Indigène, a small publisher in France has issued a slim book of 29 pages with just 13 pages of text. The publisher is used to press runs of under 700 copies. But this book has already sold 600,000 copies in the past 8 weeks. The book, “Indignez vous!” (Cry out, Be Indignant), calls for a non violent uprising against selfish bankers, economic interests, and resistance against those who wish to limit democratic values. And for good measure, it criticizes Israel and hints that maybe non violence is too good for the author’s foe: Israel.

It has sold 800 percent more copies than the #2 book on the French best seller’s list.

The author, Stéphane Hessel, is a 93 year old hero of the French resistance to the Nazis during WWII. The son of a German Jewish father and a mother who inspired the character in Truffaut’s film “Jules et Jim,” Hessel (codenamed “Greco”) was imprisoned in Buchenwald in 1944, after being captured on a French resistance mission. Just before he was to be hanged, he swapped identities with a dead French prisoner and survived. After the war, he worked for the French Foreign Ministry as a diplomat, and he helped draft the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

j’Accuse this is not. Be Indignant? Yes, I can be, but my indignation is against him.

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  • [Hessel] n’a pas hésité à avancer que les tirs de roquettes Qassam qui pendant des années ont terrorisé les populations civiles du sud d’Israël, n’ont eu pour conséquences que d’obliger « quelques enfants à courir très vite dans les abris ». –

    So the most pressing foreign policy issue for indignant French people wishing to promote a better French society is Israel? Do I sense a bit of a bias here?

  • Yeah, I think the whole French-as-Israel-haters thing is connected to three realities:

    1) A huge number of French citizens are Arabs and voice support for Arab terrorists the same way 4th generation Irish in the USA made donations to the IRA.

    2) Where the Irish could assimilate in to broader US society, in the case of Arabs in Europe, they are basically ghettoized the same way we were in Europe – maybe not officially, but there is de facto ghettoization of Arabs in France. So, given that they can’t REALLY be French, they get reactionary.

    3) But my guess as to the biggest reason for the anti-Israel vitriol in France: The French have gotten their asses kicked in every military conflict in which they have participated as a major player since Napolean. Then along come the Jews back to our homeland, and aside from winning against overwhelming odds in 1947-48 and 1967, the State of Israel continues exist and thrive. It continues to be the one beacon of democracy in a sea of dictators, despots, and religious crackpots (not that we don’t have our own of the last one). France used to enjoy a position as a colonial power that mattered outside of Western Europe. Now it just doesn’t, and nobody cares what happens in France. So maybe the Israel hate is all about feeling like the Jews stole their mojo.

  • That book by Hessel already sold 900k copies by the day before yesterday according to my newspaper. The commentary said that most political figures consider it an old socialist ranting but that he obviously struck a nerve rather because of the French love of protesting rather than the content.
    The book is only about 30 pages strong and costs three Euros, so people pick it up like a tabloid paper rather than a political analysis and read it on the Metro – and get outraged.

    With a title like that, you could sell disposable nappies in France and they’d be a hit.

  • On March 9, 2011, The New York Times wrote a story on the book. They added:

    “More serious is that the book has been branded anti-Semitic by some French intellectuals for its attack on Israel, in particular that country’s 2008 incursion into Gaza. The book describes Gaza, which Mr. Hessel visited with his wife in 2009, as “an open-sky prison for a million and a half Palestinians,” and says that “for Jews themselves to perpetuate war crimes is intolerable.”

    On his Facebook page Pierre-André Taguieff, an expert in the history of French anti-Semitism, wrote: “Certainly he could have ended his life in a more dignified way, instead of inciting hatred against Israel, thus adding his voice to the worst of anti-Jews. Even old age doesn’t make someone impermeable to vanity, or kill the appetite for applause.”

    Mr. Hessel denies that he is anti-Semitic or anti-Israel. “I feel that I am completely in solidarity with Jews in the world, because I know what it is to be a Jew,” he said. “I’ve seen what it is, I am myself of Jewish origin, and therefore I can only be fully in support of the idea that the Jews, after all they’ve suffered, need a country where they are at home. I shouted my joy when Israel was founded. I said, ‘At last!’ ”

    When a handful of protesters branded him a racist during a speech he gave in the Paris suburb of Montreuil last week, he said that he told them: “My love for Israel is stronger than yours. But I want it to be an honest country.”

    Other critics have pointed out the book’s outrage does not mention human rights offenses in places like North Korea, Myanmar, China and Iran.

    Since Mr. Hessel is widely respected as an honorable man without vanity or guile, the book has refocused attention on his extraordinary life. He was born in Berlin to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother and was baptized so that he could attend school. The family immigrated to Paris when he was 7.

    With her husband’s consent his mother had a longstanding affair with Henri-Pierre Roché, the writer and art dealer. The relationship became the inspiration for Mr. Roché’s first novel and later for François Truffaut’s classic French New Wave film “Jules and Jim.” The young Stéphane character was the little girl in the film.


  • It is amazing how some Jews are total fools, understanding nothing what is going in the Middle East or with Muslims. Just like Chomsky, J-street Jews, Mr,Hassel as well as ALL Jews who bitch about Israel should be compelled to read Koran and Hadith from cover to cover to understand that they are traitors of their own people.

    It appears that these Jewish fools are projecting their humanity and good deeds onto Muslims, while Muslims are projecting their vile deeds and aspirations onto Jews, since delusional Jew-hating mental illness of Jew-hatred had afflicted most of the 1,600 MILLIONS of Muslims around the world.

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