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September 01st 2008 print

Bernard-Henri Levy on the new Anti-Semitism

In ‘The Task of the Jews’, The American Interest, September-October 2008, Lévy writes.

In ‘The Task of the Jews’, The American Interest, September-October 2008, Lévy writes:

The new political anti-Semitism is in Europe, the Muslim world, much of Asia, and even in the New World. So what should we do? We should mount a generalized counter-offensive.

For example, we should stop being complicit, even tacitly, in the de-legitimizing of Israel. In particular, we should put a stop to one argument that lately has been deployed like a giant club, intimidating even Israel’s friends into speechlessness. This is the argument that whispers, “Why make the Arabs pay for a crime they did not commit; why give Israel to the Jews as reparation for the Holocaust, since it was a European crime?”

It is time for two powerful counter-arguments. First of all, the Holocaust is hardly the sole justification for the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Second, it is simply not true to call the Holocaust a purely European crime, to say that the Arab world had no part in it. As Paul Berman showed in Terror and Liberalism (2003), there was an Arab component in Nazism. From the Muslim Brotherhood of Hassan al-Banna to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, the Nazi ideology’s saturation of the Arab-Muslim world is an indelible fact. Klaus-Michael Mallman and Martin Cuppers, two eminent German researchers, have demonstrated in Crescent Moon and Swastika (2006) that the anti-Semitism of the Arab leaders of the Nazi era was true anti-Semitism, nourished by an extreme hatred, not merely the simple anti-Anglo-Saxon impulse that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” to which it is generally ascribed. They tell the previously unknown story of the SS Einsatz Gruppe Egypt, led by Obersturmbannführer Walter Rauff, the man who invented the gassing trucks at the beginning of the Final Solution. He was based in Athens in the rear guard of Rommel’s army, and his mission, had General Montgomery not stopped Rommel in November 1942, was to head straight to Palestine to exterminate the 500,000 Jews of the Yishuv. In my most recent book, Left in Dark Times (2008), I show the terrible theoretical, political and genealogical coherence of Islamofascism, which consists of Nasserism, pan-Arab nationalism, the first Palestinian national ideology and today the ideologies of Hamas and Hizballah. Recognizing this, penetrating to the heart of the reasoning process of those who have never wanted to recognize Israel, that is our first task.

The full article is at: http://www.the-american-interest.com/ai2/article.cfm?Id=479&MId=21