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March 30, 2016 12:22 pm

Bernard-Henri Lévy at Algemeiner Gala: We Must Wage ‘Battle for Truth’ Against Antisemitism’s Three Main Lies (VIDEO)

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Famed humanitarian and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy speaks during the third annual Algemeiner “Jewish 100 Gala” in New York. Photo: Fotobuddy Photography.

Famed humanitarian and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy speaks during the third annual Algemeiner “Jewish 100 Gala” in New York. Photo: Fotobuddy Photography.

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.”

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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:

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  • Yoella wells
    • Paul Gross

      Martin Sherman attacks anyone who supports the principle of a two-state solution as though they are anti-Zionist.

      Bernard Henri-Levy is a tireless supporter of Israel and one of the most important voices against Islamism in Europe.

  • Penni Anderson

    I am still amazed at the level of denial–in spite of the abundance of evidence–that the holocaust (Shoah) occurred. The blind ignorance of historical support: film, papers, accounting records, personal accounts from both Jewish and non-Jewish sources–well the ignorance just astounds me. I do not consider myself to be “a Jew” although my grandmother’s family was supposed to be “Jewish” (not practicing). Her husband, my grandfather, was a Cherokee Indian. My bloodline has been so diluted I consider myself nothing but American. However, I know that once upon a time 60 MILLION–yes, that is correct–Native American Indians existed on the Northern American continent. The American Indian is now approximately 800,000 and is dying a slow demise into non-existence at the hands of the American culture and the American government. A genocide that occurs over 240 years is obviously not as bad as a genocide that occurs over 240 months because nobody remembers the American Indian or what was done to them.

    I do believe, with all my heart, that there is a special uniqueness about the Jewish race and the Jewish people and even the Jewish state. I hope humanity finds a way to accept and embrace that uniqueness. My advice would be: Remember the slaughter of the past but move on to accomplish what it is the Jewish people are destined to do in this earth. For the American Indian: Cherokee, Quapaw, Chickasaw, Nez Pearce, Apache, Commanche, Blackfoot, Crow, Mohawk–it is too late. The American Indian will never come back as a result of European colonization to our countries. And they said the Native American Indian was the savage. I wish the Jewish people well with their reconciliation with the universe.

    • True and so very heart breaking what ( Europens due to religion need to leave their native land) did to Native Indians, man kind is distructive and it is now the religious Muslem that will try to destruc all others,

  • Arthur Penchansky

    The only people to hear these comments are Jews. What is needed is for the Jewish International organizations to spread the word to the general public that Israeli Jews are developing the greatest life saving medical accomplishments and that Israel offers these benefits to the world, including Arab states. Courting favors of politicians is of course beneficial, but giving the information to the general public will get more results.

  • Imagine what would happen in the world if we Jews would stand up for the REAL truth–that we are a chosen nation because G-d gave us the Torah and that the land of Israel belongs to us because G-d gave it to us. Why are we afraid to do this?

  • Theodore Crawford

    …not an ideological war, not a philosophical war, not a political war. A spiritual war.

  • Robert Davis

    BHL is good at philosophy not at politics : the truth is necessary but since the lie is PR the truth is COUNTER PR which we are doing and since quite a long time with a little success but not sufficiently because lies will always exist and on can hardly always succeed fighting it. Likewise for universality which is totally unproductive because it’s impossible to please everybody. So antisemitism is not ESSENTIALLY a problem of truth nor even of philosophy because jews nor anyone else will NEVER be able to fight evil on the entire planet! Jews must fight a restricted antisemitism which attacks only jews and no one else as we can see everywhere as bigotry and racism is opposed only moslems are attacked. THIS IS POLITICS : no one attacks moslems because they are perceived as STRONG because of their numbers and jews weak because of the same reason. Therefore to oppose antisemitism EFFICIENTLY IT MUST BE DONE POLITICALLY BY MAKING ISRAEL STRONG not thru …philosophy as BHL does. When he opposes Israel’s rightwing which he probaly considers another “amalek” he fights the wrong enemy. A STRONG ISRAEL WILL NOT BE ATTACKED BY ANYONE AND ANTISEMITISM WILL VANISH. Of course that does not mean general racism will vanish but this is NOT our problem.

  • Theodore Crawford

    Because it IS a war?

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Si je ne suis pas pour moi, qui sera pour moi? Ce dicton se rapporte à l’ensemble du peuple juif . Il a été spécialement intériorisé par le peuple juif vivant en Israël . Quand je marche dans les rues de la capitale d’Israël Jérusalem, je me souviens que je suis un Juif fier qui a un passé ancien et dont actuellement se forge par des Juifs courageux et non-Juifs qui vivent à côté de moi dans ma patrie . Chaque Juif , peu importe où il ou elle vit dans ce monde , a le droit de tenir sa haute et se sentir bien que le peuple juif vit encore aujourd’hui , même en présence de l’ anti- sémitisme de longue durée. Reconnaître l’antisémitisme ne suffit pas, mais il est le commencement de la combattre et de permettre pas que ce soit éteindre la lumière de la nation juive .

  • stevenl

    What about the western world atavistic antisemitism? Mr. BHL!!!

  • The truth is the only way we have to fight daily in every source of media twit FB conversation with people help organization to sread the truth confront all obstacles we are the owners not the occupiers revive 1922 mandate and fight with nails to achieve this
    See Canadian legal rights for the land of Israel organization help us sread the truth
    the founders Mr Solomon Benzimra just passed away after meeting 2 MK Bennet and Hotovli to start acting on our legal rights WE HAVE TO ACT NOW we have wasted so many years that the lies have become the truth B’H

  • judth

    Amalek is everywhere. There is no doubt of Israel’s right to exist because of a British Decree — i guess in part. but don’t we really believe that our rights go back a lot further? I would daresay all Christians would support that right But in that story, that gives us our right to dwell there, Palestine was our neighbor.

    It is incredibly remarkable that Israel has maintained a democracy, in spite of the violence and violent threats. But we still want great things from them. That they lift this ancient neighbor. From Poverty. And occupation.

    That just as trees were planted in Israel by us as children, that funds be raised the same way and given as a gift from Jews around the world to Palestine. To plant trees — olive trees, and cedar trees, or build schools in Palestine. Let that be the first olive branch.

    We want greatness from our leaders, and from those we look up to. Which is why we long for Israel to do the right thing and usher in a two state solution — in many ways. Maybe the first will not be on the negotiating table, but in a gesture of love. Let it teach us all how to love.

    And yes, Amalek is everywhere.

  • Harold

    There is no moral equivalency between the Jew and world societies. We live is such a dysfunctional society that each believes what he chooses to believe and the devil be damned. Unfortunately anti-Semitism is on the rise and much due to the “peace” movement of the UN and Palestinian sympathizers via the BDS.

  • Joshua Laskin

    It seems both logical, and humanist, to believe that the victims of abuse and oppression, will not themselves subsequently become abusers and oppressors. But, is there really any hard, social-psychological evidence for that belief; or, is it just our wishful thinking?

  • Robert

    Yaakov,

    All of life is a battle. From the moment we are born until the moment we die. We fight against the elements to stay warm, we fight against gravity to raise our head or stand, and we fight against the wind to stay upright. Our immune systems fight foreign bodies and bacteria. These are not campaigns or promotions, they are pitched battles, struggles against the laws of nature. We also fight our primal instincts of selfishness, jealousy, bigotry and dominance, Make no mistake, those who have perpetuated the lies against Israel and the Jewish people view our destruction through the lens of war. To expect to overcome their genocidal intentions through any means other than an Internse battle, both intellectual and sometimes physical, suggests a fundamental lack of understanding of human nature, and the very real consequences of the existential battle in which we are engaged. While being an exemplar for truth is a lofty ideal, the practical value of such is extremely limited in practice, as has been proven time and again throughout history. I truly wish it weren’t so.

  • Warrior for truth? Battle for truth? Why does everything have to be described in terms of war and fighting? How about campaigning for truth? Promoting truth! Being an exemplar for truth?

    • Ephraim

      I think because the antisemites include so much violence in their behavior. Jews on campuses are in danger, free speech is in danger. In that sense the metaphor of battle is apt. They are fighting us. As Jews, we must fight back.

    • judth

      @Yaakov Nice. and can we throw love in there?

    • Mickey Oberman

      What good has “campaigning and promoting” done these past 3,000 years?
      The anti Semites are more bloodthirsty, louder and more poisonous than ever.

    • Robert Davis

      Yaakov : because will take as long as man will live on this planet. You waqnt to fight until homo sapiens disapiers from this planet? Of course life is WAR it’s impossible to stop war which exists as of the first day of man’s existencde, one can only fight to prevail and survive. I know it’s a big scoop for lefters…

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