På denne dag da den franske nasjonalforsamlingen stemmer over hijab-loven, er det betimelig å lese intervjuet med Alain Finkielkraut i Haaretz. Han sier Frankrike er i en identitetskrise, og at det multikulturelle idealet er en illusjon.
AF: With us the idea now dominates that the entire French nation is a perverted result of a bygone reality, a reality that is obsolete, that of Europe before the enlightened, post-nationalist period.”
Q: But this is not a French invention. The appreciation of multiculturalism and the disgust with nationalism are a wave that is affecting all of the West.
Finkielkraut: “Yes, but multiculturalism is a chimera. This charm, of the various identities, is not real. What, in fact, is replacing assimilation? Is there really such a thing, a carousel of identities, as the elite is trying to convince us? Is there really a possibility that all the cultures will be of equal worth and leave equal space for one another? In fact the opposite is happening: Anyone who doesn’t want to assimilate, anyone who doesn’t make an effort to learn the language and become part of French culture and the French heritage - French culture assimilates into his identity. And this is already evident in the schools and on the street - that children aren’t speaking French, but rather a jargon composed of Arabic words and meager French. There is always a culture that emerges victorious. In no society is there a vacuum. But this would not be grave were it not a part of this trend, which wants to obliterate France and its values entirely.”
hele intervjuet: ‘What’s bad for the Jews is bad for France’
Perhaps the accusations that you are a bit too conservative, a bit afraid, are correct?
“Perhaps. But look at what is happening now with the law against the veil. True, there is panic, there is a kind of extremism in this law, but by now it is difficult for me to discuss nuances in connection with this, because look at how Le Monde has come out against the law and why. A few days ago, it published an article by Bruno Latour, a famous sociologist, who vehemently opposes the law. Why? In the name of freedom of expression, of course, and of freedom of religion, and against the state meddling in the life of the individual and so on. It is possible to argue with these points, but not with the end of the article, where Latour says that anyone who wants to assimilate the Muslims into France should be made to wear a beret and walk down the street with a baguette under his arm. So this is all of France? Is this all? Why does a nation have to deck itself in such a low, vulgar image and throw away all of its spiritual and cultural achievements?”
Could it be that you are exaggerating? After all, Le Monde is not a political party that sweeps the masses behind it.
“No, but it definitely does reflect the thinking among the elite. And in France these things carry weight. I know that if France becomes multicultural, it will be very bad for the Jews. And what is bad for the Jews, wonder of wonders, is very bad for France. We are in the same boat. We are no longer “the other.” We now represent the total integration into the values of the Republic, into the culture. Of course it is clear that the prohibition of the veil is also the prohibition of the skullcap, and I prefer that to the ethnic and religious multicultural inundation that will shake everything up and drain France of all its assets.”
His latest book was published a few months ago: a fluent and sharp essay entitled “In the Name of the Other.” It used to be that the Jews were “the other” of French society, he argues, and now that the Jews have already become integrated and an integral part of the Republic, it is the Arabs who are the new “other.” And in the name of this “other,” in a self-righteous and one-dimensional way, the most enlightened, the most liberal and the most benevolent cannot but see the Jews - in the shadow of the one-dimensional interpretation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a territorial and colonial struggle - as the source of evil.
The elite that is nurturing the new anti-Semitism, he argues in his book, also influences the teachers in the school system, and there the crisis of the Republic is sharpest. Those who used to hate the Jews have become the elite of mediocrity, but the new anti-Semitism is characterized by people who are not mediocre, and it derives from the positive attitude to Arabs, whoever they may be. France, argues Finkielkraut, excels in good sentiments. Now it is inundated with such feelings not only toward the Palestinians, but also toward the Iraqis or anyone who is attacked by the colonial, American and Zionist forces. Instead of political criticism of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his government, there is a total enlistment against “the Jews” and for “the Arabs.” (A.G.)