiens célèbrent leur alliance sur le dos de ces vaincus de l’histoire, les pressant d’accepter un accord, ce que Donald Trump a appelé le « deal ultime », dont les contours sont encore flous mais dont on peut être certain qu’il entérinerait leur déroute. Mais pourquoi les Israéliens ont-ils cédé à cette violence inouïe et inutile alors que, de leur aveu même, le vrai sujet de leurs inquiétudes était le front du Nord avec le Hezbollah et l’Iran ? Est-ce l’hubris des vainqueurs ? En tout cas, Israël n’a pas entendu l’avertissement de Houda Naim, députée du Hamas. (…) Alors, les manifestants ont-ils été manipulés par leurs organisations politiques ? La question est obscène lorsque que la marche, commencée il y a six semaines, a déjà fait plus de 100 morts. Bien sûr, le Hamas, débordé par cette manifestation civile et pacifique, a rejoint le mouvement. A-t-il encouragé les Gazaouis à provoquer les soldats israéliens, les conduisant à une mort certaine ? Peut-être, et le gouvernement israélien l’affirmera. Mais cela ne suffirait pas à expliquer la détermination d’une population excédée, désespérée par ses conditions d’existence. Ce qui vient de se passer à Gaza est un rappel à l’ordre, tragique, à une communauté internationale qui a abandonné ce peuple palestinien à la brutalité israélienne, à l’incurie de ses dirigeants engagés dans une guerre fratricide, à ses alliés arabes historiquement défaillants, à son sort dont nous portons tous la responsabilité. Sara Daniel
En novembre 2004, des civils ivoiriens et des soldats français de la Force Licorne se sont opposés durant quatre jours à Abidjan dans des affrontements qui ont fait des dizaines de morts et de blessés. À la suite d’une mission d’enquête sur le terrain, Amnesty International a recueilli des informations indiquant que les forces françaises ont, à certaines occasions, fait un usage excessif et disproportionné de la force alors qu’elles se trouvaient face à des manifestants qui ne représentaient pas une menace directe pour leurs vies ou la vie de tiers. Amnesty international (26.10.05)
Des tirs sont partis sur nos forces depuis les derniers étages de l’hôtel ivoire de la grande tour que nous n’occupions pas et depuis la foule. Dans ces conditions nos unités ont été amenées à faire des tirs de sommation et à forcer le passage en évitant bien évidemment de faire des morts et des blessés parmi les manifestants. Mais je répète encore une fois les premiers tirs n’ont pas été de notre fait. Général Poncet (Canal Plus 90 minutes 14.02.05)
Nous avons effectivement été amenés à tirer, des tirs en légitime défense et en riposte par rapport aux tireurs qui nous tiraient dessus. Colonel Gérard Dubois (porte-parole de l’état-major français, le 15 novembre 2004)
On n’arrivait pas à éloigner cette foule qui, de plus en plus était débordante. Sur ma gauche, trois de nos véhicules étaient déjà immergés dans la foule. Un manifestant grimpe sur un de mes chars et arme la mitrailleuse 7-62. Un de mes hommes fait un tir d’intimidation dans sa direction ; l’individu redescend aussitôt du blindé. Le coup de feu déclenche une fusillade. L’ensemble de mes hommes fait des tirs uniquement d’intimidation ». (…) seuls les COS auraient visé certains manifestants avec leurs armes non létales. (…) Mes hommes n’ont pu faire cela. Nous n’avions pas les armes pour infliger de telles blessures. Si nous avions tiré au canon dans la foule, ça aurait été le massacre. Colonel Destremau (Libération, 10.12.04)
Cinquante des martyrs étaient du Hamas et douze faisaient partie du reste de la population. Comment le Hamas pourrait-il récolter les fruits (du mouvement) alors qu’il a payé un prix aussi élevé ? Salah al-Bardaouil (Hamas)
C’est le Hamas qui nous envoie des messages sur Facebook et sur WhatsApp pour que l’on vienne. (…) Dans les mosquées ils crient et distribuent des tracts appelant à se rendre à la barrière. C’est eux qui tiennent la bande, qui la contrôle. Tout ce qui s’y déroule se fait avec leur autorisation. (…) le Hamas organise les manifestations pour que les gens ne se retournent pas contre eux (…) Les dirigeants du Hamas se disent plutôt qu’on se fasse manger, et qu’ils se révoltent, on va les envoyer vers la barrière et là-bas ils pourront se révolter. (…) Lorsque nous avons de l’électricité et que la télévision fonctionne, tout ce que nous voyons c’est ‘la Marche du Retour’, la marche, la marche, la marche. Ce sont eux qui disent aux femmes d’avancer, ils disent aux femmes d’avancer car ce sont des femmes et que l’armée ne tirera pas sur des femmes. Ils disent aux petits enfants d’avancer car l’armée ne tirera pas sur des enfants. Detenu gazaoui
Salah al-Bardaouil, haut responsable du Hamas, a déclaré à une télévision palestinienne que 50 des 62 Palestiniens tués lundi mais aussi mardi appartenaient au mouvement islamiste. « Cinquante des martyrs (des morts) étaient du Hamas, et 12 faisaient partie du reste de la population », a-t-il dit, interrogé sur les critiques selon lesquelles le Hamas tirait profit de la mobilisation. « Comment le Hamas pourrait-il récolter les fruits (du mouvement) alors qu’il a payé un prix aussi élevé », a-t-il demandé. Il n’a pas fourni de détails sur l’appartenance de ces Palestiniens à la branche armée ou politique du Hamas, ni sur les circonstances dans lesquelles ils avaient été tués. Salah al-Bardaouil « dévoile la vérité », a tweeté un porte-parole du gouvernement israélien, Ofir Gendelman, « ce n’était pas une manifestation pacifique, mais une opération du Hamas ». « Nous avons les mêmes chiffres », a lancé de son côté le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu, avertissant que son pays continuerait « à se défendre par tous les moyens nécessaires ». Un porte-parole du Hamas, Fawzy Barhoum, et un autre haut responsable, Bassem Naim, se sont gardés de confirmer les informations de M. Bardaouil. Le Hamas paie les funérailles de tous, « qu’ils soient membres ou supporters du Hamas, ou pas », a dit M. Barhoum. Il est « naturel de voir de nombreux membres ou supporters du Hamas » à une telle manifestation, a dit M. Naim, en faisant référence à la forte présence du Hamas dans toutes les couches de la société. Ceux qui ont été tués « participaient pacifiquement » au mouvement, a-t-il assuré. Sur la chaîne de télévision Al-Jazeera, l’homme fort du Hamas, Yahya Sinouar, a prévenu: « si le blocus (israélien à Gaza) continue, nous n’hésiterons pas à recourir à la résistance militaire ». La Libre Belgique
In a surreal split-screen moment, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was exulting over the opening of America’s embassy in Jerusalem, calling it a “great day for peace”. It is surely right to hold Israel, the strong side, to high standards. But Palestinian parties, though weak, are also to blame. Every state has a right to defend its borders. To judge by the numbers, Israel’s army may well have used excessive force. But any firm conclusion requires an independent assessment of what happened, where and when. The Israelis sometimes used non-lethal means, such as tear-gas dropped from drones. But then snipers went to work with bullets. What changed? Mixed in with protesters, it seems, were an unknown number of Hamas attackers seeking to breach the fence. What threat did they pose? Any fair judgment depends on the details. Just as important is the broader political question. The fence between Gaza and Israel is no ordinary border. Gaza is a prison, not a state. Measuring 365 square kilometres and home to 2m people, it is one of the most crowded and miserable places on Earth. It is short of medicine, power and other essentials. The tap water is undrinkable; untreated sewage is pumped into the sea. Gaza already has one of the world’s highest jobless rates, at 44%. The scene of three wars between Hamas and Israel since 2007, it is always on the point of eruption. Many hands are guilty for this tragedy. Israel insists that the strip is not its problem, having withdrawn its forces in 2005. But it still controls Gaza from land, sea and air. Any Palestinian, even a farmer, coming within 300 metres of the fence is liable to be shot. Israel restricts the goods that get in. Only a tiny number of Palestinians can get out for, say, medical treatment. Israeli generals have long warned against letting the economy collapse. Mr Netanyahu usually ignores them. Egypt also contributes to the misery. The Rafah crossing to Sinai, another escape valve, was open to goods and people for just 17 days in the first four months of this year. And Fatah, which administers the PA and parts of the West Bank, has withheld salaries for civil servants working for the PA in Gaza, limited shipments of necessities, such as drugs and baby milk, and cut payments to Israel for Gaza’s electricity. Hamas bears much of the blame, too. It all but destroyed the Oslo peace accords through its campaign of suicide-bombings in the 1990s and 2000s. Having driven the Israelis out of Gaza, it won a general election in 2006 and, after a brief civil war, expelled Fatah from the strip in 2007. It has misruled Gaza ever since, proving corrupt, oppressive and incompetent. It stores its weapons in civilian sites, including mosques and schools, making them targets. Cement that might be used for reconstruction is diverted to build underground tunnels to attack Israel. Hamas all but admitted it was not up to governing when it agreed to hand many administrative tasks to the PA last year as part of a reconciliation deal with Fatah. But the pact collapsed because Hamas is not prepared to give up its weapons. Israel, Egypt and the PA cannot just lock away the Palestinians in Gaza in the hope that Hamas will be overthrown. Only when Gazans live more freely might they think of getting rid of their rulers. Much more can be done to ease Gazans’ plight without endangering Israel’s security. But no lasting solution is possible until the question of Palestine is solved, too. Mr Netanyahu has long resisted the idea of a Palestinian state—and has kept building settlements on occupied land. It is hard to convince Israelis to change. As Israel marks its 70th birthday, the economy is booming. By “managing” the conflict, rather than trying to end it, Mr Netanyahu has kept Palestinian violence in check while giving nothing away. When violence flares Israel’s image suffers, but not much. The Trump administration supports it. And Arab states seeking an ally against a rising Iran have never had better relations with it. Israel is wrong to stop seeking a deal. And Mr Trump is wrong to prejudge the status of Jerusalem. But Palestinians have made it easy for Israel to claim that there is “no partner for peace”, divided as they are between a tired nationalist Fatah that cannot deliver peace, and an Islamist Hamas that refuses to do so. Palestinians desperately need new leaders. Fatah must renew itself through long-overdue elections. And Hamas must realise that its rockets damage Palestinian dreams of statehood more than they hurt Israel. For all their talk of non-violence, Hamas’s leaders have not abandoned the idea of “armed struggle” to destroy Israel. They refuse to give up their guns, or fully embrace a two-state solution; they speak vaguely of a long-term “truce”. With this week’s protests, Hamas’s leaders boasted of freeing a “wild tiger”. They found that Israel can be even more ferocious. If Hamas gave up its weapons, it would open the way for a rapprochement with Fatah. If it accepted Israel’s right to exist, it would expose Israel’s current unwillingness to allow a Palestinian state. If Palestinians marched peacefully, without guns and explosives, they would take the moral high ground. In short, if Palestinians want Israel to stop throttling them, they must first convince Israelis it is safe to let go. The Economist
The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis. But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk? Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical. The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind? Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven? That’s a question to which one can easily guess the answer. In the meantime, it’s worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian aspirations. No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated acts of self-harm and destructive provocation. Bret Stephens
The protests on Monday were not about President Donald Trump moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and have in fact been occurring weekly on the Gaza border since March. They are part of what the demonstrators have dubbed “The Great March of Return”—return, that is, to what is now Israel. (The Monday demonstration was scheduled months ago to coincide with Nakba Day, an annual occasion of protest; it was later moved up 24 hours to grab some of the media attention devoted to the embassy.) The fact that these long-standing Palestinian protests were mischaracterized by many in the media as simply a response to Trump obscured two disquieting realities: First, that the world has largely dismissed the genuine plight of Palestinians in Gaza, only bothering to pay attention to it when it could be tenuously connected to Trump. Second, that many Palestinians do not simply desire their own state and an end to the occupation and settlements that began in 1967, but an end to the Jewish state that began in 1948. (…) Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is an authoritarian, theocratic regime that has called for Jewish genocide in its charter, murdered scores of Israeli civilians, repressed Palestinian women, and harshly persecuted religious and sexual minorities. It is a designated terrorist group by the United States, Canada, and the European Union. (…) Whether it has been spending its manpower and millions of dollars on subterranean attack tunnels into Israel—including under United Nations schools for Gaza’s children—or launching repeated messianic military operations against Israel, the terrorist group has consistently prioritized the deaths of Israelis over the lives of its Palestinian brethren. (…) Hamas manipulated many of these demonstrators into unwittingly rushing the Israeli border fence under false pretenses in order to produce injuries and fatalities. As the New York Times reported, “After midday prayers, clerics and leaders of militant factions in Gaza, led by Hamas, urged thousands of worshipers to join the protests. The fence had already been breached, they said falsely, claiming Palestinians were flooding into Israel.” Similarly, the Washington Post recounted how “organizers urged protesters over loudspeakers to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them.” Hamas has also publicly acknowledged deliberately using peaceful civilians at the protests as cover and cannon fodder for their military operations. “When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar told an interviewer. “This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies.” (…) Widely circulated Arabic instructions on Facebook directed protesters to “bring a knife, dagger, or gun if available” and to breach the Israeli border and kidnap civilians. (The posts have now been removed by Facebook for inciting violence but a cached copy can be viewed here.) Hamas further incentivized violence by providing payments to those injured and the families of those killed. Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terror group have since claimed many of those killed as their own operatives and posted photos of them in uniform. On Wednesday, Hamas Political Bureau member Salah Al-Bardawil announced that 50 of the 62 fatalities were Hamas members. (…) as the BBC’s Julia MacFarlane recalled from her time covering Gaza, any public dissent against Hamas is perilous: “A boy I met in Gaza during the 2014 war was dragged from his bed at midnight, had his kneecaps shot off in a square and was told next time it would be axes—for an anti-Hamas Facebook post.” The group has publicly executed those it deems “collaborators” and broken up rare protests with gunfire. Likewise, Gazans cannot “vote Hamas out” because Hamas has not permitted elections since it won them and took power in 2006. The group fares poorly in the polls today, but Gazans have no recourse for expressing their dissatisfaction. Protesting Israel, however, is an outlet for frustration encouraged by Hamas. (…) In that regard, Hamas has worked to increase chaos and casualties stemming from the protests by allowing rioters to repeatedly set fire to the Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza’s main avenue for international and humanitarian aid, and by turning back trucks of needed food and supplies from Israel. (…) despite the claims of viral tweets and the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry that were initially parroted by some in the media, Israel did not actually kill an 8-month old baby with tear gas. The Gazan doctor who treated her told the Associated Press that she died from a preexisting heart condition, a fact belatedly picked up by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Yair Rosenberg
On the night of May 14, … headlines suggested a causation: The U.S. opens an embassy and hence people get killed. But the causation is faulty: Gazans were killed last week, when the United States had not yet opened its embassy. Gazans were killed for a simple reason: Ignoring warnings, thousands of them decided to get too close to the Israeli border.one must begin with the obvious: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has no interest in having more Gazans killed, yet its mission is not to save Gazans’ lives. Its mission — remember, the IDF is a military serving a country — is to defeat an enemy. And in the case of Gaza this past week, the meaning of this was preventing unauthorized, possibly dangerous people from crossing the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip. Of course, any bloodshed is regretful. Yet to achieve its objectives, the IDF had to use lethal force. Circumstances on the ground dictate using such measures. The winds made tear gas ineffective. The proximity of the border made it essential to stop Gazan demonstrators from getting too close, lest thousands of them flood the fence, thus forcing the IDF to use even more lethal means. Leaflets warned them not to go near the fence. Media outlets were used to clarify that consequences could be dire. Hence, an unbiased, sincere newspaper headline should have said, “More than 50 killed in Gaza while Hamas leaders ignored warnings.” So, yes, Jerusalem celebrated while Gaza burned. Not because Gaza burned. And, yes, the U.S. moved its embassy while Gaza burned. But this is not what made Gaza burn. It all comes down to legitimacy. Having embassies move to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, is about legitimacy. Letting Israel keep the integrity of its borders is about legitimacy. President Donald Trump gained the respect and appreciation of Israelis because of his no-nonsense acceptance of a reality, and because of his no-nonsense rejection of delegitimization masqueraded as policy differences. A legitimate country is allowed to defend its border. A legitimate country is allowed to choose its capital. Shmuel Rosner
Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal. Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation. (…) Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it. (…) The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday’s awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to cross the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film. (…) About 40,000 people answered a call to show up. Many of them, some armed, rushed the border fence. Many Israelis, myself included, were horrified to see the number of fatalities reach 60. (…) Most Western viewers experienced these events through a visual storytelling tool: a split screen. On one side was the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem in the presence of Ivanka Trump, evangelical Christian allies of the White House and Israel’s current political leadership — an event many here found curious and distant from our national life. On the other side was the terrible violence in the desperately poor and isolated territory. The juxtaposition was disturbing. (…) The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for. (…) The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences (…) Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn’t work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom — the soldiers won’t know which — will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas’s tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel’s enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon. (…) Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand? These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn’t what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey’s president called it “genocide.” A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about “whiteness and Zionism,” part of an odd trend that reads America’s racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age — the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous — have crept into the worldview of people who should know better. For someone looking out from here, that’s the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times. Matti Friedman
Depuis le 30 mars, le Hamas organise des violences à grande échelle à la frontière de Gaza et d’Israël. Ces embrasements majeurs ont généralement lieu le vendredi à la fin des prières dans les mosquées ; des actions concertées mobilisant des foules de 40 000 personnes ont été constatées dans cinq zones séparées le long de la frontière. Des violences et diverses actions agressives, y compris des actes de nature terroristes avec explosifs et armes à feu, ont également eu lieu à d’autres moments au cours de cette période. Le Hamas avait prévu une culmination de la violence le 14 ou le 15 mai 2018. Le 15 est la date à laquelle ils commémorent le 70ème anniversaire de la « Nakba » (« Catastrophe ») qui a eu lieu au lendemain de la création de l’Etat d’Israël. Mais une recrudescence de violence a été constatée le 14, jour de l’inauguration de la nouvelle ambassade américaine à Jérusalem. La violence a donc culminé les 14 et 15, deux jours qui coïncident avec la Nakba et l’inauguration de l’ambassade américaine, mais qui marquent aussi le début du mois de Ramadan, une période où la violence augmente au Moyen-Orient et ailleurs. Le Hamas avait prévu de mobiliser jusqu’à 200 000 personnes à la frontière de Gaza, soit un doublement et plus du nombre de manifestants constatés les années précédentes. Le Hamas semblait également déterminé à inciter à un niveau de violence jamais atteint auparavant, avec des pénétrations significatives de la barrière frontalière. Face à de tels projets, il est étonnant que les chiffres en pertes humaines ne soient pas plus élevés parmi les Palestiniens. (…) La violence à Gaza a été orchestrée sous la bannière prétexte de la « Grande marche du retour », une façon d’attirer l’attention sur ce droit au retour dans leurs foyers d’origine que les dirigeants palestiniens promettent à leur peuple. L’intention affichée n’était pas de manifester, mais de franchir en masse la frontière et de cheminer par milliers à travers l’État d’Israël. L’affirmation du « droit de retour » ne vise pas à l’exercice d’un tel « droit », lequel est fortement contesté et doit faire l’objet de négociations sur le statut définitif. Il s’inscrit dans une politique arabe de longue date destinée à éliminer l’Etat d’Israël, un projet à l’encontre duquel le gouvernement israélien s’inscrit de manière non moins systématique. Le véritable objectif de la violence du Hamas est de poursuivre sa stratégie de longue date de création et d’intensification de l’indignation internationale, de la diffamation, de l’isolement et de la criminalisation de l’État d’Israël et de ses fonctionnaires. Cette stratégie passe par la mise en scène de situations qui obligent Tsahal à réagir avec une force meurtrière qui les place aussitôt en position de tortionnaires qui tuent et blessent des civils palestiniens « innocents ». (…) Toutes ces tactiques ont pour particularité d’utiliser des boucliers humains palestiniens – des civils, des femmes et des enfants de préférence, forcés ou volontaires, présents toutes les fois que des attaques sont lancées ou commandées ; des civils présents au côté des combattants, à proximité des dépôts d’armes et de munitions. Toute riposte militaire israélienne engendre des dommages collatéraux chez les civils. Dans certains cas, notamment à l’occasion de la vague de violence actuelle, le Hamas présente ses combattants comme des civils innocents ; de nombreux faux incidents ont été mis en scène et filmés pour faire état de civils tués et blessés par les forces israéliennes ; des scènes de violence filmées ailleurs, notamment en Syrie, ont été présentés comme des violences commises contre les Palestiniens. (…) Les cibles visées – dirigeants politiques de pays tiers, organisations internationales (ONU, UE), groupes de défense des droits de l’homme et médias – n’admettent pas que l’on réponde par la force à des manifestations faussement pacifiques qu’ils sont tentés d’assimiler aux manifestations réellement pacifiques qui ont lieu dans leurs propres villes. (…) Ces manifestations sont en réalité des opérations militaires soigneusement planifiées et orchestrées. Des foules de civils auxquelles se mêlent des groupes de combattants sont rassemblées aux frontières. Combattants et civils ont pour mission de s’approcher de la clôture et de la briser. Des milliers de pneus ont été incendiés pour créer des écrans de fumée afin de dissimuler leurs mouvements en direction de la clôture (et sans grande efficacité, ils ont utilisé des miroirs pour aveugler les observateurs de la FDI et les tireurs d’élite). Les pneus enflammés et les cocktails Molotov ont également été utilisés pour briser la clôture dont certains éléments, à divers endroits, sont en en bois. Le vendredi 4 mai, environ 10 000 Palestiniens ont participé à des manifestations violentes le long de la frontière et des centaines d’émeutiers ont vandalisé et incendié la partie palestinienne de Kerem Shalom, point de passage des convois humanitaires. Ils ont endommagé des canalisations de gaz et de carburant qui partent d’Israël en direction de la bande de Gaza. Ce raid contre Kerem Shalom a eu lieu à deux reprises le 4 mai. Le même jour, deux tentatives d’infiltration ont été déjouées par les troupes de Tsahal à deux endroits différents. Trois des infiltrés ont été tués par les soldats des FDI qui défendaient la frontière. Dans certains cas, les infiltrés ont été arrêtés. Le Hamas et ses miliciens ont utilisé des grappins, des cordes, des pinces coupantes et d’autres outils pour briser la clôture. Ils ont utilisé des drones, de puissants lance-pierres capables de tuer et blesser gravement des soldats, des armes à feu, des grenades à main et des engins explosifs improvisés, à la fois pour tuer des soldats israéliens et pour passer à travers la clôture. Des cerfs-volants ont été lâchés par-dessus la frontière de Gaza afin d’incendier les cultures et l’herbe du côté israélien dans le but de causer des dommages économiques mais aussi pour tuer et mutiler. Cela peut sembler une arme primitive et même risible, mais le 4 mai, les Palestiniens avaient préparé des centaines de bombes incendiaires volantes pour les déployer en essaim en Israël, afin d’exploiter au mieux une vague de chaleur intense. (…) Jusqu’à présent, le Hamas n’a pas réussi de percée significative à travers la clôture. S’ils y arrivaient, il faut s’attendre à ce que des milliers de Gazaouis se déversent par ces brèches parmi lesquels des terroristes armés tenteraient d’atteindre les villages israéliens pour y commettre des assassinats de masse et des enlèvements. Le Hamas a tenté d’ouvrir une brèche au point-frontière le plus proche du kibboutz Nahal Oz, objectif qui pourrait être atteint en 5 minutes ou moins par des hommes armés prêts à tuer. Dans ce scénario, ou des terroristes armés sont indiscernables de civils non armés, qui eux-mêmes représentent une menace physique, il est difficile de voir comment les FDI pourraient éviter d’infliger de lourdes pertes pour défendre leur territoire et de leur population. (…) Compte tenu de leur expérience des violences passées, les FDI ont adopté une réponse graduée. Ils ont largué des milliers de tracts et ont utilisé les SMS, les médias sociaux, les appels téléphoniques et les émissions de radio pour informer les habitants de Gaza et leur demander de ne pas se rassembler à la frontière ni de s’approcher de la barrière. Ils ont contacté les propriétaires de compagnies de bus de Gaza et leur ont demandé de ne transporter personne à la frontière. La coercition exercée par le Hamas à l’encontre de la population civile a rendu ces tentatives de dissuasion inutiles. Les FDI ont alors utilisé des gaz lacrymogènes pour disperser les foules qui approchaient de trop près la clôture. Dans un effort innovant pour atteindre à plus de précision et d’efficacité, des drones ont parfois été utilisés pour disperser les gaz lacrymogènes. Mais, les gaz lacrymogènes ont une efficacité limitée dans le temps, sont sensibles aux sautes de vent, et leur impact est également réduit quand la population ciblée sait comment en atténuer les effets les plus graves. Ensuite, les forces de Tsahal ont utilisé des coups de semonce, des balles tirées au-dessus des têtes. Enfin, seulement lorsque c’était absolument nécessaire (selon leurs règles d’engagement), des munitions à balles ont été tirées dans le but de neutraliser plutôt que de tuer. Bien que tirer pour tuer eut pu passer pour une riposte légale dans certains cas, les FDI soutiennent que même dans ce cas, ils n’ont tiré que pour encapaciter (sauf dans les cas où ils avaient affaire à une attaque de type militaire, comme des tirs contre les forces de Tsahal). (…) Israël estime que 80% des personnes tuées étaient des terroristes ou des sympathisants actifs. Le prix – en vies humaines, en souffrance et réprobation de l’opinion publique internationale – a sans aucun doute été élevé ; mais la barrière n’a pas été pénétrée de manière significative et un prix encore plus élevé a donc été évité. (…) Aujourd’hui, le droit international admet l’usage de munitions réelles face à une menace sérieuse de mort ou de blessure, et quand aucun autre moyen ne permet d’y faire face. Il n’y a aucune exigence que la menace soit « immédiate » – une telle force peut être utilisée quand elle apparait « imminente »; c’est-à-dire au moment où une action agressive doit être empêchée avant qu’elle ne mute en menace immédiate. La réalité est que, dans les conditions créées délibérément par le Hamas, il n’existait aucune étape intermédiaire efficace pour éviter de tirer sur les manifestants les plus menaçants. Si ces personnes (qu’on peut difficilement appeler de simples « manifestants ») avaient été autorisées à atteindre la barrière, le risque vital serait passé d’imminent à immédiat ; il n’aurait pu être évité qu’en infligeant des pertes beaucoup plus grandes, comme il a été mentionné précédemment. Ceux qui soutiennent que Tsahal n’aurait pas dû tirer à des balles réelles, exigent en fait que des dizaines de milliers d’émeutiers violents (et parmi eux, des terroristes) soient laissés libres de faire irruption en territoire israélien. Il aurait fallu attendre avant d’agir que des civils, des forces de sécurité et des biens matériels soient en danger, alors qu’une riposte précise et ciblée contre les individus les plus menaçants a permis d’éviter à ce scénario catastrophique de devenir réalité. Certains ont également soutenu qu’ils n’existe aucune preuve de « manifestant » porteur d’une arme à feu. Ils ne comprennent pas que ce type de conflit n’oppose pas des soldats en uniforme qui s’affrontent ouvertement et en armes sur un champ de bataille. Dans ce contexte, les armes à feu ne sont pas nécessaires pour présenter une menace. En fait, c’est même le contraire compte tenu des objectifs et du mode de fonctionnement. Leurs armes sont des pinces coupantes, des grappins, des cordes, des écrans de fumée, du feu et des explosifs cachés. (…) – les armes ne surgissant qu’une fois l’objectif de pénétration massive atteint. Un soldat qui attendrait de voir une arme à feu pour tirer signerait son propre arrêt de mort, et celui des civils qu’il ou elle a pour mission de protéger. (…) Quand le chef d’état-major dit qu’il positionne « 100 tireurs d’élite à la frontière », il ne fait que verbaliser son devoir légal de défendre son pays ; il ne faut y voir aucun aveu d’une intention d’outrepasser l’usage légal de la force. Certains groupes de défense des droits de l’homme (y compris à nouveau HRW) et nombre de journalistes ont critiqué l’usage de la force par l’armée israélienne au motif qu’aucun soldat n’a été blessé. Ils en ont publiquement conclu que la riposte de Tsahal avait été « disproportionnée ». Comme cela arrive souvent quand de soi-disant experts commentent les opérations militaires occidentales, les réalités des opérations de sécurité et les impératifs légaux sont mal compris – quand ils ne sont pas déformés -. En effet, il n’est pas nécessaire d’afficher une blessure pour démontrer l’existence d’une menace réelle. Le fait que les soldats de Tsahal n’aient pas été grièvement blessés démontre seulement leur professionnalisme militaire, et non l’absence de menace. Il a également été affirmé qu’en l’absence de conflit armé, l’usage de la force à Gaza est régi par la charte internationale des droits de l’homme et non par les lois régissant les conflits militaires. Il s’agit là d’une interprétation erronée : toute la bande de Gaza est une zone de guerre définie comme telle par l’agression armée de longue date du Hamas contre l’Etat d’Israël. Par conséquent, dans cette situation, les deux types de loi sont applicables, en fonction des circonstances précises. Il est licite pour Tsahal de combattre et de tuer tout combattant ennemi identifié comme tel, n’importe où dans la bande de Gaza conformément aux lois de la guerre, que cet ennemi soit en uniforme ou non, armé ou non, représentant ou non une menace imminente, attaquant ou fuyant. Dans la pratique cependant, il apparait que face à des émeutes violentes, les FDI ont agi en supposant que tous les acteurs sur le terrain étaient des civils (contre lesquels il n’est pas nécessaire de recourir à la force létale au premier recours) à moins que l’évidence démontre le contraire. (…) Toutes ces fausses critiques de l’action israélienne, ainsi que les menaces d’enquêtes internationales, de renvoi d’Israël devant la CPI et de recours à une juridiction universelle contre les responsables israéliens impliqués dans cette situation, font le jeu du Hamas. Ils valident l’utilisation de boucliers humains et la stratégie du Hamas d’obliger au meurtre de leurs propres civils. Les implications débordent largement ce conflit. Comme l’ont démontré de précédents épisodes de violence, les réactions internationales de ce type, y compris une condamnation injuste, généralisent ces tactiques et augmentent le nombre de morts parmi les civils innocents dans le monde entier. (…) La nouvelle tactique du Hamas a eu beaucoup de succès en dressant contre Israël des personnalités de la communauté internationale et en endommageant sa réputation. Il est probable que les effets continueront à se faire sentir longtemps après la fin de cette vague de violence. Richard Kemp

Attention: une effroyable imposture peut en cacher une autre !

En ces temps étranges où l’on voit des manipulations et des complots partout …

Et où à coup d’images juxtaposées nos médiasfaussaires notoires compris – et nos belles âmes rivalisent d’ingéniosité …

Pour noircir – jusqu’à regretter qu’il n’ait pas de morts de son côté – le seul pays que vous savez et son actuel et rare défenseur à la Maison Blanche …

Pendant que dans l’enthousiasme d’un « succès » médiatique aussi inespéré mais aussi la menace directe de frappes directes sur leurs bunkers dissimulés sous les hôpitaux de Gaza …

Les cyniques tireurs de ficelle du Hamas peuvent se payer le luxe de lever temporairement la mobilisation de leur chair à canon …

Et de révéler – en arabe pour motiver les troupes et ne pas trop effrayer leurs nombreux idiots utiles occidentaux – une partie même de la réalité de leur prétendues manifestations pacifiques …

Comment ne pas s’étonner …

Avec le colonel à la retraite britannique Richard Kemp …

Et l’un des rares militaires occidentaux à oser mettre, contrairement à tous les autres qui se taisent ou laissent dire n’importe quoi, ses compétences de professionnel au service de la vérité …

Du peu d’intérêt que semble soulever chez nos apprentis conspirationnistes …

L’effroyable – et bien réelle – imposture à laquelle se prêtent contre le seul Etat israélien nos médias et autres bonnes âmes des organisations internationales …

Mais aussi, sans compter l’effet directement incitatif, qui n’est pas sans rappeler tant d’autres phénomènes de nature mimétique comme les fusillades scolaires, de l’intérêt médiatique et de la présence des caméras elles-mêmes …

La proprement criminelle incitation, augmentant d’autant à chaque fois le nombre des victimes collatérales, …

Qu’une telle unanimité d’injustes condamnations ne peut que générer ?

Fumée et miroirs : six semaines de violence à la frontière de Gaza
Richard Kemp
Gatestone institute
14 mai 2018
Traduction du texte original: Smoke & Mirrors: Six Weeks of Violence on the Gaza Border

Depuis le 30 mars, le Hamas organise des violences à grande échelle à la frontière de Gaza et d’Israël. Ces embrasements majeurs ont généralement lieu le vendredi à la fin des prières dans les mosquées ; des actions concertées mobilisant des foules de 40 000 personnes ont été constatées dans cinq zones séparées le long de la frontière. Des violences et diverses actions agressives, y compris des actes de nature terroristes avec explosifs et armes à feu, ont également eu lieu à d’autres moments au cours de cette période.

Une tempête parfaite

Le Hamas avait prévu une culmination de la violence le 14 ou le 15 mai 2018. Le 15 est la date à laquelle ils commémorent le 70ème anniversaire de la « Nakba » (« Catastrophe ») qui a eu lieu au lendemain de la création de l’Etat d’Israël. Mais une recrudescence de violence a été constatée le 14, jour de l’inauguration de la nouvelle ambassade américaine à Jérusalem. La violence a donc culminé les 14 et 15, deux jours qui coïncident avec la Nakba et l’inauguration de l’ambassade américaine, mais qui marquent aussi le début du mois de Ramadan, une période où la violence augmente au Moyen-Orient et ailleurs.

Le Hamas avait prévu de mobiliser jusqu’à 200 000 personnes à la frontière de Gaza, soit un doublement et plus du nombre de manifestants constatés les années précédentes. Le Hamas semblait également déterminé à inciter à un niveau de violence jamais atteint auparavant, avec des pénétrations significatives de la barrière frontalière. Face à de tels projets, il est étonnant que les chiffres en pertes humaines ne soient pas plus élevés parmi les Palestiniens.

Outre la zone frontalière, les Palestiniens ont prévu de mener des actions violentes à la même période, à Jérusalem et en Cisjordanie. Bien que le 15 mai soit considéré comme le point culminant de six semaines de violence à la frontière de Gaza, les Palestiniens ont fait savoir qu’ils entendaient maintenir un niveau de violence frontalière élevé tout au long du mois de Ramadan.

Prétexte et réalité

La violence à Gaza a été orchestrée sous la bannière prétexte de la « Grande marche du retour », une façon d’attirer l’attention sur ce droit au retour dans leurs foyers d’origine que les dirigeants palestiniens promettent à leur peuple. L’intention affichée n’était pas de manifester, mais de franchir en masse la frontière et de cheminer par milliers à travers l’État d’Israël.

L’affirmation du « droit de retour » ne vise pas à l’exercice d’un tel « droit », lequel est fortement contesté et doit faire l’objet de négociations sur le statut définitif. Il s’inscrit dans une politique arabe de longue date destinée à éliminer l’Etat d’Israël, un projet à l’encontre duquel le gouvernement israélien s’inscrit de manière non moins systématique.

Le véritable objectif de la violence du Hamas est de poursuivre sa stratégie de longue date de création et d’intensification de l’indignation internationale, de la diffamation, de l’isolement et de la criminalisation de l’État d’Israël et de ses fonctionnaires. Cette stratégie passe par la mise en scène de situations qui obligent Tsahal à réagir avec une force meurtrière qui les place aussitôt en position de tortionnaires qui tuent et blessent des civils palestiniens « innocents ».

Les tactiques terroristes du Hamas

Dans le cadre de cette stratégie, le Hamas a mis au point différentes tactiques, qui passent par des tirs de roquettes depuis Gaza sur les villes israéliennes et la construction de tunnels d’attaque sophistiqués qui débouchent au-delà de la frontière, à proximité de villages israéliens voisins. Toutes ces tactiques ont pour particularité d’utiliser des boucliers humains palestiniens – des civils, des femmes et des enfants de préférence, forcés ou volontaires, présents toutes les fois que des attaques sont lancées ou commandées ; des civils présents au côté des combattants, à proximité des dépôts d’armes et de munitions. Toute riposte militaire israélienne engendre des dommages collatéraux chez les civils.

Dans certains cas, notamment à l’occasion de la vague de violence actuelle, le Hamas présente ses combattants comme des civils innocents ; de nombreux faux incidents ont été mis en scène et filmés pour faire état de civils tués et blessés par les forces israéliennes ; des scènes de violence filmées ailleurs, notamment en Syrie, ont été présentés comme des violences commises contre les Palestiniens.

Même stratégie, nouvelles tactiques

Après les roquettes et les tunnels d’attaque utilisés dans trois conflits majeurs (2008-2009, 2012 et 2014), sans oublier plusieurs incidents mineurs, de nouvelles tactiques ont été mises au point qui ont toutes le même objectif fondamental. Les « manifestations » à grande échelle combinées à des actions agressives sont destinées à provoquer une réaction israélienne qui conduit à tuer et à blesser les civils de Gaza, malgré les efforts énergiques des FDI (Forces de défense d’Israël) pour réduire les pertes civiles.

Cette nouvelle tactique s’avère plus efficace que les roquettes et les tunnels d’attaque. Les cibles visées – dirigeants politiques de pays tiers, organisations internationales (ONU, UE), groupes de défense des droits de l’homme et médias – n’admettent pas que l’on réponde par la force à des manifestations faussement pacifiques qu’ils sont tentés d’assimiler aux manifestations réellement pacifiques qui ont lieu dans leurs propres villes.

Comme à leur habitude, ces cibles-là se montrent toujours disposées à se laisser leurrer par ce stratagème. Depuis le début de cette vague de violence, des condamnations véhémentes ont été émises par l’ONU, l’UE et la CPI ; mais aussi plusieurs gouvernements et organisations des droits de l’homme, notamment Amnesty International et Human Rights Watch ; sans parler de nombreux journaux et stations de radio. Leurs protestations incluent des demandes d’enquête internationale sur les allégations de meurtres illégaux ainsi que des accusations de violation du droit humanitaire international et des droits de l’homme par les FDI.

Les tactiques du Hamas sur le terrain

Ces manifestations sont en réalité des opérations militaires soigneusement planifiées et orchestrées. Des foules de civils auxquelles se mêlent des groupes de combattants sont rassemblées aux frontières. Combattants et civils ont pour mission de s’approcher de la clôture et de la briser. Des milliers de pneus ont été incendiés pour créer des écrans de fumée afin de dissimuler leurs mouvements en direction de la clôture (et sans grande efficacité, ils ont utilisé des miroirs pour aveugler les observateurs de la FDI et les tireurs d’élite). Les pneus enflammés et les cocktails Molotov ont également été utilisés pour briser la clôture dont certains éléments, à divers endroits, sont en en bois.

Le vendredi 4 mai, environ 10 000 Palestiniens ont participé à des manifestations violentes le long de la frontière et des centaines d’émeutiers ont vandalisé et incendié la partie palestinienne de Kerem Shalom, point de passage des convois humanitaires. Ils ont endommagé des canalisations de gaz et de carburant qui partent d’Israël en direction de la bande de Gaza. Ce raid contre Kerem Shalom a eu lieu à deux reprises le 4 mai. Le même jour, deux tentatives d’infiltration ont été déjoues par les troupes de Tsahal à deux endroits différents. Trois des infiltrés ont été tués par les soldats des FDI qui défendaient la frontière. Dans certains cas, les infiltrés ont été arrêtés.

Le Hamas et ses miliciens ont utilisé des grappins, des cordes, des pinces coupantes et d’autres outils pour briser la clôture. Ils ont utilisé des drones, de puissants lance-pierres capables de tuer et blesser gravement des soldats, des armes à feu, des grenades à main et des engins explosifs improvisés, à la fois pour tuer des soldats israéliens et pour passer à travers la clôture.

Cerfs-volants et ballons incendiaires

Des cerfs-volants ont été lâchés par-dessus la frontière de Gaza afin d’incendier les cultures et l’herbe du côté israélien dans le but de causer des dommages économiques mais aussi pour tuer et mutiler. Cela peut sembler une arme primitive et même risible, mais le 4 mai, les Palestiniens avaient préparé des centaines de bombes incendiaires volantes pour les déployer en essaim en Israël, afin d’exploiter au mieux une vague de chaleur intense. Seules des conditions de vent défavorables ont empêché le déploiement de ces cerfs-volants empêchant ainsi des dommages sérieux potentiels.

Dans plusieurs cas, les cerfs-volants en feu ont provoqué des incendies. Ainsi, le 16 avril, un champ de blé a été incendié côté israélien. Le 2 mai, un cerf-volant incendiaire parti de Gaza a provoqué un incendie majeur dans la forêt de Be’eri dévastant de vastes zones boisées. Dix équipes de pompiers ont été nécessaires pour juguler l’incendie. Des ballons incendiaires ont également été utilisés par le Hamas, notamment le 7 mai, l’un d’eux a réussi à incendier un champ de blé près de la forêt de Be’eri. Israël évalue à plusieurs millions de shekels, les dommages économiques résultants des incendies causés par les cerfs-volants et les ballons.

Si le Hamas a traversé

Jusqu’à présent, le Hamas n’a pas réussi de percée significative à travers la clôture. S’ils y arrivaient, il faut s’attendre à ce que des milliers de Gazaouis se déversent par ces brèches parmi lesquels des terroristes armés tenteraient d’atteindre les villages israéliens pour y commettre des assassinats de masse et des enlèvements.

Le Hamas a tenté d’ouvrir une brèche au point-frontière le plus proche du kibboutz Nahal Oz, objectif qui pourrait être atteint en 5 minutes ou moins par des hommes armés prêts à tuer.

Dans ce scénario, ou des terroristes armés sont indiscernables de civils non armés, qui eux-mêmes représentent une menace physique, il est difficile de voir comment les FDI pourraient éviter d’infliger de lourdes pertes pour défendre leur territoire et de leur population.

Forces de défense d’Israel (IDF) : une risposte graduée

Les FDI ont été obligées d’agir avec une grande fermeté – pour empêcher toute pénétration – y compris à l’aide de tirs réels (qui ont parfois été meurtriers) et malgré une condamnation internationale lourde et inévitable.

Compte tenu de leur expérience des violences passées, les FDI ont adopté une réponse graduée. Ils ont largué des milliers de tracts et ont utilisé les SMS, les médias sociaux, les appels téléphoniques et les émissions de radio pour informer les habitants de Gaza et leur demander de ne pas se rassembler à la frontière ni de s’approcher de la barrière. Ils ont contacté les propriétaires de compagnies de bus de Gaza et leur ont demandé de ne transporter personne à la frontière.

La coercition exercée par le Hamas à l’encontre de la population civile a rendu ces tentatives de dissuasion inutiles. Les FDI ont alors utilisé des gaz lacrymogènes pour disperser les foules qui approchaient de trop près la clôture. Dans un effort innovant pour atteindre à plus de précision et d’efficacité, des drones ont parfois été utilisés pour disperser les gaz lacrymogènes. Mais, les gaz lacrymogènes ont une efficacité limitée dans le temps, sont sensibles aux sautes de vent, et leur impact est également réduit quand la population ciblée sait comment en atténuer les effets les plus graves.

Ensuite, les forces de Tsahal ont utilisé des coups de semonce, des balles tirées au-dessus des têtes. Enfin, seulement lorsque c’était absolument nécessaire (selon leurs règles d’engagement), des munitions à balles ont été tirées dans le but de neutraliser plutôt que de tuer. Bien que tirer pour tuer eut pu passer pour une riposte légale dans certains cas, les FDI soutiennent que même dans ce cas, ils n’ont tiré que pour encapaciter (sauf dans les cas où ils avaient affaire à une attaque de type militaire, comme des tirs contre les forces de Tsahal). Dans tous les cas, les forces de Tsahal fonctionnent selon des procédures opérationnelles standard, rédigées en fonction des circonstances et compilées en collaboration avec diverses autorités des FDI.

Néanmoins, ces échanges de tirs ont généré des morts et de nombreux blessés. Les autorités palestiniennes affirment qu’une cinquantaine de personnes ont été tuées jusqu’à présent et que plusieurs centaines d’autres ont été blessées. Israël estime que 80% des personnes tuées étaient des terroristes ou des sympathisants actifs. Le prix – en vies humaines, en souffrance et réprobation de l’opinion publique internationale – a sans aucun doute été élevé ; mais la barrière n’a pas été pénétrée de manière significative et un prix encore plus élevé a donc été évité.

Condamnation internationale, aucune solution

Beaucoup ont estimé qu’Israël n’aurait pas dû répondre comme il l’a fait à la menace. Mladenov, envoyé des Nations Unies au Moyen-Orient, a jugé la riposte d’Israël « scandaleuse ». Le Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a condamné l’usage d’une « force excessive ». Le Procureur de la Cour pénale internationale, Fatou Bensouda, a affirmé que « la violence contre les civils – dans une situation comme celle qui prévaut à Gaza – pourrait constituer un crime au regard du Statut de Rome de la CPI ».

Pourtant, en dépit de leurs condamnations, aucun de ces fonctionnaires et experts, n’a été en mesure de proposer une riposte adaptée viable pour empêcher le franchissement violent des frontières israéliennes.

Certains affirment que les troupes israéliennes ont fait un usage de la force disproportionné en tirant à balles réelles sur des manifestants qui ne menaçaient personne. L’UE a ainsi exprimé son inquiétude sur l’utilisation de balles réelles par les forces de sécurité israéliennes. Mais les soi-disant « manifestants » représentaient une menace vitale réelle.

Aujourd’hui, le droit international admet l’usage de munitions réelles face à une menace sérieuse de mort ou de blessure, et quand aucun autre moyen ne permet d’y faire face. Il n’y a aucune exigence que la menace soit « immédiate » – une telle force peut être utilisée quand elle apparait « imminente »; c’est-à-dire au moment où une action agressive doit être empêchée avant qu’elle ne mute en menace immédiate.

La réalité est que, dans les conditions créées délibérément par le Hamas, il n’existait aucune étape intermédiaire efficace pour éviter de tirer sur les manifestants les plus menaçants. Si ces personnes (qu’on peut difficilement appeler de simples « manifestants ») avaient été autorisées à atteindre la barrière, le risque vital serait passé d’imminent à immédiat ; il n’aurait pu être évité qu’en infligeant des pertes beaucoup plus grandes, comme il a été mentionné précédemment.

Échec de la compréhension par la communauté internationale

Ceux qui soutiennent que Tsahal n’aurait pas dû tirer à des balles réelles, exigent en fait que des dizaines de milliers d’émeutiers violents (et parmi eux, des terroristes) soient laissés libres de faire irruption en territoire israélien. Il aurait fallu attendre avant d’agir que des civils, des forces de sécurité et des biens matériels soient en danger, alors qu’une riposte précise et ciblée contre les individus les plus menaçants a permis d’éviter à ce scénario catastrophique de devenir réalité.

Certains ont également soutenu qu’ils n’existe aucune preuve de « manifestant » porteur d’une arme à feu. Ils ne comprennent pas que ce type de conflit n’oppose pas des soldats en uniforme qui s’affrontent ouvertement et en armes sur un champ de bataille. Dans ce contexte, les armes à feu ne sont pas nécessaires pour présenter une menace. En fait, c’est même le contraire compte tenu des objectifs et du mode de fonctionnement. Leurs armes sont des pinces coupantes, des grappins, des cordes, des écrans de fumée, du feu et des explosifs cachés.

Le Hamas a passé des années et dépensé des millions de dollars à creuser des tunnels d’attaque souterrains pour tenter d’entrer en Israël – une menace sérieuse qui implique des pelles, pas des armes à feu. Tout en continuant à creuser des tunnels, ils ont agi au grand jour mais fondus au sein d’une population civile utilisée couverture – les armes ne surgissant qu’une fois l’objectif de pénétration massive atteint. Un soldat qui attendrait de voir une arme à feu pour tirer signerait son propre arrêt de mort, et celui des civils qu’il ou elle a pour mission de protéger.

Des critiques ont été formulées (en particulier par Human Rights Watch) à l’encontre de responsables israéliens qui auraient sciemment accordé leur feu vert aux agissements illégaux des soldats. Par exemple, HRW cite comme preuve certains commentaires publics du chef d’état-major de Tsahal, du porte-parole du Premier ministre et du ministre de la Défense.

Il ne leur est sans doute pas venu à l’esprit que ces fonctionnaires exercent leur autorité par des canaux de communication privés et non à travers des médias publics. Par ailleurs, leurs commentaires ne sont pas des instructions aux troupes mais des avertissements lancés aux civils de Gaza pour réduire le niveau de violence et apaiser les craintes légitimes des Israéliens vivant en zone frontalière. Quand le chef d’état-major dit qu’il positionne « 100 tireurs d’élite à la frontière », il ne fait que verbaliser son devoir légal de défendre son pays ; il ne faut y voir aucun aveu d’une intention d’outrepasser l’usage légal de la force.

Certains groupes de défense des droits de l’homme (y compris à nouveau HRW) et nombre de journalistes ont critiqué l’usage de la force par l’armée israélienne au motif qu’aucun soldat n’a été blessé. Ils en ont publiquement conclu que la riposte de Tsahal avait été « disproportionnée ». Comme cela arrive souvent quand de soi-disant experts commentent les opérations militaires occidentales, les réalités des opérations de sécurité et les impératifs légaux sont mal compris – quand ils ne sont pas déformés -. En effet, il n’est pas nécessaire d’afficher une blessure pour démontrer l’existence d’une menace réelle. Le fait que les soldats de Tsahal n’aient pas été grièvement blessés démontre seulement leur professionnalisme militaire, et non l’absence de menace.

Il a également été affirmé qu’en l’absence de conflit armé, l’usage de la force à Gaza est régi par la charte internationale des droits de l’homme et non par les lois régissant les conflits militaires. Il s’agit là d’une interprétation erronée : toute la bande de Gaza est une zone de guerre définie comme telle par l’agression armée de longue date du Hamas contre l’Etat d’Israël. Par conséquent, dans cette situation, les deux types de loi sont applicables, en fonction des circonstances précises.

Il est licite pour Tsahal de combattre et de tuer tout combattant ennemi identifié comme tel, n’importe où dans la bande de Gaza conformément aux lois de la guerre, que cet ennemi soit en uniforme ou non, armé ou non, représentant ou non une menace imminente, attaquant ou fuyant. Dans la pratique cependant, il apparait que face à des émeutes violentes, les FDI ont agi en supposant que tous les acteurs sur le terrain étaient des civils (contre lesquels il n’est pas nécessaire de recourir à la force létale au premier recours) à moins que l’évidence démontre le contraire.

Faire le jeu du Hamas

Nombreux aussi ont été ceux qui ont affirmé que le gouvernement israélien a refusé de mener une enquête officielle sur les décès survenus. Encore une fois l’assertion est complètement fausse. Les Israéliens ont déclaré qu’ils examineraient les incidents sur la base de leur système juridique, lequel jouit d’un respect unanime au plan international. En revanche, le gouvernement israélien a explicitement refusé une enquête internationale, tout comme les Etats-Unis, le Royaume-Uni ou toute autre démocratie occidentale l’aurait fait dans la même situation.

Toutes ces fausses critiques de l’action israélienne, ainsi que les menaces d’enquêtes internationales, de renvoi d’Israël devant la CPI et de recours à une juridiction universelle contre les responsables israéliens impliqués dans cette situation, font le jeu du Hamas. Ils valident l’utilisation de boucliers humains et la stratégie du Hamas d’obliger au meurtre de leurs propres civils. Les implications débordent largement ce conflit. Comme l’ont démontré de précédents épisodes de violence, les réactions internationales de ce type, y compris une condamnation injuste, généralisent ces tactiques et augmentent le nombre de morts parmi les civils innocents dans le monde entier.

Plus de violence à venir ?

Cette campagne du Hamas peut entraîner des pertes massives dans la population palestinienne. Il est non moins probable que la condamnation des médias, des organisations internationales et des groupes de défense des droits de l’homme va se généraliser. Ceux qui ont un agenda anti-américain et anti-israélien lieront inévitablement cette violence à la décision du président Trump d’ouvrir l’ambassade américaine à Jérusalem.

Action future

La nouvelle tactique du Hamas a eu beaucoup de succès en dressant contre Israël des personnalités de la communauté internationale et en endommageant sa réputation. Il est probable que les effets continueront à se faire sentir longtemps après la fin de cette vague de violence.

Il faut s’attendre à des condamnations supplémentaires de la part d’acteurs internationaux, tels que les divers organismes des Nations Unies, ainsi que des rapports spécifiques produits par des rapporteurs spéciaux des Nations Unies. Des tentatives d’inciter le Procureur de la CPI à examiner ces incidents auront lieu, ainsi que des initiatives de procédures judiciaires lancées par différents États (en utilisant la « compétence universelle ») pour tenter de diffamer et même d’arrêter des responsables militaires et des politiciens israéliens.

Inévitablement, le Hamas et d’autres groupes palestiniens vont renouveler cette tactique à l’avenir. Pour atténuer cela, Israël se prépare à renforcer la frontière de Gaza pour rendre toute tentative de pénétration plus difficile sans recourir à la force létale. (Ils travaillent déjà sur une barrière souterraine pour empêcher la pénétration par effet tunnel.) Cependant, il s’agit d’un projet à long terme et la possibilité d’étanchéifier la frontière au point de la rendre impénétrable demande à être clarifiée.

En outre, Tsahal porte aujourd’hui une attention accrue aux armes non létales. Mais en dépit d’importantes recherches menées au plan international, aucun système viable et efficace ne peut fonctionner dans de telles circonstances.

Les amis et alliés d’Israël peuvent agir pour contrer la propagande anti-israélienne du Hamas, et faire pression sur les dirigeants politiques, les groupes de défense des droits de l’homme, les organisations internationales et les médias pour éviter une fausse condamnation d’Israël ; il faut également lutter contre les réclamations d’une action internationale comme d’une enquête unilatérale des Nations Unies et ses résolutions. Un tel rejet, de préférence accompagné d’une forte condamnation de la tactique violente du Hamas, pourrait contribuer à décourager l’utilisation de tels plans d’action. Bien entendu, face à un agenda anti-israélien aussi profondément enraciné, de telles recommandations sont plus faciles à formuler qu’à mettre en pratique.

Le colonel Richard Kemp commandait les forces britanniques en Irlande du Nord, en Afghanistan, en Irak et dans les Balkans. Cette analyse a été publiée à l’origine sur le site Web de HIGH LEVEL MILITARY GROUP. Elle est reproduite ici avec l’aimable autorisation de l’auteur.

Voir aussi:

Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy

Matti Friedman

Mr. Friedman, a journalist, is the author of the memoir “Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story of a Forgotten War.”

JERUSALEM — During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story.

At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.

Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday’s awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to cross the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film.

About 40,000 people answered a call to show up. Many of them, some armed, rushed the border fence. Many Israelis, myself included, were horrified to see the number of fatalities reach 60.

Most Western viewers experienced these events through a visual storytelling tool: a split screen. On one side was the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem in the presence of Ivanka Trump, evangelical Christian allies of the White House and Israel’s current political leadership — an event many here found curious and distant from our national life. On the other side was the terrible violence in the desperately poor and isolated territory. The juxtaposition was disturbing.

The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.

The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.

Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn’t work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom — the soldiers won’t know which — will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas’s tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel’s enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand?

These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn’t what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey’s president called it “genocide.” A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about “whiteness and Zionism,” part of an odd trend that reads America’s racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age — the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous — have crept into the worldview of people who should know better.

For someone looking out from here, that’s the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times.

Voir encore:

The cacophony that accompanies every upsurge in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can make it seem impossible for outsiders to sort out the facts. Recent events in Gaza are no exception. The shrillest voices on each side are already offering their own mutually exclusive narratives that acknowledge some realities while scrupulously avoiding others.

But while certain facts about Gaza may be inconvenient for the loudest partisans on either side, they should not be inconvenient to the rest of us.

To that end, here are 13 complicated, messy, true things about what has been happening in Gaza. They do not conform to one political narrative or another, and they do not attempt to conclusively apportion all blame. Try, as best you can, to hold them all in your mind at the same time.

1. The protests on Monday were not about President Donald Trump moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and have in fact been occurring weekly on the Gaza border since March. They are part of what the demonstrators have dubbed “The Great March of Return”—return, that is, to what is now Israel. (The Monday demonstration was scheduled months ago to coincide with Nakba Day, an annual occasion of protest; it was later moved up 24 hours to grab some of the media attention devoted to the embassy.) The fact that these long-standing Palestinian protests were mischaracterized by many in the media as simply a response to Trump obscured two disquieting realities: First, that the world has largely dismissed the genuine plight of Palestinians in Gaza, only bothering to pay attention to it when it could be tenuously connected to Trump. Second, that many Palestinians do not simply desire their own state and an end to the occupation and settlements that began in 1967, but an end to the Jewish state that began in 1948.

2. The Israeli blockade of Gaza goes well beyond what is necessary for Israel’s security, and in many cases can be capricious and self-defeating. Import and export restrictions on food and produce have seesawed over the years, with what is permitted one year forbidden the next, making it difficult for Gazan farmers to plan for the future. Restrictions on movement between Gaza, the West Bank, and beyond can be similarly overbroad, preventing not simply potential terrorist operatives from traveling, but families and students. In one of the more infamous instances, the U.S. State Department was forced to withdraw all Fulbright awards to students in Gaza after Israel did not grant them permission to leave. Today, official policy bars Gazans from traveling abroad unless they commit to not returning for a full year. It is past time that these issues be addressed, as outlined in part in a new letter from several prominent senators, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

3. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is an authoritarian, theocratic regime that has called for Jewish genocide in its charter, murdered scores of Israeli civilians, repressed Palestinian women, and harshly persecuted religious and sexual minorities. It is a designated terrorist group by the United States, Canada, and the European Union.

4. The overbearing Israeli blockade has helped impoverish Gaza. So has Hamas’s utter failure to govern and provide for the basic needs of the enclave’s people. Whether it has been spending its manpower and millions of dollars on subterranean attack tunnels into Israel—including under United Nations schools for Gaza’s children—or launching repeated messianic military operations against Israel, the terrorist group has consistently prioritized the deaths of Israelis over the lives of its Palestinian brethren.

5. Many of the thousands of protesters on the Gaza border, both on Monday and in weeks previous, were peaceful and unarmed, as anyone looking at the photos and videos of the gatherings can see.

6. Hamas manipulated many of these demonstrators into unwittingly rushing the Israeli border fence under false pretenses in order to produce injuries and fatalities. As the New York Times reported, “After midday prayers, clerics and leaders of militant factions in Gaza, led by Hamas, urged thousands of worshipers to join the protests. The fence had already been breached, they said falsely, claiming Palestinians were flooding into Israel.” Similarly, the Washington Post recounted how “organizers urged protesters over loudspeakers to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them.” Hamas has also publicly acknowledged deliberately using peaceful civilians at the protests as cover and cannon fodder for their military operations. “When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar told an interviewer. “This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies.”

7. A significant number of the protesters were armed, which is how they did things like this:

Widely circulated Arabic instructions on Facebook directed protesters to “bring a knife, dagger, or gun if available” and to breach the Israeli border and kidnap civilians. (The posts have now been removed by Facebook for inciting violence but a cached copy can be viewed here.) Hamas further incentivized violence by providing payments to those injured and the families of those killed. Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terror group have since claimed many of those killed as their own operatives and posted photos of them in uniform. On Wednesday, Hamas Political Bureau member Salah Al-Bardawil announced that 50 of the 62 fatalities were Hamas members.

Contrary to certain Israeli talking points, however, these facts do not automatically justify any particular Israeli response or every Palestinian casualty or injury. They simply establish the reality of the threat.

8. It is facile to argue that Gazans should be protesting Hamas and its misrule instead of Israel. One, it is not a binary choice, as both actors have contributed to Gaza’s misery. Two, as the BBC’s Julia MacFarlane recalled from her time covering Gaza, any public dissent against Hamas is perilous: “A boy I met in Gaza during the 2014 war was dragged from his bed at midnight, had his kneecaps shot off in a square and was told next time it would be axes—for an anti-Hamas Facebook post.” The group has publicly executed those it deems “collaborators” and broken up rare protests with gunfire. Likewise, Gazans cannot “vote Hamas out” because Hamas has not permitted elections since it won them and took power in 2006. The group fares poorly in the polls today, but Gazans have no recourse for expressing their dissatisfaction. Protesting Israel, however, is an outlet for frustration encouraged by Hamas.

9. In that regard, Hamas has worked to increase chaos and casualties stemming from the protests by allowing rioters to repeatedly set fire to the Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza’s main avenue for international and humanitarian aid, and by turning back trucks of needed food and supplies from Israel.

10. A lot of what you’re seeing on social media about what is transpiring in Gaza isn’t actually true. For instance, a video of a Palestinian “martyr” allegedly moving under his shroud that is circulating in pro-Israel circles is actually a 4-year old clip from Egypt. Likewise, despite the claims of viral tweets and the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry that were initially parroted by some in the media, Israel did not actually kill an 8-month old baby with tear gas. The Gazan doctor who treated her told the Associated Press that she died from a preexisting heart condition, a fact belatedly picked up by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. In the era of fake news, readers should be especially vigilant about resharing unconfirmed content simply because it confirms their biases.

11. There are constructive solutions to Gaza’s problems that would alleviate the plight of its Palestinian population while assuaging the security concerns of Israelis. However, these useful proposals do not go viral like angry tweets ranting about how Palestinians are all de facto terrorists or Israelis are the new Nazis, which is one reason why you probably have never heard of them.

12. A truly independent, respected inquiry into Israel’s tactics and rules of engagement in Gaza is necessary to ensure any abuses are punished and create internationally recognized guidelines for how Israel and other state actors should deal with these situations on their borders. The United Nations, which annually condemns Israel in its General Assembly and Human Rights Council more than all other countries combined, and whose notorious bias against Israel was famously condemned by Obama ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, clearly lacks the credibility to administer such an inquiry. Between America, Canada, and Europe, however, it should be possible to create one.

13. But because the entire debate around Israel’s conduct has been framed by absolutists who insist either that Israel is utterly blameless or that Israel is wantonly massacring random Palestinians for sport, a reasonable inquiry into what it did correctly and what it did not is unlikely to happen.

***

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Voir également:

Jerusalem Celebrates, Gaza Burns

On the night of May 14, the leading headline of The Washington Post said, “More than 50 killed in Gaza protests as U.S. opens its new embassy in Jerusalem.” Headlines of other newspapers were not much different.

There is no doubt the headlines were factually accurate. But so would a headline saying, “More than 50 killed in Gaza as the moon was a waning crescent,” or “More than 50 killed in Gaza as Arambulo named co-anchor of NBC4’s ‘Today in LA.’ ” Were they unbiased? Not quite. They suggested a causation: The U.S. opens an embassy and hence people get killed. But the causation is faulty: Gazans were killed last week, when the United States had not yet opened its embassy. Gazans were killed for a simple reason: Ignoring warnings, thousands of them decided to get too close to the Israeli border.

There are arguments one could make against President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. People in Gaza getting killed is not one of them. A country such as the United States, a country such as Israel, cannot curb strategic decisions because of inconveniences such as demonstrations. Small things can be postponed to prevent anger. Small decisions can be altered to avoid violent incidents. But not important, historic moves.

At the end of this week, no matter the final tally of Gazans getting hurt, only one event will be counted as “historic.” The opening of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem is a historic decision of great symbolic significance. Lives lost for no good reason in Gaza — as saddening as it is — is routine. Eleven years ago, on  May 16, 2007, I wrote this about Gaza: “The Gaza Strip is burning, drifting into chaos, turning into hell — and nobody seems to have a way out of this mess. Dozens of people were killed in Gaza in the last couple of weeks, the victims of lawlessness and power struggles between clans and families, gangsters and militias.” Sounds familiar? I assume it does. This is what routine looks like. This is what disregard for human life feels like. And that was 11 years to the week before a U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem.

Why were so many lives lost in Gaza? To give a straight answer, one must begin with the obvious: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has no interest in having more Gazans killed, yet its mission is not to save Gazans’ lives. Its mission — remember, the IDF is a military serving a country — is to defeat an enemy. And in the case of Gaza this past week, the meaning of this was preventing unauthorized, possibly dangerous people from crossing the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip.

As this column was written, the afternoon of May 15, the IDF had achieved its objective: No one was able to cross the border into Israel. The price was high. It was high for the Palestinians. Israel will get its unfair share of criticism from people who have nothing to offer but words of condemnation. This was also to be expected. And also to be ignored. Again, not because criticism means nothing, but rather because there are things of higher importance to worry about. Such as not letting unauthorized hostile people cross into Israel.

Of course, any bloodshed is regretful. Yet to achieve its objectives, the IDF had to use lethal force. Circumstances on the ground dictate using such measures. The winds made tear gas ineffective. The proximity of the border made it essential to stop Gazan demonstrators from getting too close, lest thousands of them flood the fence, thus forcing the IDF to use even more lethal means. Leaflets warned them not to go near the fence. Media outlets were used to clarify that consequences could be dire. Hence, an unbiased, sincere newspaper headline should have said, “More than 50 killed in Gaza while Hamas leaders ignored warnings.”

So, yes, Jerusalem celebrated while Gaza burned. Not because Gaza burned. And, yes, the U.S. moved its embassy while Gaza burned. But this is not what made Gaza burn.

It all comes down to legitimacy. Having embassies move to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, is about legitimacy. Letting Israel keep the integrity of its borders is about legitimacy. President Donald Trump gained the respect and appreciation of Israelis because of his no-nonsense acceptance of a reality, and because of his no-nonsense rejection of delegitimization masqueraded as policy differences. A legitimate country is allowed to defend its border. A legitimate country is allowed to choose its capital.

Gaza’s Miseries Have Palestinian Authors
Bret Stephens

The New York Times
May 16, 2018

For the third time in two weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have set fire to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which they get medicine, fuel and other humanitarian essentials from Israel. Soon we’ll surely hear a great deal about the misery of Gaza. Try not to forget that the authors of that misery are also the presumptive victims.

There’s a pattern here — harm yourself, blame the other — and it deserves to be highlighted amid the torrent of morally blind, historically illiterate criticism to which Israelis are subjected every time they defend themselves against violent Palestinian attack.

In 1970, Israel set up an industrial zone along the border with Gaza to promote economic cooperation and provide Palestinians with jobs. It had to be shut down in 2004 amid multiple terrorist attacks that left 11 Israelis dead.

In 2005, Jewish-American donors forked over $14 million dollars to pay for greenhouses that had been used by Israeli settlers until the government of Ariel Sharon withdrew from the Strip. Palestinians looted dozens of the greenhouses almost immediately upon Israel’s exit.

In 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup against its rivals in the Fatah faction. Since then, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in the Strip have fired nearly 10,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel — all the while denouncing an economic “blockade” that is Israel’s refusal to feed the mouth that bites it. (Egypt and the Palestinian Authority also participate in the same blockade, to zero international censure.)

In 2014 Israel discovered that Hamas had built 32 tunnels under the Gaza border to kidnap or kill Israelis. “The average tunnel requires 350 truckloads of construction supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reported, “enough to build 86 homes, seven mosques, six schools or 19 medical clinics.” Estimated cost of tunnels: $90 million.

Want to understand why Gaza is so poor? See above.

Which brings us to the grotesque spectacle along Gaza’s border over the past several weeks, in which thousands of Palestinians have tried to breach the fence and force their way into Israel, often at the cost of their lives. What is the ostensible purpose of what Palestinians call “the Great Return March”?

That’s no mystery. This week, The Times published an op-ed by Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the march. “We are intent on continuing our struggle until Israel recognizes our right to return to our homes and land from which we were expelled,” he writes, referring to homes and land within Israel’s original borders.

His objection isn’t to the “occupation” as usually defined by Western liberals, namely Israel’s acquisition of territories following the 1967 Six Day War. It’s to the existence of Israel itself. Sympathize with him all you like, but at least notice that his politics demand the elimination of the Jewish state.

Notice, also, the old pattern at work: Avow and pursue Israel’s destruction, then plead for pity and aid when your plans lead to ruin.

The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.

But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk?

Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.

The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind?

Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?

That’s a question to which one can easily guess the answer. In the meantime, it’s worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian aspirations.

No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated acts of self-harm and destructive provocation.

If Palestinians want to build a worthy, proud and prosperous nation, they could do worse than try to learn from the one next door. That begins by forswearing forever their attempts to destroy it.

For the third time in two weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have set fire to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which they get medicine, fuel and other humanitarian essentials from Israel. Soon we’ll surely hear a great deal about the misery of Gaza. Try not to forget that the authors of that misery are also the presumptive victims.

There’s a pattern here — harm yourself, blame the other — and it deserves to be highlighted amid the torrent of morally blind, historically illiterate criticism to which Israelis are subjected every time they defend themselves against violent Palestinian attack.

In 1970, Israel set up an industrial zone along the border with Gaza to promote economic cooperation and provide Palestinians with jobs. It had to be shut down in 2004 amid multiple terrorist attacks that left 11 Israelis dead.

In 2005, Jewish-American donors forked over $14 million dollars to pay for greenhouses that had been used by Israeli settlers until the government of Ariel Sharon withdrew from the Strip. Palestinians looted dozens of the greenhouses almost immediately upon Israel’s exit.

Notice, also, the old pattern at work: Avow and pursue Israel’s destruction, then plead for pity and aid when your plans lead to ruin.

The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.

But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk?

Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.

The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind?

Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?

That’s a question to which one can easily guess the answer. In the meantime, it’s worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian aspirations.

No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated acts of self-harm and destructive provocation.

If Palestinians want to build a worthy, proud and prosperous nation, they could do worse than try to learn from the one next door. That begins by forswearing forever their attempts to destroy it.

Voir par ailleurs:

Un haut responsable du Hamas a affirmé mercredi que la très grande majorité des Palestiniens tués cette semaine lors de manifestations et heurts avec l’armée israélienne dans la bande de Gaza appartenaient au mouvement islamiste, qui dirige l’enclave.

L’armée et le gouvernement israéliens, confrontés à une vague de réprobation après la mort de 59 Palestiniens sous des tirs israéliens lundi, se sont saisis de ces propos pour contester le caractère pacifique des évènements et maintenir que ceux-ci étaient orchestrés par le Hamas.

Des milliers de Palestiniens ont débuté le 30 mars dans la bande de Gaza un mouvement de plus de six semaines contre le blocus israélien et pour le droit des Palestiniens à revenir sur les terres qu’ils ont fuies ou dont ils ont été chassés à la création d’Israël en 1948.

Les violences de lundi ont coïncidé avec l’inauguration controversée à Jérusalem de la nouvelle ambassade américaine, démarche qui a rompu avec des décennies de consensus international.

Le Guatemala a également inauguré mercredi à Jérusalem sa nouvelle ambassade en Israël, s’attirant la colère de la direction palestinienne qui a accusé le gouvernement guatémaltèque de se placer du côté des « crimes de guerre israéliens ».

« Agression israélienne »

Les violences à Gaza lundi, journée la plus meurtrière du conflit israélo-palestinien depuis 2014, ont continué à susciter l’inquiétude ou la colère à l’étranger.

Le pape François s’est dit « très préoccupé par l’escalade des tensions en Terre Sainte » et le président russe Vladimir Poutine a appelé à « renoncer à la violence ». Les ministres arabes des Affaires étrangères devaient tenir jeudi au Caire une réunion extraordinaire sur « l’agression israélienne contre le peuple palestinien ».

La tension est retombée dans la bande de Gaza à la veille du ramadan, le mois de jeûne musulman, mais la situation demeure hautement volatile.

Des chars israéliens ont frappé plusieurs positions du Hamas dans la bande de Gaza, en réponse à des tirs d’armes à feu, a dit notamment l’armée.

Le Hamas a dit soutenir la mobilisation, tout en assurant qu’elle émanait de la société civile et qu’elle était pacifique.

L’armée israélienne accuse de son côté le Hamas, qu’il considère comme « terroriste », de s’être servi du mouvement pour mêler à la foule des hommes armés ou disposer des engins explosifs le long de frontière.

Elle assure n’avoir fait que défendre les frontières, ses soldats et les civils contre une éventuelle infiltration de Palestiniens susceptibles de s’attaquer aux populations riveraines de l’enclave ou de prendre un otage.

Après la mort par balles des Palestiniens, Israël s’est retrouvé en butte aux condamnations et aux appels à une enquête indépendante.

Dans ce contexte, Salah al-Bardaouil, haut responsable du Hamas, a déclaré à une télévision palestinienne que 50 des 62 Palestiniens tués lundi mais aussi mardi appartenaient au mouvement islamiste.

La vérité « dévoilée »

« Cinquante des martyrs (des morts) étaient du Hamas, et 12 faisaient partie du reste de la population », a-t-il dit, interrogé sur les critiques selon lesquelles le Hamas tirait profit de la mobilisation. « Comment le Hamas pourrait-il récolter les fruits (du mouvement) alors qu’il a payé un prix aussi élevé », a-t-il demandé.

Il n’a pas fourni de détails sur l’appartenance de ces Palestiniens à la branche armée ou politique du Hamas, ni sur les circonstances dans lesquelles ils avaient été tués.

Salah al-Bardaouil « dévoile la vérité », a tweeté un porte-parole du gouvernement israélien, Ofir Gendelman, « ce n’était pas une manifestation pacifique, mais une opération du Hamas ».

« Nous avons les mêmes chiffres », a lancé de son côté le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu, avertissant que son pays continuerait « à se défendre par tous les moyens nécessaires ».

Un porte-parole du Hamas, Fawzy Barhoum, et un autre haut responsable, Bassem Naim, se sont gardés de confirmer les informations de M. Bardaouil. Le Hamas paie les funérailles de tous, « qu’ils soient membres ou supporters du Hamas, ou pas », a dit M. Barhoum.

Il est « naturel de voir de nombreux membres ou supporters du Hamas » à une telle manifestation, a dit M. Naim, en faisant référence à la forte présence du Hamas dans toutes les couches de la société. Ceux qui ont été tués « participaient pacifiquement » au mouvement, a-t-il assuré.

Sur la chaîne de télévision Al-Jazeera, l’homme fort du Hamas, Yahya Sinouar, a prévenu: « si le blocus (israélien à Gaza) continue, nous n’hésiterons pas à recourir à la résistance militaire ».

Voir de même:

Gaza, le massacre des oubliés

EDITO. Ce qui vient de se passer à Gaza est un rappel à l’ordre, tragique, à une communauté internationale qui a abandonné le peuple palestinien.

Sara Daniel

Pendant qu’une petite fille palestinienne mourait d’avoir inhalé des gaz lacrymogènes à Gaza, à Jérusalem, à moins d’une heure et demie de là par la route, on sablait le champagne, lundi, pour fêter le déménagement de l’ambassade américaine.

Malgré les snipers israéliens, les Gazaouis auront donc continué à se presser devant la clôture de séparation de cette prison maudite et à ciel ouvert que représente l’enclave de Gaza, honte d’Israël et de la communauté internationale, pour achever la « Marche du grand retour », entamée le 30 mars et censée se conclure ce 15 mai. Une marche pour réclamer les terres perdues au moment de la création d’Israël, il y a soixante-dix ans, mais surtout la fin du blocus israélo-égyptien qui étouffe Gaza.

Au cours de ce lundi noir, 59 personnes ont été tuées, et plus de 2.400 ont été blessées par balles.

Une violence inouïe et inutile

Encore une fois le conflit israélo-palestinien a joué la guerre des images, au cours de ce jour si symbolique. Les Israéliens fêtaient les 70 ans de la naissance de leur Etat, le miracle de son existence, l’incroyable longévité de ce confetti minuscule entouré de nations hostiles. Les Palestiniens commémoraient, eux, leur « catastrophe », leur Nakba, qui les a poussés sur les routes de l’exil, dans l’indifférence d’une communauté internationale lassée par un conflit interminable, happée par d’autres hécatombes plus pressantes.

C’est avec cette Marche que les Gazaouis ont tenté de revenir sur la carte des préoccupations mondiales et de rappeler leur agonie à un monde qui les oublie. Pendant ce temps, Israéliens, Américains, Saoudiens et Egyptiens célèbrent leur alliance sur le dos de ces vaincus de l’histoire, les pressant d’accepter un accord, ce que Donald Trump a appelé le « deal ultime », dont les contours sont encore flous mais dont on peut être certain qu’il entérinerait leur déroute.

Mais pourquoi les Israéliens ont-ils cédé à cette violence inouïe et inutile alors que, de leur aveu même, le vrai sujet de leurs inquiétudes était le front du Nord avec le Hezbollah et l’Iran ? Est-ce l’hubris des vainqueurs ? En tout cas, Israël n’a pas entendu l’avertissement de Houda Naim, députée du Hamas.

« Nous considérons que ces marches pacifiques sont aujourd’hui le meilleur moyen d’atteindre les points faibles de notre ennemi », disait-elle au début du mouvement.

Une population excédée, désespérée

Dans le même esprit que les campagnes BDS qui prônent le boycott de produits israéliens, la nouvelle génération de militants a pensé que c’était par cette approche non violente dans la filiation de Gandhi que la cause palestinienne aurait une chance de revenir sur le devant de la scène internationale.

Alors, les manifestants ont-ils été manipulés par leurs organisations politiques ? La question est obscène lorsque que la marche, commencée il y a six semaines, a déjà fait plus de 100 morts. Bien sûr, le Hamas, débordé par cette manifestation civile et pacifique, a rejoint le mouvement. A-t-il encouragé les Gazaouis à provoquer les soldats israéliens, les conduisant à une mort certaine ? Peut-être, et le gouvernement israélien l’affirmera. Mais cela ne suffirait pas à expliquer la détermination d’une population excédée, désespérée par ses conditions d’existence. Ce qui vient de se passer à Gaza est un rappel à l’ordre, tragique, à une communauté internationale qui a abandonné ce peuple palestinien à la brutalité israélienne, à l’incurie de ses dirigeants engagés dans une guerre fratricide, à ses alliés arabes historiquement défaillants, à son sort dont nous portons tous la responsabilité.

Voir encore:

Gaza: le Hamas pousse sa population vers la frontière, révèle un gazaoui arrêté

Un terroriste palestinien arrêté mardi par l’armée israélienne alors qu’il tentait de violer la frontière israélienne a déclaré dans une vidéo publiée mercredi que le Hamas pousse volontairement la population de la bande de Gaza vers la barrière de sécurité avec Israël.

« C’est le Hamas qui nous envoie des messages sur Facebook et sur WhatsApp pour que l’on vienne », déclare anonymement le Palestinien ajoutant que l’organisation terroriste ne s’arrête pas là.

« Dans les mosquées ils crient et distribuent des tracts appelant à se rendre à la barrière », précise-t-il.

« C’est eux qui tiennent la bande, qui la contrôle », déplore l’homme.

« Tout ce qui s’y déroule se fait avec leur autorisation », indique le Palestinien expliquant que « le Hamas organise les manifestations pour que les gens ne se retournent pas contre eux » à cause de la situation dans la bande de Gaza.

« Les dirigeants du Hamas se disent plutôt qu’on se fasse manger, et qu’ils se révoltent, on va les envoyer vers la barrière et là-bas ils pourront se révolter », souligne-t-il.

L’homme déplore également le fait que le Hamas profite de la pénurie d’électricité pour inciter la population à se rendre à la frontière.

« Lorsque nous avons de l’électricité et que la télévision fonctionne, tout ce que nous voyons c’est ‘la Marche du Retour’, la marche, la marche, la marche », précise le détenu.

« Ce sont eux qui disent aux femmes d’avancer, ils disent aux femmes d’avancer car ce sont des femmes et que l’armée ne tirera pas sur des femmes. Ils disent aux petits enfants d’avancer car l’armée ne tirera pas sur des enfants », conclut-il.

Les révélations de ce Palestinien confirment les soupçons selon lesquels le Hamas utilise sa population à des fins politiques.

En effet, parti dimanche pour le Caire, le chef du Hamas à Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh aurait été sévèrement réprimandé par l’Egypte pour son leadership dans la bande de Gaza.

Réunis dans le bureau du chef des renseignements égyptien, Kamal Abbas, les officiels locaux auraient été stupéfaits par le nombre de victimes palestiniennes le long de la barrière de sécurité séparant Israël et l’enclave palestinienne.

Selon les renseignements israéliens qui auraient fourni des preuves à l’Egypte, une partie de la population gazaouïe a été forcée de participer aux violences dans l’enclave côtière, poussée par l’organisation terroriste à mettre sa vie en danger en s’approchant de la clôture de sécurité.

Selon les médias israélien, lorsqu’Ismail Haniyeh est entré dans le bureau de Kamal Abbas, de violentes réprimandes ont pu être entendues à l’extérieur de la pièce à l’encontre du chef du Hamas à Gaza.

Les représentants égyptiens lui auraient reproché d’être responsable de l’écoulement du sang palestinien, sortant des photos montrant des membres du mouvement terroriste payer des dizaines de dollars à de jeunes palestiniens pour qu’ils aillent se faire tuer le long de la barrière de sécurité entre Israël et la bande de Gaza.

Voir par ailleurs:

 

Danger in overreacting to Santa Fe school shooting

School shootings, however horrific, are not the new normal. Santa Fe killings are part of a bloody contagion that will pass.

James Alan Fox

USA Today

May 18, 2018

Today’s ghastly shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, claiming the lives of at least 10 victims, has many Americans, including President Trump, wondering when and how the carnage will cease. Coming on the heels of two other multiple fatality school massacres earlier this year, it is no wonder that many are seeing this type of random gun violence as the “new normal.”

Amidst the national mourning for the many innocent lives lost in these senseless shooting sprees, it is critical not to overreact and overrespond to the menacing acts of a few. It is, of course, of little comfort to those families and communities impacted in Santa Fe as well as Parkland, Florida, and Benton, Kentucky, but this is not routine. Schools are not under siege. Rather, this more likely reflects a short-term contagion effect in which angry dispirited youngsters are inspired by others whose violent outbursts serve as fodder for national attention. That should subside once we stop obsessing over the risk.

History provides an important lesson about how crime contagions arise and eventually play themselves out. Over the five-year time span from 1997 through 2001, America witnessed seven multiple-fatality school rampages with a combined 32 killed and 85 others injured, more such incidents and casualties than during the past five years.

Following the March 2001 massacre at a high school in Santee, California, the venerable Dan Rather declared school shootings an “epidemic.” Then, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America, the nation turned its attention to a very different kind of threat, and the school shooting “epidemic” disappeared.

Summertime will soon bring a natural break to the heightened concern over school shootings. Hopefully, come September, we can deal with the underlying issues facing alienated adolescents who seek to follow in the bloody footsteps of their undeserving heroes, without inadvertently fueling the contagion of bloodshed.

Many observers have expressed concern for the excessive attention given to mass shooters of today and the deadliest of yesteryear. CNN’s Anderson Cooper has campaigned against naming names of mass shooters, and 147 criminologists, sociologists, psychologists and other human-behavior experts recently signed on to an open letter urging the media not to identify mass shooters or display their photos.

While I appreciate the concern for name and visual identification of mass shooters for fear of inspiring copycats as well as to avoid insult to the memory of those they slaughtered, names and faces are not the problem. It is the excessive detail — too much information — about the killers, their writings, and their backgrounds that unnecessarily humanizes them. We come to know more about them — their interests and their disappointments — than we do about our next door neighbors. Too often the line is crossed between news reporting and celebrity watch.

At the same time, we focus far too much on records. We constantly are reminded that some shooting is the largest in a particular state over a given number of years, as if that really matters. Would the massacre be any less tragic if it didn’t exceed the death toll of some prior incident? Moreover, we are treated to published lists of the largest mass shootings in modern US history. For whatever purpose we maintain records, they are there to be broken and can challenge a bitter and suicidal assailant to outgun his violent role models.

Although the spirited advocacy of students around the country regarding gun control is to be applauded, we need to keep some perspective about the risk. Slogans like, “I want to go to my graduation, not to my grave,” are powerful, yet hyperbolic.

As often said, even one death is one too many, and we need to take the necessary steps to protect children, including expanded funding for school teachers and school psychologists. Still, despite the occasional tragedy, our schools are safe, safer than they have been for decades.

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and co-author of Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder.


Israël/70e: Chose promise, chose due (Remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth)

14 mai, 2018
Ton nom est Jacob; tu ne seras plus appelé Jacob, mais ton nom sera Israël. Genèse 35: 10
Gaza: a la « densité démographique la plus élevée du monde ». Cliché journalistique inepte mais fréquent. Les chiffres officiels: Gaza, 3 823 habitants par kilomètre carré, Paris XIeme arrondissement: 41 053 hab./km2 … Laurent Murawiec
En novembre 2004, des civils ivoiriens et des soldats français de la Force Licorne se sont opposés durant quatre jours à Abidjan dans des affrontements qui ont fait des dizaines de morts et de blessés. À la suite d’une mission d’enquête sur le terrain, Amnesty International a recueilli des informations indiquant que les forces françaises ont, à certaines occasions, fait un usage excessif et disproportionné de la force alors qu’elles se trouvaient face à des manifestants qui ne représentaient pas une menace directe pour leurs vies ou la vie de tiers. Amnesty international (26.10.05)
Des tirs sont partis sur nos forces depuis les derniers étages de l’hôtel ivoire de la grande tour que nous n’occupions pas et depuis la foule. Dans ces conditions nos unités ont été amenées à faire des tirs de sommation et à forcer le passage en évitant bien évidemment de faire des morts et des blessés parmi les manifestants. Mais je répète encore une fois les premiers tirs n’ont pas été de notre fait. Général Poncet (Canal Plus 90 minutes 14.02.05)
Nous avons effectivement été amenés à tirer, des tirs en légitime défense et en riposte par rapport aux tireurs qui nous tiraient dessus. Colonel Gérard Dubois (porte-parole de l’état-major français, le 15 novembre 2004)
On n’arrivait pas à éloigner cette foule qui, de plus en plus était débordante. Sur ma gauche, trois de nos véhicules étaient déjà immergés dans la foule. Un manifestant grimpe sur un de mes chars et arme la mitrailleuse 7-62. Un de mes hommes fait un tir d’intimidation dans sa direction ; l’individu redescend aussitôt du blindé. Le coup de feu déclenche une fusillade. L’ensemble de mes hommes fait des tirs uniquement d’intimidation. (…) seuls les COS auraient visé certains manifestants avec leurs armes non létales. (…) Mes hommes n’ont pu faire cela. Nous n’avions pas les armes pour infliger de telles blessures. Si nous avions tiré au canon dans la foule, ça aurait été le massacre. Colonel Destremau (Libération, 10.12.04)
L’armée française admet avoir tué par accident 4 civils afghans le 6 avril. AFP
Afghanistan: l’armée française tue par erreur quatre jeunes garçons. Jean-Dominique Merchet (blog de journaliste)
Les insurgés utilisent habituellement les villages pour mener leurs opérations contre la coalition. Ils s’abritent ainsi au sein de la population civile. Jean-Dominique Merchet
Quatre enfants et leur mère tués à Gaza: Un char israélien a tiré un obus sur leur maison lors d’une incursion à Beit Hanoun. Le Figaro (avec AFP, 28/04/2008)
Une partie de la production des historiens, les articles scientifiques notamment, s’adresse à un cercle restreint, en raison de la nature pointue ou technique de ces articles, publiés dans des revues spécialisées. Ce qui ne veut absolument pas dire que l’histoire ne doit pas être vulgarisée et diffusée auprès du plus grand nombre. C’est l’autre face du boulot d’historien. (…) Je ne suis cependant pas certain que cela soit du domaine de l’historien principalement que de mener cette contre-offensive. Evidemment que le boulot des historiens est de battre en brèche ces discours, mais cela ne doit pas relever d’eux seuls. On n’en appelle pas à un astrophysicien pour contrecarrer les délires sur la « terre plate ». Vidal-Naquet soulignait déjà cela en demandant si il fallait en appeler à un astrophysicien pour contrecarrer quelqu’un affirmant que la lune est faite de fromage. Le discours négationniste sur la Shoah, ou sur les autres génocides, est tout aussi grotesque d’un point de vue intellectuel que de prétendre que la terre est plate. (…)Dans le domaine de l’histoire, les lieux communs qui relèvent du café du commerce ne manquent pas, comme « L’histoire est écrite par les vainqueurs » ou « L’histoire est subjective ». « L’histoire écrite par les vainqueurs » signifie que ce sont ceux qui gagnent qui dictent le cours des évènements, mais on fait dire à cette phrase que ce sont les vainqueurs qui écrivent la « vérité »: autrement dit les « Alliés à Nuremberg ont écrit une version de l’histoire ». Quant à la supposée subjectivité de l’histoire, ou qu’en histoire il n’y aurait pas de vérité, c’est de la pseudo-philosophie de bas étage : l’histoire repose sur des faits en premier lieu, qui ne relèvent en rien de la « subjectivité ». Adolf Hitler est nazi. C’est un fait. Il est chancelier du Reich. C’est un fait. Il a clamé sa haine des Juifs. C’est un fait. Etc. Environ 5,7 millions de juifs ont été assassinés. C’est un fait. De la même manière que la terre est ronde. La méthode négationniste est simple. On prend un élément, en général microscopique, on le nie avec des arguments pseudo-scientifiques, puis on décrète que puisque tel témoignage comporte un élément décrété faux alors tout l’évènement est faux. Retranscrit dans d’autres domaines ça donne : la perruque de Louis XIV n’était pas blanche alors qu’un témoin l’a décrite comme telle, c’est donc la preuve que Louis XIV n’existe pas. Ou alors que Jésus n’a pu marcher sur l’eau, ce qui est la preuve que Jésus n’a pas existé, et donc que le christianisme n’existe pas. Si certains veulent croire que Jésus a marché sur l’eau cela relève du domaine de la religion et de la croyance. En revanche factuellement ce n’est pas cela qui autorise à nier l’existence de Jésus. Reste qu’avec le développement d’Internet qui facilite et démultiplie la diffusion de théories complotistes, on assiste à une explosion des remises en cause scientifiques et désormais d’autres sciences, comme la médecine par exemple, sont concernées. Si la négation de la Shoah est au cœur du négationnisme et du complotisme, les remises en cause des sciences se multiplient et trouvent une audience importante, une sorte de nouvelle forme de luddisme. On est face à un immense café du commerce, où différentes attitudes coexistent : pour certains c’est la crédulité, pour d’autres l’envie d’être un « sachant » – « à moi on me la fait pas, je suis pas dupe » – qui défie une narration frappée du sceau de l’ « officialité », tandis que pour d’autres, c’est un moyen politique pur et simple, comme les négationnistes, de diffuser un message de propagande. (…) Il s’agit d’un simple constat, non d’une remise en cause de ce qui est devenu un élément central de nos sociétés. Le luddisme qu’on peut constater n’est d’ailleurs pas dénué de contradictions : on utilise le progrès (Internet) pour dénoncer le progrès dans d’autres domaines. Pas plus que le « café  du commerce » ne remet en cause les lieux de convivialité que sont les troquets. Mais on peut aisément constater que toute parole se vaut et que tout un chacun est expert en tout. Si on prend la part négative des réseaux sociaux, aujourd’hui ils fédèrent, unissent, mettent en rapport des gens qui étaient autrefois isolés : un militant d’extrême droite s’achetait Minute ou Rivarol, avait quelques potes avec qui vomir sa haine, mais dans des cercles limités. Mais ce constat a aussi des pans positifs (…) il permet aussi l’expression dans des sociétés muselées, et a permis d’unir les oppositions dans les pays arabes qui ont connu des soulèvements. D’ailleurs la recherche elle-même a été transformée en profondeur avec Internet, on pourrait même dire bouleversée. Par exemple, il y a encore 20 ans, il fallait se farcir des fichiers-tiroirs en bibliothèques et centres d’archives pour connaître l’existence de publications, ou dépouiller des publications telles que L’Année philologique. Une partie de la qualité des recherches résidait dans la capacité à trouver ce qui existait. Aujourd’hui il suffit de deux mots clés dans une base de données, sans bouger de chez soi… Il est aussi patent que l’extrême droite a su se saisir avec une rapidité impressionnante des moyens qu’offre internet. Dès la fin des années 1990 les sites néo-nazis et autres pullulaient. Ce n’était pas joué d’avance, mais en revanche il faut constater que pour un site luttant contre le négationnisme, il y en a 100 qui le diffusent. (…) Tite-Live a écrit une histoire de Rome il y a 2 000 ans. Ce qui n’empêche pas que depuis 2 000 ans les historiens continuent à écrire l’histoire de Rome. Jusqu’au début des années 1980 les historiens étudiant la Shoah étaient très peu nombreux. Ce n’est que depuis une trentaine d’années que le champ a connu une véritable explosion scientifique. La chute de l’URSS a rendu accessibles des montagnes d’archives non exploitées jusque-là par exemple. Ensuite, cette histoire est en perpétuelle évolution, comme celle du nazisme ou de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, s’affine ou s’approfondit. C’est l’un des paradoxes du sujet, d’un côté il est omniprésent, de l’autre peu étudié. En France, le nombre de spécialistes de la Shoah ou de l’histoire du nazisme est assez limité, même si aujourd’hui il tend à croître. Ensuite, il y a une forme de paradoxe assez impressionnant sur ce sujet – et qui vaut plus largement pour le nazisme et la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Malgré l’omniprésence du sujet dans la société, il y a pas mal de malentendus et d’incompréhensions, notamment en raison de la confusion entre le système concentrationnaire – avec notamment les images de ce qui a été découvert en 1945 qui se sont profondément ancrées dans les représentations – et la « solution finale », qui se déroule ailleurs. Ces représentations très fortes qui se sont fixées au sortir de la guerre demeurent prédominantes, alors que les travaux des historiens depuis plus de 50 ou 60 ans dans certains cas ont permis de mieux comprendre et distinguer les choses. Le meilleur exemple réside sans doute dans le fait, que depuis les travaux de Raul Hilberg les historiens parlent de « centres de mise à mort », alors que l’expression qui demeure profondément ancrée est celle de « camp d’extermination ». Celle-ci est hautement problématique à bien des égards, à commencer par la contradiction absolue entre les deux termes : un camp est un lieu où l’on rassemble une population, pour la détenir par exemple – camp de concentration – alors que l’assassinat de masse ne nécessite pas de « camp », ce sont des sites qui sont destinés à tuer toute personne qui y est acheminée, et qui sont donc de taille réduite, avec peu de structures. Les négationnistes, d’ailleurs, utilisent certaines de ces représentations et exploitent les confusions. La réduction de la Shoah aux chambres à gaz dans les représentations leur permet de dire « pas de chambres à gaz donc pas de Shoah », alors que plus de la moitié des victimes n’ont jamais franchi le seuil d’une chambre à gaz mais ont été exécutées autrement. Même chose en utilisant des éléments propres au système concentrationnaire pour expliquer que la Shoah, qui se déroule en dehors de ce système, n’est pas possible. (…) Cela participe d’un affinement de la connaissance, d’une meilleure compréhension des mécanismes. Regarder les « marges » permet d’éclairer l’ensemble. Parmi les gars du PPF qui distribuent les tracts « mort aux juifs » en 1940 on en retrouve en 1943-1944 qui chassent les juifs en France pour réaliser la « solution finale ». Autrement dit, si je m’intéresse à Auschwitz, je m’intéresse aussi à ceux qui y « arrivent », et la manière dont ils arrivent là. Comment et à cause de qui un juif de Grenoble se retrouve à Drancy puis à Auschwitz ? (…) L’antisémitisme n’est pas propre à la droite ou l’extrême droite, il a toujours été présent sur l’ensemble de l’échiquier politique. On en a eu un exemple lors de la campagne présidentielle avec la disqualification de Macron comme « banquier », utilisée tant à l’extrême droite qu’à l’extrême gauche. Il y a 15 ans, il aurait été brocardé comme technocrate, c’est un pur produit de l’ENA. Mais son passage chez Rothschild devient une tache. Aurait-il exercé au Crédit Agricole ou à la Banque postale, je doute qu’il aurait été qualifié de banquier. Là on a eu une floraison de termes chez les auto-proclamés « anti-système » – qui ont tous pourtant des cursus forts semblables et sont présents en politique depuis des décennies – pour dénoncer « la banque », « l’oligarchie » etc. Le recours à cette terminologie n’a rien d’anodin, et chez certains – évidemment pas pour tous – elle renvoie plus qu’implicitement à l’antisémitisme. C’est d’ailleurs éclairant à ce sujet, de voir que certains historiens et intellectuels ont pointé les problèmes que posait le recours à ces termes mais que cela n’a eu aucune conséquence, pas même la moindre interrogation ou distanciation. Ce sont surtout les années 1930 et la Seconde Guerre mondiale qui ont ancré l’idée que l’antisémitisme était propre à l’extrême droite et au nazisme. Mais en 1940, au moment de la défaite et du vote des pleins pouvoirs, on voit des attaques antisémites contre Blum qui viennent d’élus de la SFIO, par exemple. Si on regarde la Collaboration, et l’Ultra Collaboration, on voit qu’il y a pas mal de gens venant de la gauche. Il faut cependant faire attention sur ce point, que l’on retrouve par exemple exploité par Zemmour : Vichy serait la gauche. Ceci est faux, l’adhésion se faisant sur un programme d’extrême droite, maurrassien, la « Révolution nationale », voire pour les ultras comme les PPF ou les membres du RNP de Déat, sur des programmes proches du nazisme. Mais même du côté du PC on peut voir des tracts, notamment en 40-41, où l’antisémitisme n’est pas très loin. En soi, l’antisémitisme se retrouve partout sur l’échiquier politique. Au sortir de la guerre, l’antisémitisme est disqualifié et n’a plus voix au chapitre sur la scène politique occidentale. Pourtant dès 1944 en URSS, et surtout à partir de 1948, le régime soviétique multiplie les attaques antisémites, qui ensuite se retrouvent dans tout le bloc communiste. Sauf qu’officiellement, ce ne sont pas les Juifs qui sont visés, mais les « sionistes ». Bref, on renomme, c’est validé un peu partout et ça passe sans soulever de problèmes pour les communistes en dehors du bloc soviétique. De 1948 à 1968 on multiplie les purges contre les Juifs, les procès, les assassinats et les expulsions, tout ça sous vernis de la lutte contre les « agents sionistes » ou les « cosmopolites sans racines », selon la terminologie d’alors. Réinscrit dans l’histoire de l’antisémitisme, ça n’a rien d’original. C’est juste une déclinaison du juif qui est par essence sans patrie, ou de l’agent de l’étranger, qui a toujours existé: affaire Dreyfus, « coup de poignard dans le dos » pour expliquer la défaite de l’Allemagne en 1918 etc. Pour l’antisémitisme français au moment de Dreyfus, le juif est l’agent des Allemands, pour les Allemands en 1918, le Juif c’est l’agent des bolcheviques ou de la France, pour Staline, le Juif c’est l’agent d’Israël. L’antisémitisme est pratique, il explique tout : le communisme c’est les juifs, le capital c’est les juifs. Chacun y trouve son explication. Et c’est adaptable à tout : la colonisation ? Les Juifs. L’esclavage ? Pareil. Dans les années 1990 le Sida en Afrique c’était les Juifs, et les attaques de requins en mer Rouge au début des années 2010 un coup du Mossad pour flinguer le tourisme en Egypte. A chaque nouvelle crise, le discours s’adapte. On a vu fleurir les théories impliquant Israel dans la crise au Venezuela, et ces théories venaient des défenseurs de Maduro, pas vraiment l’extrême droite, même si in fine la collusion a fini par se faire. L’antisémitisme, pas plus que le racisme au demeurant, n’est propre à un bord politique. Ce sont ses usages et la manière dont il est assumé qui peuvent éventuellement être différents. Quoique sur l’antisémitisme, à gauche l’ « antisionisme » est bien pratique pour s’adonner à un antisémitisme non assumé ouvertement – et en disant cela je ne délégitime en rien le droit des Palestiniens à disposer d’un Etat ou celui de critiquer les politiques israéliennes. (…) cela ne devrait pas être. Mais c’est malheureusement le cas, tant « l’antisionisme » se drape dans une bonne conscience, qui souvent échappe aux gens. D’ailleurs toute la phase soviétique et communiste du mot est intégralement effacée pour lui donner des atours de noblesse et cela va jusqu’à des discours qui affirment que le Bund, par exemple, était contre le mouvement sioniste, et que c’est la preuve que l’antisionisme n’est pas antisémite. Mais le Bund non seulement combattait férocement l’antisémitisme, il revendiquait aussi l’existence d’une nation juive autonome en Pologne (ou dans les Pays baltes). Les antisionistes eux, nient l’existence des Juifs, sinon à leurs propres conditions. « On vous tolère, mais ne mouftez pas trop ». Le Bund, comme les sionistes, revendiquent le fait juif et l’existence d’une nation juive. Les antisionistes dénient aux juifs le droit de se définir, et s’arrogent ce droit. Il suffit de voir le succès du livre de Shlomo Sand, qui explique que “le peuple juif est une invention”. La belle affaire. Ce constat on peut le faire pour n’importe quel peuple, ou pour prendre un terme plus adéquat, pour n’importe quelle nation, à commencer par la France. Chaque nation repose sur des mythes fondateurs auxquels se rallient ceux qui s’y retrouvent. D’ailleurs l’usage de ce terme n’est pas sans faire penser à une théorie de comptoir qui a fait florès : « l’antisémitisme ne vise pas que les Juifs, mais aussi les Arabes, qui sont sémites aussi ». Passons rapidement sur le fait que l’antisémitisme, tel qu’il a été défini par les antisémites eux-mêmes, n’a jamais visé que les seuls Juifs, pour aller à l’autre point, bien plus intéressant : les sémites n’existent pas. Les Arabes, pas plus que les Juifs ne sont sémites, c’est une construction racialiste reprise par le racisme, et développée à partir de l’existence d’un groupe de langue dit sémitique, où se retrouvent l’hébreu, l’araméen, le phénicien, l’arabe ou encore l’amharique. D’ailleurs cette création d’une « race juive » a été un moyen pour dire que « les » Juifs formaient un tout, un groupe ethnique : les juifs d’Allemagne bien « blancs » étaient donc de la même « race » que les Juifs d’origine arabe du Yemen ou d’Egypte, que les Juifs noirs d’Ethiopie ou que les Juifs turcs de Crimée. Bref, l’antisémitisme vise à créer une unité ethnique (« raciale ») entre des groupes religieux ou nationaux qui n’ont en commun que leur religion et les récits qui en découlent – même pas une culture commune, parce que quel rapport entre la carpe farcie et la brick au thon ? Entre le pastrami et l’amba ? L’antisémitisme constitue, sous une double forme, un inverse du racisme : là où le racisme prétend la supériorité sur d’autres, lesquels sont définis par une appartenance ethnique visible, l’antisémitisme, lui, dénonce le danger de domination d’une race invisible, puisque non identifiable (sinon pour son appétence pour la carpe farcie, mais les Polonais aiment bien aussi… Pareil d’ailleurs pour la brick au thon, que juifs et musulmans du Maghreb aiment bien) Mais surtout, cette théorie « des Arabes qui seraient des sémites », largement prégnante à l’extrême gauche, voire à gauche (et elle est sur le devant de la scène par exemple en ce moment parmi certains défenseurs de Corbyn, qui excipent de cela pour nier l’antisémitisme au sein du Labour) montre le degré d’imprégnation des constructions racistes chez ceux là. Pour nier l’antisémitisme (et donc in fine le justifier tout en le niant) ils maintiennent une fiction raciste concernant les Arabes… (…) Jusqu’à récemment ce qui prévalait largement était le racisme anti-arabe, nourri notamment à la fois par le colonialisme français en Afrique du Nord puis ensuite par le ressentiment né de la décolonisation chez certains Français. Auquel s’ajoute un autre élément, celui de la méconnaissance du fait musulman. En France, Arabe a été très largement synonyme de musulman: si t’es musulman t’es arabe, si t’es arabe t’es musulman. Et depuis quelques années, si t’es musulman t’es islamiste. Et donc in fine, arabe= islamiste. Au moment des attentats de 2015, des commentateurs expliquaient que les attentats avaient été exclusivement commis par des Arabes (quid de Coulibaly ?). Comme si l’adhésion à une idéologie assassine dépendait d’une appartenance ethnique. Alors que le racisme se fonde avant tout sur une supposée infériorité, là on voit un passage à autre chose en effet. Et en outre, le « musulman » est très largement interchangeable. Il suffit de se rappeler que Nicolas Sarkozy ignorait en 2007 si Al-Qaïda était chiite ou sunnite pour avoir une illustration de la méconnaissance qui prédomine à ce sujet. L’espace géographique peuplé par des musulmans, qui va de l’Afrique aux confins de l’Asie, est vu comme un grand tout, unique, et conçu à travers notre héritage, à nous Français, avant tout à travers « l’Arabe » qui incarne cet ensemble menaçant. Maintenant avec le terme d’islamophobie on a quelque chose d’intéressant. Il est décrié par certains, et utilisé par d’autres pour disqualifier toute critique contre la religion musulmane. Mieux vaut s’écarter de ces prises de position et s’interroger sur autre chose : est-ce que le terme est opérant pour désigner un phénomène particulier ? Et là la réponse est claire : oui, on voit l’apparition d’idées qui feraient des musulmans les membres d’un grand tout, à la manœuvre dans l’ombre, complotant dans tel ou tel but. Et à cet égard on a quelque chose de nouveau, dont les ressorts ne sont plus ceux du racisme, à savoir un regard depuis le haut vers quelqu’un d’inférieur, mais des ressorts qui ne sont pas sans rappeler ceux de l’antisémitisme : un danger fondé sur une puissance fantasmée. Ce phénomène là est récent. Si on prend en regard l’antisémitisme, il est constitué très largement d’invariants, que l’on retrouve en permanence, depuis des siècles: le juif et l’argent, le juif comploteur, le juif dépravé sexuel etc. (…) Soros remplace chez certains Rothschild, mais on reste sur les mêmes ressorts. Or, à côté du racisme anti-arabe, on voit apparaître de nouveaux fantasmes, un glissement vers « le Musulman », paré de tout un ensemble de menaces. Un Pakistanais serait de mèche avec un Français parce qu’ils sont tout deux musulmans, on a la mise en place d’un fantasme particulier qui n’est plus le racisme et qu’il faut qualifier pour ce qu’il est. Maintenant si l’analogie peut prévaloir dans certains cas, elle a ses limites. D’abord prétendre que l’islamophobie a remplacé l’antisémitisme est absurde. L’antisémitisme se porte terriblement bien en Europe, et à part quelques négateurs à l’extrême-gauche, qui montrent que leur universalisme et leur combat anti-raciste à non seulement des limites mais qu’ils ont aussi quelques complaisances avec l’antisémitisme, personne ne le conteste aujourd’hui. Ensuite, on peut aisément constater que l’antisémitisme demeure la principale matrice explicative en matière complotiste, par exemple. Que la Hongrie d’Orban, pour être xénophobe et raciste, n’en a pas moins fait de Soros la figure principale de la « menace anti-hongroise ». (…) Dans les années 1980 et 1990 on a assisté à une séquence importante, où les travaux des historiens (Paxton, Klarsfeld…) mais aussi l’opinion publique ont très largement permis de voir en face la réalité des responsabilités. Le discours de Chirac au Vel d’Hiv en 1995, puis d’autres mesures qui ont suivi, ont donné l’impression que la question était réglée. Et d’un point de vue scientifique elle l’est. Sauf que depuis une dizaine d’années, on assiste à une sorte de retour en arrière, porté par Zemmour et d’autres. On a un peu tout. « Vichy a protégé les juifs français » – il suffit de lire la loi du 3 octobre 1940, dite « statut des juifs », ou celle du 22 juillet 1941 sur « l’élimination de l’influence juive dans l’économie nationale » pour démonter cela. Sans même avoir à rappeler que la majorité des enfants au Vel d’Hiv en 1942 étaient nés en France ou que la rafle de janvier 1943 à Marseille est menée par la police française contre des Juifs français. Ou alors « Vichy c’est pas la France » – auquel il suffit de répondre par une question : c’est quoi la France ? la Saint-Barthélémy c’est pas la France ? La colonisation non plus ? etc. Et il ne s’agit pas d’une spécificité française, même si on a dedans des débats franco-français. Ce qui se passe par exemple en Pologne aujourd’hui en est un exemple. Ou en Russie concernant la période stalinienne en est autre. Ou aux Etats-Unis. Nombre de pays connaissent ce genre de phase, au gré des climats qui y règnent et des phases de raidissement nationalistes. (…) Près d’un million de juifs ont été exécutés entre fin 1941 et début 1942 par les unités allemandes, sans aucun « collaborateur juif ». Les allemands n’ont aucun besoin de « collaborateurs juifs » pour le processus de destruction, mais en revanche ils ont besoin des collaborateurs locaux, des nationalistes, qui de la France aux Pays baltes en passant par l’Ukraine, ont eux très largement aidé à la réalisation de la “solution finale”. (…) La création des Judenrat, ces « conseils juifs » mis en place par les Allemands à la tête des ghettos pour servir d’interface et gérer « l’interne », n’est ni plus ni moins que la reprise d’une méthode mise en œuvre dans le système concentrationnaire, consistant à confier la gestion d’une partie de l’interne, ce qui se passe dans le camp, à des détenus. Pourtant là personne ne vient exciper de « collaborateurs » parmi les prisonniers pour faire porter la culpabilité sur les victimes. D’ailleurs, parmi les membres des Judenrat, à côté de gens qui se sont révélées être des crapules, l’immense majorité a joué un rôle important, en aidant les organisation de résistance dans les ghettos par exemple, ou en tentant de faire face aux Allemands. Tal Bruttman
Of course, Abbas well knows that the United States of America is the one and only power that can pressure Israel to make concessions. So, after a decent interval, Abbas inexorably will mumble apologies, lavish praise on Trump, fire up the Palestinians’ horde of proxies, « talk peace » with Israel, and worm his way into the administration’s good graces. When that happens, the current U.S.-Israel honeymoon will likely crash and burn, replaced by the usual bickering, where Washington wants Israelis to « take chances for peace » and « make painful concessions, » and they resist those pressures. Trump reiterated prior warning about « hard compromises » ahead for Israel, giving warnings about Israeli towns on the West Bank, and saying that relations with Israel will improve after reaching an agreement with the Palestinians. Perhaps most significantly, he expressed doubts about Israelis even wanting peace. ≠≠≠≠≠Taken as a whole, these comments confirm my prediction that U.S.-Israel relations could go seriously awry with Trump as president. (…) Without going into details, Liberman himself has confirmed the general point I am making here, that the Palestinians have a major gift awaiting them. In his words, « There is no free lunch, » « There will be a price for the national ambition and the realization of a vision. There will be a price for the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and it is worth paying it » because the embassy relocation « is important, historic and dramatic. » Daniel Pipes
Israël sème le terrorisme d’Etat. Israël est un Etat terroriste; Ce qu’Israël a fait est un génocide. Je condamne ce drame humanitaire, ce génocide, d’où qu’il vienne, d’Israël ou d’Amérique. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Il y a exactement 70 ans, les Etats-Unis sous la présidence de Harry Truman ont été la première nation à reconnaître l’État d’Israël. Aujourd’hui nous ouvrons officiellement l’ambassade américaine à Jérusalem, félicitations, cela a été long. Presque immédiatement après la déclaration de l’État en 1948,  Israël a désigné la ville de Jérusalem comme sa capitale, la capitale que le peuple juif avait établie dans les temps anciens, si importante. Aujourd’hui Jérusalem est le site du gouvernement israélien, c’est l’endroit où se trouve la législature israélienne, la Cour suprême israélienne, le Premier ministre et le Président d’Israël. Israël est une nation souveraine avec le droit comme toutes les autres nations de déterminer sa propre capitale, pourtant durant de nombreuses années nous avons échoué à reconnaître l’évidence, la réalité que la capitale d’Israël est bien Jérusalem. Le 6 décembre 2017 sous ma direction, les Etats-Unis ont finalement et officiellement reconnu Jérusalem comme la véritable capitale d’Israël. Aujourd’hui nous poursuivons cette reconnaissance et ouvrons notre ambassade sur la terre sacrée et historique de Jérusalem et nous l’ouvrons beaucoup beaucoup d’année après ce qui avait été prévu. Comme je l’ai dit en décembre, notre plus grand espoir c’est la paix. Les Etats-Unis sont pleinement engagés à faciliter un traité de paix durable et nous continuons à soutenir le status-quo dans les Lieux Saints de Jérusalem y compris sur le Mont du Temple connu également comme le Haram el Sharif. Cette ville et cette nation est le témoignage de l’esprit indestructible du peuple juif et les Etats-Unis seront toujours de grands amis d’Israël et partenaires pour la cause de la liberté et de la paix. Nous souhaitons à l’ambassadeur Friedman bonne chance alors qu’il prend ses fonctions dans cette belle ambassade de Jérusalem et nous tendons la main en signe d’amitié à Israël, aux Palestiniens et à tous leurs voisins, que la Paix advienne, que Dieu bénisse cette ambassade, que Dieu bénisse tous ceux qui y servent et que Dieu bénisse les Etats-Unis d’Amérique. Donald Trump
Quand il y aura la paix dans cette région, nous pourrons nous rappeler qu’elle a commencé avec une Amérique forte qui a su reconnaître la vérité. Jared Kushner

Contre les mensonges du Hamas et de ses idiots utiles

Qui n’ont pas de mots assez durs pour dénoncer les seuls Israéliens

Maitres ès génocide et négationnisme, entre leur 40 ans d’occupation de Chypre et leurs actuels massacres de kurdes, compris

Pour nous gâcher la joie de cette journée doublement historique …

Et surtout, 70 ans – à quelques milliers d’années près – après les faits, nier la vérité de cette double reconnaissance …

Par le premier président américain qui – même si les pressions ne vont pas manquer de venir après – tient ses promesses …

De la nation d’Israël et de sa capitale éternelle !

Inauguration de l’ambassade à Jérusalem: « Notre plus grand espoir est celui de la paix » (Trump)

i24NEWS
14/05/2018

La cérémonie d’inauguration de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis en Israël s’est ouverte lundi à Jérusalem en présence de centaines de responsables américains et israéliens.

« Aujourd’hui, nous tenons la promesse faite au peuple américain et nous accordons à Israël le même droit que nous accordons à tout autre pays, le droit de désigner sa capitale », a déclaré l’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis David Friedman à l’ouverture de la cérémonie.

Le président Donald Trump a quant à lui assuré que les Etats-Unis restaient « pleinement » engagés dans la recherche d’un accord de paix durable entre Israéliens et Palestiniens, dans un message aux participants présents à l’inauguration.

« Notre plus grand espoir est celui de la paix. Les Etats-Unis restent pleinement engagés à faciliter un accord de paix durable », a-t-il dit dans un message vidéo.

Ivanka Trump et Jared Kushner, la fille et le gendre mais aussi conseillers du président américain, ont pris part avec des centaines de dignitaires des deux pays à la cérémonie qui concrétise l’une des promesses les plus controversées du président Donald Trump.

« Nous prouvons au monde que l’on peut faire confiance aux Etats-Unis pour faire ce qui est bon et juste », a affirmé Jared Kushner.

« Quand il y aura la paix dans cette région, nous pourrons nous rappeler qu’elle a commencé avec une Amérique forte qui a su reconnaître la vérité », a-t-il ajouté.

Enfin, le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou s’est répandu en marques de gratitude envers le président Donald Trump, qui a « en reconnaissant l’histoire, a fait l’histoire » en transférant l’ambassade des Etats-Unis en Israël de Tel-Aviv à Jérusalem.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fi24newsFR%2Fvideos%2F1153696781437897%2F&show_text=0&width=560

« Ceci est un moment d’Histoire. Président Trump, en reconnaissant ce qui appartient à l’Histoire, vous avez écrit l’Histoire », a dit M. Netanyahou à la cérémonie d’inauguration de la mission diplomatique.

Et de rappeler que « c’est un grand jour pour la paix ».

Le 6 décembre dernier, le président américain a annoncé qu »‘il est temps d’officiellement reconnaître Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël », rompant avec ses prédécesseurs et passant outre aux mises en garde venues de toutes parts.

Une plaque et un sceau américain ont été dévoilés lundi pour signifier officiellement l’ouverture de la mission, dans les locaux de ce qui était jusqu’alors le consulat américain.

Voir aussi:

L’ouverture de l’ambassade US à Jérusalem suscite de très vives critiques

Le président français Emmanuel Macron « condamne les violences des forces armées israéliennes »

AFP et Times of Israel
14 mai 2018

La communauté internationale, dont la Grande-Bretagne, plus proche allié des Etats-Unis, la France, l’Union européenne et la Russie, a réprouvé lundi l’ouverture de l’ambassade américaine à Jérusalem, dont le déplacement avait été désavoué par 128 des 193 pays membres de l’ONU.

De violents affrontements entre émeutiers palestiniens et soldats israéliens ont fait lundi plus de 50 morts et des centaines de blessés dans la bande de Gaza, où les Palestiniens protestent contre l’inauguration de l’ambassade prévue dans l’après-midi. Un comité de l’ONU a dénoncé l’usage « disproportionné » de la force par Israël contre les manifestants palestiniens.

Union européenne 

L’UE a exhorté toutes les parties à « la plus grande retenue » à la suite des violents affrontements entre Palestiniens et soldats israéliens lors des manifestations dans la bande de Gaza contre l’inauguration de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Jérusalem.

« Des dizaines de Palestiniens, dont des enfants, ont été tués et des centaines blessés par des tirs israéliens durant les manifestations massives en cours près de la barrière de Gaza. Nous demandons à toutes les parties d’agir avec la plus grande retenue afin d’éviter des pertes de vie humaine supplémentaires », a affirmé la chef de la diplomatie européenne Federica Mogherini dans un communiqué.

Elle a mis en garde contre « toute nouvelle escalade » dans une situation « complexe et déjà très tendue » qui rendrait « les perspectives de paix encore plus éloignées ».

« Israël doit respecter le droit à manifester pacifiquement et le principe de la proportionnalité dans l’usage de la force », a-t-elle insisté.

« Le Hamas [le mouvement terroriste islamiste au pouvoir à Gaza] et ceux qui conduisent les manifestations à Gaza doivent faire en sorte qu’elles restent strictement non violentes et ne pas les exploiter à d’autres fins », a-t-elle ajouté.

La haute-représentante pour les Affaires étrangères réitère l’engagement de l’UE à oeuvrer en faveur d’une « reprise de négociations constructives » visant à une solution à deux Etats, palestinien et israélien, « dans les lignes de 1967 et avec Jérusalem comme capitale de chacun des deux Etats ».

Enfin, sur la question brûlante du statut de Jérusalem, Federica Mogherini rappelle « la position claire et unie » de l’Union, conforme au consensus international, selon laquelle le transfert des ambassades de Tel Aviv à Jérusalem ne pourra pas advenir avant que le statut de la Ville sainte ne soit réglé dans le cadre d’un règlement final du conflit israélo-palestinien.

France

« Alors que les tensions sur le terrain sont vives (..) la France appelle l’ensemble des acteurs à faire preuve de responsabilité afin de prévenir un nouvel embrasement », a souligné le ministre français des Affaires étrangères Jean-Yves Le Drian dans une déclaration écrite.

« Il est urgent de recréer les conditions nécessaires à la recherche d’une solution politique, dans un contexte régional déjà marqué par de fortes tensions », a-t-il ajouté en référence au retrait américain de l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien et à la récente escalade militaire entre Israël et l’Iran en Syrie.

La France a notamment appelé l’Etat hébreu à « faire preuve de discernement » dans l’usage de la force et a insisté sur le « devoir de protection des civils ».

« Après plusieurs semaines de violences, et face au nombre croissant de victimes palestiniennes dans la bande de Gaza aujourd’hui encore, la France appelle de nouveau les autorités israéliennes à faire preuve de discernement et de retenue dans l’usage de la force qui doit être strictement proportionné », a souligné le ministre.

« Elle rappelle le devoir de protection des civils, en particulier des mineurs, et le droit des Palestiniens à manifester pacifiquement », a ajouté Jean-Yves Le Drian.

La France désapprouve le transfert de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis en Israël de Tel Aviv à Jérusalem, une décision qui « contrevient au droit international et en particulier aux résolutions du Conseil de sécurité et de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies », a-t-il poursuivi.

Elle appelle à des négociations « afin de parvenir à une solution juste et durable, à savoir deux Etats, vivant côte à côte en paix et en sécurité, ayant l’un et l’autre Jérusalem comme capitale », a noté le chef de la diplomatie française.

Le président français Emmanuel Macron a « condamné les violences des forces armées israéliennes contre les manifestants » palestiniens à Gaza, lundi soir lors d’entretiens téléphoniques avec le président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas et le roi de Jordanie Abdallah II, selon un communiqué de l’Elysée.

M. Macron a également réaffirmé auprès de ses interlocuteurs « la désapprobation de la France à l’encontre de la décision américaine d’ouvrir une ambassade à Jérusalem » et souligné que le statut de la ville « ne pourra être déterminé qu’entre les parties, dans un cadre négocié sous l’égide de la communauté internationale ».

M. Macron a également, selon l’Elysée, « souligné le droit des Palestiniens à la paix et à la sécurité », rappelant par ailleurs « son attachement à la sécurité d’Israël et la position française constante en faveur d’une solution à deux Etats, Israël et la Palestine, vivant côte à côte dans des frontières sûres et reconnues ».

Emmanuel Macron s’est entretenu « avec le roi Abdallah II de Jordanie, gardien selon la tradition des Lieux saints de Jérusalem et avec le président de l’Autorité palestinienne Mahmoud Abbas ». Il échangera également « dans la journée de mardi » avec le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahu, a précisé la présidence de la République.

Faisant part de « la vive préoccupation de la France sur la situation à Gaza, à Jérusalem et dans les villes palestiniennes », le président Macron « a déploré le grand nombre de victimes civiles palestiniennes à Gaza (lundi) et ces dernières semaines » et « condamné les violences des forces armées israéliennes contre les manifestants ».

« Il a appelé tous les responsables à la retenue et à la désescalade et a insisté sur la nécessité que les manifestations des prochains jours demeurent pacifiques », poursuit le communiqué.

« Dans le contexte particulier du 70e anniversaire de l’indépendance d’Israël et de la commémoration de l’exil pour de nombreuses familles palestiniennes », M. Macron a rappelé « la désapprobation de la France à l’encontre de la décision américaine d’ouvrir une ambassade à Jérusalem », soulignant que « le statut de Jérusalem ne pourra être déterminé qu’entre les parties, dans un cadre négocié sous l’égide de la communauté internationale ».

Grande-Bretagne 

« Nous désapprouvons la décision des Etats-Unis de déplacer son ambassade à Jérusalem et de reconnaître Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël avant un accord final sur le statut », a déclaré le porte-parole de la Première ministre Theresa May. « L’ambassade britannique en Israël est basée à Tel Aviv et nous n’avons pas le projet de la déplacer ».

Russie

Interrogé lundi lors d’un briefing pour savoir si le transfert de l’ambassade américaine faisait craindre à la Russie une aggravation de la situation dans la région, le porte-parole du président russe Vladimir Poutine, Dmitri Peskov a répondu : « Oui, nous avons de telles craintes, nous l’avons déjà dit ».

Turquie

« Nous rejetons cette décision qui viole le droit international et les résolutions des Nations unies », a déclaré le président Recep Tayyip Erdogan. « Avec cette décision, les Etats-Unis ont choisi d’être une partie du problème, et perdent leur rôle de médiateur dans le processus de paix » au Proche Orient.

Le porte-parole du gouvernement turc, Bekir Bozdag, a par ailleurs dénoncé sur Twitter un « massacre » à la frontière avec la bande de Gaza, dont « l’administration américaine est autant responsable qu’Israël ». « En transférant son ambassade à Jérusalem, l’administration américaine a sapé les chances d’un règlement pacifique et provoqué un incendie qui causera davantage de pertes humaines, des destructions et des catastrophes dans la région ».

Maroc

Le roi Mohammed VI a dénoncé une « décision unilatérale », qui « s’oppose au droit international et aux décisions du Conseil du sécurité », lit-on dans une lettre adressée lundi au président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas, relayée par l’agence officielle MAP. Le roi y dit « suivre avec préoccupation » la situation.

Egypte

Le grand mufti Shawki Allam a dénoncé « un affront direct et clair aux sentiments de plus d’un milliard et demi de musulmans sur terre », qui « ouvre la porte à davantage de conflits et de guerres dans la région ».

Voir également:

La fragile lune de miel entre les États-Unis et Israël

Daniel Pipes
The Times of Israel
27 février 2018

Version originale anglaise: The US-Israel Honeymoon May Not Last

Le président Trump a pris deux décisions sans précédent et des plus favorables à Israël, à savoir la reconnaissance de Jérusalem comme capitale israélienne et l’arrêt du financement de l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies (UNRWA), une organisation vouée foncièrement à l’élimination de l’État juif. Ces décisions attendues depuis longtemps mettent fin à un blocage vieux de près de 70 ans et offrent de nouvelles opportunités pour la résolution du conflit israélo-palestinien. Bravo à Donald Trump qui a décidé de braver les flèches et autres quolibets de la pensée conventionnelle pour prendre des mesures courageuses et s’y tenir.

Ceci dit, il y a un problème. Les deux mesures ont été prises pour ce qui s’avère être de mauvaises raisons. Cette préoccupation, qui ne relève pas de l’abstraction, implique que ce qui est célébré aujourd’hui comme une fête pourrait demain virer au fiasco.

Premier problème pour Israël : Trump a dit qu’il reconnaissait Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël afin de régler la question de Jérusalem, une question sur laquelle il convient d’écouter son raisonnement : « Le sujet le plus difficile sur lequel devaient discuter les négociateurs israéliens et palestiniens était Jérusalem. On a sorti Jérusalem des négociations, on n’a donc plus eu à en discuter. Ils n’ont jamais passé le cap de Jérusalem. »

On dirait que Trump pense que la reconnaissance a suffi à résoudre le dossier épineux de Jérusalem, comme s’il s’agissait d’une transaction immobilière passée à New York et assortie d’un accord connexe sur les réglementations de zonage et la représentation syndicale. Mais la réalité est bien différente. Loin d’être « sorti des négociations », Jérusalem est devenu, par l’action de Trump, un point d’attention et de controverse sans précédent.

Ainsi les membres de l’Organisation de la Coopération islamique ont dans leur immense majorité condamné sa décision tout comme les membres du Conseil de sécurité et de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies. En outre la reconnaissance de Jérusalem a provoqué la multiplication par trois des actes de violence palestiniens dirigés contre des Israéliens. Par son action, Trump a donc fait de Jérusalem un enjeu autrement plus disputé qu’auparavant.Comment Trump va-t-il réagir quand il réalisera que Jérusalem demeure en fin de compte un sujet très sensible et que son coup d’éclat a l’effet contraire à celui qu’il escomptait ? À mon avis, cela pourrait engendrer chez lui une frustration et une colère qui pourraient le rendre amer par rapport à la reconnaissance de Jérusalem et à Israël. Cela pourrait même inciter cette personne au caractère spontané et imprévisible à revenir sur sa décision.

Deuxième problème : Trump tente d’exiger d’Israël un prix non spécifié pour la reconnaissance, déclarant qu’Israël « payera pour ça » et « aurait dû payer davantage. » Pour le moment, ce paiement reste en suspens étant donné que l’Autorité palestinienne boycotte la médiation américaine et insulte Trump personnellement. Mais les États-Unis laissent la porte constamment ouverte aux Palestiniens et quand ces derniers auront compris la situation, la Maison Blanche les accueillera avec de magnifiques cadeaux (cette dynamique consistant à exiger des compensations de la part d’Israël explique pourquoi je préfère d’une manière générale un climat de faible tension entre Washington et Jérusalem).

Troisième problème : si Trump a privé l’UNRWA de 65 millions de dollars sur une tranche programmée de 125 millions de dollars, ce n’est pas dans le but de punir une organisation exécrable pour son action menée depuis 1949 auprès des Palestiniens, à savoir l’incitation à la haine contre Israël et à la violence contre les juifs, les affaires de corruption et l’augmentation (plutôt que la diminution) de la population de réfugiés. Non, s’il a retenu tout cet argent c’est pour faire pression sur l’Autorité palestinienne et l’inciter à reprendre les négociations avec Israël. Comme Trump lui-même l’a tweeté : « si les Palestiniens ne veulent plus parler de paix, pourquoi devrions-nous leur verser à l’avenir des sommes importantes ? »

Ainsi une fois que le chef de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, aura surmonté son indécrottable frustration à propos de Jérusalem et aura accepté de « parler paix », c’est une pléthore d’avantages qui l’attend : la possible annulation de la reconnaissance de Jérusalem, plusieurs récompenses fabuleuses et la reprise intégrale voire l’augmentation des financements américains. À ce moment-là, le pape, la chancelière, le prince héritier et le New York Times féliciteront un Trump éclatant et Israël se verra privé de toute faveur.

Abbas a d’ores et déjà mis un bémol à ses envolées qui ne servent de toute façon qu’à son public pour montrer à un corps politique palestinien radicalisé qu’il est tout aussi dur, malfaisant et trompeur que ses rivaux du Hamas. Bien entendu, il sait bien que les États-Unis d’Amérique sont la seule et unique puissance qui puisse faire pression sur Israël et forcer celui-ci à faire des concessions. Ainsi après un délai raisonnable, Abbas va immanquablement formuler des excuses du bout des lèvres, couvrir Trump d’éloges, relancer la horde des agents palestiniens, « parler paix » avec Israël et louvoyer pour obtenir les bonnes grâces de l’administration américaine.

Quand cela se produira, la lune de miel que traversent actuellement les États-Unis et Israël va certainement sombrer pour faire place aux chamailleries habituelles où d’une part, Washington exigera des Israéliens qu’ils « saisissent les opportunités en faveur de la paix » et « fassent des concessions douloureuses », et d’autre part les Israéliens résisteront à ces pressions.

Par le passé, je me suis trompé plus d’une fois à propos de Trump. Espérons que je fasse erreur une fois encore.

Voir encore:

Bataille d’Afrin : «Silence, on ne massacre que des Kurdes…»

Pierre Rehov
Le Figaro
13/03/2018

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – Pierre Rehov dresse un tragique état des lieux de l’élimination des Kurdes à Afrin par le régime d’Erdogan. Dans le silence presque complet des États et des organisations internationales, Ankara se livre à des massacres qui rappellent l’effroyable génocide commis par la Turquie contre les Arméniens.

Pierre Rehov est reporter de guerre, réalisateur de documentaires sur le conflit israélo-arabe, et expert en contre-terrorisme.

Qui veut tuer son chien, l’accuse de la rage. Cet adage n’a peut-être pas sa traduction en langue turque, mais cela fait plusieurs décennies que les Ottomans l’ont adapté à leur façon contre la population kurde. Pour Erdogan, cela ne présente aucun doute: afin d’éliminer librement cette minorité sans provoquer l’opprobre, il suffit de l’accuser de terrorisme.

Étant donné le peu de réactions de l’Occident, alors qu’au moment où sont rédigées ces lignes les forces turques, malgré leur démenti, se livrent à un nettoyage ethnique majeur autour d’Afrin, ville située au nord de la Syrie, il semble que la technique continue de faire ses preuves.

Des centaines de vies innocentes ont déjà été perdues sous les bombardements et les opérations coups de poing des milices affiliées à l’armée d’Ankara. Les hôpitaux sont débordés et le nombre de blessés augmente chaque heure dans des proportions affligeantes.

Pourtant, personne ne fait rien. Pas même l’ONU, qui se contente, par la voix de son coordinateur humanitaire régional Panos Moumtzis, d’émettre des «rapports troublants».

Tragiquement, les Kurdes, peuple d’environ 34 millions d’âmes réparties essentiellement entre quatre pays, la Turquie, l’Iran, l’Irak et la Syrie, ont déjà souffert plusieurs massacres. Notamment en 1988, sous le joug de Saddam Hussein, lorsque ce dernier chargea son cousin, Ali Hassan Al Majid de leur «solution finale». La tentative de génocide, connue sous le nom d’Anfal, dont le point culminant fut le bombardement au gaz toxique d’Halabja le 16 mars 1988, provoqua la mort de 100 000 à 180 000 civils selon les estimations, tous seulement coupables d’être Kurdes.

Arrêté pendant l’intervention américaine, puis appelé à répondre de ses crimes devant la cour pénale internationale, Al Majid, surnommé «Ali le chimique» se serait emporté en entendant ces chiffres: «C’est quoi cette exagération? 180 000? Il ne pouvait pas y en avoir plus de 100 000!»

Seulement, si la majorité des médias a couvert les deux interventions américaines en Irak, pour réfuter l’hypothèse de la possession d’armes de destruction massives par Saddam Hussein lors de la seconde invasion, il est difficile de retrouver des unes scandalisées, de grands placards accusateurs, ou des archives d’émissions consacrées à cette tragédie.

Pour comprendre la raison derrière les massacres à répétition des Kurdes de Turquie et maintenant de Syrie par le gouvernement d’Ankara, il faut remonter au début du vingtième siècle.

La création d’un État Kurde est une vieille promesse, datant de la conférence de Paris de 1919, où une frontière proposée par la délégation kurde devait couvrir quelques morceaux de la Turquie et de l’Iran et empiéter en Irak et en Syrie. Une nouvelle limite territoriale, plus réduite, fut proposée l’année suivante au traité de Sèvres. Seulement l’espoir d’un Kurdistan indépendant fut immédiatement étouffé par le refus de Mustafa Kemal de signer le traité. En 1945, un second tracé, couvrant cette fois une plus grande partie de la Turquie, fut proposé lors de la première conférence des Nations Unies à San Francisco.

Une nouvelle fois, non suivi d’effet.

Le seul État véritablement kurde ne vit le jour que pendant quelques mois dans une toute petite partie de l’Iran, sous le nom de République de Mahabad, dirigée par Mustafa Barzani, avant d’être écrasée avec une brutalité effroyable par le régime du Shah.

Malgré leur situation dramatique, et le refus de reconnaître jusqu’à leur identité par les régimes turcs successifs, leur langue et leurs coutumes faisant même l’objet d’interdiction par Ankara, les Kurdes de Turquie n’ont commencé à se révolter qu’à partir des années soixante-dix, avec la création du «Parti des Travailleurs Kurdes», le PKK, d’essence marxiste-léniniste.

Mais, même si leurs méthodes étaient issues de concepts révolutionnaires violents et dépassés, c’est leur velléité d’indépendance et leur idée de société calquée sur les valeurs humaines de l’Occident, notamment concernant l’égalité entre les sexes, qui représentaient le vrai danger pour Ankara.

S’ensuivirent donc une guérilla et un cycle de violences soigneusement exploités par la Turquie qui a consacré des millions de dollars en communication jusqu’à obtenir l’inscription du PKK sur la lise des organisations terroristes, en Europe et aux USA.

L’étiquette «terroriste» appliquée aux dissidents kurdes permit aussitôt à la Turquie de se livrer sereinement à des purges visant tous les secteurs de la société, sans recevoir la moindre condamnation. Il suffisait désormais à Ankara d’accuser un contestataire de «sympathie envers le terrorisme» pour le jeter en prison, où il croupirait pendant des mois dans l’attente de l’ouverture d’un procès.

En 1999, l’arrestation d’Abdullah Öcalan, leader du PKK, permit l’établissement d’un cessez-le-feu précaire, jusqu’à l’élection d’Erdogan, déjà bien décidé à régner d’une main de fer et à étouffer toute forme de dissidence, ainsi qu’il l’a prouvé depuis.

Les hostilités ont repris en 2004, un an après son arrivée au pouvoir, la Turquie affirmant que 2 000 combattants du PKK en exil avaient franchi la frontière, tandis que l’organisation mise en sommeil reprenait son nom et accusait l’armée de ne pas avoir respecté la trêve.

Les atrocités commises par le gouvernement turc contre sa minorité kurde ne sont pas sans rappeler le génocide arménien, nié jusqu’à ce jour par le gouvernement d’Ankara, bien que largement documenté par des observateurs extérieurs et désormais reconnu par un grand nombre de pays occidentaux. La méthode est sensiblement la même: accusations sans fondement, procès expéditifs, épuration locale sans témoins, négation ou justification auprès de la communauté internationale.

La cause kurde, trahie par Obama dès son arrivée au pouvoir malgré les promesses faites par son prédécesseur, trouva cependant un certain regain par sa participation à la lutte contre l’État Islamique à partir de 2014.

Cela nous conduit à Kobane, où hommes et femmes kurdes, armés seulement de kalachnikovs, résistèrent pendant des jours aux tanks et à l’artillerie de Daech, pour remporter une incroyable victoire, célébrée dans le monde entier comme le triomphe du bien sur le mal.

Les images désormais célèbres de ces femmes aux traits farouches et au regard fier, vêtues d’un vieux treillis, les cheveux dans le vent, sous fond de carcasses d’automitrailleuses et de tous-terrains carbonisés, inspirent le film en cours de production de Caroline Fourest, «Red snake» qui veut rendre hommage à leur courage exemplaire, contre la lâcheté et l’ignominie des combattants du khalifat.

Malheureusement, les mêmes idées d’indépendance, de liberté et d’égalité sur fond de féminisme, qui stimulèrent la résistance kurde contre l’obscurantisme génocidaire de Daech, sont devenues les causes du carnage actuel, perpétré sous prétexte de lutter contre le «terrorisme» par le dirigeant Turc.

En s’attaquant à l’YPG et à l’YPJ (les unités de protection des femmes et du peuple) qui avaient réussi à établir une enclave de paix relative dans la région d’Afrin, Erdogan, en passe de rétablir une forme de dictature islamique dans une Turquie pourtant moderne, envoie un message clair au reste du monde.

Hors de question que des minorités non acquises à sa version de l’Islam puissent se targuer d’avoir obtenu la moindre victoire. Et surtout, aucune velléité d’indépendance ne saurait être tolérée par son gouvernement.

L’YPG et YPJ étant soutenus, du moins logistiquement, par le gouvernement américain, le premier souci d’Erdogan est de faire passer sous silence les atrocités commises par son armée. Tandis que l’accès aux réseaux sociaux a progressivement été limité dans toute la Turquie, les arrestations des protestataires se multiplient.

En janvier de cette année, des centaines d’universitaires du monde entier ont signé une pétition appelant le gouvernement turc à «arrêter le massacre». La seule réaction d’Ankara a été d’arrêter trois professeurs de l’université d’İstanbul signataires de la pétition et de les faire condamner pour «propagande terroriste».

Alors, tandis que les tanks turcs encerclent Afrin et que l’armée de l’air pilonne les positions de l’YPG et de l’YPJ, sans se soucier du nombre de victimes civiles, des rapports signalant même l’utilisation du napalm, il reste à se demander combien de temps les alliés de la Turquie continueront à détourner un regard pudique des exactions commises par ce membre de l’OTAN.

De son côté, frustré dans son incapacité à résoudre rapidement son problème kurde par une solution finale, Erdogan, que rien ne semble retenir dans sa volonté avouée de reconstituer l’Empire Ottoman, a été jusqu’à s’emporter contre ses alliés de l’Alliance Atlantique: «Nous sommes en permanence harcelés par des groupes terroristes à nos frontières. Malheureusement, jusqu’à aujourd’hui, il n’y a pas eu une seule voix ou un seul mot positif de l’OTAN» s’est-il agacé.

Erdogan ne connaît sans doute pas la phrase célèbre du politicien et philosophe Edmond Burke: «Pour que le mal triomphe, seule suffit l’inaction des hommes de bien.»

Voir par ailleurs:

Tal Bruttmann: L’antisémitisme n’est pas propre à la droite ou l’extrême droite, il a toujours été présent sur l’ensemble de l’échiquier politique

Entretiens by &

Un entretien avec Tal Bruttmann historien, spécialiste de la Shoah.

LC : Commençons par la fin. Quand on te demande pour qui tu écris, tu dis «  pour ceux qui veulent savoir ». Et tu ajoutes, à propos de certains de tes articles, qu’ils sont lus à peu près autant que des poèmes en auto-édition. A côté de ça, une bonne partie de l’activité négationniste a consisté ces vingt dernières années à penser et à mettre en œuvre, ce qu’on pourrait appeler une contre-éducation populaire. Eux, pour imposer leur propagande, ont massifié les mensonges sur le nazisme et le génocide, ont réussi à exploser toutes les barrières sociales qui font que plein de gens n’ont même pas l’idée de s’intéresser à l’Histoire. Est-ce qu’à un moment, en tant qu’historien, tu ne t’interroges pas avec tes collègues sur la nécessité et l’intérêt d’organiser une contre-offensive tout aussi massive ?

Une partie de la production des historiens, les articles scientifiques notamment, s’adresse à un cercle restreint, en raison de la nature pointue ou technique de ces articles, publiés dans des revues spécialisées. Ce qui ne veut absolument pas dire que l’histoire ne doit pas être vulgarisée et diffusée auprès du plus grand nombre. C’est l’autre face du boulot d’historien. Mais on ne peut forcer personne à lire. Sauf que l’essentiel de la vulgarisation en histoire passe de fait par d’autres biais, comme les documentaires à la télé, voire des revues grand public. Et entre un livre qu’il faut aller acquérir, ou emprunter dans une bibliothèque puis lire, et une page internet, pour beaucoup c’est la seconde option qui est la plus simple.

Reste que si on en vient à la question du négationnisme, les ressources en ligne existent: ce sont notamment les sites des musées et autres institutions, ou encore des sites dus à des initiatives personnelles comme PHDN ou anti-rev qui existent depuis pratiquement 20 ans. Dans les années 1970-1980 les historiens comme Georges Wellers ou Pierre Vidal-Naquet ont démonté les arguments négationnistes. Mais dans l’argumentaire bien huilé du négationnisme il y a les « historiens officiels » et les « historiens qui disent la vérité », en l’occurrence eux. Tout historien est disqualifié d’office puisqu’il « participe du complot visant à perpétuer le mensonge ».

On touche là sans doute du doigt quelque chose qui est propre à l’histoire : de toutes les sciences c’est celle qui intéresse le plus grand nombre et au sujet de laquelle tout un chacun pense qu’il peut donner son avis

Je ne suis cependant pas certain que cela soit du domaine de l’historien principalement que de mener cette contre-offensive. Evidemment que le boulot des historiens est de battre en brèche ces discours, mais cela ne doit pas relever d’eux seuls. On n’en appelle pas à un astrophysicien pour contrecarrer les délires sur la « terre plate ». Vidal-Naquet soulignait déjà cela en demandant si il fallait en appeler à un astrophysicien pour contrecarrer quelqu’un affirmant que la lune est faite de fromage. Le discours négationniste sur la Shoah, ou sur les autres génocides, est tout aussi grotesque d’un point de vue intellectuel que de prétendre que la terre est plate.

L’histoire n’est pas écrite par les vainqueurs

On touche là sans doute du doigt quelque chose qui est propre à l’histoire : de toutes les sciences c’est celle qui intéresse le plus grand nombre et au sujet de laquelle tout un chacun pense qu’il peut donner son avis, l’histoire ne paraissant pas être une science à l’instar des maths ou de la physique. Qui irait donner son avis sur la théorie de la relativité ?

Dans le domaine de l’histoire, les lieux communs qui relèvent du café du commerce ne manquent pas, comme « L’histoire est écrite par les vainqueurs » ou « L’histoire est subjective ». « L’histoire écrite par les vainqueurs » signifie que ce sont ceux qui gagnent qui dictent le cours des évènements, mais on fait dire à cette phrase que ce sont les vainqueurs qui écrivent la « vérité »: autrement dit les « Alliés à Nuremberg ont écrit une version de l’histoire ». Quant à la supposée subjectivité de l’histoire, ou qu’en histoire il n’y aurait pas de vérité, c’est de la pseudo-philosophie de bas étage : l’histoire repose sur des faits en premier lieu, qui ne relèvent en rien de la « subjectivité ». Adolf Hitler est nazi. C’est un fait. Il est chancelier du Reich. C’est un fait. Il a clamé sa haine des Juifs. C’est un fait. Etc. Environ 5,7 millions de juifs ont été assassinés. C’est un fait. De la même manière que la terre est ronde.

La méthode négationniste est simple. On prend un élément, en général microscopique, on le nie avec des arguments pseudo-scientifiques, puis on décrète que puisque tel témoignage comporte un élément décrété faux alors tout l’évènement est faux. Retranscrit dans d’autres domaines ça donne : la perruque de Louis XIV n’était pas blanche alors qu’un témoin l’a décrite comme telle, c’est donc la preuve que Louis XIV n’existe pas. Ou alors que Jésus n’a pu marcher sur l’eau, ce qui est la preuve que Jésus n’a pas existé, et donc que le christianisme n’existe pas. Si certains veulent croire que Jésus a marché sur l’eau cela relève du domaine de la religion et de la croyance. En revanche factuellement ce n’est pas cela qui autorise à nier l’existence de Jésus.

Reste qu’avec le développement d’Internet qui facilite et démultiplie la diffusion de théories complotistes, on assiste à une explosion des remises en cause scientifiques et désormais d’autres sciences, comme la médecine par exemple, sont concernées. Si la négation de la Shoah est au cœur du négationnisme et du complotisme, les remises en cause des sciences se multiplient et trouvent une audience importante, une sorte de nouvelle forme de luddisme. On est face à un immense café du commerce, où différentes attitudes coexistent : pour certains c’est la crédulité, pour d’autres l’envie d’être un « sachant » – « à moi on me la fait pas, je suis pas dupe » – qui défie une narration frappée du sceau de l’ « officialité », tandis que pour d’autres, c’est un moyen politique pur et simple, comme les négationnistes, de diffuser un message de propagande.

Parlons Internet

LC : Tu parles de « luddisme », mais en même temps, toi-même tu es dans une attitude très ambivalente vis à vis d’internet, et notamment des réseaux sociaux.
Tu dis « le développement d’internet facilite et démultiplie la diffusion de théories complotistes », mais était-ce vraiment joué d’avance ? En réalité, les négationnistes ont aussi saisi avant beaucoup d’autres les opportunités offertes par une technologie qui a bouleversé les rapports sociaux. De fait, ils n’ont pas été luddistes, au moins sur ce plan là.
Et ce que tu appelles «  le grand café du commerce », c’est à dire notamment les réseaux sociaux, ont aussi aidé à forger une conscience progressiste à travers le monde, notamment lors des révolutions arabes. Donc ce qui est un moyen utilisé par les fascistes peut aussi être un moyen pour la démocratisation du savoir. Est-ce que les clichés sur le « café du commerce » n’alimentent pas ceux du « chercheur dans sa tour d’ivoire », et réciproquement ?

Il s’agit d’un simple constat, non d’une remise en cause de ce qui est devenu un élément central de nos sociétés. Le luddisme qu’on peut constater n’est d’ailleurs pas dénué de contradictions : on utilise le progrès (Internet) pour dénoncer le progrès dans d’autres domaines.

Pas plus que le « café  du commerce » ne remet en cause les lieux de convivialité que sont les troquets. Mais on peut aisément constater que toute parole se vaut et que tout un chacun est expert en tout. Si on prend la part négative des réseaux sociaux, aujourd’hui ils fédèrent, unissent, mettent en rapport des gens qui étaient autrefois isolés : un militant d’extrême droite s’achetait Minute ou Rivarol, avait quelques potes avec qui vomir sa haine, mais dans des cercles limités. Mais ce constat a aussi des pans positifs, comme celui que tu viens d’évoquer : il permet aussi l’expression dans des sociétés muselées, et a permis d’unir les oppositions dans les pays arabes qui ont connu des soulèvements.

D’ailleurs la recherche elle-même a été transformée en profondeur avec Internet, on pourrait même dire bouleversée. Par exemple, il y a encore 20 ans, il fallait se farcir des fichiers-tiroirs en bibliothèques et centres d’archives pour connaître l’existence de publications, ou dépouiller des publications telles que L’Année philologique. Une partie de la qualité des recherches résidait dans la capacité à trouver ce qui existait. Aujourd’hui il suffit de deux mots clés dans une base de données, sans bouger de chez soi…

Il est aussi patent que l’extrême droite a su se saisir avec une rapidité impressionnante des moyens qu’offre internet. Dès la fin des années 1990 les sites néo-nazis et autres pullulaient. Ce n’était pas joué d’avance, mais en revanche il faut constater que pour un site luttant contre le négationnisme, il y en a 100 qui le diffusent.

On n’a vraiment pas déjà tout dit sur la Shoah?

LC : Aujourd’hui, pas mal de gens pensent très sincèrement qu’on a tout dit sur la Shoah, que c’est un des domaines de recherche les plus explorés, et aussi qu’ils savent l’essentiel. Qu’est ce qu’on ne sait pas, qu’est ce qui a été approfondi ces quinze dernières années, et qu’avais tu envie d’approfondir, au départ ?

Tite-Live a écrit une histoire de Rome il y a 2 000 ans. Ce qui n’empêche pas que depuis 2 000 ans les historiens continuent à écrire l’histoire de Rome. Jusqu’au début des années 1980 les historiens étudiant la Shoah étaient très peu nombreux. Ce n’est que depuis une trentaine d’années que le champ a connu une véritable explosion scientifique. La chute de l’URSS a rendu accessibles des montagnes d’archives non exploitées jusque-là par exemple.

Ensuite, cette histoire est en perpétuelle évolution, comme celle du nazisme ou de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, s’affine ou s’approfondit. C’est l’un des paradoxes du sujet, d’un côté il est omniprésent, de l’autre peu étudié. En France, le nombre de spécialistes de la Shoah ou de l’histoire du nazisme est assez limité, même si aujourd’hui il tend à croître.

Ensuite, il y a une forme de paradoxe assez impressionnant sur ce sujet – et qui vaut plus largement pour le nazisme et la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Malgré l’omniprésence du sujet dans la société, il y a pas mal de malentendus et d’incompréhensions, notamment en raison de la confusion entre le système concentrationnaire – avec notamment les images de ce qui a été découvert en 1945 qui se sont profondément ancrées dans les représentations – et la « solution finale », qui se déroule ailleurs. Ces représentations très fortes qui se sont fixées au sortir de la guerre demeurent prédominantes, alors que les travaux des historiens depuis plus de 50 ou 60 ans dans certains cas ont permis de mieux comprendre et distinguer les choses.

Le meilleur exemple réside sans doute dans le fait, que depuis les travaux de Raul Hilberg les historiens parlent de « centres de mise à mort », alors que l’expression qui demeure profondément ancrée est celle de « camp d’extermination ». Celle-ci est hautement problématique à bien des égards, à commencer par la contradiction absolue entre les deux termes : un camp est un lieu où l’on rassemble une population, pour la détenir par exemple – camp de concentration – alors que l’assassinat de masse ne nécessite pas de « camp », ce sont des sites qui sont destinés à tuer toute personne qui y est acheminée, et qui sont donc de taille réduite, avec peu de structures.

Les négationnistes, d’ailleurs, utilisent certaines de ces représentations et exploitent les confusions. La réduction de la Shoah aux chambres à gaz dans les représentations leur permet de dire « pas de chambres à gaz donc pas de Shoah », alors que plus de la moitié des victimes n’ont jamais franchi le seuil d’une chambre à gaz mais ont été exécutées autrement. Même chose en utilisant des éléments propres au système concentrationnaire pour expliquer que la Shoah, qui se déroule en dehors de ce système, n’est pas possible.

LC : Quand on te lit, c’est un peu déconcertant, parce que très souvent, il y a quand même une distinction assez nette entre les historiens de la « grande » Histoire et ceux qui s’attachent à décrypter des « épisodes » locaux au sein de cette grande Histoire. Toi, tu as écrit sur Auschwitz, mais aussi fouiné dans les tracts locaux de sections du PPF pour battre en brèche l’idée selon laquelle en France, il n’y aurait pas eu de collaborateurs politisés de la mise en œuvre physique des persécutions antisémites, et tu le fais en partant de ce qui est généralement considéré comme anecdotique. Dans tout cela, quel est ton fil conducteur ?

Il y a sans doute là un effet générationnel. Je suis loin d’être le seul à réaliser ce genre de travaux – et nous sommes quelques uns à mettre en œuvre la microhistoire dans le champ. D’une certaine façon le cadre général est connu très largement grâce aux travaux des historiens des 60 premières années, de Léon Poliakov à Serge Klarsfeld en passant par Raul Hilberg par exemple. Sans ce cadre général, ce qui est fait aujourd’hui ne serait pas possible.

Cela participe d’un affinement de la connaissance, d’une meilleure compréhension des mécanismes. Regarder les « marges » permet d’éclairer l’ensemble. Parmi les gars du PPF qui distribuent les tracts « mort aux juifs » en 1940 on en retrouve en 1943-1944 qui chassent les juifs en France pour réaliser la « solution finale ». Autrement dit, si je m’intéresse à Auschwitz, je m’intéresse aussi à ceux qui y « arrivent », et la manière dont ils arrivent là. Comment et à cause de qui un juif de Grenoble se retrouve à Drancy puis à Auschwitz ?

Il y a 15 ans, il aurait été brocardé comme technocrate, c’est un pur produit de l’ENA. Mais son passage chez Rothschild devient une tache. Aurait-il exercé au Crédit Agricole ou à la Banque postale, je doute qu’il aurait été qualifié de banquier.

LC : Quand tu ressors les vieux tracts du PPF, les déclarations incendiaires, non seulement de Doriot, mais aussi de ses bases locales, c’est forcément douloureux pour des lecteurs de gauche antiraciste, parce que beaucoup de ces militantes et activistes violents venaient comme Doriot, non pas de l’extrême-droite mais du camp censé lui faire face. Il y a toute une tradition très partiale dans le champ politique qui vise à cantonner l’antisémitisme issu de certaines gauches à un « accident », à quelque chose de pas très significatif en terme d’importance au sein des structures de Vichy mais aussi de la collaboration active à tous les échelons. Pour toi, est ce que c’était anecdotique ou important, au contraire ?

L’antisémitisme n’est pas propre à la droite ou l’extrême droite, il a toujours été présent sur l’ensemble de l’échiquier politique. On en a eu un exemple lors de la campagne présidentielle avec la disqualification de Macron comme « banquier », utilisée tant à l’extrême droite qu’à l’extrême gauche. Il y a 15 ans, il aurait été brocardé comme technocrate, c’est un pur produit de l’ENA. Mais son passage chez Rothschild devient une tache. Aurait-il exercé au Crédit Agricole ou à la Banque postale, je doute qu’il aurait été qualifié de banquier. Là on a eu une floraison de termes chez les auto-proclamés « anti-système » – qui ont tous pourtant des cursus forts semblables et sont présents en politique depuis des décennies – pour dénoncer « la banque », « l’oligarchie » etc. Le recours à cette terminologie n’a rien d’anodin, et chez certains – évidemment pas pour tous – elle renvoie plus qu’implicitement à l’antisémitisme. C’est d’ailleurs éclairant à ce sujet, de voir que certains historiens et intellectuels ont pointé les problèmes que posait le recours à ces termes mais que cela n’a eu aucune conséquence, pas même la moindre interrogation ou distanciation.

Ce sont surtout les années 1930 et la Seconde Guerre mondiale qui ont ancré l’idée que l’antisémitisme était propre à l’extrême droite et au nazisme. Mais en 1940, au moment de la défaite et du vote des pleins pouvoirs, on voit des attaques antisémites contre Blum qui viennent d’élus de la SFIO, par exemple.

Pour l’antisémitisme français au moment de Dreyfus, le juif est l’agent des Allemands, pour les Allemands en 1918, le Juif c’est l’agent des bolcheviques ou de la France, pour Staline, le Juif c’est l’agent d’Israël.

Si on regarde la Collaboration, et l’Ultra Collaboration, on voit qu’il y a pas mal de gens venant de la gauche. Il faut cependant faire attention sur ce point, que l’on retrouve par exemple exploité par Zemmour : Vichy serait la gauche. Ceci est faux, l’adhésion se faisant sur un programme d’extrême droite, maurrassien, la « Révolution nationale », voire pour les ultras comme les PPF ou les membres du RNP de Déat, sur des programmes proches du nazisme. Mais même du côté du PC on peut voir des tracts, notamment en 40-41, où l’antisémitisme n’est pas très loin. En soi, l’antisémitisme se retrouve partout sur l’échiquier politique.

Sous le vernis de la lutte contre “l’agent sioniste”

Au sortir de la guerre, l’antisémitisme est disqualifié et n’a plus voix au chapitre sur la scène politique occidentale. Pourtant dès 1944 en URSS, et surtout à partir de 1948, le régime soviétique multiplie les attaques antisémites, qui ensuite se retrouvent dans tout le bloc communiste. Sauf qu’officiellement, ce ne sont pas les Juifs qui sont visés, mais les « sionistes ».

Bref, on renomme, c’est validé un peu partout et ça passe sans soulever de problèmes pour les communistes en dehors du bloc soviétique. De 1948 à 1968 on multiplie les purges contre les Juifs, les procès, les assassinats et les expulsions, tout ça sous vernis de la lutte contre les « agents sionistes » ou les « cosmopolites sans racines », selon la terminologie d’alors.

Réinscrit dans l’histoire de l’antisémitisme, ça n’a rien d’original. C’est juste une déclinaison du juif qui est par essence sans patrie, ou de l’agent de l’étranger, qui a toujours existé: affaire Dreyfus, « coup de poignard dans le dos » pour expliquer la défaite de l’Allemagne en 1918 etc. Pour l’antisémitisme français au moment de Dreyfus, le juif est l’agent des Allemands, pour les Allemands en 1918, le Juif c’est l’agent des bolcheviques ou de la France, pour Staline, le Juif c’est l’agent d’Israël.

L’antisémitisme est pratique, il explique tout : le communisme c’est les juifs, le capital c’est les juifs. Chacun y trouve son explication. Et c’est adaptable à tout : la colonisation ? Les Juifs. L’esclavage ? Pareil. Dans les années 1990 le Sida en Afrique c’était les Juifs, et les attaques de requins en mer Rouge au début des années 2010 un coup du Mossad pour flinguer le tourisme en Egypte.

A chaque nouvelle crise, le discours s’adapte. On a vu fleurir les théories impliquant Israel dans la crise au Venezuela, et ces théories venaient des défenseurs de Maduro, pas vraiment l’extrême droite, même si in fine la collusion fini par se faire.

L’antisémitisme, pas plus que le racisme au demeurant, n’est propre à un bord politique. Ce sont ses usages et la manière dont il est assumé qui peuvent éventuellement être différents. Quoique sur l’antisémitisme, à gauche l’ « antisionisme » est bien pratique pour s’adonner à un antisémitisme non assumé ouvertement – et en disant cela je ne délégitime en rien le droit des Palestiniens à disposer d’un Etat ou celui de critiquer les politiques israéliennes.

LC : « Et en disant cela je ne délégitime en rien le droit des Palestiniens à disposer d’un Etat ou celui de critiquer les politiques israéliennes. ». C’est frappant que tu ajoutes cette phrase, parce que c’est devenu quasiment obligatoire, dans le débat, dès qu’on critique les instrumentalisations antisémites de la dénonciation de la politique israélienne. Comme si la lutte contre cet antisémitisme là ou même le simple fait de le constater était forcément suspect de cacher un autre racisme. Pourquoi continuer à se justifier ? Est-ce que tu penses que la victoire des antisémites est à ce point écrasante qu’on doive forcément en passer par là ?

Tu as totalement raison, cela ne devrait pas être. Mais c’est malheureusement le cas, tant « l’antisionisme » se drape dans une bonne conscience, qui souvent échappe aux gens. D’ailleurs toute la phase Soviétique et communiste du mot est intégralement effacée pour lui donner des atours de noblesse et cela va jusqu’à des discours qui affirment que le Bund, par exemple, était contre le mouvement sioniste, et que c’est la preuve que l’antisionisme n’est pas antisémite. Mais le Bund non seulement combattait férocement l’antisémitisme, il revendiquait aussi l’existence d’une nation juive autonome en Pologne (ou dans les Pays baltes).

Les antisionistes eux, nient l’existence des Juifs, sinon à leurs propres conditions. « On vous tolère, mais ne mouftez pas trop ». Le Bund, comme les sionistes, revendiquent le fait juif et l’existence d’une nation juive. Les antisionistes dénient aux juifs le droit de se définir, et s’arrogent ce droit. Il suffit de voir le succès du livre de Shlomo Sand, qui explique que “le peuple juif est une invention”. La belle affaire. Ce constat on peut le faire pour n’importe quel peuple, ou pour prendre un terme plus adéquat, pour n’importe quelle nation, à commencer par la France. Chaque nation repose sur des mythes fondateurs auxquels se rallient ceux qui s’y retrouvent.

Les antisémites existent, “les sémites” en revanche, ça n’existe pas

D’ailleurs l’usage de ce terme n’est pas sans faire penser à une théorie de comptoir qui a fait florès : « l’antisémitisme ne vise pas que les Juifs, mais aussi les Arabes, qui sont sémites aussi ».

Passons rapidement sur le fait que l’antisémitisme, tel qu’il a été défini par les antisémites eux-mêmes, n’a jamais visé que les seuls Juifs, pour aller à l’autre point, bien plus intéressant : les sémites n’existent pas. Les Arabes, pas plus que les Juifs ne sont sémites, c’est une construction racialiste reprise par le racisme, et développée à partir de l’existence d’un groupe de langue dit sémitique, où se retrouvent l’hébreu, l’araméen, le phénicien, l’arabe ou encore l’amharique.

D’ailleurs cette création d’une « race juive » a été un moyen pour dire que « les » Juifs formaient un tout, un groupe ethnique : les juifs d’Allemagne bien « blancs » étaient donc de la même « race » que les Juifs d’origine arabe du Yemen ou d’Egypte, que les Juifs noirs d’Ethiopie ou que les Juifs turcs de Crimée. Bref, l’antisémitisme vise à créer une unité ethnique (« raciale ») entre des groupes religieux ou nationaux qui n’ont en commun que leur religion et les récits qui en découlent – même pas une culture commune, parce que quel rapport entre la carpe farcie et la brick au thon ? Entre le pastrami et l’amba ? L’antisémitisme constitue, sous une double forme, un inverse du racisme : là où le racisme prétend la supériorité sur d’autres, lesquels sont définis par une appartenance ethnique visible, l’antisémitisme, lui, dénonce le danger de domination d’une race invisible, puisque non identifiable (sinon pour son appétence pour la carpe farcie, mais les Polonais aiment bien aussi… Pareil d’ailleurs pour la brick au thon, que juifs et musulmans du Maghreb aiment bien)

Pour nier l’antisémitisme (et donc in fine le justifier tout en le niant) ils maintiennent une fiction raciste concernant les Arabes…

Mais surtout, cette théorie « des Arabes qui seraient des sémites », largement prégnante à l’extrême gauche, voire à gauche (et elle est sur le devant de la scène par exemple en ce moment parmi certains défenseurs de Corbyn, qui excipent de cela pour nier l’antisémitisme au sein du Labour) montre le degré d’imprégnation des constructions racistes chez ceux là. Pour nier l’antisémitisme (et donc in fine le justifier tout en le niant) ils maintiennent une fiction raciste concernant les Arabes…

LC : Tu soulignes à juste titre le succès de la banalité pourtant profondément raciste « Les Arabes sont aussi des sémites ». Et aussi la spécificité de l’antisémitisme, comme dénonciation du danger de domination d’une race « invisible ». Or, depuis une quinzaine d’années, d’autres racismes ont subi une mutation importante: ce qui est appelé « islamophobie » est aussi un discours qui vise des gens qui n’ont souvent rien d’autre en commun qu’une religion, souvent supposée d’ailleurs, chez des issus de l’immigration.
Et elle les désigne aussi comme les agents d’un complot mondial censé amener à la domination totale, non seulement au plan religieux, mais aussi économique. Il arrive d’ailleurs de plus en plus souvent que les thèses conspirationnistes antisémites et islamophobes se rejoignent dans un récit commun où Soros, alternative de plus en plus courante à Rothschild, est aussi l’allié du complot islamiste en même temps qu’il est symbole du complot Juif.
Dans le champ politique d’aucuns nient cette parenté et la cette jonction des narratifs en dénonçant le concept même d’islamophobie. D’autres affirment au contraire que l’islamophobie à remplacé l’antisémitisme ». Dans les deux cas, l’un ou l’autre racisme est nié ou remis en cause. Que penses-tu de l’analogie entre islamophobie et antisémitisme , est-elle juste historiquement, même partiellement et quelles sont ses limites selon toi ?

Jusqu’à récemment ce qui prévalait largement était le racisme anti-arabe, nourri notamment à la fois par le colonialisme français en Afrique du Nord puis ensuite par le ressentiment né de la décolonisation chez certains Français. Auquel s’ajoute un autre élément, celui de la méconnaissance du fait musulman. En France, Arabe a été très largement synonyme de musulman: si t’es musulman t’es arabe, si t’es arabe t’es musulman. Et depuis quelques années, si t’es musulman t’es islamiste. Et donc in fine, arabe= islamiste. Au moment des attentats de 2015, des commentateurs expliquaient que les attentats avaient été exclusivement commis par des Arabes (quid de Coulibaly ?). Comme si l’adhésion à une idéologie assassine dépendait d’une appartenance ethnique.

Alors que le racisme se fonde avant tout sur une supposée infériorité, là on voit un passage à autre chose en effet. Et en outre, le « musulman » est très largement interchangeable. Il suffit de se rappeler que Nicolas Sarkozy ignorait en 2007 si Al-Qaïda était chiite ou sunnite pour avoir une illustration de la méconnaissance qui prédomine à ce sujet. L’espace géographique peuplé par des musulmans, qui va de l’Afrique aux confins de l’Asie, est vu comme un grand tout, unique, et conçu à travers notre héritage, à nous Français, avant tout à travers « l’Arabe » qui incarne cet ensemble menaçant.

Islamophobie

Maintenant avec le terme d’islamophobie on a quelque chose d’intéressant. Il est décrié par certains, et utilisé par d’autres pour disqualifier toute critique contre la religion musulmane. Mieux vaut s’écarter de ces prises de position et s’interroger sur autre chose : est-ce que le terme est opérant pour désigner un phénomène particulier ? Et là la réponse est claire : oui, on voit l’apparition d’idées qui feraient des musulmans les membres d’un grand tout, à la manœuvre dans l’ombre, complotant dans tel ou tel but.

Et à cet égard on a quelque chose de nouveau, dont les ressorts ne sont plus ceux du racisme, à savoir un regard depuis le haut vers quelqu’un d’inférieur, mais des ressorts qui ne sont pas sans rappeler ceux de l’antisémitisme : un danger fondé sur une puissance fantasmée. Ce phénomène là est récent. Si on prend en regard l’antisémitisme, il est constitué très largement d’invariants, que l’on retrouve en permanence, depuis des siècles: le juif et l’argent, le juif comploteur, le juif dépravé sexuel etc.

Comme tu le pointes, Soros remplace chez certains Rothschild, mais on reste sur les mêmes ressorts. Or, à côté du racisme anti-arabe, on voit apparaître de nouveaux fantasmes, un glissement vers « le Musulman », paré de tout un ensemble de menaces. Un Pakistanais serait de mèche avec un Français parce qu’ils sont tout deux musulmans, on a la mise en place d’un fantasme particulier qui n’est plus le racisme et qu’il faut qualifier pour ce qu’il est.

la Hongrie d’Orban, pour être xénophobe et raciste, n’en a pas moins fait de Soros la figure principale de la « menace anti-hongroise »

Maintenant si l’analogie peut prévaloir dans certains cas, elle a ses limites. D’abord prétendre que l’islamophobie a remplacé l’antisémitisme est absurde. L’antisémitisme se porte terriblement bien en Europe, et à part quelques négateurs à l’extrême-gauche, qui montrent que leur universalisme et leur combat anti-raciste à non seulement des limites mais qu’ils ont aussi quelques complaisances avec l’antisémitisme, personne ne le conteste aujourd’hui.

Ensuite, on peut aisément constater que l’antisémitisme demeure la principale matrice explicative en matière complotiste, par exemple. Que la Hongrie d’Orban, pour être xénophobe et raciste, n’en a pas moins fait de Soros la figure principale de la « menace anti-hongroise ».

LC : A la fin des années 1990, on pouvait penser qu’enfin, en France, le boulot était fait sur la responsabilité de l’Etat et d’une partie de la population française dans la collaboration et la complaisance avec les nazis, mais aussi dans l’élaboration de politiques autonomes de persécutions. Vingt ans après, des tribuns racistes comme Zemmour rencontrent un écho énorme lorsqu’ils reprennent des thèses sur Pétain qui aurait « aidé les Juifs », des responsables de partis politiques de gauche explosent toutes les limites en revenant au « Vichy, ce n’était pas la France ». Parfois même, on a l’impression que Paxton n’a jamais rien écrit qui vaille la peine d’être retenu. Ces aller-retour, et ces batailles jamais gagnées sont elles une spécificité française ?

Dans les années 1980 et 1990 on a assisté à une séquence importante, où les travaux des historiens (Paxton, Klarsfeld…) mais aussi l’opinion publique ont très largement permis de voir en face la réalité des responsabilités. Le discours de Chirac au Vel d’Hiv en 1995, puis d’autres mesures qui ont suivi, ont donné l’impression que la question était réglée. Et d’un point de vue scientifique elle l’est.

Retour en arrière, histoire et historiens en danger

Sauf que depuis une dizaine d’année, on assiste à une sorte de retour en arrière, porté par Zemmour et d’autres. On a un peu tout. « Vichy a protégé les juifs français » – il suffit de lire la loi du 3 octobre 1940, dite « statut des juifs », ou celle du 22 juillet 1941 sur « l’élimination de l’influence juive dans l’économie nationale » pour démonter cela. Sans même avoir à rappeler que la majorité des enfants au Vel d’Hiv en 1942 étaient nés en France ou que la rafle de janvier 1943 à Marseille est menée par la police française contre des Juifs français. Ou alors « Vichy c’est pas la France » – auquel il suffit de répondre par une question : c’est quoi la France ? la Saint-Barthélémy c’est pas la France ? La colonisation non plus ? etc.

Et il ne s’agit pas d’une spécificité française, même si on a dedans des débats franco-français. Ce qui se passe par exemple en Pologne aujourd’hui en est un exemple. Ou en Russie concernant la période stalinienne en est autre. Ou aux Etats-Unis. Nombre de pays connaissent ce genre de phase, au gré des climats qui y règnent et des phases de raidissement nationalistes.

LC : Tu évoques la Pologne et la loi votée récemment qui criminalise de fait l’expression de la vérité historique sur le génocide et les conditions de sa réalisation. Comment les historiens polonais envisagent-ils la suite, se sentent-ils concrètement et immédiatement en danger ? Comment s’organise la résistante à la fois locale et internationale à cette loi ? Quel est le pouvoir concret du gouvernement polonais sur des lieux de mémoire et d’histoire comme Auschwitz, actuellement, sont-ils seuls décideurs ou la communauté internationale a-t-elle un pouvoir sur leur fonctionnement quotidien et le contenu présenté aux visiteurs ?

Les historiens polonais sont en première ligne et la cible directe de ces lois, alors qu’ils ont effectué un travail remarquable depuis 20 ans, faisant de la Pologne le pays qui était à la pointe de l’historiographie de la Shoah. D’ailleurs ces historiens et historiennes reflétaient un mouvement important au sein de la population polonaise, qui de manière remarquable s’est saisie de son passé après la chute du régime communiste. En quelques années, la Pologne a fait le même chemin que la France en 50 ans. Cette Pologne là existe toujours, mais elle est en but aux nationalistes au pouvoir.

Pourtant les mobilisations existent, aussi bien sur le sujet de l’antisémitisme que sur d’autres, comme les droits des femmes. Mais on est face à un régime qui gouverne en direction de son électorat et donc qui bombe le torse face à l’international et dénonce les « antinationaux du parti de l’étranger ». Les historiens sont effectivement en danger, et pas seulement en Pologne. Leurs conférences sont régulièrement parasitées et interrompues, comme pour Jan Gross à Paris récemment, et des dénonciations et autres attaques sont réalisées par les représentants diplomatiques à destination des universités de ces chercheurs qui travaillent hors de Pologne. Ils disposent d’ailleurs de relais locaux qui attaquent aussi les historiens non polonais, y compris en France.

Et la pression sur les musées en Pologne est très très forte à l’heure actuelle. Le projet du musée de Gdansk, consacré à l’histoire de la Seconde Guerre mondiale en a été un exemple précoce. Alors que le musée allait ouvrir, tout a été arrêté, le directeur brutalement remplacé et la nature du même du musée remise en cause, car jugé pas assez favorable à un récit « national » correct aux yeux du pouvoir.

Les Allemands n’ont aucun besoin de « collaborateurs juifs » pour le processus de destruction.

LC:Depuis « Eichmann à Jérusalem » et les propos d’Hannah Arendt sur les « collaborateurs Juifs » qui font partie des contenus très partagés par les antisémites, ces questions-là font l’objet d’une fascination malsaine, et aussi d’un jeu relativiste pratiqué par beaucoup de forces politiques, qui se jettent sur ce genre de choses pour accréditer l’idée qu’après tout les victimes étaient aussi des bourreaux.
Comment fait-on en tant qu’historien pour affronter la récupération politique de certains aspects de la recherche sur le génocide ? Est-ce que c’est un sujet ou est ce que tu t’en fous ?

D’un point de vue historique ce n’est plus un sujet, la question est réglée depuis longtemps – que le sujet ait interpellé après la guerre, qu’Arendt s’y soit intéressé, est une chose légitime initialement, participant de la compréhension des mécanismes de la mise en place de la « solution finale ». Mais pas mal d’éléments sont alors méconnus ou pas pris en compte. Près d’un million de juifs ont été exécutés entre fin 1941 et début 1942 par les unités allemandes, sans aucun « collaborateur juif ». Les allemands n’ont aucun besoin de « collaborateurs juifs » pour le processus de destruction, mais en revanche ils ont besoin des collaborateurs locaux, des nationalistes, qui de la France aux Pays baltes en passant par l’Ukraine, ont eux très largement aidé à la réalisation de la “solution finale”.

La question des Judenrat

La question rejoint en fait le point précédent, l’histoire avance, mais les usages « politiques » restent ou reviennent. Effectivement c’est une marotte qui est assez flagrante chez les antisémites, on pourrait même dire un marqueur intangible. Et ceci pour une raison très simple. La création des Judenrat, ces « conseils juifs » mis en place par les Allemands à la tête des ghettos pour servir d’interface et gérer « l’interne », n’est ni plus ni moins que la reprise d’une méthode mise en œuvre dans le système concentrationnaire, consistant à confier la gestion d’une partie de l’interne, ce qui se passe dans le camp, à des détenus.

Pourtant là personne ne vient exciper de « collaborateurs » parmi les prisonniers pour faire porter la culpabilité sur les victimes. D’ailleurs, parmi les membres des Judenrat, à côté de gens qui se sont révélées être des crapules, l’immense majorité a joué un rôle important, en aidant les organisation de résistance dans les ghettos par exemple, ou en tentant de faire face aux Allemands. Quant aux risques de récupération politique, ils sont faibles : ce qui est récupéré en général est écrit pour l’être avant tout, cf. par exemple Zemmour.

LC:Tu as écrit pas mal de choses sur l’histoire des récits de la Shoah dans ce qu’on appelle la culture de masse, les comics ou les séries télévisées américaines. Globalement, comment évalues tu l’importance de cette culture de masse dans la construction des représentations et des connaissances sur la Shoah et le nazisme, quantitativement et qualitativement ?

Le sujet est très très présent, et on pourrait même dire depuis très longtemps, dans la culture populaire. Le cinéma ou la littérature s’en sont saisis dès la fin des années 1940. Si on prend la BD, le sujet devient important au tournant des années 1970-1980, d’abord avec les X-Men, puis avec Maus. Depuis des centaines de titres de bande dessinée ont abordé la Shoah. Quant aux séries télés, le sujet est présent depuis des décennies, depuis les séries de fiction (Star Trek, Magnum…) jusqu’aux séries historiques. La série Holocaust en 1978 a joué un rôle considérable dans le monde occidental dans la prise de conscience concernant la Shoah, et a eu un impact colossal. Et quand on regarde aujourd’hui Holocaust, historiquement ce n’est pas si mal.

Les X-Men constituent un exemple intéressant: la Shoah et Auschwitz sont au cœur des adaptations au cinéma d’un comics, dont la trame initiale est une allégorie de l’antisémitisme lorsque la série fut créé par Jack Kirby et Stan Lee en 1963. Puis la Shoah est explicitement évoquée début 1980, justement après le déclencheur Holocaust. On voit comment un objet de culture populaire en irrigue d’autres.

Et aujourd’hui, les X-Men participent à la construction de la connaissance de pas mal de gens, mine de rien, et ce n’est pas un problème que la fiction irrigue de la connaissance. Quand de tels vecteurs  se saisissent du sujet de manière sérieuse, entendu ici comme disant des choses exactes (le Auschwitz qui est montré est l’Auschwitz authentique), il n’y a rien à redire. Et mieux vaut une bonne allégorie qu’un mauvais documentaire, et les mauvais documentaires ne manquent pas…


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