Israel Shamir

The Fighting Optimist

“Protecting the Jews”

FRENCH TRANSLATION: Comment protéger les juifs

Justify your actions by the need to protect the weak and vulnerable. This is the first rule of political rhetoric. If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.

Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can’t possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.

This thought came to my mind during my recent visit to France for the publication of my new book In The Name of Christ. France is going through a rapid shrinking of freedom. All the nations experience that, but France leads. For years they had laws that banned things displeasing to Jews; and now they expand these laws punishing not only saying or writing but also thinking, implying or winking. The bill criminalising anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism may be voted on very soon. As the law voted in 2015 (after the Charlie Hebdo attack), against the “apology of terrorism”, the new law will allow the government to seize anyone, just for a tweet or a post on Facebook, and send a person for 18 months to “preventive imprisonment”, even before he comes to a court. The judge will sanction him on the basis of “intimate conviction” of his “hidden intentions”.

This fight against alleged antisemitism has become – like in the UK – a powerful tool of the ruling elites against the people. It is used against the Gilets Jaunes (the Yellow Vests), and against the opposition in general. The authorities apply the R2P principle to assault French freedom, that is they allegedly protect the Jews, as if Jews need protection, and in the name of Jews they steal freedom of all.

With a certain poetic license, one can proclaim the Jews are innocent of this assault, like the Aleppo kids are not guilty of bombing Syria and Afghan women are not guilty of American occupation. The Jews have been used as proverbial victims, but so were children and women. The guilt and responsibility is of those who use them as a pretext.

You may argue that the comparison is forced, for the French Jewish bodies actively participate in this campaign against French freedom. Yes, that’s true, but these organisations are voluntary self-appointed guardians of Jewish interest. Jews didn’t vote for them, didn’t elect them. The government was free to disregard them saying they do not represent their Jewish citizens. Actually, that was the traditional French approach, refusing to deal with Jewish organisations saying the French Jews are French and they do not need an intermediary. If the government preferred to listen to them, it is only because they say what the government wants to hear.

In Annecy, one of France’s prettiest medieval towns I had met Maître Viguier, the lawyer for Mr Alain Soral, and over the pot of cheese fondue the place is famous for he told me an amazing story.

In the course of their demo, the Yellow Vests had burned a picture of a French TV personality, Bernard Henri Levi (BHL for short), and of some other worthies. This event had been depicted in a jolly video clip that you can watch with pleasure and the clip had been uploaded on a website associated with Alain Soral.

The CRIF (or/and LICRA and other bodies) had accused Mr Soral of antisemitism, a criminal offence, on the strength of this fact, and demanded 2 years of prison + 30,000 euros, requested as punishment + 82,500 as compensations for the “victims”. The Maître said the elites try to unite the Jewish people against Gilets Jaunes and against ordinary French people. Other supporters of the GJ, Jean Bricmont and M. Chouard are the next on the list, after Soral.

The CRIF said that the rap was in coded language. The burned picture of BHL suggests a great fire to burn every Jew. “Between 1940 and 1945, the Nazis called the Jews ‘vermin’ and ‘parasites’ that should be exterminated”, they say. And that’s why the word “parasites” in the clip necessarily refers to Jews that should be exterminated. A very weak logic; Socrates would send these CRIF sophists back to the holes they usually hide from sunlight. Whatever the Nazis said, they have no copyright on the word ‘parasites’. In the Soviet Union after the October 1917 Revolution, when Jews occupied quite a prominent place in the society, the most popular revolutionary song said the parasites have no right to rule the land.

Parasites are those who do not toil but consume; and this is not a specific Jewish feature. By claiming that Jews are the parasites, the self-proclaimed Jewish organisations indulge in vile antisemitism, I told them.

What’s wrong in burning a picture of BHL? BHL is a French citizen who is entitled to his views. However, none of his views could or should be accepted as “the Jewish position”. The French Jews, and certainly the Jews of the world, hold a wide variety of views, some of them agree with BHL in some points and some disagree, sometimes disagree strongly. Mr BHL had been a fervent supporter, or even an instigator of the NATO attack on Libya in 2011 that had made this rather prosperous North African country a failed state ruled by Islamist armed gangs. Mr BHL had been a fervent supporter or an instigator of the Kiev 2014 coup that deposed the legitimate president of the Ukraine and had brought followers of the Nazi Quisling Stepan Bandera to power. Mr BHL had tried to ignite the ire of his French compatriots against the GJ. These and other strong views of Mr BHL had caused indignation of some French citizens who expressed their indignation by burning his photo. These acts by Mr BHL and his adversaries are perfectly legitimate within the limits of free public discourse.

What is not and can’t be legitimate is an attempt by the CRIF to create a false impression as if those opinions and acts by Mr BHL were an expression of the Jewish position. This is an obnoxious anti-Semitic lie. The Jews of France, of Israel and of the world didn’t necessarily wish Libya to be bombed or Kiev upturned; the Jews have no united single political position on French elections or on French political movements. Some French Jews support the GJ, and some reject them. Some vote for Mr Macron and some for Mme Le Pen or Mr Soral.

It’s only vicious anti-Semites who claim that all Jews follow and support BHL. This nasty claim had been upheld by a self-proclaimed “Jewish organisation” CRIF.

Let me reiterate: the body called CRIF does not represent French Jews, for it was not elected by French Jews. Its leadership is not accepted by French or any other Jews. It is a political organisation with its own goals; its goals do not coincide with those of majority of Jews in France or elsewhere.

While it is possible to argue that in some cases CRIFF acts in the interests of the Jews by fighting anti-Jewish prejudice, in this particular case the CRIF acts against the Jewish interests, as this action is likely to enforce the anti-Jewish prejudice of all Jews acting together for some dubious goal like break-up of Libya or Ukraine or for other controversial goal.

The Jews qua Jews have no position on these topics. Mr BHL is neither an elected representative nor a spiritual authority for the Jews in France or anywhere else. He does not dress as an observant Jew, he does not observe Jewish laws and customs; his family famously includes apostates; his actions were always those of a free agent; he never consulted with Jewish authorities, spiritual or temporal.

He is perfectly entitled to his views and opinions; however he may not claim he acts in the Jewish interests or represents the Jews. Even less so CRIF may present a protest against BHL as an act against Jewish people as the whole; as an act of anti-Semitism. If somebody is anti-Semitic it is CRIF that suggest that an attack of BHL is an attack on the Jewish people. If this would be a case, should we consider a condemnation of the Black comedian Mr Dieudonné – an act of anti-black racism?

It is perfectly legal to burn the image of BHL in Israel; and I intend to do it tomorrow in Tel Aviv on the Gordon Beach, I told them. No court in Israel would accuse me of anti-Semitism if I burn his picture; or a picture of Mr Netanyahu who is anyway an elected representative of the Jewish state of Israel. While Israeli flag is protected from desecration, an image of a person of a Jewish origin is not. It is free to burn or despoil it in any way you like.

I am certain that French citizens are not less free than Israeli citizens, and I hope that the French court will reject the frivolous claim of the self-proclaimed Jewish body called CRIFF against Mr Alain Soral. It would be good if Mr BHL would find courage to support Mr Soral against CRIF by affirming that he was not and is not acting as a legitimate representative or spiritual authority of the French Jews. It would be even better if the French Republic would accuse CRIF for encouraging anti-Jewish prejudice by frivolous claims.

If the French Republic finds it necessary to condemn Mr Alain Soral for whatever reason, let her do it without pretence of acting for the Jewish cause. Keep Jews out of this polemics! The Jews have enough troubles of their own without being used as a sort of supreme argument in an intra-French dispute.

This is what I said to the French lawyer, and he produced my argument in the French court. You can read all this argumentation here in French or just watch a conversation (in English with French translation) I had with a popular French presenter Jean-Michel Vernochet and the charming poet, political thinker and my translator Mme Maria Poumier:

The Jewish stories keep you forever busy, and I am glad that I could be of help to the besieged French while defending the Jews. God knows, Jews have enough sins of their own without having to bear and defend sins of the French establishment.

It would be sad and unwise to conclude this piece on such a sombre note, while glorious summer delights our eyes. Let us cross the Channel, where the indomitable 93-year-old Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, or just Dr M for short, spoke to English students in the Cambridge Union debating society on Sunday (Jun 16). Cambridge audience had been tickled pink by Dr M’s scintillating wit, a newspaper reported.

“I have some Jewish friends, very good friends, they are not like the other Jews, that’s why they are my friends,” – said Dr M causing wave of laughter. I hope he counts me among his friends since he invited me to his Kuala Lumpur 15 years ago and I duly reported about Malaysia and about him, the man who had fought Soros and IMF and won. Read here how he did it.

Many times he called Israel ‘the force behind all the woes of the Middle East’. Nor was he ever scared to be labelled antisemitic. And still this great man (whose very name horrifies Jewish activists and jerks the Cambridge University Labour Club to declare its “solidarity with British Jews”) ruled his country over 40 years, and recently had been re-elected as the candidate of the opposition party. He is well over ninety, and still going strong.

So be of good cheer, my friends and readers! Follow the example of Dr M and don’t be afraid of being called youknowwhat. This is not the end of the world. The voice of the Jews is powerful only when it goes in unison with real powers, and when their opponents are meek and weak-kneed. Strong-minded men can sail through their opposition as easily as they go through market-women’s squabble.

Israel Shamir can be reached at

This article was first published at The Unz Review

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