‘Israel a Racist Bullying Little Super Power’ – the State of Israel vs ‘The Jews’

Sylvain Cypel, a French editor, writes with the passion of one betrayed by the faith in which he was raised


Sylvain Cypel’s new book is a violent indictment of the Jewish homeland, its growing embrace of apartheid and its closeness to some of the worst autocratic and similarly ethnocentric regimes around the world, including Hungary, Brazil and the Philippines.

The author is a prominent French newspaper editor and foreign correspondent who lived in Israel for 12 years, trained there to be a youth movement leader and even served in a paratroop brigade after being drafted.


Cypel writes with the passion of the convert: someone who believes he has been betrayed by the faith in which he was raised. His father was also a journalist, the editor of France’s Yiddish-language daily, Unzer Wort, and the main leader of labor Zionism in France for a quarter of a century. Cypel was very close to his father, but Zionism ultimately became the “unbridgeable hiatus” between them.

“It had been his whole life and it was mine no longer,” he writes.

Cypel argues that the country originally seen as an embattled David menaced by a constellation of Goliaths has evolved since the six-day war, into something “no idealist could stomach: a racist, bullying little superpower”.

His accusations carry particular power because of the nationality of his sources: nearly all are Israeli journalists, intellectuals and activists. But there is a paradox which Cypel mostly glides over: the provenance of all this criticism is also potent evidence of the continuing vitality of Israeli democracy. It would be impossible to write a book like this, relying almost entirely on the testimony of resident citizens and especially journalists, about Saudi Arabia, Egypt or even Jordan.  Read more…


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