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Georges Bensoussan, historien et auteur en 2002 des Territoires perdus de la République.

FIGAROVOX/READING -Alexandre Devecchio read Autopsy of a denial of anti-Semitism (The Gunner). A precious document which brings together texts by historians, journalists and intellectuals who followed the debates or testified at the trial of Georges Bensoussan, accused of Islamophobia.

"In France, daily anti-Semitism", was the title of the newspaper Le Monde the day of the verdict of the Merah trial and the day after the new desecration of the stele of Ilan Halimi in Bagneux. A vague formula which expresses the embarrassment of the newspaper to say what remains a taboo. The rise of Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism in France against a backdrop of satellite dishes and the Islamization of the suburbs. An anti-Semitism that caused the mass exodus of Jews from certain neighborhoods and the desertion of Jewish children from public schools in Seine-Saint-Denis. An anti-Semitism that can even turn out to be deadly, as was the case this year for Sarah Halimi, beaten then defenestrated by her neighbor to cries of "God is great" in an HLM in Belleville. We have been aware of this "new" anti-Semitism since the publication of Republic Lost Territories in 2002, a book edited by the historian Georges Bensoussan which brought together the testimonies of numerous professors from the suburbs.

On January 25, 2017, however, the trial of this same Georges Bensoussan for “provocation to discrimination, hatred, violence…” opened before the justice of the Republic. His crime? Having said aloud in the heat of the program "Replicas" hosted by Alain Finkielkraut, this disturbing reality. He had launched (quoting roughly the sociologist of Algerian origin Smaïn Laacher): "It is a shame to maintain this taboo, namely that in Arab families in France, and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it, anti-Semitism we suckle with the mother's milk.” All it took was a report from the very controversial Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) for the prosecution to decide to prosecute him, five months after the facts. Against all expectations, SOS Racisme, the LDH, the Mrap but also the Licra had joined in the prosecution.

"Never, when more than forty years ago I crossed the gates of this Palace, I would have imagined having to plead such a cause one day"

Michel Laval, Georges Bensoussan's lawyer

Autopsy of a denial of anti-Semitism (L'Artilleur) brings together texts by historians, journalists and intellectuals who followed the debates or testified at the trial as well as the argument of Michel Laval, Georges Bensoussan's lawyer, and the judgment in its entirety. A precious document which will perhaps be studied in depth by the historians of the future as this trial, which is also that of reality, represents a turning point. It is emblematic of both the legalization of public debate in France, the drift of militant anti-racism and French fractures. “Never, when more than forty years ago I crossed the gates of this Palace, I would have imagined having to plead such a cause one day, said Michel Laval before the president of the XVIIth correctional chamber. Never, I would have imagined having to defend freedom of expression and thought against the dark forces of a new fanaticism.

In addition to this vigorous argument, we will remember the courageous testimony of the writer Boualem Sansal. “Algeria does not consider Islamophobia a misdemeanor or a crime… In Algeria, there is not, there never was, and I hope the same will be the case tomorrow and after- tomorrow, Bensoussan case.” Or again: "To say that anti-Semitism is part of Islamic culture is simply to repeat what is said in the Koran, in the mosque and undoubtedly in many traditionalist families."

Autopsy of a denial of anti-Semitism. Around the trial against Georges Bensoussan, L'Artilleur, 200 p., €17.
Autopsy of a denial of anti-Semitism. About the trial against Georges Bensoussan, The Gunner, 200 p., €17. – Photo credits: The Gunner

Readers should also not miss the fundamental articles by Michèle Tribalat and Barbara Lefebvre. In "Freedom of expression in danger", the demographer gives us a lesson in Newspeak. Except for being a rap singer or belonging to an ethnic or religious minority, avoid anything that looks like a generalization, an essentialization, forget the metaphors of the French language, ensure the proper use of articles. The article “LES” can be fatal. Prefer the article "DES", less globalizing. And if your tongue forks despite everything, you are asked to quickly and publicly apologize. Professor of history, Lefebvre, she brilliantly brings out the contradictions of the new anti-racism.

Quoted in defense of Bensoussan, Alain Finkielkraut had defined with gravity the stake of the lawsuit: A misguided anti-racism enjoins you to criminalize the concern instead of fighting the reality on which it is based. If you give in, it will be an intellectual and moral catastrophe.” The judges of the XNUMXth century did not give in and disavowed the prosecution, but the announced "intellectual and moral catastrophe" may have already taken place, as it is true that a form of self-censorship, if not censorship, continues to weigh in on certain issues.

Source: ©  Le Figaro Premium – Back to the Georges Bensoussan affair: the trial of reality

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