Monday, May 31, 2010


Bernard-Henri Levy: Israel secular miracle

At Tel Aviv conference, Jewish-French philosopher lauds IDF morals, calls Israel 'island of democracy where dictatorships rule'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 05.31.10, 00:33 / Israel News

Referring to the IDF, Jewish-French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy said, "Much can and should be learned from Israel."

Addressing the French-Israeli conference on democracy in Tel Aviv Sunday, Levy said, "I've covered many wars, and I've never seen an army that asks itself so many questions related to morals."

As for Israel's status in the international community, the French philosopher said, "There is a demonization campaign against Israel all over the world.

"In a region where dictatorships and truly fascist regimes rule, Israel represents an island of democracy. Zionism is the only movement that has not failed and turned into a caricature. It is the only movement that has preserved its spirit," he told the conference.

"Israel is a miracle because since its inception it has been in a constant state of war, yet it never gave up on the democratic values at its core," according to Levy.

He added, "Democracy was created (in Israel) out of nothing. People had no experience in democracy, but through willpower and a miracle, they invented a functioning democracy. Israel is proof that democracy does not require time. In France a newspaper was shut down every two weeks during the war in Algeria."

Levy also praised the Israeli government's treatment of the Arab minority during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, adding that Arab-Israel villages he had visited during the war "were on the brink of explosion."

"I am not certain that (governments in other countries) would have acted the same. I remember a terrible atmosphere and my admiration of the Israeli authorities' level-headed conduct. Israel represents a secular miracle," he said.

The renowned philosopher also said democracy was a Jewish idea. "The Talmud is democracy in practice. The Jewish nation invented the notion that the truth lies in the most heated argument," he said.

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