Skip to content
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Democratic Universality and Its Adversaries

Filed under: Al-Qaeda and Global Jihad, Anti-Semitism, Radical Islam, The Middle East
Publication: Jerusalem Viewpoints

No. 533   August 2005

  • Judaism and Christianity emphasize man’s freedom to act morally. Their legacy provides a foundation of thought which effectively supports the proposition that democracy is for all, although it may require an extended time-frame.

  • Some European elitists consider democracy to be the enemy of excellence, with the leveling effects of egalitarianism destroying genuine diversity and strengthening the weak.

  • Islamic adversaries of democratic universality reject man-made law, see democracy as foreign to the Arab tradition and part of the “immorality of the West,” and view it as belonging to the “Crusaders” [Christians] and Jews. Still there are new, critical voices emerging in the Arab world that reject this narrow view.

  • The opponents of democratic universality in Western European countries such as France and various Islamic thinkers share some of the same arguments in their opposition to democracy: a rejection of the West, modernity, and the idea of equality, which they have identified as Jewish and have made a target of their hatred.

  • The prevailing idea in majority American culture is that the foundations of modern democratic thought are predominantly, if not exclusively, Christian. In addition, the State Department and the European Union have propagated the fiction that the Palestinian war against Israel is totally separate from the greater Islamic jihad against the West.

  • If we reverse these propositions, stating instead that the idea of equality represents an original Jewish contribution to world culture, fully or even partially, and that the militant Islamic assault against the West, America, and Israel are one and the same, the facts begin to make sense.


The Idea of Democratic Universality and Its Implications

Natan Sharansky and Ron Dermer’s recently published book, The Case for Democracy, had considerable impact on American readers. President Bush honored the two with an invitation to the White House, where he told them that the book explained what he believed and was part of his DNA.

The authors advocate the idea of democratic universality. “We must believe,” they wrote, “not only that all people are created equal but that all peoples are created equal,”1 taking a clear position on the question of whether democracy is for everybody. In their book, Sharansky and Dermer addressed some of the conventional arguments against democratic universality, giving examples based mainly on the American policy-making tradition which had given some weight to considerations of expedience.

But beyond the American context, there is another reality. For example, the high bureaucracy of the European Union view themselves as the privileged interpreters of the objective public will,2 and many in the Islamic world view democracy as apostasy, part of modernity, capitalism, and the perceived immorality of the West.

The idea of democratic universality is important because it is a core principle of Western culture, one which a healthy society, sure of its place in the world, will defend at home and spread abroad. It denotes the idea of freedom and human perfectibility and rejects the fatalistic notion that accidents govern history and also the deterministic notion that people are moved by predetermined economic motives.3

In order to appreciate the contours of the debate for and against democratic universality, let us recall that the antithesis of freedom and equality is slavery, and that the original purpose of racist thought was to justify this institution.4 John Locke treated freedom and slavery together in his chapter, “Of Slavery,” which may be found in Two Treatises on Government (1680-1690). His definition of freedom may serve as a benchmark: “freedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, where the rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man.”5 The debate for and against democratic universality, which is based on the idea of equality, has serious political implications.


Democratic Universality: The Debate between Tocqueville and Gobineau

One of the first to examine the subject of democratic culture was the French historian and aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in the 1830s and wrote the modern classic, Democracy in America. Tocqueville is famous for his analytical study of the twin problems of equality and freedom. Two American Tocqueville scholars, Olivier Zunz and Alan S. Kahan, explained that “by equality or democracy, Tocqueville did not mean simply a political system in which everybody votes….For Tocqueville, democracy was a social state based not only on the premise that all people are equal at birth but also that they can share in the task of organizing society. For this, they needed freedom. Tocqueville’s work was largely devoted to working out the vast implications of this seemingly simple postulate.”6 Indeed, in his later writings, he answered the question as to whether democracy was for everybody.

During the 1850s, Tocqueville produced a valuable contribution to the modern debate concerning democratic universality in his correspondence with his young private secretary, Arthur de Gobineau, one of the first European proponents of “racialism,” the idea that the historical development of mankind is a function of race. Between 1853 and 1855, Gobineau published Essai sur l’inegalite des races humaines [Essay on the Inequality of Human Races]. After reading Gobineau’s Essai, Tocqueville systematically refuted its historical determinism, predestination, and fatalism. Finding Gobineau’s theories morally objectionable, Tocqueville formulated a strong case in favor of equality and human perfectibility.7 He based one of his arguments on the example of Great Britain, which had progressed remarkably since Roman times: “I am sure that Julius Caesar, if he had had the time, would have readily done a book to prove that the savages he had encountered on the island of Great Britain were not at all the same human race as the Romans and that, whereas the latter were destined by nature to dominate the world, the former were destined to vegetate in a corner.”8

In a letter of 24 January 1857, Tocqueville directly addressed the issue of human equality and perfectibility. This remarkable, but little-known, text dealt with the institution of slavery which then existed in the United States and gave explicit credit to Judaism for the idea of equality, although, like many of his generation, its author actually believed that, because early Christianity spread the idea of equality throughout the ancient world, it so improved on the original contribution, as first articulated in the Hebrew Bible, that it became Christian:

I confess that it was impossible for me to believe that you did not perceive the difficulty of reconciling your clever theories with the letter and even the spirit of Christianity. As to the literal meaning, what could be clearer than the unity of mankind in Genesis and that all men descend from the same man?9 And as to the spirit of Christianity, has not its distinctive characteristic been to want to abolish all the distinctions of race [which in his time meant “nationality”] which the Jewish religion allowed to persist and to create one human species of which all of its members could perfect themselves and become like one another?10 How could this spirit, according to widely-held ideas of common sense, be reconciled with a historical doctrine which creates distinct races, unequal ones, made more or less to understand, judge, act, and this as a consequence of a certain original disposition which cannot change and invincibly restricts the perfection of some of these? Christianity was inclined to make brothers and equals of all men. Your doctrine effectively makes them cousins at best whose common father is in heaven. Here on Earth, there are only conquerors and the vanquished, masters and slaves by right of birth, and this is so very true that your doctrines are approved of, cited, and commented on by who? by the owners of blacks [negroes literally] and in favor of the eternal servitude [slavery] which is based on the radical difference of race. I know that at the present moment there are Christian priests in the American South and even good priests (owners of slaves nevertheless) who preach from the pulpit some doctrines which, without a doubt, are analogous to your own. But be assured that the majority of disinterested…Christians cannot feel the slightest sympathy for your doctrines.11

Tocqueville’s correspondence with Gobineau represents a major moral confrontation. As a Christian, he thoroughly rejected any explanation of history based on racialism, and he summed up the debate with the devastating question (which appeared in an earlier letter of 17 November 1853): “What interest can there be in persuading the base people who live in barbarism, in indolence, or in servitude, that since they exist in such a state by virtue of the nature of their race, there is nothing to do to ameliorate their condition, change their mores, or modify their government?”12 Then, as now, the answer to this question represents a choice between two opposing views of man in the world. Summing up Tocqueville’s argument, one may say that Judaism and Christianity emphasize man’s freedom to act morally, and their legacy provides a foundation of thought which effectively supports the proposition that democracy is for all, although it may require an extended time-frame. Following this logic, one could easily argue that to deny man’s universal right to self-perfection is racist.


The Principle of Equality and European Elitist Thought

During the postwar era, a type of opposition to the idea of political equality gradually seems to have attracted a small but influential following among certain European intellectuals, government leaders, high level technocrats, and members of the press. An example may be found in la Nouvelle Droite, the New Right, a group of intellectuals in France which achieved prominence during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Through their writings, members of the New Right provided the cultural framework for a neo-pagan outlook by creating a nostalgia for an idealized past, which might have developed into a pagan culture of the strong, were it not for the imposition of the culturally alien Judeo-Christian morality.13 Members of this group endeavored to give renewed legitimacy to the ideas of the Old Right which had fallen into discredit.14 It is noteworthy that a good representation of the New Right group in France was concentrated at Lyon III University (Universite Jean-Moulin), which also was the home of France’s leading Holocaust deniers.15

According to their interpretation, the leveling effects of egalitarianism destroyed genuine diversity and strengthened the weak. As elitists, they considered democracy to be the enemy of excellence. Many of this group received their education in France’s leading schools and wrote for the country’s leadership elite, including the highest ranks of the bureaucracy. The importance of the bureaucracy in the European tradition cannot be underestimated because it possesses a policy-making and quasi-legislative function. Following the doctrine of Antonio Germsci, the talented strategist of the Italian Communist party, the ideologues of the New Right strove to achieve intellectual hegemony by molding the attitudes of high culture rather than by entering politics. They were careful to state their views in moderate language, but their message was clear to those who could read between the lines. Alain de Benoist, one of their most gifted leaders, described their strategy of molding the attitudes of the elite through “a slow reshaping of consciousness. And the stake of this war of positions is the culture that is the source of values and ideas.”16

The New Right launched a major assault upon the idea of equality, which in their view had wrongfully dominated Western culture for some two thousand years.17 According to Alain de Benoist, this happened because of “‘Judeo-Christianity’…an alien system imposed by force two thousand years ago upon the descendents of the Indo-European peoples,” which displaced the authentic pagan culture of Europe. Another thinker belonging to this group, Pierre Vial, elaborated on this claim by blaming Abraham: “Totalitarianism was born the day the monotheistic idea appeared, implying submission of the human being to a single God….Everything began historically with Abraham.”18

Irwin M. Stelzer, a Hudson Institute scholar, has observed how today the opinions of the decision-making elite determine official European policy toward the United States, despite positive popular opinion: “Cab drivers in London vacation in Florida and love Disney World….According to one scholar, two-thirds or more of the people polled in the UK, Germany, and Italy, and half in France, ‘expressed confidence that the United States would deal responsibly with world problems….The transatlantic strategic split is largely in the minds of Europe’s elite, not its people.’…This pro-American feeling is not shared by the European elites, those who actually make policy and determine the direction in which their nations move on the international stage.”19

Beyond the immediate realities which influence the formation of governmental policy, a careful examination will show that the preferences of the European policy-making elites are a matter of considerable importance. Kenneth Weinstein, also of the Hudson Institute, advanced the interpretation that while the guiding thinker for the English tradition is John Locke, who took the position that government must be limited and individual rights protected against legislative authority, the European tradition follows J.-J. Rousseau, who advocated the citizens’ full dedication to the common good and a subordination of the individual to the whole. “Through this line of thinking, the political administration and even government bureaucrats come to be seen as the embodiment of the objective public will, the general will.”20 While the outlook of the European elites is influenced by multiple factors and cannot be explained neatly, it is likely that the ideological fault line which divides the high culture of the European Continent from that of the United States may also coincide with their feelings about the Judeo-Christian view of equality, as projected in their attitude both towards the United States and to Israel.

A precedent for a type of thought which rejected the legacy of Judaism in the West may be found in Nazi Germany of the late 1930s where Nazi ideologues projected their hatred of Great Britain. Hermann Rauschning, a high-ranking Nazi party member and President of the Danzig Senate, who defected and fled to Switzerland in 1934, wrote that considerations of religion explained the real basis of Nazi hatred of England, which in their view represented the embodiment of Jewish virtue which the Puritans had adopted:

The German dislike of England is derived directly from the ideas of anti-Semitism. The Englishman in his Puritanism, saturated with the spirit of the Old Testament, has become the chief representative of the capitalism which, in the eyes of National Socialists, is the principal Jewish achievement; thus, the British Empire is a Jewish empire, an empire in which the typically Jewish way of thinking, guidance by economic considerations, the spirit of profit-making, dominates. The Liberalism of the English mind is the essential and almost insuperable obstacle to an alliance with Germany and England. In the past the English were despised (and imitated) as the nation of shopkeepers; their cant and perfidy were denounced; but the present regime in Germany goes farther. The English through their Puritans have become the nation that appropriated the promise to Israel, and they are Judaized through and through. England is to blame for the dominance of the Jewish spirit in Europe. England has made this identification of economic success with the blessing of God the ethical framework of her public morality and civic virtues. England is Judah.21

This view represents an existential and absolute rejection, one that provided no remedy other than the conquest and destruction of Great Britain. Years later, it would be easy for others to redirect this type of absolute hostility to other countries such as Israel and the United States. Jeffrey Gedmin, Director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, an American Catholic with positive feelings toward Israel, reported that it has become popular both in left and center-right circles to disparage the United States and Israel in public.22

In his study on anti-Semitism, Pierre-Andre Taguieff, Director of Research of France’s National Center for Scientific Research, identified a new mutation: the emergence in Europe of the composite hate-target comprised of “the United States, Israel, [and] the West,”23 a package nearly identical to the Islamic fundamentalist concept of the “Great Satan” – the United States, and the “Little Satan” – Israel. In this context, Bernard Lewis notes: “Satan in the Koran is the adversary, the deceiver, above all the inciter and tempter who seeks to entice mankind away from the true faith. It is surely in this sense that the Ayatollah Khomeini called America the great Satan: Satan as enemy, but – more especially and certainly more plausibly for his people – also as a source of enticement and temptation.”24


Islamic and Islamicist Objections to the Idea of Democratic Universality

A basic difference in outlook with regard to the source of authority in law and society has determined the attitude of the Islamic world to the concept of liberal democracy. Under Islam, authority originates from Allah and is elaborated in the shari’a law,25 the only accepted source of law and authority. Bernard Lewis analyzed this worldview:

According to Muslim doctrine, there was no legislative function in the Islamic state, and therefore no need for legislative institutions. The Islamic state was in principle a theocracy – not in the Western sense of a state ruled by the Church and the clergy, since neither existed in the Islamic world, but in the more literal sense of a polity ruled by God. For believing Muslims, legitimate authority comes from God alone, and the ruler derives his power not from the people, nor yet from his ancestors, but from God and the holy law….Rulers made rules, but these were considered, theoretically, as elaborations or interpretations of the only valid law – that of God, promulgated by revelation.26

In this plan of things, the main objection to democracy is that it represents the rule of men (and sometimes of women), which is apostasy. One concrete objection to democracy, Lewis notes, is that it may be used to legalize certain arrangements which on religious grounds are abhorrent:

The question, therefore, is not whether democracy is compatible with Islamic fundamentalism – clearly it is not – but whether it is compatible with Islam itself. Liberal democracy, however far it may have traveled, however much it may have been transformed, is in its origins a product of the West – shaped by a thousand years of European history, and beyond that by Europe’s double heritage: Judeo-Christian religion and ethics; Greco-Roman statecraft and law. No such system has originated in any other cultural tradition; it remains to be seen whether such a system, transplanted and adapted in another culture, can long survive.27

There is, therefore, a religious and cultural incompatibility between mainstream Islam and modern Western democracy. At the same time, one should be mindful of the distinction between normative Islam and its radical advocates. Indeed, the radicals have come to prominence as the fierce adversaries of modern, liberal democracy.

One may follow the development of such arguments in the writings of Sayyid Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue.28 Between 1948 and 1950, Qutb, an official in Egypt’s Ministry of Education, traveled to the United States to observe American educational methods. Revolted by American ways, which he considered materialistic, licentious, and immoral, Qutb, on returning to Egypt, joined the Muslim Brotherhood and in due course was implicated in an assassination plot against Nasser, who in 1966 sent him to the gallows. While in prison, he wrote his famous work, Signposts, in which he developed the ideas of radical Islamism, which were basically “to overturn by force existing governments, Muslim or otherwise, in favor of establishing a society governed by shari’a [Islamic law].”29 Qutb fulminated against Christians, Jews, and the immoral West which denied God’s supremacy. He opposed capitalism and preferred the principle of the hierarchical society. Later, Ali Benhadj, an Algerian thinker who was influenced by Qutb’s ideas, “defined the democratic idea as ‘pernicious’ and the concept of democracy as ‘strange [foreign] to the Arab language.'”30

More recently, opponents of the elections in Iraq published declarations bringing this discussion up to date while affirming the unique exclusiveness of shari’a law. In December 2004, the Army of the Supporters of the Sunna [Jaysh Ansar al-Sunna], the Jihad Warriors Army [Jaysh al-Mujahideen], and the Islamic Army in Iraq [Al-Jaysh al-Islami] published a joint statement, “The Face of Democracy and Elections,” in which they declared that democratic self-rule was apostasy:31

The origin of the term “democracy” is Greek. It is an abbreviation of two words, whose meaning is “rule by the people” or “the people’s legislation,” that is, that the people are the ones who legislate for themselves laws that suit their aspirations and goals. This concept is denying Allah the Almighty, attributing partnership with the Lord of heaven and earth, and [it] contradicts monotheism, the Muslims’ religion. According to democracy, if the majority of the public votes in favor of a given law, such as legalization of marriage between men or between women, as accepted among them [in the West], then this law becomes legislation, even if it contradicts Allah’s religion and His law.32

Also noteworthy in this literature is the accusation of Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi that Democracy is a Religion of Heresy, the title of his 1989 book.33 This literature, written on a fairly high level and with considerable dignity, argues that liberal democracy is a product of the West, and, as such, represents a dangerous threat to the very essence of Islam.34 An additional statement opposing the elections in Iraq challenges the principle of equality. The Mufti of the Jihad Fighters in Chechnya published a declaration entitled, “Democracy [in Iraq] is a Victory for the Crusaders [read Christians].” He wrote: “Islam does not treat equally – either in this world or in the world to come – the wise and the ignorant, the Muslim and the infidel, the pious and the sinner. But the elected democratic regime treats all these as equal in elections.”35

Remarkably, one may also find the clear influence of Nazi ideology in Malaysian President Mahathir Mohammad’s address to the leaders of fifty-seven Islamic nations at the Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting in Kuala Lumpur (October 16, 2003). Basing his remarks on Judeophobic arguments, he stood up against democracy and equality: “We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted socialism, communism, human rights, and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others.”36 Here, Mahathir’s ideas represent a contemporary reformulation of Hitler’s views (as reconstructed by the German historian Eberhard Jaeckel):

The Jews were, however, not only international and internationalistic but also egalitarian – which constitutes Hitler’s second charge against them. To him, the idea of equality of all men was Jewish. It repudiated the “aristocratic principle of nature.”…And thus they put “in the place of eternal privilege of force and strength, the mass of numbers and their dead weight.” Their final goal was, first of all, the victory of democracy and parliamentarianism….Second, and ultimately, the Jews began “to replace the idea of democracy by that of the dictatorship of the masses.”37

Summing up, the arguments of Islamic adversaries of democratic universality follow several themes: the rejection of man-made law, the idea that democracy is foreign to the Arab tradition and part of the “immorality of the West,” and that it belongs to the “Crusaders,” who are the Christians, and Jews. While it is not clear how widely held these views may be, it is evident that the opponents of democracy are able to intimidate the moderate elements in their societies who would favor self-rule. For example, while the general population of Iraq may have been glad to vote in free elections, democratic self-rule had to be spread by the sword.


Joining the Dots: Democratic Universality and the Fortunes of the West

Both among the European elites and the traditions of mainstream and radical thought in the Muslim world, one may identify a determined religious, cultural, and ideological opposition to the idea of democratic universality. The opponents of democratic universality in Western European countries such as France and various Islamic thinkers share some of the same arguments in their opposition to democracy: a rejection of the West, modernity, and the idea of equality, which they have identified as Jewish and have made a target of their hatred. Their opposition is frequently based on Judeophobic or anti-Semitic arguments, some of which may be traced directly to the lasting effects of the Nazi era, as is the case with the New Right in France and the logic of Malaysian President Mahathir Mohammad.

In order to come to grips with this problem, it is necessary to overcome two cultural “disconnects,” which have taken the form of politically correct constructions which several interested parties have used to obfuscate reality. The first is the prevailing idea in majority American culture that the foundations of modern democratic thought are predominantly, if not exclusively, Christian; and the second, the fiction which the State Department and the European Union have propagated, that the Palestinian war against Israel is totally separate from the greater Islamic jihad against the West. If we reverse these propositions, stating instead that the idea of equality represents an original Jewish contribution to world culture, fully or even partially, and that the Islamic assault against the West, America, and Israel are one and the same, the facts begin to make sense.

In the early modern period, political thinkers looked for Jewish precedents and political ideas because they needed them in order to construct the modern nation-state. Lord Acton described this development in his History of Freedom:

After the Reformation, the sects that broke resolutely with the traditions of Church and State as they came down from Catholic times, and sought for their new institutions a higher authority than custom, reverted to the memory of a commonwealth founded on a voluntary contract, on self-government, federalism, equality, in which election was preferred to inheritance, and monarchy was an emblem of the heathen; and they conceived that there was no better model for themselves than a nation constituted by religion, owning no lawgiver but Moses, and obeying no king but God. Political thought had until then been guided by pagan experience.38

Further, the translation of the Bible into English during the seventeenth century combined with the increased literacy of Protestant culture facilitated this process. This major cultural event gave a broad English readership direct access to the scriptural texts. Through this medium, Jewish ideas of the Old and New Testament (to use the commonly accepted terminology) became available to the literate public of the English-speaking world.39 Perhaps it would be more accurate to state that, at the beginning of the modern era in the West, political thinkers, many of whom were Christians, searched for precedents in Jewish history, found them, and integrated them. This transfer of ideas took place at the beginning of the modern era and not during ancient times. And if one wishes to understand the fortunes of democracy in the world today and the objections of its opponents, it is necessary to examine its cultural DNA with intellectual honesty and objectivity. Simply stated, the conventionally accepted perspective of majority history, which ignores the Jewish contribution to Western political thought, impedes an accurate understanding of this important subject.

A second impediment to our understanding is the myth that the Palestinian war against Israel is distinct and separate from the religious and cultural war in which the West is now engaged. As Saul Singer notes: “Every attempt to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict has been based on the notion that it is about borders, not about Israel’s existence. But the jihadis don’t care about Israel’s borders, just as they don’t care about America’s. It is not about territory. It is about whether the world is to be made safe for free nations or for dictatorships.”40

According to Carl von Clausewitz, “The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and the commander have to make is to establish…the kind of war on which they are embarking, neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature.”41 When policy-makers misstate the true dimensions of the conflict, not only do they mislead the public, but also they incur the risk of believing their own rhetoric, which will seriously impair their ability to defend their societies.

The West, wittingly or unwittingly, has been engaged in a struggle for its freedom and its continued existence in its present form. The larger conflict taking place involves a parallel religious and political challenge whose objective is to bring an end to Western cultural and political predominance. As part of its defense, the West must continue to demonstrate its commitment to the legacy of ideas which form the foundation of its political system and culture, defending them at home and propagating them abroad. Democratic universality represents one of its “core values” and part of its DNA.

*     *     *



* The author wishes to thank those who contributed to this essay: John M. Clair, Arline Duker, Dr. Freddy Eitan, Dr. John Fonte, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Professor Johannes Houwink Ten Cate, Dr. Eran Lerman, Dr. Henry Rousso, Irwin M. Stelzer, Prof. Shmuel Trigano, David Waterman, and Dr. Kenneth R. Weinstein.
1. Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer, The Case for Democracy; The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror (New York: Public Affairs, 2004), p. 279.
2. See Kenneth R. Weinstein, “A Closer Walk with the EU,” American Outlook (March-April 2001),
3. Phrasing from John Lukacs, “Introduction,” “The European Revolution” & Correspondence with Gobineau (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959), p. 11.
4. Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites (New York: W.W. Norton, 1986), p. 90.
5. John Locke, Two Treatises on Government, Book II, Chapter IV, “On Slavery,” p. 114,
6. Olivier Zunz and Alan S. Kahan, eds., introduction to The Tocqueville Reader (Oxford: Blackwell Library, 2002), p. 6.
7. See Jean-Louis Benoit, Tocqueville moraliste (Paris: Honore Champion editeur, 2004), p. 122, and Pierre-Andre Taguieff, “Le racialism pessimiste: La Vision gobinienne de l’histoire comme decadence,” in La Couleur et le Sang; Doctrines racistes a la francaise (Paris: Mille et une nuits, 2002), pp. 46-47. It should be noted that Gobineau expressed rather positive views about the Jewish people.
8. Tocqueville Reader, pp. 267-68.
9. Genesis II, III. Also, Malachi II, verse 10: “Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?”
10. For an analysis of Tocqueville’s use of the word “race,” see Anne Amiel, Le vocabulaire de Tocqueville (Paris: Ellipses, 2002), pp. 47-49. For the importance of Christianity in Tocqueville’s worldview, see Tocqueville moraliste, pp. 81-91.
11. A. de Tocqueville a A. de Gobineau, Tocqueville, 24 January 1857, ed., M. Degros, Correspondance d’Alexis de Tocqueville et d’Arthur de Gobineau, vol. 9 of Alexis de Tocqueville, Oeuvres completes, ed. J.-P. Mayer (Paris: Gallimard, 1959), p. 277 (trans. by the author).
12. Tocqueville Reader, pp. 267-68. For a more detailed discussion of this passage in historical context, see Joel Fishman, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Recognition of the Jewish Origin of the Idea of Equality,” Jewish Political Studies Review, vol. 17, nos. 3 & 4 (Fall 5766/2005), in press.
13. The Le Monde article cited above also reported that, “Like Nietzsche, the New Right thinks that ‘monotheism to the present could have been the greatest danger to humanity.’ How could one protect oneself against this? ‘We must listen to the great liberating laughter of the gods of Olympus,’ Monsieur Vial advised.”
14. Henry Rousso, personal communication, Jerusalem, 23 May 2005.
15. See Henry Rousso, Le Dossier Lyon III; Le rapport sur le racisme et le negationnism a l’universite Jean-Moulin (Paris: Fayard, 2004).
16. Roger Kaplan, “France’s New Right,” Commentary, 69, no. 3 (March 1980):50.
17. Ibid.
18. Pierre Vial as quoted by Le Monde, 11 December 1979, p. 10, originally cited in Henry H. Weinberg, The Myth of the Jew in France, 1967-1982 (Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic Press, 1987), p. 121.
19. Irwin M. Stelzer, The United States and the United Kingdom: Three Characters in Search of a Policy (Washington, D.C.: Hudson Institute, 2001), pp. 16-18.
20. Kenneth R. Weinstein, “A Closer Walk with the EU.”
21. Herman Rauschning, Germany’s Revolution of Destruction, tr. E.W. Dickes (London: Heinemann, 1938), p. 204-205. The reliability of some of Rauschning’s other writings, namely his Conversations with Hitler, has been challenged. Despite this caveat, the author has decided to give full weight to Rauschning’s personal analysis. Eberhard Jaeckel explained that Hitler to his dying day flew into fits of rage when he spoke of the English. He considered that they would have fought on the side of Nazi Germany had they understood their true interests. He accused the Jewish bankers of influencing the English decision (which is very similar to the type of remarks originating from European elite circles with regard to the Jewish lobby today). Hitler’s World View; A Blueprint for Power, tr. Herbert Arnold (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981), pp. 45-46.
22. Jeffrey Gedmin, “Experiencing European Anti-Americanism and Anti-Israelism; An Interview,” Post-Holocaust and Anti- Semitism, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1 December 2004,
23. Pierre-Andre Taguieff, “Les nouveaux visages de l’antisemitisme,” Sens 54, no. 2 (2002):93. This article is a summary of Tagueiff’s report of 14 October 2001 to the French Senate, which raised the question as to why anti-Jewish hatred in France has encountered so little intellectual resistance.
24. Bernard Lewis, “Islam and Liberal Democracy,” Atlantic Monthly (February 1993),
25. Joseph Schacht, An Introduction to Islamic Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964); Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp. 59-69. On the evolution of Muslim minority jurisprudence, see Shammai Fishman, “Ideological Islam in the United States: ‘Ijtihad’ in the Thought of Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani,” For a discussion of the idea of equality, see Bernard Lewis, “Freedom and Justice in the Middle East, Foreign Affairs, 84, no. 3 (May/June 2005):36-51.
26. Lewis, “Islam and Liberal Democracy.”
27. Ibid.
28. See John C. Zimmerman, “Sayyid Qutb’s Influence on the 11 September Attacks,” Terrorism and Political Violence, 16, no. 2 (Summer 2004):222-52.
29. Ibid., p. 223.
30. Ibid., pp. 239-240.
31. MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series – No. 856 (1 February 2005),
32. Ibid.
33. MEMRI reported that, “The claim that democracy is heresy is already evident in writings by al-Zarqawi’s mentor, Issam Muhammad Taher al-Burqawi, who goes by the pseudonym Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. A Palestinian Salafi, who is currently incarcerated in Jordan, al-Maqdidi became al-Zarqawi’s mentor in 1989.
34. Lewis, “Islam and Liberal Democracy.”
35. Ibid.
37. Hitler’s World View; A Blueprint for Power, pp. 100-101. See Matthias Kuentzel, “National Socialism and Anti-Semitism in the Arab World,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 17, nos. 1-2 (Spring 2005):99-118.
38. Lord Acton, The History of Freedom and other Essays, eds. Figgis and Laurence (London: Macmillan, 1919), p. 66.
39. Not least, recent scholarship has abundantly documented the fact that the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels are replete with Jewish ideas which were current in the Second Temple era. See David Flusser, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988); David Flusser, Jesus (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997); David Flusser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense, 1989); Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew: A Historian’s Reading of the Gospels (London: Fontana-Collins, 1976); Geza Vermes, Jesus and the World of Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984); Geza Vermes and James G. D. Dunn, eds., The Parting of the Ways: Jews and Christians AD 70 to AD 135 (Tuebingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1992).
40. Saul Singer, “The Two-Conflict Delusion,” Jerusalem Post, 14 May 2004.
41. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, eds. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 88.

*     *     *


Dr. Joel Fishman is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and of the Centre for Strategic and Military Studies at the University of Calgary. He is the co-author (with Efraim Karsh) of La Guerre d’Oslo (The Oslo War) (Paris: Editions de Passy, 2005). This Jerusalem Viewpoints contains findings from his project, Democracy in Israel, under the auspices of the JCPA.