A French Philosopher on Growing up Anti-Semitic and the Future of Europe

The French philosopher Pascal Bruckner is the son of a fierce anti-Semite who admired Hitler. He has recently written a book about his relationship with his father, entitled Un bon fils (“A Good Son”). The younger Bruckner claims that since his father “was very violent and mean to my mother, I eventually started to identify with the people he hated.” He now fears a very different kind of anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, as David Mikics writes:

France, Bruckner said in our interview, has reached a crisis point because of radical Islam. “Teaching the Shoah is impossible in many schools; teaching about Voltaire or Madame Bovary is impossible,” he remarked. Muslim anti-Semitism is different from his father’s old-fashioned kind, Bruckner explains, though his father late in his life was happy to see that radical Islam had become a vehicle for the hatred of Jews. Now, he remarks, Muslims protest when the Jews claim the position of victim, a position they themselves want.

In addition to Islamist terror France now faces another threat, its own refusal to deal with a refugee crisis unprecedented in European history. Today, “racism is multiplying,” Bruckner writes with alarm, recalling that racism was his father’s religion. Incompatible tribes seem to be replacing the old liberal dream of humanity as unity-in-diversity. Among the exponents of the new tribalism are, increasingly, the nations of Europe, who are both welcoming refugees and nervously imagining ways to keep them out. . . . Bruckner still thinks of Europe as “the planet’s moral compass”—how’s that for old-fashioned?—because it “has acquired a sense of the fragility of human affairs.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, France, History & Ideas, Philosophy

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion