Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bernard Henri-Levy's Stirring Speech at the UN Against Antisemitism

On January 22, 2015, French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy spoke at the UN about antisemitism: what causes it, why it flourishes and why it is important to combat it. His speech deserves to be heard/read in its entirety but these key excerpts provide a glimpse at his message:

Today's anti-Semitism says three things, at bottom.

It can operate on a large scale, convince, put fire in the brains, only by offering three shameful but new propositions.
The Jews are detestable because they are supposed to support an evil, illegitimate, murderous state. This is the anti-Zionist delirium of the merciless adversaries of the re-establishment of the Jews in their historical fatherland.

The Jews are all the more detestable because they are supposed to base their beloved Israel on imaginary suffering, or suffering that at the very least has been outrageously exaggerated. This is the shabby and infamous denial of the Holocaust.

In so doing, the Jews would commit a third and final crime that could make them still more guilty, which is to confuse us with the memory of their dead, to completely stifle other peoples' memories and to overshadow other martyrs whose deaths have plunged parts of today's world, most emblematically that of the Palestinians, into mourning. And here we come face to face with the modern-day scourge, stupidity, that is competitive victimhood.

Anti-Semitism needs these three formulations, which are like the three vital components of a moral atomic bomb.

Each taken separately would be enough to discredit a people, to make it abominable once more. But when the three are combined, brought into contact and allowed to form a knot, a node, a crux, a helix--well, at that point we can be pretty sure of facing an explosion of which all Jews, everywhere, will be the designated targets...

Anti-Semitism will not return on a large scale unless it succeeds in popularizing this insane and vile portrait of the modern Jew.

It has to be anti-Zionist, it must deny the Holocaust, it must feed the competition of pain--or it will not thrive: the logic is implacable, despicable but compelling. To recognize that, ladies and gentlemen, is to begin to see, symmetrically, what you can do to combat this calamity.

Henri-Levy concludes his speech by urging the UN to live up to the ideals that inspired its creation and to not provide a home in any of its forums for antisemitism. The UN has been equal parts corrupt and inept for so long that it seems likely his plea will go unanswered but maybe Henri-Levy's call to action will rouse the UN from its stupor.

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