Friday, December 10, 2004

Tariq Ramadan's Critics (Part 4)

There was one part of the NYT article I found a little puzzling:
Mr. Ramadan himself set off a storm in France last fall when he wrote an online essay criticizing several French Jewish intellectuals for being “biased toward the concerns of their community” by defending Israel - in its construction of a barrier in the West Bank, for instance - and supporting, to varying degrees, the Iraq war.
I will leave aside the question of failure to criticize the State of Israel and say that if some Jewish intellectuals supported the Iraq war, it had very little effect on the climate of opinion in France. Here is the article from 2003 that, according to Ramadan, caused all the trouble :  
The recent war in Iraq has been very revealing. Intellectuals as different as Bernard Kouchner, André Glucksman or Bernard-Henri Lévy, who had taken courageous positions over Bosnia, Rwanda or Chechnya, have curiously  supported the American-British intervention in Iraq.
The arguments against the war are put cursorily : 'to eliminate a dictator (why not before ?), for the democratisation of the country (why not Saudi Arabia ?), etc.'; In response to André Glucksman's 'angry plea for the war', he can only say that it 'passes over in a very eloquent silence the interests of Israel'.

The main thrust of the argument though is this : abandoning universal principles, Ramadan says, some intellectuals fall back on their 'identity' and 'community', that is their Jewishness.  But, it was precisely because of  'universal values' that Kouchner and others (*) refused to turn a blind eye to Saddam Hussein's tyranny. Supporting his overthrow, was in France in 2003 - and still is - the 'courageous position'. (The main point of the 'minority view' was the mindless anti-Americanism in France. André Glucksmann was one of those covered in The New Yorker, Issue of 2003-09-01.)

At the end of the article Ramadan says :
One draws attention with respect to the courage of those men and women, Jews (not necessarily  anti-globalization or of the extreme left), who decided to rise up against all injustices and in particular those which are the doing of Jews.
 Quite. We must fight  against all injustices.

Update: (*) Is Kouchner a Jew ? I don't know: they don't have to wear stars of David these days.

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