Note: Don’t worry about the word “crypto.” It’s for the historically cultured only. It also serves to intimidate you so you will pay attention.
My writings on the Middle-East and on violent jihadism have caused both Muslims and Jews to suspect that I am Jewish. (See my recent posting: “Israel Attack; Gaza: the Background”) Here it goes, for the record: I am not a Jew, never have been, probably never will be.
I was raised in Paris by my traditional French Catholic father and by a mother who was a Protestant imperfectly converted to Catholicism. I completed catechism and went to church only as long as I had to. I am religiously indifferent but not hostile to any religion. Frankly, I don’t care what you believe as long as I live in a society that separates government from religion.
My father was mildly and superficially anti-Semitic, as was the case of many or most French Catholics of his generation. It did not stop him from doing the right thing when the time came, in WWII. My mother was loudly opposed to all prejudices, a common stance of French Protestants, who know first-hand about persecution. Throughout my childhood, there was muted underlying hostility around me against North African immigrants to France, both Jews and Muslims. I never shared in it; I was drawn to exoticism. I grew up knowing little about Islam and about Judaism.
Jewish claims to any part of the Middle-East based on religion leave me cold. So do Muslim claims to Jerusalem. I would be quick to admit that Israel is the price that Arabs paid for European crimes in World War II. However, facts on the ground are facts and there are many ways to repair a historical injustice.
I am not pro-Zionist and I certainly don’t belong to the congeries of fundamentalist Christians who support Israel unconditionally because they believe it may help the Second Coming of Christ. I keep telling them: He is not coming back; once was enough!
In my heart, I am a free-thinker, a great-grandchild of Diderot and of Voltaire, a grandchild of Thomas Jefferson. I try to be a rationalist at all times. As the name of my blog and that of my radio show indicate, I am strict on facts. I don’t yield much to the temptation to believe that everything I think is real.
I seldom agonize over moral choices. Most of the moral principles you and I need we are supposed to have picked up in kindergarten: Don’t steal, wipe yourself and after yourself, wait your turn in line, don’t push, don’t bite; if you hit someone, he will probably hit you back; if he hits you back, he may hurt you more than you hurt him. That would be fair.
I have had Jewish friends all my life. I have had Arab friends, both Muslim and Christian, all my life. I find much to love in Muslim cultures in general. I like the Arabic language and I love Arabic scripts. There are Muslim Arabs in my family. I have known only two dozen Israelis. I have only liked one, on a personal level. I think I know why: A garrison state such as Israel has been forced to be is not a charm school.