Shortcomings of new French philosophers and polemical excesses

Shortcomings of new French philosophers and polemical excesses

Didier BERTIN - November 17, 2019

A debate took place on 21 October 2019 on CNews (a French News TV channel) between the new philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy (called BHL) and polemicist journalist Eric Zemmour. This debate has permitted to note that they suffer both of important shortcomings as many others assumed intellectuals who influence public opinion in France, especially regarding the World War 2, the global role of Petain, the fate of the Jews in Europe and Algeria, the behavior of the Anglo-Saxon allies, as well as Islam in France and in the world.

I-Politicians and new philosophers

The traditional French political class having been disqualified we had thought that in compensation the new philosophers might suggest innovative ideas based on a rigorous thought; however it appears too often that they are prisoners of partisan ideas which do not really bring new perspectives. Too many of them justify the legitimacy of their opinions on the ground that they are in line with those of brilliant thinkers of the past. Referrals to others enrich the mind for a time, but then it is advisable to free oneself from them in order to show creativity to challenge new issues. Moreover, the media craze for provocative polemicists who raise the ratings and consequently the advertising revenues but impoverish the debates.

II-Polemic drifts

During the debate dated of October 21st, Eric Zemmour showed as usual cynicism with regard to humanistic thoughts and for him dictators as Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein have had a positive role in limiting immigration to Europe even if for that they had to stabilize by violence heterogeneous populations gathered in nations created during the colonial era. He even granted qualities to the Field Marshal Petain who was nevertheless one of the best allies of Nazi Germany. In this debate Eric Zemmour castigates BHL for his passion for peoples and great causes and challenges the human rights that would shadow the nationalist ideas in his opinion.

III-The Jews of Algeria

A-Jews and Muslims

The two interlocutors whose families were Jews living in Algeria before its independence, have demonstrated in their life their strong will of integration in the French nation which guided them towards two different ways: The French intelligentsia and its excesses for BHL and the cult of the French Nation and its excesses for Eric Zemmour. Contrary to what is often said now in France, the Jews of Algeria were not the only ones to have the opportunity to become French; as a matter of fact the Senatus-consulte of 14 July 1865 of  Napoleon III allowed the Arab natives to become French if they renounce their traditions as polygamy and repudiation and submit to French laws. They did not generally want to become French in 1865 and in the same year many Jews signed a petition to obtain collectively the French citizenship. This request was repeated until they obtain the citizenship in 1870 thanks to the decree of Mr. Cremieux. The possibility of acquiring French nationality for Muslims on individual request was also confirmed at the same date subject to accepting "to be governed by the civil and political laws of France".

B-World War 2

BHL showed that he believes in the history of the World War 2 propagated by the Americans because of their dislike for communism and then for the USSR. Europe has adopted this version through school books, museums and the widely distributed Hollywood films on this theme. BHL as many French people, think that the Americans won the war over Germany simply by landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944 while at this date Germany had no other perspective than defeat. BHL even thinks that the landing in Normandy saved his own family living in Algeria and completely omits the “Operation Torch” of November 8, 1942 (American landing in North Africa) which certainly avoided the deportation of Jews because became foreigners by the repeal of Cremieux decree on October 7, 1940. However the Americans did not improve the condition of Jews because they maintained at the head of Algeria the worst pro-German Petainist: "Admiral Darlan". After he was assassinated, the Americans named General Giraud in his place who unfortunately confirmed the repeal of Cremieux decree on March 14, 1943. The text of this second repeal was written by Marcel Peyrouton, author of the first repeal as previous Minister of Field Marshal Petain. General De Gaulle entered the CFLN (French National Liberation Committee) in Algiers; put aside Giraud and finally Cremieux decree was reinstated on June 3, 1943. This decision which was "temporary" was no longer questioned and it is important to note that most of the leading heads of the Gaullist organization "France Libre (Free France)” in Algeria" were Jews.

IV-Islam and Islam in France

BHL has thus an angelic view of the Americans (whom he denounces for having abandoned recently the Kurds) as of Islam in thinking that it exists a radical Islam, a moderate Islam and an Islam of the Enlightenment. If there are several currents in Islam their common cornerstone is the Qur'an.

Religious practice depends on the initiative of each believer in following the commandments of the Qur'an which is the divine word revealed to the Prophet. This text establishes rules of divine inspiration that cannot in principle be challenged by believers. The Islam of enlightenment ended in the 13th century and was made possible by Muslims open to other cultures from the Mediterranean Sea to India.

Integration in France requires an effort on the path of secularism while the Qur'an requires an effort on the path of the truth of God and this is the true meaning of the word Jihad. Many French Muslims whose cultural and economic success is indisputable made the effort to go to the Republic by distancing themselves from the Qur'an. The Qur'an as revealed universal and divine truth has engendered a violent proselytism. The duties to God surpass human rights, which remain difficult to adopt in Muslim countries. Judaeophobia and anti-Christianity are mentioned in the Qur'an revealed in the seventh century, that is, well before the current conflict with Israel. The Church has also demonstrated a violent proselytism but that by moving away by the decisions taken during its many councils, the teaching of Jesus.

In France many Muslims belonging to the new generations have turned to the roots of Islam while the older generations had often followed the opposite path. It could be assumed that the economic crisis in Europe has failed to properly integrate these new generations of Muslims, who may have felt rejected geographically, economically and culturally, and have seen in their return to roots a way to express their bitterness.

In other Muslim countries, the “Arab Spring” has shown that far from Western models of society, rebellious youth may not aspire to the freedom, modernity and emancipation of women, but rather return to the past when comes the time to vote. It also shows that democracy is a meaningless word if it is not preceded by universal education and the conviction of the legitimacy of human rights.

In France, confinement in poor suburbs where the state has given up exercising its authority has led to the development not only of communitarianism but also of delinquency. The "radical" imams were able to freely preach both neighborhoods abandoned by the state and in prisons. Communitarianism is opposed to the idea of ​​integration which is part of the basic ideas of the French Republic which enable the country to be a   welcoming land. The state has long been lax, apparently because of a guilty feeling regarding its colonial past, electoral considerations, and a relative tolerance for antisemitism. The recent awakening of the state was mainly motivated by the risk of seeing the far right brought to power.

The obligation to wear the yellow star during the war was for the Nazis a necessary mean to clearly differentiate the Jews from the others while communitarianism claims the right to an ostensible differentiation. Consequently the utilization of the yellow star during the demonstration of November 10, 2019 against Islamophobia in France is a perverse misinterpretation and the religious slogans that were pronounced during this demonstration were not appropriate to the secularism required by the Republic.

 V-The Qur'an and the Bible 

It has become commonplace in France to compare the Qur'an with the Bible to "clumsily" excuse the presence of violent suras in the Qur'an, pointing out that there are also some violent events mentioned in the Bible despite their consequences are not comparable. The violent events of the Bible are rather descriptive whereas the violent suras of the Qur'an are rather prescriptive. These two books are dissimilar in their nature, which in particular is reflected by their sizes. The Qur'an is a book focused on the path to be followed by believers and especially the five pillars of Islam, mention of the hatred of Jews and Christians, the duties of women, justice and jihad, the Paradise and Hell.  Translated into the same language (French) in order to be compared in size the Qur'an comprises approximately 161,000 words, the Hebrew Bible 591,000 words and the Gospels 185,000 words. The size of the Bible is due to the fact that it includes many texts that are legendary, metaphorical or historical from ancient times and without requiring that the violent events that are sometimes reported must be immutably repeated. The Qur'an as the divine word revealed to the prophet mentions immutable prescriptions. As a consequence Tariq Ramadan (a Muslim writer and leader of the Muslim community) has only requested a "moratorium" with regard to "the stoning of women" and not at all its cancellation. The stoning of women that is also mentioned in the Bible is totally unimaginable in today's Judeo-Christian world. Moreover the Christian and Jewish communities who have lived in the land of Islam can testify that Judaeophobia and antichristianism inspired by Qur’an are still in effect to such an extent that these communities have had to exile themselves to the Western world and soon will not exist anymore in the land of Islam.

The Bible has attempted to establish moral rules in a still uncivilized world and its reading is changing with the progress of civilization. Judaism is opposed to proselytism and tends to discourage conversions. Conversions lead to only religious Judaism, which is only a part of Judaism, and to its discouraging 613 commandments. St. Paul who wanted to spread Christianity understood that the maintenance of Judaism as a gateway to Christianity hindered proselytism and has removed this precondition.

VI -World War 2

The USSR after the October Revolution was isolated by the Western countries as the Monarchies did for France after its Revolution. In both cases conservative countries set up a “cordon sanitaire” to avoid the risk of contagion by revolutionary spirit. Threatened from all sides, these two countries had had to intensify their war efforts at the expense of their populations.

On September 29, 1938, France and the United Kingdom signed the Munich Agreements, in which they gave up part of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany, and gave also a clear signal of their lack of determination to fight the Pan-Germanism clearly claimed in "Mein Kampf". Despite its economic problems the USSR had proposed to intervene in the Sudetenland in 1938 to put an end to Nazi appetites and perhaps thus change the course of History. The opposition of Poland and Rumania to the passage of the Red Army to reach Czechoslovakia led to the abandonment by the French and British of the Sudeten and then of all Czechoslovakia to the Nazis and opened the way for the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. The invasion of Poland, where Europe's largest Jewish community lived, also allowed the Nazis to begin the process towards extermination, which was another part of Nazi thought clearly expressed in "Mein Kampf". The vast Russian territory was, in Hitler's eyes, a favorite place for Germany's demographic development, as was also clearly expressed in "Mein Kampf". From 1940, Hitler demanded that an invasion plan of the USSR be established. This invasion began on "June 22, 1941 and at the same time the Holocaust by bullets. The Holocaust by bullets" was achieved by the Einsatzgruppen previously organized and which were too often helped by the local populations on territories newly conquered by the German troops on the eastern front.

The Eastern Front became the cemetery of the German armies thanks to the immense sacrifice of the peoples of the USSR and the Red Army. The peoples of the USSR sacrificed about 27 million military and civilian men and women to repulse and annihilate the German army as compared to losses of less than one million people for Anglo-Saxon allies as the result of their decision to land in continental Europe when the war was on the way to be lost by the Germans. The winner of the war is therefore the USSR militarily led by Marshal Zhukov and not the United States. The Germans who had preferred to capitulate to the Western allies on May 7, 1945, were forced to capitulate again and officially in Berlin in the presence of Marshal Zhukov on May 8, 1945.

One might think that the Americans landed in continental Europe to protect their area of ​​influence previously determined with the USSR while the burden of victory and the price of blood had been left to the sole peoples of the USSR. In 2012 Israel built an imposing memorial (in Netanya) to thank the peoples of the URSS and the Red Army for having ended the Holocaust and won the war. Israel expresses his debt of gratitude to the peoples of the USSR and this has nothing to do with the sympathy or disgust that Communism may inspire. There is no similar memorial in Israel for the United States.

We can also recall that after the Holocaust the United States applied an embargo against the Yishouv in Palestine during the 1947/48 war and thought, fearing of being no longer delivered in oil by Arab countries, to question the partition of Palestine that they voted. The British, rather hostile to the Yishouv, favored the expansion of Transjordan. Israel owed its salvation to the aid of the communist countries and in particular Czechoslovakia, which supplied him with weapons including heavy artillery, armored vehicles and 233 Messerschmitt planes.

VII- Consequences of Petain’s policy on WW2

Robert Paxton thoroughly analyzed the reality of Petain's action and his responsibility. Some Frenchmen cynically argue that the collaboration allowed sacrificing only the foreign Jews. This narrow perspective does not allow them to understand that Petain is also responsible for the extermination of millions of Jews and Russians by giving the Germans greater freedom of action on the eastern front. France has indeed kept calm in the West, provided Germany with weapons and French workers and financed the Germans war effort by paying them very high occupancy indemnities which accounted for a substantial part of France’s GDP. Consequently France has contributed to prolong the war and thus to increase the related human losses. For example one single year of war involved on average the death of 5.4 million of Russians and 1.2 million of Jews. France's responsibility in the Holocaust cannot therefore be limited to the 75,700 Jews deported from France.

New previously secret published documents have confirmed Robert Paxton's view that France had preceded the German demands concerning its Aryanization, that is to say the expropriation of Jewish properties, expulsion from different professions and the organization of deportations. Germany has lacked staff in France to carry out its policy that Petain has voluntarily compensated. Petain was convinced of the presence of far too many Jews in France while the Jewish community included only 330,000 people out of a national population of 41 million i.e. 0.8% of the population. This judgment, which ignored reality, can only be linked to hatred comparable to that of the Nazis. All the steps taken by Petain in favor of Germany had, as Robert Paxton pointed out, the aim of showing Germany that France was a worthy partner for the new Europe led by Germany. Robert Paxton recalled that Admiral Darlan said that the French navy could have effectively supplemented the German ground forces to form a great power with Nazi Germany.

The strong personality of General De Gaulle and the constitution of his organization "Free France" even symbolic have prevented France from being considered as one of the main allies of Germany. The integration of France among the allies of the United States could have also met the American determination to rebuild strong nations to cope with the expansion of communism.

VIII - Judaeophobia since 1881

In 1880 about 74% of the world's Jews lived in Europe. After the violent Pogroms in the Russian Empire that began in 1881 many of them fled to the United States and Palestine and thus the Jewish population of  Europe did not accounted for more than 59% of Jews in 1939. The Holocaust, the escape of survivors, the new rise of anti-Semitism made that in today Europe became according to the Nazi terminology "Judenrein or Judenfrei" that is to say purified of Jews. As a matter of fact the European Jewish population amounted to only 1.37 million people i.e. 9.6% of the world Jewish population as compared to 74% in 1880. Anti-Semitism even with practically no Jews is persistent and based on traditional anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism which is a new expression of the same hatred and Islamist anti-Semitism. The size of Arab countries markets and the weight of the electorate of Muslim local communities encourage many European governments to remain relatively silent regarding Anti-Semitism and corollary Anti-Zionism.

In 1905, Arthur Balfour, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, passed an openly anti-Semitic law named the "Aliens Act" which intended primarily to prevent Jewish victims of Pogroms from taking refuge in Britain. Moreover, in 1912, Arthur Balfour inaugurated the 1st Congress of Eugenics, a doctrine favorably considered by racist movements, and especially by Hitler. Arthur Balfour's statement of November 2, 1917 when he was no more than Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Lloyd George’s Government, on the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine, had favorable aims for the foreign policy of the United Kingdom of which one of them "could have been" to keep the Jews afar from Europe as in 1905.

The Aryan superior race was a concept created by the French Arthur de Gobineau and introduced in Germany by Ludwig Schemann. The Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain wrote that the Aryan race of Gobineau was the German race. His idea was adopted by Hitler in "Mein Kampf" in 1925 and was in line with his belief in inferior, deleterious and exterminable races. This led to the anti-Jewish laws of 1935 which involved the flight of German Jews and also Austrian Jews after the Anschluss to the point that President Roosevelt felt obliged to organize the "Evian Conference" on July 16, 1938 to decide the fate to be reserved to Jewish refugees. This conference revealed the same cowardice that prevailed in the Munich agreements two months later. Thirty-one of the thirty-two countries present in Evian refused to receive the Jewish refugees and thus allowed Hitler to close his deadly trap on the Jews. The names of these countries starting with the richest are: United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil , Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Only the small Dominican Republic agreed to receive 100,000 refugees and offered 110 km2 to them. The United Kingdom even substantially reduced the immigration of Jews to Palestine in contradiction with its mandate and the United States and Canada behaved shamefully in 1939 by forcing the ship St Louis to return from America to Europe with its German Jewish refugees. The indecent attitude of Great Britain was also illustrated in 1942 by the ban made to the ship Struma to arrive in Palestine thus causing its sinking with her 769 refugees.

The Holocaust did not start with Wannsee conference of January 20, 1942, but earlier with the beginning of the Barbarossa operation on June 22, 1941, during which started the "Holocaust by bullets" which continued until the end of 1941 and sometimes 1942 for some regions. The number of Jews shot dead amounted to about 1.4 million, or about 200,000 killed per month, which is greater than the extermination rate of the camps.

IX-The Allies had knowledge of the genocide from the beginning (complement to Robert Paxton's theses)

The relatively recent publication of previously secret documents of US and British intelligence services has confirmed that beyond the information openly known during the war, the Anglo-Saxon allies knew about the Holocaust at its very beginning. The basic philosophy that led them to disregard it is, in our opinion: the contempt issued from a prevailing Judaeophobia, the fact that the safeguarding of the Jews was not a strategic priority for western allies and the idea very superficial that victory over Germany would automatically lead to the end of the Holocaust without taking into account the fact that all the Jews might have been exterminated before this victory. This cynical reasoning of the western allies has indeed allowed the Germans to exterminate about 64% of the European Jewish population.

The British intelligence services were able to decipher German coded messages with the Enigma machine thanks to Polish mathematicians; they were informed of the extermination carried out by the Einsatzgruppen at the beginning of the Holocaust. Subsequently they intercepted messages containing extermination statistics sent from Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz and seven other camps. Among the documents deciphered is the memorandum of the conversation between Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem of November 28, 1941. Hitler explained that the target of Germany was the extermination of the Jews in Europe and he utilized the German word "Vernichtung" (destruction) which is very clear.

In the United States, the intelligence services were the IOC which was informed of mass killings since August 1941, then the OSS from 1942 (which became the CIA after the war). Abraham Duker and Charles Irving Dwork, both members of the OSS, made a special file on the Holocaust from its beginning then called "Duker-Dwork Collection" which is part of the United States Archives. Duker and Dwork were shocked by the OSS's lack of interest for the Holocaust, "but being both Jews, they feared of being accused by the OSS of paying too much attention to the Jews.

In early August 1942, Gerhart Riegner, representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva, sent information to the British and American governments on the Holocaust followed by a 30-page report. An inquiry was requested on this report by Sumner Welles, adviser to President Roosevelt, which confirmed the accuracy of this report. A press conference on the Holocaust took place in Washington in November 1942 but the Western countries press showed no interest in it. Robert Borden Rams, a member of the State Department, even complained that this press conference was detrimental to the main target: the "Victory over Germany".

In October 1942 Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter working for the Polish government in exile in London, collected information on the extermination of Jews in Poland in order to pass it on to Western allies. In 1943, he passed on the information to numerous personalities in the United Kingdom and the United States, and in particular to British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Anthony Eden, and then directly to President Roosevelt, whom he met.