Bat Ye'or's right of reply to the newspaper "Le Monde"
Bat Ye'or, photo P. Lurçat
On the occasion of the publication in France of the autobiography of the historian and essayist Bat Ye'or, the Book World devotes to him a double page signed Jean Birnbaum. This article, to which we would return, is more of a smear and amalgamation than a true journalistic investigation worthy of the name. At my request, Bat Ye'or agreed to respond to his criticism. PL
Pierre Lurçat : What is your reaction to the article of the Book World and the way he presents your work and their reception?
Bat Ye'or: "Egeria of the new crusaders ", is the qualifier used by Jean Birnbaum in his article devoted to my Political Autobiography in The World (15/2/2018). It is true that "muse of Breivik" has already been used! It is significant that a certain intelligentsia uses the term "crossed" with the negative connotations given to it by the Muslim world. Not that I defend the Crusades, but I put them in their context of the 12the century: abductions in the Holy Land of Christian pilgrims for slavery, cut noses and other mutilations, conquering jihadism taking Europe in a bind between eastern Andalusia and the Byzantine west.
I notice in passing that my critics accuse me - wrongly - of doing what they do: they omit in this case to put the events in their historical context. I see this same trend in the opinion of Bernard Heyberger who notes that his audience "expects less conflictual approaches", but is it the public of the twenty-first century that dictates the history of previous centuries? And how does Heyberger define the Islamophobic and crossed environment he is talking about? According to the criteria of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Ummah?
It is curious to see this vocabulary, which is that of organs and thinkers of the OIC perfectly integrated by the French intellectuals - especially when one knows the contexts and the meaning to which it is associated. The word cross, for example, is taken in the medieval sense of the total and absolute enemy Christian of Islam. I am not sure of the relevance of this term today in light of billions of taxes paid by Westerners for economic development, aid to refugees and migrants from the Muslim world. Moreover, I am grateful to him for recognizing my pioneering role on this subject - a subject that concerns several million people but which, he says, did not interest the university. Curious indifference! In addition, I thank Professor Rémi Brague for his appreciation of my work.
Pierre Lurçat: Did you say verbatim the phrase that quotes you, Ivan Jablonka: Bat Ye'or was already a pioneer. So when Europe was hit in turn, it was easy for him to proclaim: "I told you so!" ?
Bat Ye'or: No, it's just like anything! First of all, Europe was hit by terrorism and air piracy in the late 1960s. Did I say that sentence at that moment? Or ? when? Whose ? What is the proof? The reference ? Moreover I am stigmatized by the word fear. Fear distorts the perception of reality. So my work would not apply to the examination of a reality but it would be fantasized by fear. This argument using subjectivity to deny evidence has become a controversial weapon in the debate on this subject. One could, moreover, inversely attribute to fear, the occultation of a historical reality of thirteen centuries that is developing before our eyes.
Pierre Lurçat : What do you think of Lucette Valensi's formula about your book The Dhimmi: "an exalted pamphlet, which ignores the internal diversity and evolution of Muslim societies in the past, and which has no more validity for the contemporary era: even Khomeini has not restored the dhimma in Iran! "
Bat Ye'or: I believe that she misread my books, I examined the evolution of the status of the dhimmi at the time of the reforms of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. After the decolonization I wrote that certain rules of the dhimma were still maintained as those concerning the places of worship, sometimes the refusal of the testimony of the Christian against that of the Muslim, the law of the blasphemy, the prohibition of the marriage of a Muslim with a non-Muslim, the exclusion of certain professions. Alongside this legal area, there are traditional behaviors that cause insecurity and fear and are beyond the control of governments. I gave the references, the places, the dates and even the names of the individuals concerned. When one says that Khomeini has not restored the dhimma in Iran, one must know what the dhimma is and prove it. If she only talks about my book The Dhimmiit was limited to examining a particular status and not the internal diversity and evolution of Muslim societies. " I had myself specified the limits in my introduction.
Pierre Lurçat: And the opinion of Ali Amir-Moezzi?
Bat Ye'or: She is honest, but I would like to know what he is referring to when he says that I have an anachronistic and one-sided reading. And then you should know why my book on Christians of the Orient (1991) published by Father Sed put "elephant's feet in a garden" and why no one wanted to hear about it, as Father Sed says. Was the subject taboo? Scandalous? Why ? Were cultivated in the garden only the specious flowers of the lie?
Pierre Lurçat: And the insinuation of Birnbaum recalling that Breivik quotes you several times?
Bat Ye'or: I do not even know if the killer has read my books, like all the others he quotes. I am not alone in his reading. As far as I am concerned, he copied word for word the site of a geopolitician on this subject. I am much more convinced that he wanted to emulate the Palestinian terrorists he admired and that his government supported. Criminologists know that the fascination of imitation operates and induces in some individuals many crimes.
Pierre Lurçat : Birnbaum gives you conspiratorial tendencies about your book Eurabia...
Bat Ye'or: I can return the compliment and say that he himself makes plots about me by accusing me of inventing them. We would like so much, is not it, that the current situation of Europe is a sui generis phenomenon, without causes or responsibilities, something uncreated, coming down from the sky as it is, without the intervention and the decisions politicians and their networks. This would do nothing since nothing was wanted and nothing has changed. This is only a conspiracy tendency ...
This attitude perpetuates negation and justifies inaction. And why not put these insinuations and denials to the psychiatric sauce widely used in the article by subtitles? "Tiny discomforts ... daily dread and intimate retreat, fantasies, pugnacious obsessions and virulent anxieties". What do the Magdi Allam, the Ibn Warrak, the Robert Redeker, the Wafa Sultan, and Boualem Sansal, whose talent I admire, think - among so many others - of this very leftist derision on the crucial and humanitarian questions of our time, They witness ? The fabrications of fear? I am now waiting to discover what new face of evil I am the muse. The fabulousness is so creative ...!
Bat Ye'or, Political autobiography, from the discovery of the dhimmi to Eurabia. The 2018 Provincials.
Bat Ye'or (photo P. Lurçat)
NB Also read on this subject the interview that Bat Ye'or had given me for the Jerusalem Post in 2007, here