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Fanaticism Without A Cause

I just came from a lecture by Bernard-Henri Levy at the 92nd Street "Y" in New York. Lucid and learned, the talk was about anti-Zionism as the favored new form of anti-Semitism. Levy spoke for an hour and a half without a note...and without hesitation. His is the eloquence of the great orators, word following thought, of course, but with careful cadence and deep symbolic association. A friend said to me that Levy reminded him of how Leon Blum was said to move a crowd: with the passion of his intelligence.

BHL focused on the contemporary war against Israel.  Taking Hezbollah and Hamas as exemplars, he pointed out that their strategies are post-Clausewitzian. They have no recognizable politics, or no politics except the total elimination of Israeli society and the Israeli state. Has either one of these movements ever stated another aim?  So they are enlisted by definition in the enterprise of total war, like some of the wars of antiquity.

Fortunately, these warriors are underequipped. But their aims are clear and plenary. When they have nuclear weapons at their disposal, they will use them.