Il y a d'autres Jacques Vergès dans le monde, mais heureusement ils ne deviennent pas des icônes comme en France. Searchlight, une association anti-fasciste et anti-raciste de gauche britannique fondée en 1964, s'était opposée à sa présence à une conférence en 2011 à Londres. Adam Carter a fait un très bon récit de sa vie et de ses "idéaux" (Jacques Vergès: counsel and companion of nazis, terrorists and dictators - n'hésitez pas à lire l'article complet):
Vergès knew and was influenced by many Third World radicals fighting colonialism in their own countries and it has also been alleged that he converted to Islam during this period. These combined influences led to him embracing an extreme hostility to Israel which was to become a lifelong obsession so that he aligned himself with not only those staunchly critical of Israeli policy but also some of the most vicious, hardcore and violent antisemites.
|François Genoud, |
the Nazi banker
In 1970 Vergés disappeared completely for eight years and, to this day, his whereabouts during this period are not known. [...] When he returned from his mysterious exile, Vergès resumed his legal practice, representing the terrorist Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, who was convicted of the murder of the US military attaché in Paris. His notoriety soon reached infamous proportions when he defended the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie at his trial for crimes against humanity in 1987. The request to defend Barbie came directly from Genoud, who is thought to have provided funding for the legal team. [...]
Vergès actively tried to make the trial a media circus and used it as an opportunity to raise his own profile and political grievances. His defence of Barbie did not centre on trying to clear the Nazi of the charges but took the form of a legalistic form of moral relativism which argued that France had no right to prosecute Barbie due to its own complicity in atrocities during the Algerian war of independence. He tried to downplay the horrors of the Holocaust using the same method and also tried to shift the blame for the persecution of the Jews from the Nazi oppressors and onto the victims themselves. Vergès's journey from Marxist revolutionary and friend of the Third World to professional provocateur and defender of antisemites and Nazis was complete.
Defending Holocaust denial
The French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy was found guilty of breaking a law that prohibits the questioning of crimes against humanity and also convicted for racial defamation in 1998. Garaudy was another former leftwing activist who had converted to Islam and then developed a hatred for Israel, so it was no surprise that Vergès chose unsuccessfully to defend him. The prosecution arose from claims in Garaudy's 1995 book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, in which he denied that the Holocaust occurred, saying that Jews under Nazi control died of starvation and disease, rather than being gassed. [...]
Despite his personal denials of antisemitism and sympathy for Nazism, and his supposed leftist anti-establishment credentials, he has been happy to take money from a variety of Nazis and antisemites. [...]