Monday, May 26, 2008

French Secular Theologians

A conference at Tel Aviv University has focussed on the persistent fixation of French intellectuals on Israel, these past 60 years or so. Apparently the fixation is growing, and is now the single most important element in the world view of many French intellectuals; those on the opposite sides of the line don't even talk to each other any more (not even over glasses of wine in the Latin Quarter? That bad?)

I'm at a loss to explain this virility. You want to have a fixation on China? The Wahabbis who own most of the world's oil? Even the United States? Fixations are generally not great things to have, but at least those ones have some degree of rationality about them. Maybe. But Israel? For 60 years? I won't say this is necessarily antisemitism, but I will note that antisemitism draws from the same well. The need to see the Jews as central to the human story can become a source of antisemitism. It doesn't have to, but it can.

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