Entretien avec l’historien Paul-Eric Blanrue (L’original)
English Translation of: Review | Interview
Now to the Real
Interview with Historian Paul-Éric Blanrue
On the occasion of the release of his latest book, historian Paul-Éric Blanrue agreed to answer our questions. The Internet is a means to escape censorship in a liberal democracy which consists in proclaiming freedom, except when this freedom is troubling. The latest work by Blanrue, Sarkozy, Israel and Jews, has been published by a Belgian publisher and is not being distributed in France by the distributor of this publisher, nor by the traditional French publishers of Blanrue. Yet it is not a book proscribed under French law, nor a racist book. Therefore, one should ask the real question of this curious code of silence [omerta]: if Blanrue is troubling, why? Is it because he is talking rubbish? If so, it would not be censored. Because he commits a few mistakes? Who doesn’t make mistakes? Moreover, factually, his book seems to be so little contestable that those who have tried have broken their own teeth or produced unreasonable arguments. The answer seems to me to lie in the interview that follows, where Blanrue shows that the quality of his thinking is well above the contributions of experts of the mass media in France, Europe or the West (not only in the etymological sense, but also in the meaning of NATO countries). We can also consult his work profitably via the Internet; visit: http://www.oserdire.com/
1) You make (rightly) the distinction between Judaism and Zionism, but virtually none between Zionism and being pro-Israeli [Vous faites (justement) la distinction entre judaïsme et sionisme, quasiment pas entre sionisme et engagement pro-israélien]. Do you really think that the Zionist ideology was dissolved with the creation of Israel, or should we not consider that the creation of the State has strengthened Zionism, with (including) a new fight: the defence of Israeli values ?
Blanrue: We can ramble on infinitely about the definition of the words, but I prefer to remain simple and concrete. The Zionism of former days (let us say that of Herzl, which was to create a “national home for the Jews”) is no longer the same as that now current, if only because in the meanwhile, in 1948, the State of Israel has been created. It is a fact. Certain academics build theories on the “post-Zionism”. For my part, I consider that the original word is always relevant, because the pro-Israeli activists use and claim it themselves, like WIZO (International Women Zionist Organization), the Federation of the Zionists of France, eminent personalities like Patrick Klugman, co-founder of SOS Racism and former president of the UEJF (Union of Jewish Students of France), or again, in America, a character such as Joe Biden, the current vice-president of the United States [who declared himself a Zionist -- AZ]. Now, what should we take this word to mean [que mettre dans ce mot]?
I define contemporary Zionism as the political ideology of the State of Israel, being understood as the Jewish State (or the State of the Jews) [l'État juif (ou des juifs)], whoever the rulers are who succeed one another at its head. It is a mystical, secular, doubly traditional, Judaism – which leads some Rabbis, quite rightly, to declare themselves anti-Zionist, just like the religious Jews of Herzl’s time who had understood instinctively the drift that this new ideology would lead to. The essence of Zionism today lies therefore, in my opinion, in the fact of its personal identity being intimately linked to the fate of the Jewish State. It is thus not necessary to be Jewish to be Zionist: we notice it in American Evangelists, some of whom are ferocious anti-Semites [and yet] who nourish [Zionist] eschatological expectations. We must recognise that the creation of Israel has significantly strengthened Zionism, as I define it, by providing it with a new direction, that of strengthening the foundation of a State and its expansion by all means.
2) What do you think of the work of the historian Shlomo Sand, which separates the Zionist mythology based on the narratives of the Pentateuch from the factual, strikingly different (and more understandable) history? Sand confirms in particular two major processes: the Judaism of the first Christian centuries was proselytising; the origins of the two main centres of the Zionism emanate from these conversions, through the Ashkenazis of central Europe and the Sépharadims partly of German origins. Basically, Judaism is a monotheism rooted in Western history more than Oriental…
Blanrue: Before turning to the work of Sand, it should be remembered that it is unreasonable and absurd to claim restitution of territory purportedly lost 2000 years ago: if every people maintained such chimeras, the political geography of the world would be upset all the time and a new war would break out every second. The interest of the works of Sand is an appeal to reason: he demonstrates that the Zionist demand of “return” is illegitimate from a factual point of view. To adhere to historical data, the real descendants of the Jews of the first century are the current Palestinians.
You can go further than Sand in the deconstruction, to use the fetish word of Jacques Derrida; I urge you to read, on this subject, the books of the archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, which reduces to nothingness the historical claims of the Torah (The Revealed Bible, for example), or those of the academic Thomas Thompson (The Mythic Past, The Messiah Myth, etc..), which demonstrates that the Temple of Solomon or the adventures of King David are only pious legends, compiled later. “Western Monotheism”, you say: it is to be seen… There is certainly no purity of origins in the Jewish religion.
Oriental at first sight, the ancient Jewish religion is a syncretic phenomenon. So, the claim of this religion to be the cradle of monotheism is not acceptable from a historical point of view. The Torah mixes Sumerian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian myths, without forgetting the Greek and Persian contribution to what is precisely the construction of the one God: in the Torah, we pass only gradually from an implicit polytheism, with a monotheistic [monolâtrique] tendency, to an explicit monotheism.
The most universalist tendency of Judaism, those of the Prophets, engendered Christianity; the anti-Hellenist tendency gave us Talmudic Judaism, which moved away from the old Mosaic Judaism and created a new form of religion, that of the Rabbis and synagogues, which tended to close in on itself. The Rabbis of the medieval period did not read the New Testament and had little knowledge of Christian civilization. “The Westernization” of Jewish culture is thus very relative. The Judaism of the last 2000 years is also an ablation of “the West”.
Sand speaks of the manufacture of the concept of the “Jewish people”. It is something else. He demonstrates that there is no “Jewish people” from an objective point of view. This idea appears as Zionism in recent times and is forged in the “Western” framework. This demonstrates that the concept of the Jewish people has nothing to do with the more ancient, Eastern-Syncretic, Jewish religion. This does not make Judaism an Occidentalism. For me, as a rationalist, Judaism must first and foremost be seen as a religion, contrary to what Herzl claimed yesterday or BHL [Bernard-Henri Lévy] today, because it is what it is, objectively. Herzl himself was an agnostic and considered that the ancestral faiths of what he defined as his people, his ethnic group or his race, constituted only a useful propaganda tool designed to encourage Jews to leave their countries to reach a “Jewish home” (which originally was not situated necessarily in Palestine). Zionism erased little by little the Jewish religion of the fathers. Political Israel did not deconsecrate [or secularise] a religion: it diverted it from its direction.
3) We often ramble on about Zionism which dominates the West, particularly the United States and the European Union. The boycott of your latest work seems to confirm this tendency. As does the collusive silence by Western authorities during the shameful and bloody operation in Gaza. Nevertheless, when we analyze the history of Zionism, we realise that Zionism was first created by Protestant heresies such as Restorationism [restaurationnistes]. Given your knowledge of the French Zionist networks, don’t you think that it would be better to reverse the analysis and to propose that Zionism is the child — unmanageable, capricious, and spoiled — of the imperialist West? Israel would be one of the faces of Western neo-colonialism and one of the territorial embodiments of this Western imperialism disguised as a universalist liberalism. Israel would doubtless show an egocentric independent behaviour, but Westerners would use Israel just as much as the opposite? The servility of the West would be explained less by cowardice or subordination than by complicity, even manipulation … In support of this thesis, let us mention the recent refusal of the Obama administration to follow the Israelis on the ground in a preventive war against Iran: we noticed the result …
Blanrue: There is no doubt (i) that Zionism is the creation of its era, that of the “national fact” and the colonialism of the nineteenth century, (ii) that its birth took place in Europe, and (iii) finally, that Judaism is not its only constituent. The European colonial spirit thus rocked it [in its infancy]. Is Zionism however resolved to be only an extension of the European colonial spirit?
Zionism is certainly an attempt to imitate the European colonial movement. It was supported in this respect by one of the main colonial powers, Great Britain, for political purposes. Note, however, that this is an original form of colonisation without metropolis, that distinguishes it radically from the other forms of European colonisation. Besides, the concept of “the West” has been out-of-date for a long time: I do not see which interests France and the United States have in common (as some would like to confuse in the excessively broad and vague notion of the West) on the question of Israel, nor in which Israel is an intermediary [relais] of Europe in the Middle East or contributes to the defence of her interests there.
This vision was that of Herzl, who sought to convince financiers to help him in his project of conquest by promising them that his land of plenty would be the “advanced bastion of the civilization against barbarism”: it is not that his advertising slogan corresponds to reality! In fact, we note that capital flows are from Europe or America towards Israel rather than the opposite. The United States does have certain geostrategic interest in the region, [which it would be] useless to demonstrate anew: Israel allows them to control the oil and gas in the Near and Middle East. But Europe?
Consider, for example, the colossal sums which Germany has to pay as reparation to the survivors of concentration camps who have taken refuge in Israel: of what use is it to her? Don’t forget that the servility of the “West” towards the Jewish State, to use your expression, is explained largely by the Second World War and the immense sense of guilt which followed it, fed every day by Zionist ideology, proponents [relais] of which, in the face of any challenge, proceed by reductio ad hitlerum to crush their opponents as flies. The Union of the Jewish Businessmen of France [L'Union des patrons juifs de France] ( UPJF) already promotes the idea of a “Martin Luther King” law, which seeks to legally equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. This is totally absurd.
To return to the subject of my book, I show that Nicolas Sarkozy used the Zionist networks to realise his political ambitions: in a demagogic way, he adopted the positions of Le Pen to be elected to the presidency in 2007, and has provided an immunity by joining with the American pro-Israeli lobby and its French relays [relais], which protected him from any large-scale attack on this plan. These networks became his firmest support. Result: today, Sarkozy goes even farther than Obama in criticism of Ahmadinijad or in veneration of Israel. It became a war of delay, a “French-style Bush” [«Bush à la française»] as the weekly Marianne put it recently. But what does France gain by this policy?
It also suffers Zionist pressures of all kinds. Its politicians receive orders of the pro-Israeli organisations, with failure to comply scrupulously not being forgiven. Where is our national independence, our sovereignty? The policy [politique] of Sarkozy, an aberration [fracture] in the history of contemporary France, is driving our country into a wall by associating it with the irrational policy of the Jewish State which needs wars to ensure its internal cohesion and preserve its self-delusions about its strength. The previous policy of the French government, denounced as “Arab” by her enemies, but which was actually neutral, prudent, and well-balanced, was more in compliance with the interests of our country, as well as with justice and morality.
4) To continue in this interpretive vein, don’t you think that Zionism is a sub-ideology, a hybrid between communism and liberalism (to synthetize [pour synthétiser]) and that the true enemy of freedom would not be this sub-ideology, but what the geo-politician Hillard called globalism as opposed to the process of the globalization? Globalisation would follow the course of human history, which tends towards globalisation and expansion, when globalism is the ideology of the circles calling to halt the expansion process at the level of world domination.
Blanrue: Zionism is the first “red-brown” movement in history. We find within it the extremist left carrying the myth of the kibbutz and the ultra-orthodox of the radical right. It is the mystique of Israel as a Jewish State which holds all together. However, I would not define Zionism as a hybrid, but rather as a degraded and contradictory system that remains in place only by the glorification of a “deified” artificial entity, that continues only thanks to the search for a common enemy to slaughter, that allows internal antagonisms to be eliminated by centripetal effect. In this context, the ideology of globalisation is both the best friend and the worst enemy of the Zionism. Friend, because Israel remains a State, willing to accommodate all the Jews of the world, whatever their nationality of origin, with a “law of return” much broader than the Mosaic concept, because, since 1970, it has been extended “to the children and grandchildren of a Jew, his spouse and the spouse of a child or grandchild of a Jew”. Enemy, because the interbreeding of younger generations and the population explosion of Palestinians are phenomena that are irreparably leading the Jewish State down the slope of decline, as noted by Jacques Attali, who gave it a maximum of 50 years of existence. I believe that he is optimistic.
5) Recently, the European elections in France have sparked a debate with the Dieudonné’s anti-Zionist [electoral] list and the Company quartered in Ile-de-France (beautiful example of Parisianism, hardly little republican!). This list has certainly had a very mixed success, but less narrow than what we would have expected. Do you really think that anti-Zionism can embody a coherent political programme, particularly in France?
Blanrue: For the moment, we have not seen a really coherent anti-Zionist programme, but rather a movement to catalyse a mood fed by claims, policies, and privileges of the representatives of the Jewish community (the CFJO dinner, the Gayssot law, and others), who claim to speak in the name of the Jews, while they represent at best only a sixth of them and work essentially on the promotion of Zionism without worrying about the real interests of their co-religionists. Overall, the results of the polls are mixed. The vote seems more ethnic than properly ideological. I do not know today in our society such as it is, whether a purely anti-Zionist list has some chance of success. To arouse popular enthusiasm, a positive programme seems to me necessary. It is certain, for example, that prominent personalities like Roland Dumas or Dominique de Villepin did not have to claim to be anti-Zionist to manage to maintain the national sovereignty when it was threatened by Israel’s claims.
6) You give some advice to the Zionists to avoid possible avenging violence in the future. Yet since the assassination of Rabin in 1995, Israeli policy has continued to experience an escalation in violence and warfare, to the point where Sharon has been dethroned in the neo-colonial paroxysm he embodied (often) by Netanyahu and his unlikely Minister of Foreign Affairs. A La Rouche in the United States (the n-th scapegoat accused of anti-Semitism) explains that Israel is caught in a self-destructive spiral, contrary to the optical error that considers Israeli violence as all-powerful, especially in the Near East. In terms of this flight forward, what do you think of the alternative to perpetual war that is presented as the wise and progressive solution, that calls for the creation of two states, one Israeli and other Palestinian? Is it not attempting the impossible by proposing a morally inadmissible and practically unworkable neo-apartheid? Is a false solution allowing to defer the resolution of a true problem?
Blanrue: The “two States” solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer tenable. Stéphane Hessel has already answered it. In my book, I quote a former deportee to Buchenwald, one of the “fathers” of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, who declared in late 2008: “After what happened following the evacuation of the Israeli colonies [settlements] in Gaza, since the closure of this small territory which does not have contacts anymore with the outside world, since there is a Hamas on one side and a Fatah on the other, the only solution that seemed reasonable and possible of both States — Israeli and Palestinian — living side by side following a negotiation, is no longer possible. All our interlocutors on the spot told us: “It is out! It is not possible any more!” Why? Essentially because of the way the Israelis continued to colonise the West Bank and did nothing to facilitate the work of Mahmud Abbas. None of these problems have evolved in these last years, the two States solution has lapsed. “There is nothing to add.”
7) What is anti-Zionism? Being anti-Zionist, is it to wish the disappearance of Israel? If anti-Zionism does not correspond to this last mentioned option, should I conclude from it that Zionism and pro-Israel-ism do not correspond, in any case completely?
Blanrue: There are as many types of anti-Zionists as there are Zionists. I know nobody who wishes the physical disappearance of the State of Israel, and certainly not President Ahmadinijad whose words we diverted from their real sense (for what he said was that the “occupying regime in Israel” must “be erased by the pages of time”, which has nothing to do with the elimination of a State). On the other hand, a common feature of the anti-Zionists is dissatisfaction with the situation which reigns in Israel and to which we are forced to attend in France without having the right to criticize it, lest we qualify as names liable to [be called before] the magistrates’ court. One of the possible and reasonable definitions of anti-Zionism would, to borrow the term used by Jimmy Carter, be to not accept in fact that Israel remains a Jewish State practising a policy of apartheid.
8) Don’t you think that the unilateral omnipotence of Zionism hides its obvious decline, something like the swan song of this ideology and of the pro-Israeli policy? The current systemic crisis, which is anything but completed, would affect primarily the Zionist interests — Zionism as the tree that hides the globalist forest. The moral rampart of the anti-Semitism does not prevent any more so effectively as formerly the protests (more and more numerous) against the drift and abuses, particularly during the last demonstration of Israeli policy. The defenders of the Zionism are increasingly challenged, especially the ardent supporters, as BHL [Bernard-Henri Lévy] and Company, who spend more and more for propagandists, and sometimes are clearly deceitful (see in particular the funny episode of BHL in Georgia).
Blanrue: Zionism is coming to an end. All indicators show that we are at a turning point in history. That is why the Zionists are so nervous, committing so many indiscretions and are in a desperate flight forward. If I take my personal case, the fact that I am not allowed to speak in France, that my book is “blacked-out” (the French distributor of my Belgian publisher refused to distribute it in French bookshops, when it is neither forbidden nor pursued [n’est ni interdit ni poursuivi]), is revealing of the decay of French Zionism, which paradoxically is in power since Sarkozy. In the United States, the pro-Israeli lobby is still strong and sure of its prerogatives, even if the Madoff affair shook it a little: as a result, it leaves a space of freedom to its opponents.
In France, the pro-Israeli networks, albeit influential, are in a state of advanced decline, disebowelment [étripent], and doubt, themselves, so admitting their latent weakness: that’s why they leave less freedom of expression to their opponents. They fear that in broad daylight are shown their uncertainties, their distractions, which are so many forerunners of their announced defeat. I ask them to regain the initiative, since they helped put in power their liegeman, and to show us that they are still capable of holding a discussion. That is why I call, in my work, in a new “night of August 4th” : that privileged persons, put in trouble, give up a certain number of their privileges and prove that they are finally ready to lower tensions which can only be harmful, going forward, for the community that they are supposed to represent so that in the quite whole nation. “National regeneration will require the destruction of numerous privileges,” wrote Che Guevara. This lesson is more than ever to think about!
Entretien avec l’historien Paul-Eric Blanrue (L’original)
English Translation of: Review | Interview
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