Op-Ed: Our New Vichy-Like Intellectuals
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.
Bruce Bawer, the American cultural critic who lives in Norway, just came out with a new book titled “The New Quislings”.
It’s a devastating blow against the witch hunt and hysteria which poisoned Europe after the Oslo youth camp carnage last year.
Norway is the nation that gave the world the word “Quisling” - after the politician who encouraged a Nazi invasion of his country.
Despite it’s mainly dealing with Norway, Bawer’s splendid book sheds new light into a much deeper phenomenon: the night of Europe and its Vichy-like intellectuals.
Throughout Europe, there’s a river of oily, bloody money that feeds those who incite for anti-Jewish boycotts, all the while spreading anti-Israel lies under guise of “objective journalism” and “academic research”.
There are careers to be made through the betrayal of intellectual standards by making the Jewish State the object of an unremitting demonology. There are almost no Jews today in Oslo, however the Norwegian capital is one of the global centers of new anti-Semitism.
There are more than a thousand Jews in the city, but you never see them. Not one. It’s like during the Holocaust: even then there were a few Jews around, but that didn’t stop homegrown good Norwegian cops from escorting the German invaders to a local junior high school to arrest a Jewish girl and ship her off to the death camps.
In a famous 2006 op-ed for Aftenposten, sarcastically titled “God’s Chosen People”, Jostein Gaarder, the author of literary phenomenon “Sophie’s World”, wrote that “we no longer recognize the state of Israel, we don’t believe in the idea of God’s chosen people, to present oneself as God’s chosen people is not just stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity”.
Bawer’s book tells the story of Lars Gule, the former head of the Norwegian Humanist Association and a very high-profile figure in Norway’s cultural circles.
In 1977, Gule joined the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the terrorist group responsible for the 1974 Maalot massacre in which twenty-two Israeli students were butchered.
Gule was delegated to set off a bomb in Israel on the tenth anniversary of the Six-Day War. At the Beirut airport, however, he was caught with 750 grams of explosives hidden in books in his backpack.
While reading Bawer’s brave pamphlet, one starts to remember names that became famous icons such as Gide, Claudel, Romains, Picasso, Malraux and Piaf as well as the names of the French communist intellectuals who in 1953 organized a rally in Paris in support of the Soviet position that Jewish doctors had assassinated communist leaders.
But above all, the name of Jean-Paul Sartre, the incarnation of cultural engagement, the humanist guru who turned down a Nobel Prize for literature and founded the left-leaning newspaper Liberation. During the German occupation of Paris,
Sartre was a cynical profiteer concerned exclusively with his own literary career and ready to compromise with the Nazi authorities. Sartre worked for “Comoedia”, a magazine financed by the Nazis; his work “The Flies” got the blessing of the German censors; his companion, the literary goddess Simone de Beauvoir, worked for the national pro-German radio.
After the war, Sartre rebuilt his image of a “grand-resistant”. He already was familiar with the horrors of the Soviet Gulag, but did not reveal them so as “not to discourage the morale of the Billancourt’s workers”.
Much less known is Sartre’s praise for Arab terrorism.
When 11 Israeli athletes were butchered at the 1972 Munich Olympics in, Sartre wrote: “Terrorism is a terrible weapon, but the oppressed poor have no others”.
The lesson from Sartre’s story and Bawer’s book is urgent for our time; namely, the appeal of Jihadi totalitarianism and Palestinian terrorism to Western intellectuals and their silence on it. It also reveals how deeply Jew-hatred devoured the minds of Europe’s intellectual elite.
When legions of “Arab martyrs” started blowing themselves up in the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula and Karnei Shomron, how many Western intellectuals expressed this Sartrian, lame empathy for the murderous rage?
At that time the British Guardian ran an editorial titled “Israel Has No Right to Exist.”
Today, most European intellectuals, academics, writers and journalists, are literally enablers of evil, giving cover to the ongoing slaughter of Jewish.
How many Western columnists had declared, before the Fogel massacre, that the Palestinians had the right to attack Itamar-like towns?
You have Tom Paulin, the Irish poet who recommended that “Brooklyn-born settlers be shot dead”. For good measure he added: “I never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all”. [It seems like a Nazi fantasy come true, but some renowned cultural icons have also spoken of removing any Israeli presence from academic institutions and terminating any scientific cooperation with Israel].
You have Zygmunt Bauman, one of the world’s most influential sociologists, who in a recent interview to the Polish weekly Politika, compared the Israeli anti-terror fence to the Warsaw Ghetto, from whence 400.000 innocent, peaceful Jews were deported to the Treblinka’s gas chambers.
You have the prominent French sociologist Edgar Morin, who dubbed Israel “a cancer”.
You have the German historian Ernst Nolte, who at the Italian Congress declared that “the only difference between Israel and the Third Reich is Auschwitz” and that “the liking for the Palestinians is more widespread than that one for the Holocaust’s victims”.
You find Swedish bestselling author Henning Mankell, who was part of pro-Hamas Flottilla, or the Italian historian Angelo D’Orsi, who only regrets that “maybe its too late” to reset Israel, because “the scandal is the very existence of that state”.
You have A.N. Wilson, a prominent British writer who “reluctantly” concluded Israel no longer has a right to exist.
This Judeophobic hegemony is exercised in newspapers, movies, magazines, books and cultural events. It stays around like artificial waste. Like plastic, it doesn’t disappear for generations. It’s like pollution.
Anti-Semitism no longer shocks people.
Our Western, Vichy-like intellectuals have much Israeli blood on their hands.