Ramadan: Some Provocative Thoughts



The US refused a visa to Tarik Ramadan, who had been invited to teach at Notre Dame. Christopher Jones writes: I am including some excerpts from an October 3, 2003 article by Tariq Ramadan posted by Oumma.com. that I have translated.  The US decision to revoke his working visa is truly a bad sign.  Although he may appear contradictory at times, Ramadan does see the need for constructive dialogue and at least recognizes a major problem: the proximity of the Islamic world coupled with hopeless conditions for immigrants in the suburbs of Europe's great cities.  However, as someone who has been also stigmatized with the word "antisemite" I am hoping that Prof. Ramadan's diagnosis of the "antisemite" problem and the official US governmental response should at serve to remind WAISers that greater forces are at work -- forces to could lead the US and the rest of the world to its greatest conflagration ever . . ." . . . Over several years, (even before the second intifada) French Jewish intellectuals who until  then had been considered as universal thinkers, began both nationally and internationally to develop analyses more and more directed by community concerns that aspire to relativise the defence of universal principles of equality or justice . . .
 
" . . . The works of Pierre André Tanguieff are very revealing.  His pamphlet The New Judeophobia is the prototype of a "scholarly" reflection  that pooh poohs scientific criteria.  The sociologist transformed himself in the defender of a community in danger whose new enemy, real or potential is the Arab, the Moslem, be he French. It is impossible to find here a perspective based on critical analysis of the social policy of the state, the realities of the suburbs or even the international scene.  The conclusion is straightforward: the Jewish community in France will face a new danger represented by this new population of Maghreb origin who, in concert with the extreme left, will trivialize Judeophobia and justify it through underhanded criticism of Israel and an "absolute anti-Zionism".  Above all others, Alain Finkielkraut excels in this genre: we knew the thinker who took part in great social debates but here the horizon is reduced and the philosopher has become a community intellectual.  His last book, In the Name of the Other, Reflections on coming Antisemitism, is presented as an attack without nuances on all sorts of antisemtism (anti-globalization, immigrants or media).  Alain Finkielkraut indulges in all excesses and is not troubled by supporting Sharon.  The debate is no longer based on unversal principles and even pretends to be linked to common European tradition, his positions taken reveal an communitarist who is falsifying the terminology of the debate in France like the subject of Palestine.  His denunciation of the "cult of the other" in reality, doesn't stop exacerbating the sentiment of "otherness" of the Jewish victim and the wall of shame becomes "a simple security barrier" that Israel constructed despite herself.  Jews or Zionists (those who make a difference are antisemites) can never be victims or oppressors like others . . .
 
"The recent war in Iraq has acted as a catalyst.  Intellectuals as different as Bernard Kouchner, André Glucksman or Bernard-Henri Levy, who took courageous positions in Bosnia, Rwanda or in Chechnya have curiously supported the Americano-British intervention in Iraq.  One can ask why so many justifications appear unfounded: eliminate a dictator (why not before?),  for the democratisation of the country (why not in Saudi Arabia?) etc.  The United States have certainly acted in the name of its own interests  but we know that Israel supported the intervention and that its military advisers were working with the troops as indicated by British journalists who participated in the operations (The Independent, June 6, 2003).  We also know that the architect of the operation in the Bush administration is Paul Wolfowitz, a notorious Zionist who has never hidden that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would guaranty better security for Israel with assured economic advantages.  In his book, West against West, André Glucksman gives us  a coleric argument for the war, written under a very revealing silence on Israel's interests.  Bernard-Henri Levy, selective defender of great causes, hardly ever criticises Israel to whom he never stops proclaiming his "solidarity as a Jew and as a Frenchman."  His last campaign against Pakistan appeared as taken from nowhere, almost anachronistic.  By interesting himself with the abominable and inexcusable murder of Daniel Pearl, he seizes the chance to stigmatise Pakistan whose enemy, India should naturally become our friend . . . Levy is certainly not Sharon's guru but his analysis reveals a curious similarity regarding the timing of his statement and its startegic goals: Sharon has just returned from a historic visit to India to reinforce economic and military cooperation between the two countries . . .
 
"If we demand from intellectuals and other Arabs and Moslems that they condemn, in the name of the law and universal, commonly held values, terrorism, violence, antisemitism and the dictatorial Moslem states from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, shouldn't we at least expect from Jewish intellectual that they denounce, in a clear manner the repressive policies of the state of Israel, its alliances and other doubtful methods and that they are in the first rank in the fight against the discrimination that their Moslem co-citizens are subjected to. We note with respect of those Jews (not necessarily anti-globalizationists or of the extreme left) who have decided to  rebel against all injustice and notably those injustices committed by Jews.  Together with Arabs and Moslems of the same sort, they are the light and the hope for the future because that future has never needed this prerequisite and this courage before . . .     
 
Tariq Ramadan


Your comments are invited. Read te home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu/ E-mail to hilton@stanford.edu. Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: September 26, 2004