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From the Bavarian Illuminati to 9/11: an interview with Pierre-Andre Taguieff 2005
04-28-2010, 03:44 AM,
From the Bavarian Illuminati to 9/11: an interview with Pierre-Andre Taguieff 2005
From the Bavarian Illuminati to 9/11: an interview with Pierre-Andre Taguieff
Added by Alexandra Simonon on December 12, 2005 04:33:42 PM.
From the Bavarian Illuminati to 9/11: an interview with Pierre-Andre Taguieff Pierre-Andre Taguieff (CNRS research director, Paris): Interview on “La foire aux Illuminés. Esotericism, conspiration theories, extremism”, Paris, Fayard/Mille et une Nuits, 2005. This interview was published by “Le Nouvel Observateur”, n° 2138, October-2 27 November 2005, pp. 18-21, under the title "the tireless conspiracy myth" (interview by Laure Garcia and Claude Weill).

From the Bavarian Illuminati to 9/11: The tireless conspiracy myth.

The author of reference on “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, deconstructs, in La foire aux Illuminés, the widespread passion for conspiracy theories and other wild political and esoteric imaginings.

Le Nouvel Observateur (NO) – The "Protocols" are a century old. We have known for more than eighty years that they are a forgery. Yourself, in 2004, took them apart completely (1). But many people, particularly in the Muslim world, still persist in referring to it, quoting it, holding up to it. How do you explain this?

Pierre-Andre Taguieff. - By the force of prejudice and the need for simplistic explanations. Those who believe in the Protocols believe that the Jews want to dominate the world. This is their explanation for the chaos they believe the world to be in. The Protocols are a skilful forgery, and they belong to a long conspirationist tradition. They borrow not only from the "Dialogue in hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu" by Maurice Joly, a very consistent text, but also to all sorts of antisemitic writings, antitalmudic pamphlets and other forgeries, such as "the Rabbi’s speech", where a secret leader of the Jewish people addresses his pars and tells them how they will conquer the world. Same imaginary referent, same story. The "Protocols" are a forgery crafted out of other forgeries that validate each other. It does not matter in the end, for those who believe in them, that they are fake: what matters is that the "document" seems "instructive". The theory of the plot, like any paranoid construction, is irrefutable: any evidence put forward that the plot does not exist becomes evidence that it does. And, as suggested by Hitler in the fifteen lines devoted to the "Protocols" in "Mein Kampf": the evidence that they are authentic, is that the Jews never stop claiming that they are a forgery...

N O. - In " La foire aux Illuminés ", you suggest that the "Protocols" belong to a long genealogy that starts with the denunciation of the Bavarian Illuminati. Why do you give so much importance to these Illuminati that everyone had forgotten until Dan Brown exhumed them?

P.-A. Taguieff. - They are my starting point. The modern myth of a jewish-masonic conspiracy comes from there. As early as by the end of the 18th century, counter-revolutionary authors were denouncing the "conspiracy of the Illuminati": according to this theory the French Revolution was the result of a plot aiming to abolish both the Church and the monarchy. And this plot was led by the Illuminati, i.e. the freemasons, trying to spread the pernicious ideology of the Enlightenment. This was the thesis supported by Barruel in his "Memories to be used for the history of Jacobinism" (1797-1798). The Bavarian Illuminati order existed only for nine years, between 1776 and 1785, and only counted a few hundred members. But they became legendary, and the small "secret society" became the mother of all conspiracies.

N O. - What has this got to do with the Jews?

P.-A. Taguieff. - They come in only later. The expression "jewish-masonic plot" emerges at the end of the 19th century. The founding act, in the prehistory of the "Protocols", is a fake letter by Barruel, in 1806: a (fictional) Captain Simonini writes that a highly influential Jewish friend of his told him: the sect that secretly directs all the sects is the "Jewish sect". It is the "head of the snake", a theme constantly developed by the antisemitic right subsequently. The Vatican has a lot to do with it: for example the Vatican denounced the first Zionist congress in 1897 as a "secret meeting of the Jewish International", and this in the middle of the Dreyfus affair. This very effective propaganda helped to establish conspirationism into the Christian world.

N O. - Conspirationism, i.e. the belief that hidden powers handle the world, is timeless. Is this a political phenomenon or a natural disposition of the human mind?

P.-A. Taguieff. - I lean towards historicity. In a world governed by magic, or by Providence, the occult forces are not human, but either natural or supernatural. As soon as everything is brought back to a human dimension, "secret societies" replace the demons, and the invisible elites are believed to try and establish a satanic order. According to Lévi-Strauss, the characteristic of the myth is to re-create itself out of other myths. See the transformations of the world conspiracy myth: initially masonic, it became jewish-masonic, then jewish-bolshevik, jewish-capitalist or plutocratic, american-Zionist...
Since the 1950s, after the shock of the creation of Israel, radical “anti-Zionism” has reactivated the myth of the Jewish conspiracy for the domination of the world, of which Israel would be only the visible part. Just as the story, hawked in some Arab and Muslim media, according to which not a single Jew went to work in the World Trade Center on 9/11, feeds off the mythology of the "Protocols".

N O. – But isn’t this too centred on Jews? Not every single conspiracy theory is antisemitic!

P.-A. Taguieff. – This is not what I am saying. In my previous book, Preachers of Hatred, I focussed on the antisemitic dimension of the "megaconspiracy". In this book, I focus on the mythologisation of freemasonry, considered a subversive and criminal "secret society", supposedly embodied by the Bavarian Illuminati. I discovered that what we believed to be a mere feature of modern antisemitism is in fact made up as an alternative to the "masonic world conspiracy".

N O. - A characteristic of conspiracy theories is to create connections between events that have nothing to do with each other. Isn't this what you are doing? Let’s consider the rumour of Toulouse, or the theses of Thierry Meyssan: what have they got to do with the Illuminati?

P.-A. Taguieff. - Whether the diabolized figures are the "red", the Jew, the "international bankers", the American administration, or today the islamist terrorist, their role is to anchor the myth in social reality. There is no myth without anchoring. I’ll be more specific. In what is commonly called the "conspiracy theory", there are four levels.
1) A simple fear of conspiracies: a normal imaginary framework in our desacralized modern societies.
2) The assumption that this or the other more or less obscure event can be explained by the concerted action of a small group of "bad" people.
3) Ideological operation: conspirationists explain society’s evolution by the evil influence of "secret societies", or hidden powers.
4) The myth: the great pseudo-historical explanation according to which universal history is pre-determined by secret groups.
These four levels all share two postulates: "We are being misled" and "the truth is elsewhere".

N O. - You clearly identify the religious (Catholic) right, enemy of the Enlightenment, as the source of this conspirationist view. But you also make a rather daring link with the rhetoric of the far left, the anti-globalization left in particular, who denounce the domination of the world by a financial oligarchy...

P.-A. Taguieff. – Along with the theory of decline (or decadence), world conspiracy is modernity’s principal anti-modern myth. In the 19th century, Christian traditionalist milieux started denouncing the "plot against God"... Then revolutionary anti-capitalism emerged, new vector for the "hidden masters of the world"’s myth: the masters of finance. The first socialists were chiefly responsible for the "Rothschild myth". Alphonse Toussenel, a disciple of Charles Fourier, published "Jews, kings of the times" in 1845. Marx and Proudhon reduce Judaism to a sordid theology where money is the new god. The "space" of the conspiracy theory was already bipolar: On the far-right, the counter-Revolutionaries, and on the far-left, the anti-capitalists. Drumont reconciles both, with the Jew as the repulsive figure of the synthesis between the two poles.

N O. - But today, what is the relationship between the anti-globalization movement and the far right?

P.-A. Taguieff. – Their rhetoric is the same: an obsession with hidden masters that are cynical and predatory, the denunciation of the manipulators, moanings about the fate of the people being "crucified" on the altar of finance... The far right anti-globalization movement is still alive and kicking, particularly in the United States, and feeds off a well-established conspirationist literature. But anti-globalization movements of the left are also fond of conspiracy theories. The "true Masters of the world" are flushed out behind the "new world order" which they are supposed to be setting up. They handle and control everything. Read one of the leading intellectuals of the neo-conspirationist far-left, Noam Chomsky!

N O. - How do you explain that in our over-informed world, where knowledge was never so accessible, conspiracy theories continue to proliferate?

P.-A. Taguieff. - This is a paradoxical effect of democratic transparency: If it clarifies the role of the secret services, of the political and financial powers, of the mafia, it also feeds the conspirationist imagination. You contribute to it in your own way. The scoop is the little Graal of your trade. You always have to "reveal", to "unveil", to tell "the truth on...". By doing this, you feed the typically conspirationist idea that appearances are misleading, that "the truth is elsewhere", etc. Suspicion becomes the ordinary mode of perception of events. And is turned over against those who provide the information. One of the postulates of conspirationism is precisely that the press never tells the truth.

N O – Hence the conspirationists’ passion for the Internet...

P.-A. Taguieff. – The Internet is an ideal vector for the proliferation of hostile rumours and magic beliefs. Conspiracy theorists understand it well - I am thinking of Dieudonné’s friends, or Thierry Meyssan’s. The Internet makes it possible to spread, without any control, delirious theses that could never be published otherwise. And which, in this world of suspicion, acquire by their “immediate” nature a priceless status: if you receive an "important" piece of information in confidence, by word of mouth, computer to computer, you are an initiate. Here, there is no counter-power, no critical apparatus. Internet is the anti-Enlightenment.

N O. – You also say that Internet is the privileged medium of a rising far-right’s esoteric literature.

P.-A. Taguieff. - Links between esotericism and conspirationism have recently multiplied: under the cover of a vulgarised esotericism, a set of extremist themes is spread, making the most of a considerable audience. Some books have now moved from the specialized bookshops of the far right to the "esotericism" counters of ordinary bookshops. These links between skilful negationism, delirious ufology and jewish-masonic conspiracy theories are about twenty years old. The founding text of this new wave is a book by pseudo-historians Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, published in the UK in 1982, and a best-seller at once. "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" has found two ways to posterity. One is fictional: Dan Brown largely drew from it for his "Da Vinci Code". The other is political and conspirationist: it runs in the esoteric neo-nazi literature. The link is not fortuitous. During the 19th century, occultism, in the stride of romanticism, became normalised exactly at the time as world conspiracy theories emerged. In both cases, the main idea is that “nothing happens just by chance”. “Nothing is as it seems”. This is the source of the passion for decoding that Dan Brown exploits. People want to decipher, to unveil. And it is never over...

(1) « Les Protocoles des sages de Sion. Faux et usages d'un faux », new edition, Fayard-Berg International.

Pierre-Andre Taguieff, 59, philosopher, sociologist and historian of political ideas, is a research director at CNRS La foire aux Illuminés. Esotericism, conspiracy theories, extremism

Interview: Laure Garcia and Claude Weill
Translation:Alexandra Simonon

Quote:Engage is a left wing campaign. We “support” neither Israel nor Palestine; we support a cosmopolitan or internationalist politics that supports those who fight for peace and against racism within both nations. We are not a “Jewish” campaign, whatever that might mean. We do not speak “as Jews” but as socialists, liberals, trade unionists or academics. A number of the people centrally involved in Engage are not Jewish.
Quote:Le Meilleur des mondes

The journal Le Meilleur des mondes is published by the éditions Denoël and headed by Michel Taubmann. It launched a first petition in favor of United Nations's intervention in Afghanistan [1]. Two years later, it published another petition in Le Figaro supporting the US invasion of Iraq [2].

This journal has been described by some in the French media as the "Voice of America" [3] or as a gathering point of French neoconservatives (néo-conservateurs à la française) [4]. The journal, however, rejects these labels, describing itself as "anti-totalitarian". It considers radical Islam as a "real danger", and claims that "there has never been so much anti-Jewish propaganda." [5]

Quote: Preachers of Hate
Pierre-André Taguieff on the new "anti-Zionism"

September 7, 2005

(Translation of an interview that appeared (click for original) in the Observatoire du Communautarisme )

Prêcheurs de haine : Traversée de la judéophobie planétaire, Pierre-André Taguieff, Editions Mille et une nuits, 2004, 962 pages

After the essay The New Judeophobia (Editions Mille et une nuits 2002), Pierre-Andre Taguieff continues his reflections on the wave of anti-Semitism which affected France since 2000 and on "radical anti-Zionism" with the comendious Preachers of hate. The editors of the Observatoire du Communautarisme will soon begin a critical discussion with Pierre-Andre Taguieff, following the republication of the article which follows, which initially appeared in the CEVIPOF newsletter.

A historian, political economist and historian of the ideas, Pierre-Andre Taguieff devoted many works to the traditional forms and the contemporary metamorphoses of racism and anti-Semitism, involving investigations of a historiographic and lexicological nature as much as analyses based on the social psychology, the cultural anthropology and the political theory which were the basis of several works. In addition, he undertook studies on multiple dimensions of the "crises of time" (exhaustion or redefinition of the idea of progress, responsibility with regard to the future generations) to the extent that they affect political action and its representations. Lately, he continues his research on the new problems arising for ethics, the right and political thought because of advances in life sciences and more particularly of human genetics.

After the publication of the New Judeophobia in January 2002, you publish Preachers of Hatred: A survey of worldwide Judeophobia, a tome of almost 1,000 pages. Why this dense and serious work? A work of anger?

There is anger. How can one not be angry, faced with the surge of anti-Semitism France has experienced for a few years? However, this book is mainly an inquiry, a work of critical reflection, aimed at defining and explaining a phenomenon whose definition is sometimes unclear. It answers some objections and criticisms that The New Judeophobia received, but not the insults and foolishness poured out by some! The genre is mixed: part essay in political thought, part contribution to the history of modern political myths (such as the international Jewish conspiracy, etc), part survey on the worldwide manifestations of contemporary Judeophobia, and, finally, it is also a public stance. Indeed, in this book I do tackle a number of commonly accepted ideas, and I question our modern society’s tendencies to relativize and minimize these new forms of anti-Jewish attitudes. I have tried to sketch out a global theorization of the Judeophobic phenomenon, and to offer a new reading of the history of Judeophobias.

You prefer the term “judeophobia” to “anti-Semitism”.

The word “anti-Semitism” (anti-Semitismus) was forged in 1879 by a German racist theorist, at a time when one believed in the existence of the “Semitic race”, to requalify the old “hatred of the Jews” on a racial basis (”anti-Semitism”). This dated term, taken as self-designation by the anti-Jewish nationalists of the end of the 19th century, does not suitably define the object of my investigations, which one could characterize as the post anti-Semitic Judeophobia which appeared after WW2. My object is above all to analyze the emergence of a new anti-Jewish configuration, which is not confined to resurgences or reactivations. It is about an ideological configuration of global dimensions, where one finds words and topics coming from various anti-Jewish traditions (Christian anti-Judaism, nationalist anti-Semitism), but where one finds also new charges centered on “Israel” and “Zionism”, set up in repulsive myths. To summarize, the argumentative form of this new thought-slogan, which developed since the end of the Sixties, can be put like this: “all Jews are more or less hidden Zionists; Zionism equals colonialism, imperialism and racism; therefore the Jews are colonialists, imperialists and racists, openly or not”. “Zionism” - as repulsive myth and not as socio-political reality - became the incarnation of the absolute evil.

But surely this attitude towards Zionism is not new?

The equation “Zionism = racism”, or even “Zionism = Nazism”, represents one of the most significant heirlooms of Soviet propaganda, the principal themes of which were adopted initially by the Arabo-Muslim world, and then, with some additions, by the trans-national Muslim world. Bear in mind that this polemic orchestration made possible the adoption by the United Nations on November 10, 1975, of Resolution 3379 condemning “Zionism,” which was defined as “a form of racism and racial discrimination”! This resolution, known as “antiracist,” was a great ideological victory of the Soviet camp and PLO: Jewish nationalism, Zionism, became the only nationalism in the world officially defined as “a form of racism,” thus condemnable by the International Convention for the elimination of all the forms of racial discrimination. It was repealed, in its conclusions at least, only in December 1991. We are today in a convulsive context marked by two anti-Jewish configurations, which, since the autumn of 2000, through intolerable violence against Jewish institutions and individuals perceived as Jewish, feed the observable wave of Judeophobia in France as in other European countries. I specified two configurations. One is persistent, and well known: old anti-Semitism inherent to the extreme right, or xenophobic nationalism. The other is an emergent – and expanding one, whose main vectors are the propaganda of the radical Islamist networks and the demagogy of the new leftists: neo-Communists and neo-leftists, altermondialists [a French term that usually describes anti-globalizationists - Tr], Trotskyites and anarchists, all massively exploiting “the Palestinian cause”, celebrated as a “universal cause” by the extreme left. One can see there the new expression of the support of the Third World and revolutionary ideology. The Palestinian martyr replaces the proletarian struggle for a communist society.

But this new Judeophobia contains in itself the roots of anti-Semitism.

It obviously fits within a long history, the origins of which can be found in the Judeophobic attitudes of antiquity (Greek, Roman, Egyptian), evident even before the appearance of Christian anti-Judaism. We can identify three great founding anti-Jewish myths. In antiquity, the Jew was regarded as the enemy of mankind, an antisocial being animated by a relentless hatred towards other peoples. A stereotype transmitted by the Fathers of the Catholic Church to the anti-Jewish racists of the 20th century, and reactivated today by Islamist propaganda. The second myth, invented then re-arranged between the 12th and the 15th centuries, is that of the ritual murder which symbolizes the cruelty attributed to the Jewish people (1) and reinforces its image as a deicide people. This rumor of cruelty is conveyed today by the media, around a recurring topic: the Israeli army is stigmatized as a child-killing army and it is alleged that its soldiers enjoy the killing of young Palestinian children.. Finally, the third part of this transhistorical myth, is the myth of the conspiracy, which also appeared between the 12th and the 15th centuries, but which was transformed into “international Jewish conspiracy” during the 19th century, to reach its peak with the publication of the most famous forgery of Western history, the Protocols of Elders of Zion (2), written in Paris in 1900 -1901. These three myths are the basis of anti-Semitism as classically defined, in the strictest sense, a particular racist – or rather racialist – of ideology which developed and predominated in Europe from around 1870 until the collapse of the 3rd Reich. This anti-Semitism was founded on the theory of the races worked out essentially during the 19th century, which assumed an inequality between human groups named “races”, an inequality that was unchangeable because defined by differential hereditary features. These groups were dedicated to a fight for existence and expansion (”war of the races”). It is within this conceptual framework that anti-Semitism was worked out, as an application of the racialist ideology to the “Jewish question”, promoted to the political sphere at the time of the rise of nationalism during the last twenty last years of the 19th century. anti-Semitism is thus defined as anti-Jewish racism, illustrating the dominant form of the Judeophobia from the last third of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. The Jew - or the Semite – was assimilated to a distinct, lower and harmful, enemy “race” by nature of the “Aryan race”. This type of anti-Jewish speech, explicitly racist, did not disappear, but indeed persists, in the margins of the political sphere (neo-Nazis, skinheads, etc). The new global Judeophobia, exactly the one I analyze in my book, is not based on a racist theory; On the contrary, it consists of turning against the Jews the accusation of “racism”. Thus, it gives itself “antiracist” credentials.

This new Judeophobia also includes a violent form of anti-Americanism.

Indeed, this beam of negative stereotypes aiming at the Israeli-Zionist-Jew fits into a more global configuration, centered on the demonization of the United States. Radical anti-Americanism constitutes a new transnational political orthodoxy, which has not stopped expanding since 1989/1990. The American superpower became a repulsive figure, the latest recycling of “American imperialism,” claimed to take a major responsibility for the misfortunes of the world: bloody injustices and inequalities, oppression and exploitation, conflicts and genocides. All these plagues can be blamed on the activities of Israel (”Zionism”) or of the United States, or more usually of both. However, one should not lapse into polemical excesses: all the anti-Americans are not anti-Jewish, all the anti-Jews are not anti-American. We are content to point out an ideological twinning between America and the Jews, however; hence the return under various formulations of such ideas as “Jewish America”, “Jew-York” and “American-Zionist imperialism.” Israel and the United States are democratic nation states; they are powerful, armed, strongly patriotic, they dare to define their enemies and defend themselves firmly. They are not “soft” societies with the “tepid” beliefs. This is what annoys the followers of the new “single thought”. There are still traces of Soviet ideology in the contemporary anti-American-Zionist discourse. However, the essential part is otherwise: the anti-Americanism is one of the factors of aggravation of the transatlantic divide, which has serious consequences in the fight against terrorism, whose effectiveness relies on an international consensus.

You are insistent that this new Judeophobia has worldwide dimensions. Does it really affect all continents?

This anti-Jewish theme is now spread worldwide by the means of new communication and information technologies. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most famous forgery of the anti-Jewish literature, manufactured in Paris, in the beginning of the 20th century, by the services of the secret policy of the Tsar, Okhrana, then translated in the majority of the European languages in the 1920s, never circulated as widely as they do now. In the Arabo-Muslim countries, but also in Eastern Europe, in Latin America, in Pakistan, in Indonesia and in Japan (where at most 1000 Jews live!). And of course in the US, where it is massively distributed by the far right. Through the distribution of this document (presented as authentic), the Jews are stigmatized as “plotters” and “dominators”. The danger of a “worldwide Jewish plot” (or a “Zionist plot”) aimed at conquering the whole of planet is denounced. Islamist Propaganda constantly refers to it. Since the end of the 20th century, various political or politico-religious actors have reinvented the myth of “the Elders of Zion”.

You use the expression of “Nazification” of the Jewish State. What do you mean by that?

The Nazification of the Jewish State is at the heart of the anti-Zionist propaganda which forms the core of the new worldwide Judeophobic discourse. Israel was accused of the “genocide” of the Palestinians after the Six-Day War, then of “ethnocide” and finally of “ethnic cleansing”. Today, some people establish a parallel between the “Judeocide” committed by the Nazis and the supposed “Palestinocide” committed by the Zionists. By these means of propaganda, what is questioned is the legitimacy itself of the State of Israel, the only nation in the world whose right to exist is being challenged. What could be more ideologically suitable than to stigmatize Israel, Jewish “Zionists” or “extremists” in the name of a just fight against racism and anti-Semitism, or in the name of a cosmopolitan humanism? This is the most common posture of the “Western” partisan of what I called the radical or absolute anti-Zionism (the expression is also used in this way by Jean-Christophe Rufin in his study). Although this posture can be found especially in the sphere of the new far-left, it also converges with certain Islamists spheres, and meets the orientations of certain far-right movements of extreme right-hand side (the latter being mainly “anti-Zionist” nowadays). In addition to the demonological Judeophobia of the Islamists, I endeavored to study the conspirationist Judeophobia of the new anticapitalist, or revolutionary spheres which emerge in the West. They dive into the idea of “plot” with fury and naivety, when they blame all the misfortunes of the World on mysterious “new Masters of the World”, recycling of the myth of the Elders of Zion. The new anti-Jewish standard of the new third millenium denounces anti-Semitism at the same as it denounces Zionism, it positions itself as both anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist, it boasts of being anti-racist and anti-Fascist, it poses as a defender of human rights, and particularly of the rights of the “victims”. It is very attractive from an “ethically correct” point of view. It comes in masked. Hence the difficulties encountered by those which endeavor to expose it. The absolute anti-Zionism became the revolutionism of the fools, just like, at the time of the Dreyfus affair, nationalist anti-Semitism was the “socialism of fools” (August Bebel)!

You have chosen to talk about the emergence of judeophobia, by taking French society as your starting point and privileged illustration, what is your analysis of the French situation?

Regarding France, there was a serious recrudescence of the problem of Judeophobia (what is still called anti-Semitism) in the autumn of 2000. The year 2000 (3) was marked by a brutal increase in violence and anti-Jewish threats. In the same period the second intifada and its violence were very present in the media. The second intifada, I wish to emphasize, is not merely another “war of stones,” but has the attributes of a real war. As of October 2000, the force of images worked against Israel, when the death of the young Mohammed Al-Dura, filmed by a French camera crew, was widely shown on TV(4). The image of the Palestinian becomes that of a child martyred by a pitiless and faceless army. An army of ritual killers: one find again the founding myth of ritual murder that we evoked. In this anti-Israeli context, the anti-Jewish aggressions, which multiply in France do not mobilize much. Indifference dominates, mixed with a deaf hostility. Until the spring of 2002, the authorities hardly interfere. It will be necessary to wait until 2003 to see the government take a stand against the wave of anti-Jewish violence. For a large part of the public, in spite of a denunciation of Islamic fundamentalism, which shamelessly exploits this “victimization” thematology, the victim is the oppressed, therefore “the immigrant” or “the Arab” (read “the Moslem”), therefore the Palestinian. Without being able here to expand on the subject, I shall remind you briefly that France used to be a colonial power which had to face difficult colonial conflicts: the memory of the war of Algeria is still alive. In the anti-Israeli context which has been radicalized since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, a number of French anti-colonialists put themselves into the Palestinian resistance, fantasized as a new anti-colonialist fight. These unconditional pro-Palestinians find justifications for Palestinian terrorism, even for “human bombs” designed to kill a maximum of Israeli civilians, . Some go as far as comparing the Palestinian resistance to the French Resistance against the Nazi occupier, which presupposes the “Nazification” of Israel, passport for its eradication. In addition to this, the tradition of the “great Arab policy” of France, with its anti-Zionist component, is partly responsible for the general acceptance of these new attitudes.

Radical Islamism denounces the decadence of the West, and its belief in progress, a topic to which you devoted several books. Is belief in progress a sign of decadence?

The idea of progress, modern belief that the future will be better than the past and the present, structured the political imaginary of the West, since its appearance in the 17th century. However, four centuries later, we observe that the questioning of the idea of progress, initiated by the anthropologist theorists of radical cultural relativism, then developed by the ecologists and anti-globalization movement, has made striking progress. The new enemies of the West took on, and simplified, in their Manichean language, this denunciation of the “myth of progress”. To believe in progress would be, according to radical Islamists, a symptom of decadence. It would therefore be necessary to preserve all the forms of culture, including those where cannibalism, the stoning of women or female genital mutilation, are still practiced. Or to establish Sharia everywhere that Moslems live. Radical questioning of the concept of progress, demonized because of its Western origin, amounts to a desire to erase the future. But what would the world be like if it did not think itself in the future and if its only obsession was the worldwide Zionist-American plot? The dream of a pacific unification of the world is an illusion which extends into a West weakened by internal doubts and criticisms. Hyper-terrorism has started a war against the liberal, democratic West (the camp of “Jewish crusaders”). Cultured people have to combine the duty of history and the work of memory. The great divide will appear between those who, following their fears, will submit to the criminal fanatics advocating a third totalitarianism, and those who will resist the new barbarians and fight for the freedom of all.

(1) According to this myth, the Jews annually sacrificed a non-Jewish child to make the ritual unleavened bread of Passover, the matzo, using his blood .
(2) Pierre-Andre Taguieff has just published a newly revised edition of the historical and critical study which he devoted to this document: “Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Forgery and use of a forgery”, International Berg/Beech, Paris, September 2004, 490 p.
(3) Workshop [Chantier] on the struggle against racism and the anti-Semitism, report submitted to the French Home Office on October 19, 2004.
(4) This episode is analyzed by Pierre-Andre Taguieff in Preachers of Hate, pp. 367-370.

Interviewed conducted by Elisabeth Kosellek

Translated by Ami Isseroff, based in part on the translation by Alexandra Simonon that originally appeared at Engage - www.

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