Sunday, May 27th | 13 Sivan 5778


Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

October 21, 2015 3:16 pm

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Things We Need to Stop Hearing About the ‘Stabbing Intifada’

avatar by Bernard-Henri Lévy

Email a copy of "Bernard-Henri Lévy: Things We Need to Stop Hearing About the ‘Stabbing Intifada’" to a friend
Police at the scene of a terrorist attack in which two Palestinian terrorists boarded a bus in Jerusalem and killed two Israelis. Photo: Courtesy of Israel Police to Foreign Press Association.

Police at the scene of a terrorist attack in which two Palestinian terrorists boarded a bus in Jerusalem and killed two Israelis. Photo: Courtesy of Israel Police to Foreign Press Association.

It is painful to hear the phrase “lone wolves” applied to the handful — and perhaps tomorrow the dozens and then the hundreds — of killers of Jews “liked” by thousands of “friends,” followed by tens of thousands of “Tweeters,” and connected to a constellation of sites (such as the Al-Aqsa Media Center and its page dedicated to “the third Jerusalem intifada”) that are orchestrating, at least in part, this bloody ballet.

It is equally painful to listen to the refrain about “Palestinian youth no longer subject to any control,” after seeing the series of sermons published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, in which preachers from Gaza, facing the camera, dagger in hand, call upon followers to take to the streets to maim as many Jews as they can, to inflict as much pain as possible and to spill the maximum amount of blood; doubly painful to hear that refrain from Mahmoud Abbas himself, at the outset of this tragic chain of events a few weeks back, describing as “heroic” the murder of the Henkins in the presence of their children, and then expressing indignation at seeing the “dirty feet” of Jews “defiling” the Al-Aqsa Mosque and declaring “each drop of blood” shed by “each martyr” who dies for Jerusalem “pure.”

Not only painful and intolerable, but also inapplicable, is the canned phrase about “political and social desperation” that is used to explain — or excuse — criminal acts. Everything we know about the new terrorists, their motives and the pride their relatives take in converting, post-mortem, crime into martyrdom and infamy into sacrifice, is, alas, much closer to the portrait of the robotic jihadist who yesterday would take off for Kashmir and today turns up in Syria or Iraq.

It is highly doubtful that “intifada” is the right term to apply to acts that bear more resemblance to the latest installment of a worldwide jihad of which Israel is just one of the stages.

It is doubtful that erudite disquisitions on occupation, colonization and Netanyahu-esque intransigence explain much about a wave of violence that counts among its favored targets Jews with sidelocks — that is, those Jews who are the most conspicuously Jewish, those whom their killers must consider the very image of the Jew, and who, by the way, are often at odds with the Jewish state when not in open secession from it.

It is doubtful that the very question of the state, the question of the two states and thus the question of a negotiated partition of the land — which is, for moderates on both sides, the only question worth posing — has anything to do with a conflagration in which politics has given way to fanaticism and to theories of vast conspiracy, one in which some decide to stab random others as they pass by because of a vague rumor reporting a secret plot to deny Muslims access to Islam’s third holiest site.

It is doubtful, in other words, that the Palestinian cause is being helped in any way by the extremist turn. On the other hand, it is absolutely certain that the cause has everything to lose by it, that the reasonable heads within the movement will be the ones who wind up flattened by the wave, and that the last proponents of compromise, along with what remains of the peace camp in Israel, will pay dearly for the reckless condemnations of the imams of Rafah and Khan Younis.

Intolerable and inapplicable, too, is the cliché of the “cycle” or “spiral” of violence, which, by putting the kamikaze killers and their victims on the same footing, sows confusion and amounts to an incitement to further action.

Intolerable, for the same reason, are the rhetorical appeals “for restraint” and disingenuous pleas “not to inflame the street,” which, as with the “spiral of violence,” reverse the order of causality by implying that a soldier, police officer or civilian acting in self-defense has committed a wrong equal to that of someone who chooses to die after spreading as much terror as he possibly can.

Strange indeed, how tepid are the condemnations of the stabbings of innocent passers-by and rammings of bus stops — condemnations that I have to think would be less half-hearted if the acts had occurred on the streets of Washington, Paris or London.

More than strange — disturbing — is the difference in tone between the equivocal reaction to the recent killings and the unanimous and unambiguous international outpouring of emotion and solidarity elicited by the fatal hatchet attack on a soldier on a London street on May 22, 2013, a scenario that was not very different from those unfolding today in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Intolerable, again, that most of the major media have paid the grieving Israeli families only a fraction of the attention they have paid the families of the perpetrators.

Intolerable, finally, the minor mythology growing up around this story of daggers: The weapon of the poor? Really? The weapon one uses because it is within reach and one has no other? When I see those blades, I think of the one used to execute Daniel Pearl; I think of the beheadings of Hervé Gourdel, James Foley and David Haines; I think that the Islamic State’s videos have clearly gained a following, and that we stand on the threshold of a form of barbarity that must be unconditionally denounced if we do not want to see its methods exported everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of France’s most famed philosophers, a journalist, and a bestselling writer. He is considered a founder of the New Philosophy movement and is a leading thinker on religious issues, genocide, and international affairs. His 2013 book, Les Aventures de la vérité—Peinture et philosophie: un récit, explores the historical interplay of philosophy and art. His new play, “Hotel Europe,” which premiered in Sarajevo on June 27, 2014, and in Paris on September 9, is a cry of alarm about the crisis facing the European project and the dream behind it.

This article was translated from the French by Steven B. Kennedy.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Sydney

    Come on Algie. get a new BHL article already.

    Get him to write a new one.

    He classes up the joint.

    • Ruth Gilad

      I greatly admire this writer for so skillfully articulating the truth about these barbaric and evil attacks. The only reason I can see for the worlds tepid response to these horrific attacks is that the victims are Jews and that the appropriate responses of defense are also Jews.

      • stuart

        No, it’s about remoteness. It’s the human condition. No special pleading is necessary.

  • arne normann

    I have often wondere why the muslims do these hate- attacs in Israel and in other places in order to fullfill some shrude religious demands – from their releigious leaders according to their “Book”. It has been difficult to oppose and mean contrary to muslim beleifs, also in other contries as here in Norway when a publisher where shot and nearly killed. His death ordered from “the priests” in Iran. I use to think that muslims generally lives under terrible conditions in most arabic contries, and as for that are willing to do whatever are demanded. The life of muslim people of Gallilea and Samaria might seem to be on the contrary to the surrounding muslim places. Which are most disturbing.

  • AndrewSc

    a bit of empathy towards the worldwide Muslim Umma, and the “political and social desperation” becomes clear. Just think from the perspective of the “poor palestinian”.

    Blood flows freely, from Morocco to Indonesia. Great islamic values come to the fore (like female genital mutilation) from Nigeria to Uzbekistan. Everywhere, Islam is on expansion. They can rape 1,400 girls in Brittan, and the kaffirs say nothing. They can extend shariah law in western cities, no problem. They can kill their own daughters, their neighbours, all over the 1.6 billion strong muslim world. They can ask for special privileges, in the highest forums like UN, and it works for them.

    Only in Israel, the Jews hold steady. Must be horrible.

    Beyond the sarcasm, I’d note that Muslims as a whole are more free today to exercise self-determination, than at any time in the last 500 years. The result is plain to see on the evening nightly news.

    • stuart

      Yes, indiscriminately giving people freedoms is like indiscriminately giving them a year or two’s training in law. The nation quickly becomes ungovernable.

  • PermReader

    European “anti-Israelism” quickly turns to anti-semitism and the last one unites EU governments of different orientation.Anti-semitism, though slightly covered becomes the mainstream opinion.”Liberal” ideology of statism easealy includes traditionally thinking of Jewish “distruction of Western culture and States” by their “predator capitalism”.Liberals become the Jew-hatred leaders.The Jewish owerhelming liberalism is somehow connected with the assimilation tendences, and needs its researcher.

  • Frank Adam

    Stop using “terrorists” and call them “assassins” which is clear sharp focus functional and good Arabic so they will find it harder to object the epithet. It also infers the warning that they will be destroyed as was the original “Old Man of the Mountains.”

    Second deport – even if a cherry picker is needed to put them over the fence – the knifemen and their households to Gaza where by their own lights they are still in Palestine. This will save the prison budget a lot and punish by deprivation of income and social net.

    • jeremy

      They assassinate random religious Jews and snipe babies. How about part of antisemitism as they knoow they are, the greatest evil in human history. To kick the Jews out of the only country in the middle east that has any left, violently as the Ummah did in all the other ones..

    • defiantjewess

      brilliant-throw the Pals out in E Jerusalem, they are the troublemakers, and the PA and WAKF

  • Meryl

    All this moral relativity is pure delusion. Our world has gone mad. The worse perpetrators of the delusion are the very people who have deep seated guilt for their home countries occupations and colonization. They forget the intellectual of the countries can refer to and reflect back to the good times, the times of the old empires that were both elevators of cultures with many wrongs that now are being incorrectly righted.

    • stuart

      Why would it be “incorrect” to right wrongs?

  • Jill Walker

    What we are witnessing is the clear fulfillment of Zechariah 12 and Psalm 83. I also learned today that the Nazis had only intended to kick our people our of Germany, but Arafat’s uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the time, demanded the Germans “burn the Jews” because he didn’t want them coming back to the Jewish homeland.

    • Falcon

      The antisemitic
      “magnetic field” that you in are Dumber then all 1.8 billion retarded Muslim that you ever come close to

  • FactsRule

    The only consequential thing that’s intolerable is Israel’s inability to collectively as a majority understand that the ONLY effective AND compassionate complete & permanent solution to stopping the deadly injurious and costly attacks of the overwhelmingly genocidal so-called Palestinians, members of, is for Israel to exercise its legal & moral right to repatriate them to Jordan & Egypt from whence they came in 1967. has been covering the so-called Palestinians for several decades.

    • NME666

      I agree, bus them to their respective counteries

    • Sandra Stowe

      What kind of b low-life scumbag PIG of a preacher would encourage violence like this? Disgusting!

      • jeremy

        Hmmm, every Eastern European country is accepting zero foreigners.

        What kind? Jordan’s 6th law, no Jew may ever be a citizen.

        What kind? The Gulf countries killed all Jews, and are now accepting zero Syrians.

        What kind? Japan has stricter quotas on non-Japanese than anyone has for foreigners.

        What kind? Egypt killed a million Jews, as admitted to its first rpresentatie to the UN, just last century.

        What kind? the treatment of Jews in every western European country censored and not upwards of 500 times.

        What kind? The pressure put on Jews, through official and unofficial and tricks, made the Jews leave at least 200 different Christian and Muslim countries.

        what kind? The kind done by 21 Arab countries, to the Jews, as Immigration policy in Britain France and Germnay is doing to the Jews now.

        what kind? the kind done to 5 different minorities by Turkey.

        what kind? the kind done by every country without exception in human history.

        what kind? the kind done by Azerbaijan to armenia.

        what kind? to non-Sunnis in yemen.

    • MottyGlix

      The Arab states in 1948 or 1949 collectively decreed that Arabs may not move from their assigned countries, ever. This was so that those Arabs in what is now Israel would have no place to go, and would have to pressure the new state. That is why none of the wealthy Gulf Arab states will provide more than temporary, job-based, work permits to Arabs from other states, and why the refugee Syrians are headed to Europe rather than Gulf Arab states where they’d otherwise fit in with the language, culture, and religion.

  • Yocheved

    I just tried to repost this to Facebook, and they won’t recognize the link.

    • I saved the document as a PDF after copy and pasting it into word. Then I uploaded it as a file so others can down load it for their review. Not as clean, but a way to get around facebook I think.

  • I am a Jew. I am old lady. I am very sweet and tolerant but for the life of me I can’t understand why the Jerusalem violence is so acceptable the eyes of the European and American media. I was shopping in the Arab Suk, about two years ago and a boy of around 14 years asked me if I would like to sleep with his younger brother. I was on my own and he and his father were very aggressive towards me. On the other hand when I was trying to find my way out the shuk, a different shopkeeper and his wife were very kind to me. They gave me a glass of water and we chatted. The thing is, the enemy for the Jews in Jerusalem is a paradise that cannot be disproved. Unlike Governments who can promise what they want and still be there even if their public do not really believe it. These youths are excited about being able to injure and kill as exemplary deed for which, they will be martyred and be given in paradise much more than they can hope for on earth. It is a hard thing to fight against.

  • This article is addressed to ignorant libtards who still think that Islam is a religion of peace.

    • Baht Harim

      Use of phrases like “Libtard” is intellectually lazy. Most Jews are liberal and most Jews support Israel. Please stop watching Fox News and get some information from a legitimate news source. If you don’t trust other sources, at least read Ha’Aretz.

      • Morris Karlin

        Ha’Aretz is the least reliable newspaper one can read. With radical-left ‘journalists’ like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass the old Soviet era ‘Pravda’ was more trustworthy.

      • Ilya

        Why the left always tell us what to read, what to watch…I escaped from the Soviet Union where they did the same thing, and here we go again. Just shut up.

      • Tondaleia

        Many liberals are actually regressive liberals. From a staunch position of anti racism they have become anti-Zionist = antisemitic = exterminationist racists, the position of both Nazis and Islamic states. When Muslim states expelled one million Mizrahi Jews, where was (is) the outrage?

      • Binyamin Koretz

        I’m sorry, did you just somehow imply that ha’aretz is a legitimate news source? Do you not understand that it is a subsidized radical publication read by fewer than 3% of Israelis?

    • Asher Garber

      It takes a real moron to emulate Rush Limbaugh.

  • June

    The word Islam means SUBMIT. There is no mention for tolerance of “the other” in the Koran except as Dimini, submissive second class persons.

  • Shuki

    A sane analysis in an insane world…

  • Jeremy Zeid

    A letter, the latest in a series sent to Tobias Ellwood of the UK Foreign Office.

    Dear Mr Ellwood,

    Please check the link.

    It explains and debunks many of the misconceptions held by much of the British and EU establishment, but particularly those held and expressed by your department.

    Should the stabbings and car rammings come to Europe or Britain, I will be holding people like you personally responsible for averting your eyes and failing to act, then, as seems to be the tradition, shrugging, walking away and trotting out the “lessons will be learned” and “this was a tragedy waiting to happen”, ” cycle of violence” mantras to avoid facing the reality.

    I am appalled by you and your department’s failure to reply to one single email/letter, presumably ignoring this irritating “Jew boy”, or more likely have signed RIPA order on me to allow the spooks and state sewer rats to trawl through my data, which is easier than going after the real problem and gives the illusion of activity and being ” tough”.

    It is instructive and predictable, that in our disempowered and increasingly disarmed and defenceless society, that the ministries of the State, its ministers and bureaucrats, no longer have any respect for the public. You seem to see yourselves as our overseers rather than public servants. You department sucking up to and making excuses for the world’s worst monsters, murderers, sponsors of terror etc. and craven unwillingness to stand by Israel, a real ally, is proof, as if any more was needed.

    However, there is one glimmer, albeit a very small sputtering one in the darkness that suffuses the world of the FCO and our UN representatives, that even they recognised and voted against the malignant intent by various Arab fascist apartheid autocracies to get UNESCO to define Solomons Temple and the ancient Temple Mount that predates the convention of Islam, as a Muslim site. Well done, but no prize, because…

    They failed to vote against the UNESCO redefining the Tombs of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb as Muslim sites, despite the fact that they are referred to in the Bible and the Torah which predate the invention of Islam, by millennia. So even that guarded “well done” is now nullified.

    Besides it won’t be long, (as our energy needs increase and slavishly following every piece of EU EnviroNonsense, we close our coal fired power stations and start suffering blackouts and grid instability), before the OIL and GAS rich Islamic Arab States (that have nothing to do with Islam) try again and this time we do what we always do, and sell out Israel.

    Personally, I think the Arabs have a point as any land however tenuously prayed on is seen as a conquest as defined by the Koran. Therefore in the interests of fairness and equality, the Vatican is now fair game and in London the various churches including St Paul’s that have hosted Muslim Prayer, should now be referred to UNESCO for redesignation as Muslim sites. After all, it is in the Koran, which is everything to do with Islam.

    Oh, I nearly forgot. I don’t know if you saw the report and the images from ISIS areas, of mounds razors and shaved off beards: We were told that ISIS fighters, the murderers, rapists, hand choppers and slavers fearless in the service of Allah, willing to be “martyred” for the Prophet, the Koran their manual, terrified by the onslaught, shaved off their beards and ran away. Only a moron believes this.

    They have not “run away”, they have shaved their beards and joined the “refugees” to get into the EU and UK to carry on their work and open up new fronts in western cities. The activities of many who have turned up in Germany’s Austria and France are self evident and the rapes have begun. Keep kidding yourself that it’s “nothing to do with Islam” when the next atrocities occur here while the majority have their liberties trashed for a problem that we were too cowardly and politically correct to address. You and the GCHQ spooks read it here first.

    In the case of the perfidious West, never was there a truer statement than; Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

    That’s enough for now, I will keep you, GCHQ and whoever is trawling through my data appraised of any further developments and instances of Jew Killing that you and the media may have missed.

    As before, I have copied in Bob Blackman.

    Welcome to the 1930s


    Jeremy Zeid

    • georgie may

      Well said! But can they read…?

    • Barbara

      Excellent letter. I have written similar but not as good to US reps, eg Jan Schlkowsky. Fake jewish who was pro Iran nuckear deal and is just loving the refugee parade.

    • stuart

      Apart from two equivocal votes without practical effect, why would you think the FCO’s remit has anything to do with the things you mention, or that the FCO should be obliged to engage with you? Or that the FCO or GCHQ would have the slightest interest in watching you? In the unlikely event that anyone happened to think you’re subversive, it’d be other agencies that would watch you…

  • Albatroz Alcatraz

    BHL is just good enough to be thrown away to the toilet! Every single move he makes, politically and artistically, is perceived as a big flop by the community*. This fool has missed his real job: being clown! He’s the non-act’s master! The chief of unachievement! And, which is worst, a self proclaimed philosopher who’s even not enough capable to open his mind to see the world as it is, not through his zionist filter. Poor guy, I don’t wish to nobody to live in his head!
    * His last flop, “Hôtel Europe”, which was initially set at the “Théâtre de l’Atelier”, from september 9 to the very end of december, was stopped by the theater november 16 because of an empty theater…


    A useful and relevant article, except for the Co.mentioned re the two state solution.

    This present violence only serves to double underline that a two state solution is utter madness.

    Doesn’t this author understand that the very essence of Islam is violent Jihad?

    Does he seriously believe that the West Bank would NOT be used for the extension of Jihad?

    MEMRI and PMW have documented in meticulous detail what the PA and HAMAS really believe.

    I’m sorry, but this article still has too much Western thinking in it.

    Thank you. C.

    • Earl

      Actually, the “Palestinians” have had their (illegally-founded) two-state solution since 1921, when the British illegally partitioned Mandatory Palestine into the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”, as a sop to the Hashemites for losing the Hijaz to the al-Saud’s ikhwan. Sure, the San Remo Resolution was breached, but the spirit of Sykes-Picot and Gertrude Bell live on today in the “Palestinian” state of Jordan.

  • tan

    No one’s listening….no one’s reading….mind’s are closed…well done BHL; I’ll be interested to see how much of the media reports on what you have just written….do i sound pessmistic ? Can’t imagine why. For the Israeli peace camp, the best friends the Palestinians ever had, it’s curtains, a trip to permanent irrelevance. My apologies to the Syrian and Iraqi dead, dozens/hundreds each day, whose murders are relegated to a blurred and inconsequential second or third place in a western news media totally mesmerized by the ‘plucky’ Palestinians vs the Jew robbers of their ‘historic homeland’saga.

  • Salomon Benzimra

    Indiscriminate murders actively encouraged by an Imam. Think about it.

    There is no other option than for Muslims around the world to unequivocally condemn this madness, lest Islam will be singled out for everlasting opprobrium.

  • Letters to the Editor, Jerusalem Post, October 21, 2015

    The situation is grotesque.

    You have a society of Morlocks attacking Israelis while the whole world of Eloi criticizes us for protecting ourselves.

    In his novel The Time Machine, H.G. Wells did not have to write about year 802701. It is happening in 2015.




  • Alexi

    The “Palestinian” culture is simply one of Human Sacrifice.

    It needs to go. If there is ANYONE left in the Two-State “Solution” peace camp it will be either as a miracle or mental illness… depending on your perspective.

    This time they’ve gone too far.

  • ART

    well said. The moral equivalency imposed by so many in the west encourages the murderers. Obama/kerry still refuse to condemn abbas/pa/plo/hamas/fatah etc which is a tacit approval of the attacks. No other country would allow these attacks, martial law would be imposed No other country would allow outsiders to reward the families of the murderers, yet the US,EU etc still give abbas hundreds of millions so they can reward the families of murderers.
    Americans also look for a smoking gun and a paper trail which they won’t find abbas has had 20+ yrs to incite in additions to hundreds of years of muslim anger and hate toward dhimini, kafhirs and non muslim especially Jews as shown in the koran

  • Sam Omekara

    This is a balanced and we’ll thought out treatise on the murderous motives of the Palestinians and their supporters.
    Today, the terrorists are using knives and meat cleavers , tomorrow they will use RPGs and hand held surface to surface missiles and finally nuclear dirty bombs on Israel cities. Their collaborators will always find a justification.
    The cities of Europe and America will sooner or later have a taste of these murderous terrorist broth. It will be interesting to see how they respond.
    For Israel these and future events have been factored into the national security scenarios and is capable of protecting it’s citizens despite the hypocritical noise of the ill formed protestors.

  • Libby Reichman

    Excellent summary — wish it weren’t so accurate, but it is… I find particularly accurate the use of his descriptive words: painful, intolerable, strange and disturbing. I hope the clarity of Levy’s cry of alarm will resonate far and wide.

  • So pleased and relieved to read a sane account of the insane “intifada of the knife” going on in Israel. People attacking civilians, going about their day to day activities, is horrific, criminal, and most certainly, not to be glorified with parties and candy after all. The world has been witnessing this wanton killing, ramming with cars and trucks, parents murdered in front of their 4 children, without saying a word. Not one word of damnation. Where is the world, and who is it made of? Where are morals, clear thinking, empathy and understanding. You wake up, ride on a bus, and some maniac stabs you in the back? How can this be seen as an uprising of sane people? They have been shown to come from middle class homes, with good families, cars, education, etc.
    Who are these murderers? and why are they not judged by their hateful attacks?

  • Jamie Kotler

    Thank you for this important cry of truth. The determination of so many politicians, and the media to focus on the “poor” Palestinians – making any crazed and despicable action somehow “understandable” is a grotesque distortion of reality. We are living on the other side of the looking-glass, apparently. It is a relief to read commentary from the right-side-up world we once knew.

  • Betty Schneck

    Although I agree with much said by Henri Bernard Levi, I feel that the main difference is in the two cultures occupying the same space. Islam was brought about in a much later century and they have declared themselves as the true inheritors of the land. This represents a false belief for the desert invaders. They wandered the desert space and expected to become the inheritors, If I can’t have you won’t- the morality of their belief is amoral and vulgar.

  • Chris Rettenmoser

    The Arab stabbers are zombies and must be treated like that !

  • shneerhere

    Hey BHL, they’re ” just Jews”, so the world spitsvand shrugs, like the Arabs did outside Lions Gate when the stabbed Jewess pleaded for help. Get with the program. Are you really expecting anything more, after Toulouse, Hypercacher, etc?