Israel's Experts on Liberalism Never Cease to Amaze

Oh French brothers, behold the Jewish-Israeli liberalism and know how to treat your savages.

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An archive photo of Border Police officers arresting a Palestinian protester in Jerusalem, 2013.
An archive photo of Border Police officers arresting a Palestinian protester in Jerusalem, 2013.Credit: Tali Mayer
A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el

On the warm day in Israel when Islamic State terror rocked Paris, there was no choice but to put on a fancy raincoat against the words lamenting the disaster that struck Western civilization and its jewel France.

What wasn’t said was that France was about to lose its cultural sanity, that the attacks were designed to destroy the heart of Western culture, and that the balance between liberal values and the war on terror would disappear forever.

Some also predicted with complete certainty that French liberalism would steel itself and show the terrorists that it could defeat them. On the other side, people predicted that it was the extreme right that would become king.

It wasn’t the families of the dead and wounded who interested Israeli experts on France but the fear and mourning over the expected loss of the world’s liberal lighthouse. So expert that because Tel Aviv University has dropped its department of French cultural studies, this culture is now only studied at Bar-Ilan University.

The departments where they teach “humanities” at Israeli universities aren’t blessed with an abundance of students, and their budgets are constantly shrinking. The truth is, there’s no need for them in light of our enormous knowledge about liberalism, universal values and the foundations of culture.

The generosity of Israeli experts on liberalism never ceases to amaze. They have a plethora of advice for France’s leaders: how they should act, how much force they should use against that dreadful Islamic culture, and what’s the right body temperature for embracing Europe’s Muslim minority so it won’t be drawn into the Islamic State’s den.

There’s also the question of how to integrate this minority into the bosom of the mother culture, how to dry up the swamps of poverty and crime in Paris’ suburbs, how to impart the basics of Islam in the schools, and how to separate the bad Muslims from the good ones.

It’s possible to imagine liberal Israel’s excitement over Haaretz’s Hebrew-language piece Monday in which philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy proposed exactly these things. Just as the Israelis “understand France,” Lévy “understands Islam.”

What’s more convincing than his comment that the lands of Islam, less touched by the fascism of Europe, don’t indulge in the remembrance and mourning that the Germans, French, other Europeans and Japanese do, thus turning themselves into fascists?

All that’s left is to explain to the Algerians, Libyans, Tunisians, Iraqis, Syrians and most Africans that what they experienced at the hands of Germany, France, Britain and Italy during colonialism wasn’t fascism but an effort to advance their cultures and a humanitarian attempt to enlighten them.

But that’s not the main thing. Jews, many of whom have become Israelis, actually know fascism well, but this hasn’t inoculated them against turning it into part of Israeli culture.

Islam, in the eyes of many Israelis, isn’t a religion but a race, an inferior, violent and barbaric one that threatens the superior nation, the latest conqueror in the enlightened West. Arabs and Palestinians are nothing but a Muslim sub-race that must be uprooted.

Oh French brothers, behold the Jewish-Israeli liberalism and know how to treat your savages. After all, we’re in the same trap, but we’re more experienced. You gave birth to liberalism and we identified its dangers.

You, so naively, are still weighing values against security. We’ve already decided. Please, let us explain to you what’s good for you.

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