Prominent French-Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy declared on Tuesday
night that Jews in Israel and around the world are under attack from the twin
threats of anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism, and total war against the
State of Israel.
Speaking at a conference on the future of the Jewish
people organized by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), Lévy labeled the
phenomenon of anti-Zionism as “the new mutation of the anti-Semitism
“The challenge we have to face is the new shape of old
anti-Semitism, a new system of legitimacy to express anti-Semitism that revolves
around hatred of Israel and anti-Zionism,” he said.
Hatred of Israel,
denial or partial denial of the Holocaust, and the identification of
Palestinians as the only legitimate victims, he explained, form the basis of the
anti-Zionist and anti- Semitic onslaught.
In addition, he said, Iran,
Hezbollah and Hamas are planning a total war constituting a serious threat to
the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
“For the moment they don’t
have the means to wage total war; maybe they will never have it. But when you
listen to Hamas, to Hassan Nasrallah, to the men in power in Tehran including
the so-called moderates such as Rafsanjani, the words they speak have to be
considered as a plan for a form of total war,” Lévy suggested.
Suzanne Last Stone, academic counsel to JPPI, said the conference was designed
to approach challenges to the Jewish people in a more holistic
One of the overarching challenges, she said, was the importance
of building “mutual understanding” to develop and improve Israel-Diaspora
One focus of misunderstanding between the two communities was
the lack of understanding among US Jewry regarding the matter of religion and
state in Israel.
“The Israeli way of arranging religion and state is
strange and troubling for US Jews, and part of a larger set of differences
between Israel and the Diaspora,” Last Stone said.
“There are no easy and
immediate solutions, but the goal of this conference is to put the issues on the
table and bring both communities to understand each other’s positions.”