“Anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past, it has a future [in Europe],” says French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut.
By United with Israel Staff
French-Jewish philosopher and recognized public intellectual Alain Finkielkraut issued a stern warning concerning rapidly rising anti-Semitism worldwide in an interview with the German Der Spiegel magazine that was recently published.
“Anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past, it even has a future,” Finkielkraut said. “I was actually the object of aggression that had a proven anti-Semitic character. I was not called ‘dirty Jew’ but ‘dirty s*** Zionist’.”
Finkielkraut was on the receiving end of anti-Semitic abuse hurled at him by “yellow vest” demonstrators in February. The yellow vests are part of a left-wing French protest group that seeks “economic justice.”
He said that “contemporary anti-Semitism uses the language of anti-racism. Because of the existence of Israel, the Jews are now considered racists.”
The philosopher emphasized the “worrying” situation with the “extreme left [that] defends radical, anti-Semitic Islam.” He pointed out two reasons for his concern.
“[I]deologically, because for them the Muslims are the new Jews, the disenfranchised, but also for tactical reasons, because there are many more Muslims than Jews in France today,” he told der Spiegel.
Finkielkraut continued, “Hatred of the Jews is very widespread in the Arab countries. Germany has recently opened its doors wide to a large number of immigrants from these countries. Germany is therefore already encountering a different, new anti-Semitism.”
He said that western Europe is “haunted” by Nazism and the Holocaust. This “blinds us to the reality of the present. We are so obsessed with the fear that our lap is still fertile and the beast can escape from it again, that we do not recognize the new forms of anti-Semitism. And, when we recognize them, we underestimate them.”
He did share a ray of hope, however, “Fortunately, we are mobilizing against anti-Semitism that stems from the neo-Nazi milieu. You can find it in Alsace, in Germany, in Italy.”
Finkielkraut, 70, taught philosophy at the elite École Polytechnique university in Paris for 25 years. He has been a member of the Académie Française (French Academy) since 2014.
Finkielkraut’s father survived the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust. However, his grandparents were murdered by the Nazis there.
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