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

Sept. 16 2015

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.”

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Read more at Tablet

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

What Israel Can Offer Africa

Last week, the Israeli analyst Yechiel Leiter addressed a group of scholars and diplomats gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss security issues facing the Horn of Africa. Herewith, some excerpts from his speech:

Since the advent of Zionism and the birth of modern Israel, there has been a strong ideological connection between Israel and the African continent. . . . For decades, [however], the notion that the absence of peace in the Middle East was due the absence of Palestinian statehood prevented a full and strategic partnership with African countries. . . . The visits to Africa by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in 2016 to East Africa and in 2017 to West Africa—reenergized the natural partnership that was initiated by Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir in the 1960s.

There is much we share, many places where our interests converge. And I don’t mean another military base in Djibouti. . . . One such area involves the safety of waterways in and around the Red Sea. Curtailing contraband, drugs, arms smuggling, and other forms of serious corruption are all vital for us. . . . But the one critical area of cooperation I’d like to put the spotlight on is in the realm of food security, or rather food insecurity.

Imagine Ethiopia’s cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the two or three that they produce today. Imagine an exponential rise in (organic) meat exports to Middle Eastern and even European countries, the result of increased processing, storage, and transportation possibilities. Cows today can have a microscopic chip behind their ears that sends messages to the farmer’s computer or mobile phone that tracks what the cow ate, what its temperature is, and what care it might need. Imagine a dramatic expansion of the wheat yield that can make Ethiopia a net exporter of wheat—to Egypt, perhaps in the context of negotiations over the waters of the Nile.

Israel has proven technology in all of these agricultural areas and we’re here; we’re neighbors. We are linked to Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, in so many ways.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology