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“Ah, how sweet it is to be Jewish…”

Alain Finkielkraut is professor of philosophy at France’s elite École Polytechnique and for years has been the darling of a certain Parisian intelligentsia.

In 1982, at the time of one of my early trials for having called the Auschwitz gas chamber story a historical lie, he showed his concern about revisionism in a muddled work entitled L’Avenir d’une négation. On the first page he described me as “an emulator of Big Brother,” and wrote on page 66: “In terms of method, the deniers of the gas chambers are the spiritual children of the big Stalinists.”

I recall a personal encounter with Finkielkraut in the Latin Quarter in Paris in 1987. An anti-revisionist conference was being held at the Sorbonne. Groups of young Jews were roaming the district with an eye out for any revisionists. Finkielkraut was accompanied by one of these groups. With three or four Jewish youths he entered the café where I happened to be. I cried out at him “They’re done for, your gas chambers!”, thus running risks for which I would pay an hour later. But, at the moment, taken aback, he mumbled a reply and, with his friends, quickly left the café.

Since then I have watched the individual. He has gradually made a speciality of denouncing Jewish maximalism à la Claude Lanzmann. Today, with the attacks in the media on wartime Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Viktor Stepinac (1896–1960), accused of collaboration with the “Ustasha” regime and suspected of anti-semitism, Finkielkraut defends both Mgr Stepinac’s memory and the Croatian Church. He recalls that, as early as 1941, the latter took up the defence of the Jews against the regime. He considers that Mgr Stepinac himself suffered personally from “Europe’s two sorrows” which, for him, have been Fascism and Communism. His article in Le Monde is entitled “Mgr Stepinac and Europe’s two sorrows” (Mgr Stepinac et les deux douleurs de l’Europe). The content is not lacking in interest but it is especially the beginning that catches the reader’s attention. Here it is:

Ah, how sweet it is to be Jewish at this end of the 20th century! We are no longer History’s accused, we are its darlings. The spirit of the world loves us, honours us, defends us, takes charge of our interests; it even needs our imprimatur. Journalists draw up merciless indictments against all that Europe still has in the way of collaborators or of those nostalgic for the Nazi era. Churches repent, states do penance, Switzerland no longer knows what to do with herself… (Alain Finkielkraut, Le Monde, October 7, 1998, p. 14)


Indeed it is sweet to be Jewish at this end of century but only a Jew has the right to say so. Indeed, it is no longer possible to publish anything without the imprimatur of the Synagogue. Indeed, I might add, the Jew reigns supreme.

In France, year after year, the Interior Ministry and certain specialised bodies make an inventory of acts occurring in our country that might be deemed anti-semitic. But, try as they may to  inflate their statistics, the result remains: practically no anti-semitic acts are to be noted in France.

If it is true that it is sweet to be Jewish, what right do the Jews have to complain of a quasi non-existent anti-semitism and to demand, and obtain, an ever more severe repression of revisionism, likened to anti-semitism?

The same edition of Le Monde carrying Finkielkraut’s article reports that Jean-Marie Le Pen is once again paying dearly for having had the temerity, at a meeting in Munich in December 1997, to state that the gas chambers were a detail of Second World War history. The European Parliament, by a very wide majority, has just taken away his parliamentary immunity. A German court will be able to sentence him to five years’ imprisonment. In the European Parliament, German member Willy Rothley, speaking for the Socialist group, has explained that one goal of the German criminal code is to “protect youth against the falsifications of history”, warning: “If Mr Le Pen doesn’t answer the summons of my country’s courts he’ll be imprisoned as soon as he sets foot on German soil.”

In Germany, repression is at its peak. Even Americans travelling there or in a neighbouring country can be thrown into a German jail for the crime of revisionism. Let us add that, for the same statement made in Munich, Le Pen is also being prosecuted in France. In 1991 he had had to pay 1,200,000 francs for his original “detail” remark of September 13, 1987. On the basis of a summary ruling of December 26, 1997 he is now under indictment in Paris for his words in Munich. Thus, for the same statement, he finds himself prosecuted simultaneously in Munich and in Paris.

Day after day I observe with interest this mighty rise of Jewish power. This very day, for my own modest part, I have paid, as I do every month, my tribute of 5,000 francs to the office of the Treasury in charge of collecting the fines regularly imposed on me for revisionism, that is to say, for having annoyed the Synagogue.[1] The day after tomorrow a new trial awaits me in Paris.

On October 14 I shall have the result of a case brought against me in Amsterdam for what I wrote, more than twenty years ago, on the imposture of the Diary of Anne Frank; two very wealthy Jewish associations had claimed that my study on the subject was causing them moral and financial harm!

In France, in Germany, in Palestine and, basically – on close look –, everywhere else in the world, including Japan, one had better not offend, even indirectly or unintentionally, those who, like Finkielkraut, can sigh: “Ah, how sweet it is to be Jewish at this end of the 20th century!”

As for us, bound and gagged as we are, we have no rights left, not even the right to sigh: “Ah, how woeful it is not to be Jewish at this end of the 20th century!”

October 7, 1998


[1] The first to call for the introduction in France of an anti-revisionist law on the model of the Israeli law of July 1981 were a group of Jewish historians including Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Georges Wellers, united around chief rabbi René-Samuel Sirat (Bulletin quotidien de l’Agence télégraphique juive, June 2, 1986, p. 1, 3). The “Fabius-Gayssot act” was passed on July 13, 1990.

Note of October 14: Precisely a week after the publication of his Le Monde piece, in which he conceded that Jews in France had nothing to complain about, Finkielkraut has had the chutzpah to appear as a witness in the Paris Court of Appeal (11th chamber) to complain of an alleged threat to French Jews posed by the revisionists. Today, October 14, he has testified against Roger Garaudy, author of The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, and publisher Pierre Guillaume. Finkielkraut sees in Garaudy an anti-Semite and a “Faurissonian.” He approves of France’s anti-revisionist “Fabius-Gayssot” act. The State, he says, must punish hatred.