Bernard-Henri Lévy at Algemeiner Gala: We Must Wage ‘Battle for Truth’ Against Antisemitism’s Three Main Lies (VIDEO)
The world today is engaged in a “battle for truth” against three main lies being spread by antisemites and growing in popularity, said French philosopher and humanitarian Bernard-Henri Lévy.
In his acceptance speech for the Warrior for Truth Award at the third annual Algemeiner “Jewish 100 Gala” in New York Monday evening, Lévy explained that while the current wave of antisemitism has not yet won, “It could win at the end” if “the work for the truth, the battle for truth” is not waged.
Referring to the classic ancient enemy of the Jews recounted in the Torah, Lévy said, “Who is Amalek today? What is the face of Amalek today? Amalek is everywhere, of course, but especially in the minds and bodies of the antisemites. When people ask me in my country, but also everywhere, what to do against antisemitism, how to reply to antisemitism, how to resist this wave which has not won at all but which could win at the end, I used to say that the only reply is a battle for truth.”
The first lie of antisemitism, said Lévy, concerns the Jewish state. “There is no antisemitism today…without a demonization, a delegitimization of Israel,” he said, adding that the “battle for truth is to recall on and on that Israel is not only the only democracy of the area, but that is an exemplary democracy in general.”
Highlighting Israel’s rocky security history with its Arab neighbors and domestic enemies, Lévy reflected on Israel’s thriving democratic character despite constantly existing in a “state of emergency.”
“Not since six months, like us French, and not since 15 years, as you Americans, but since 68 years,” he explained in French-accented English, “which means since the very first day of its birth and who nevertheless never resigned one of its Republican and Democratic values. This has to be said on and on. It is a battle for truth.”
The second lie of the new antisemitism, he said, is the rampant denial of the Holocaust, which “consists in sketching, depicting the Jews of today as the authors of a huge invention or exaggeration.”
Again, in front of this lie, in front of this scandal…which is spreading – as Minister Gove said is spreading all over Europe and all over the world — there is a battle for truth which has to be waged on and on…to recall not only that the Holocaust existed…but to recall on and on the singularity, the peculiarity, why in which precise sense the Holocaust is an unprecedented crime in the history of humanity.
The third lie he specified in the “battle for truth” relates to victimhood competition. Characterizing this competition as “false and stupid,” Lévy explained that Jews today are curiously hounded for remembering the historical sufferings and persecution of their brethren.
The third pillar of the new antisemitism, the third weapon of the Amalek of today…is to pretend that if you worship too much the suffering of the Jews of yesterday, or before yesterday or of today, you become deaf and blind to the sufferings of other people. The truth, which has to be pleaded, which has to be the object of a battle, is that it is the exact opposite. The truth is that when you have in your mind, in your heart, in your nerves the memory of the Holocaust, you are aware and sensitive to the murders which occur today.
Concluding his remarks with a nod towards the linguistic origin of the name behind The Algemeiner and his call to battle against antisemitism, Lévy quipped, “I’m not a German speaker — and as you can hear I’m not even an English speaker — but I know at least what ‘algemeiner’ means. Algemeiner in German means ‘universality’… which addresses from the Jewish point of view humanity in general and I love this idea. What would the Jews do? Why would they be on earth where it not to address the rest of humanity?…The wealth of Judaism, the reinforcement of the Jews…the real glory of the Jews is to address humanity.”
Watch Lévy’s full remarks below: