October 25, 2021


Eric Zemmour's Desecration of the NameAlready, the candidate's violations of French Jewish moral values are perilous and obscene (BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY, OCTOBER 24, 2021, The Tablet)

I watch him rushing to embrace the worst rhetoric of Maurice Barrès and Charles Maurras as if he wanted to smash the synagogues on the martyred pediment of Notre-Dame. I see him trampling on everything in the French Jewish legacy that pertains to responsibility for others, or the noble effort to embrace strangers, love thy neighbor, and offer hospitality toward migrants.

In this transgression there is something that chills the blood.

I said as much five years ago to American Jews tempted by Trumpism: To make a pact with that, to follow a bad shepherd who respects only power, money, and the tinsel of his own palaces, could be likened to suicide. Now French Jews are facing the same choice.

And I say it again today to French Jews tempted to identify with the sinister simplifications of Éric Zemmour, who, they believe, will take their side against those who attack schools and synagogues, and who see the failure of the state to deliver justice in the case of Sarah Halimi and others as a threat--not unreasonably--to their own lives: The enemy of your enemy can be your enemy, too. His nationalistic and racist hubris; his cruelty; his renunciation of Jewish generosity, vulnerability, humanism, and sense of otherness; his ignorance of the real knowledge, written in blood in family memories, that argues for wariness in the face of history's whirlwinds and its acid jets of persecution--these are an insult to the Jewish name that all Jews carry within them, unless and until they explicitly throw it overboard.

Mr. Zemmour is certainly not the first person to create the impression that one can be both a Jew and a populist extremist. And fortunately, there will always be Jews assertive enough to object that Paul Claudel himself would not have wanted anyone to have to choose between Claudel and the Talmud. But this is not a contest of ideas or aesthetics in which we welcome the widest variety of challengers in order to sharpen and strengthen our own views. It is a contest for raw political power, which in turn will directly affect the fate of Jews living in France and beyond.

The size and force of the wave that Zemmour is riding should not be underestimated. The idea that in the pursuit of power he will desecrate his own name and the name of our people--and in so doing, become the instrument of forces against which Jewish hopefulness has fought for millennia--is unbearably obscene.

Yeah, but he hates Muslims!

Posted by at October 25, 2021 12:00 AM