On January 22, 2015, Bernard-Henri Lévy, a French philosopher and writer known as BHL, spoke at a special plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly. The topic was rising anti-Semitic violence worldwide. You can watch the full 26-minute speech on UN Web TV here; and read the official French transcript here. Below is the transcript of his speech, translated into English, as reported in the Huffington Post:
Not often is a philosopher called upon to speak in this forum.
This is one of the first times (Elie Wiesel and Jiddu Krishnamurti came before me) that a writer has stood at this dais from which so many great voices have rung out and where the cause of peace and brotherhood among peoples has achieved some of its most important and noble advances.
It is therefore with great emotion and with a deep sense of honor that I address you today.
* * *But you invited me, this morning, not to hear me hold forth on the honor and nobility of humanity but rather to lament the renewed advance of the radical inhumanity, the total baseness, that is anti-Semitism.
In Brussels, just a few months ago, the memory of the Jews and the keepers of that memory were attacked.
In Paris, just a few days ago, we heard once again the infamous cry of "Death to the Jews!"--and cartoonists were killed for cartooning, police for policing, and Jews just for shopping and being Jews.
And in other capitals, many others, in Europe and elsewhere, faulting the Jews is once again becoming the rallying cry of a new order of assassins--unless it is the same order, cloaked in new habits.
The United Nations was founded to fight this plague.
This assembly was given the sacred task of preventing those terrible spirits from reawakening. But they have returned--and that is why we are here.Terribly true, which explains the nature of this beast, the enormity of what humanity has been facing, and is currently facing. If you think that a world without Jews would be a benefit to humanity, as some loudly say and a few more (secretly) think, then think again, says BHL:
* * *On the subject of this curse, on the subject of its causes and of the means by which to resist it, I would like to begin by refuting a number of current analyses that I fear serve only to keep us from looking this evil squarely in the face.
It is not true, for example, that anti-Semitism is just a form of racism. Both must be fought, of course, with equal determination. But one cannot fight what one does not understand. And it must be understood that, if the racist hates in the Other his visible and conspicuous Otherness, the anti-Semite hates his invisible and indefinable difference--and on that awareness the nature of the strategies that one will have to deploy is going to depend.
Nor is it true that the new anti-Semitism has, as one hears constantly, especially in the United States, its taproot in the Arab-Islamic world. In my country, for example, it has a double source that acts as a sort of double bind. There are, it is true, the many lost souls of a radical Islam that has become the most toxic opium invading the lost territories of our Republic. But there is also that old French monster that, since the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, has slept with one eye open and, in the end, is not incompatible with the Islamofascist beast.
And, finally, it is not accurate to say that the policy of a particular state--I am referring, obviously, to the state of Israel--generates anti-Semitism in the way clouds produce a storm. I have seen European capitals in which the destruction of the Jews was nearly total, yet where anti-Semitism still thrives. I have seen others, farther away, where no Jews have ever lived--yet where the word "Jew" is a synonym for the devil. And I say here that even if Israel's conduct were exemplary, even if Israel were a nation of angels, even if the Palestinians were granted the state that is their right, even then, alas, this old, enigmatic hatred would not dissipate one iota.
A world without Jews indeed would not be a world. A world in which the Jews once again became the scapegoats for all people's fears and frustrations would be a world in which free people could not breathe easy and the enslaved would be even more enslavedFor more about Bernard Bernard-Henri Lévy and his views, you ought to visit his official website, which is edited by Professor Liliane Lazar of Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.
For more of the speech, go to [HuffPost]