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October 26, 2020 4:24 pm

‘Zionism Only at Beginning of Its History,’ French Intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy Says

avatar by Ben Cohen

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy addressing the 38th Zionist Congress. Photo: Screenshot.

Leading French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy has called for a renewal of the Zionist vision, arguing that the notion that the Jewish national liberation movement had already fulfilled its mission was sorely mistaken.

“Zionism is only at the beginning of its history,” Lévy declared in a virtual address to the 38th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem last week.

“Israel is such a young nation,” he noted. “And in another way, it is ancient, as old as the history of the world. What we call Zionism today must continue to maintain its spirit as long as we are alive. Let us not say today that Zionism has exhausted its message, that’s completely untrue.”

Lévy also argued that Diaspora Jewish communities had to remain at the core of the Zionist movement’s vision.

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“The Diaspora is not some kind of remainder or remnant, cast away by history,” the philosopher said. “On the contrary, it is something that should be integrated quickly into the mainstream of Zionism.”

Lévy continued: “In Diaspora life, Jewish existence, let’s say someone who’s Romanian, Italian, American or French, there is something very noble in the existence of these Jews, something that cannot be reduced to the expectation of going to Jerusalem. I don’t think that existence in the Diaspora, in exile, is somehow less-than.”

Lévy expressed hope that Israel would “be able to continue to plow the same path of democracy.”

“This is the basic element of the ideal that has brought us all together here today,” he concluded.

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