‘We have to be stronger than the terrorists,’ French philosopher tells west London shul

By Naomi Firsht, March 23, 2016

“We have to be stronger than the terrorists,” Jewish French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy declared on the evening of the Brussels attacks that killed 31 people.

“It is a war that is waged by the international jihad against the rest of the world,” said Mr Lévy.

“I am sure without Brussels I wouldn't have tried to pay homage to 31 victims of barbaric acts.

He told a packed synagogue in west London that he had spoken to friends of his in Brussels earlier that evening. “I had the feeling I was talking to women and men who were in a city in a state of siege. They felt threatened in their mind and life.

“I would like to tell the inhabitants of Brussels, as was the case in London and Paris, we have to be stronger than the terrorists.”

Daesh terrorist attacks in Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station in Brussels on Tuesday morning left at least 31 people dead and 250 injured.

Mr Lévy made the comments at the beginning of a talk at Lauderdale Road Sephardi Synagogue on Tuesday night, where he had been invited to talk about his new book “L’Esprit du Judaïsme” (The Jewish Philosophy).

He explained to the 500 audience members that his book focused on what he called the “Gloire des juifs” (glory of the Jews) and how the Jewish message and Jewish people have contributed to the world.

However he admitted there were: “Forty or 50 pages at the beginning of my book where I try to find the real face of modern antisemitism. Often we fight the wrong enemy and often Jewish people are fighting shadows.”

According to Mr Lévy, today’s antisemitism is made up of three elements: Holocaust denial, anti-Zionism and a competitive victimhood – usually as compared with the Palestinians.

At the event, hosted by The Hexagon Institute, an incubator of Franco-British culture, the writer was interviewed on the shul’s bimah by Michel Zerbib head of French radio station Radio J. During his talk he also touched upon the texts of the Talmud, the festival of Purim and the Book of Jonah.

Last updated: 10:20am, March 23 2016