A neoliberal ‘wall of values’

France: protest aginst the war on Gaza

JVL Introduction

The editorial director of Le Monde diplomatique inveighs against the latest tactic in the neoliberal war against the left:

“As if by chance, the left has been accused of antisemitism simultaneously in France, the UK and the US. Once a target is selected, all one need do is find a clumsy, outrageous or contemptible opinion expressed, say on Facebook or Twitter, by a member of the political movement one intends to discredit […] Then the media take over… “

 

 


A neoliberal ‘wall of values’

Serge Halimi, Le Monde diplomatique
April 2019


The far right’s strong performance in elections was for decades an insurance policy for left- and right-wing neoliberals: any moderate, no matter how bland, could easily get elected provided he stood against a political party widely perceived as unacceptable and offensive. Jean-Marie Le Pen’s share of the vote in the 2002 French presidential election did not grow significantly between the first and second rounds (16.8% to 17.8%), but Jacques Chirac’s surged from 19.8% to 82.2%. Emmanuel Macron won in a similar, though less spectacular, fashion in 2017.

Neoliberals hope that what worked with the far right will work with the left. To block any progress it might make, they are trying to build a ‘wall of values’ that will make the left suspect. They hope this will force people who can no longer bear the government’s policies to put up with them, because they will deem those of its most powerful adversaries even worse.

As if by chance, the left has been accused of antisemitism simultaneously in France, the UK and the US. Once a target is selected, all one need do is find a clumsy, outrageous or contemptible opinion expressed, say on Facebook or Twitter, by a member of the political movement one intends to discredit (the UK Labour party has more than 500,000 members). Then the media take over. One can also destroy an opponent by pretending they have expressed antisemitic prejudices they do not hold — such as ‘democracy/journalism/the financial sector is controlled by Jews’ — as soon as they criticise the oligarchy, the media or a bank.

Philosopher Alain Finkielkraut recently claimed that ‘If [Jeremy] Corbyn was in Downing Street, you could say that, for the first time since Hitler, an antisemite was leader of a European country’(1). According to President Donald Trump the situation is just as bad in the US because, with the election of a number of leftwing militants to Congress, ‘The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party.’ (He later said, ‘The Democrats hate Jewish people.’) Bernard-Henri Lévy has even dared to compare French journalist and leftist National Assembly member François Ruffin to Lucien Rebatet, author of the antisemitic pamphlet Les Décombres; to Xavier Vallat, commissioner-general for Jewish affairs in Vichy France; and to Robert Brasillach, a Nazi collaborator executed after the liberation of France. Lévy, a professional defamer, claimed to detect in Ruffin a ‘conscious or unconscious echo of the style of Gringoire’ (2), a magazine dripping with antisemitic hatred; its most notorious smear campaign drove a minister of the interwar leftwing Front Populaire government to suicide.

Jews have been murdered by antisemites in France and the US. This tragedy is now turned into an ideological weapon used by Trump, the Israeli government and mendacious intellectuals. If we must build a cordon sanitaire, let it protect us against those who purposely accuse their adversaries of an infamy of which they know they are innocent.


Serge Halimi is editorial director of Le Monde diplomatique.

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Footnotes

(1) Alain Finkielkraut: ‘Ich bin kein Opfer’ (I am not a victim), Die Zeit, Hamburg, 21 February 2019.

(2Bernard-Henri Lévy, ‘Il faut franchir le “point Godwin”’ (We must move beyond the ‘Godwin point’), Le Point, Paris, 7 March 2019.

Comments (4)

  • S H says:

    I totally despair at what has been allowed to happen to our Labour Party, from within and from enemies outside, the widespread smearing campaign being used as a political weapon to damage us, our communities and the chance of ending the real racists the Tory austerity loving NHS hating shambles of a government.

  • S H says:

    When the nasty wealthy Hodge was about to be disciplined for her foul mouthed public rant against Jeremy Corbyn she threatened to take the Labour Party to court so she carried on with her defaming everyone iwho supports Jeremy Corbyn. She has broken our rules so many times. John Mann is another little stirrer. Instead of congratulating Lisa on her great victory in Peterborough today he was on TV looking very disappointed and miserable calling our new MP anti semetic. With friends like Hodge and Mann who needs bloody enemies?

  • angharad joseph says:

    I completely agree with the comments above. And our appalling media can take a lot of the credit for disseminating this rubbish. The “Jewish Community” the media consistently references seems to be made up solely of anti Corbynists; never a mention of JVL!

  • David Stretton says:

    It gets even worse because Labour MP Jess Philips, amongst others, has now tweeted that Labour’s victory in Peterborough shows that anti-semitism is the new norm in the LP…what a disgrace the PLP are…and the sad thing is that Philips or Hodge most probably don’t actually believe what they say it’s just part of their campaign to “destroy” Jeremy Corbyn. And what’s sadder the so called “free press” allow them to get away withit.

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