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Dear Frederic,

You will allow me to address you, in memory of our old friendship, when we were students in Paris and you had not yet started your brilliant career at the Grenoble Institute of Political Science. At the time, we shared the same passion for Israel and for Zionism, which then seemed to us a distant ideal. Three and a half decades later, our paths have diverged; you pursued your career in France, which took you to the "summits" of French geopolitics, while I did my aliyah and have lived in Jerusalem for 30 years.

If I am writing to you today publicly, it is because you have just published an interview on the CRIF website in which – while claiming a “humanist geopolitics” (sic) and advocating a “powerful Europe” – you call Israel a “hooligan”. I do not question your skills as a geopolitician, which you have proven by publishing several interesting books, since your Geopolitics of Jerusalem that I had read before. No, dear Frederic, what saddens and shocks me is the way in which you disqualify the new Israeli government and condemn our little country to scorn, in terms that would better suit the Diplomatic World or to  Humanity than to a Jewish community site (which would have been better advised not to let these outrageous and insulting remarks pass).

Because you see, “hooliganism” means, according to the Larousse, the “Power wielded by thugs“, or the “rogue government”. Is this really how you consider our country, the only democracy in the Middle East, as we proclaimed it then, when we militated together in the ranks of Tagar, the movement of Jewish students in France? I have difficulty believing it. I prefer to think that you, too, are misinformed, from reading Le Monde and the other French media and that you should come here more often, instead of throwing down your cookie-cutter judgments from Paris.

If you feel like visiting us, I could introduce you to Betsalel Smotrich, who, according to you, has “nothing to do in the government of a state of law” (since when did you become the moral authority, empowered to decide who has the right to sit in the government of Israel?) You would find that he is a very intelligent man and who will undoubtedly be able to teach you a lot about our country and about our State, which you think you know. We can certainly not share his opinions or those of Itamar Ben Gvir, it is your strictest right. Myself, as a translator and disciple of Jabotinsky, I can understand those who preferred the Likud of the past to that of today. But I will never allow myself to insult the Israeli government like you are doing today.

As for the "completely reprehensible acts in the eyes of Israeli law" that "Smotrich and Ben Gvir" allegedly committed, according to you, I will remind you here of some facts of our militant youth, since you take the liberty of judging and condemning without appeal. our state government ministers. When we were both militants of Tagar, the student branch of Betar, some notables in the community also called us “thugs”. At the time, you knew very well that justice was on our side, when we whistled Robert Badinter at the Vel D'Hiv, when we tagged “Arafat assassin” on the walls, or when we marched proudly with the flag of Israel in the streets of Paris. Did that make us “thugs”?

50th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup, the anger of Robert Badinter | INA Archive

But no doubt this letter is in vain, because you evolve today in very different spheres from those we frequented in the past. Maybe that's why you now think you have the right to decide who should sit in the Israeli government... and who has the "competence in the security and/or military fields” (what are yours to write this?) I learned that you had been named Knight of the Order of Merit and that you had received a “Grand Prix of Geopolitics” awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that you delivered the minister in person! I was told that you had very friendly reactions with Mr. Le Drian, the same minister at the Quai d'Orsay who “warned Israel against the risk of apartheid” (“Oi a broch“, would have said my grandmother).

Of course, this does not justify this. You can make a career in France, without giving up your convictions and your past. It is no longer necessary, as in Heine's time, to convert or to renounce one's identity to be a good Frenchman. Calling Israel a “hooligan” will bring you no distinction and no honor (unless you are running for the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs?) I therefore ask you, dear Frédéric, in the name of our commitments and our distant friendship, to re-read your words and reflect on their meaning. To err is human, but as you well know,perseverare diabolicum".

I will end with the traditional Betar greeting, the meaning of which you may not have forgotten, that of Yossef Trumpeldor, Jabotinsky and the other heroes of our youth, Tel-Hai!

© Pierre Lurcat

PS To Mr. Yonathan Arfi, President of CRIF,

Is it really the role of CRIF to publish comments that incriminate Israel and its government, especially when they are those of a Jewish geopolitician, considered (wrongly?) as pro-Israel? How can you still protest when the French media insult Israel and call it " illiberal democracy » or of « illusory democracy », if the CRIF itself supports the qualifier of « Voyoucracy » affixed to the Jewish State? And how do you think you will be greeted by a minister of the government of Israel when he finds out what you publish on your site?


“On the Jewish state, what concerns me more than right-wing and nationalism – after all, a fervent nationalist, Begin, made peace with Egypt, and another, Sharon, evacuated the entire Gaza Strip – c is hooliganism. Smotrich and Ben Gvir have made remarks and committed acts that are completely reprehensible in the eyes of Israeli law and, moreover, have absolutely no competence in the security and/or military fields that they claim to revolutionize. These objectively extremist individuals have in my opinion nothing to do within the government of a state of law, and no more an Arie Derhy already heavily condemned in the exercise of his ministerial functions and again indicted! Never anywhere is hooliganism positive”. 

The Crif interview – Frédéric Encel, geopolitical scientist and essayist: “It’s up to Europeans to move towards a powerful Europe!” | Crif – Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France


  • Jean-Pierre Stroweis
    Posted January 16, 2023 9h38 0Likes

    The fact that you, pierre lurçat, live in israel and that Frédéric ENCEL resides IN FRANCE IS NOT SUFFICIENT to accept and justify the attitude of religious and political intolerance of a large part of the members of the current government coalition, such as bezalel smotrich for example and that Frederic encel described as hooliganism. Some of them were quick to call former chief of staff Benny Gantz a traitor, which reminds me of the atmosphere leading up to the assassination of yitzchak rabin z”l in 1995.
    jean-pierre stroweis, in jerusalem for 41 years.

  • And if..e
    Posted January 17, 2023 18h30 0Likes

    Encel? Yes! So what? What I concern myself? He better take care of the decay where he lives! Does he fear for his life as a JEW by taking part for the said “Palestinians” in France-Mohammedan??

    The CRIF only represents itself! A fake token!

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