Their apartment is on the top floor of a six-storey building built in 1907.A former philosophy professor at France’s elite Ecole Polytechnique, Finkielkraut has written or co-authored nearly 30 books since his first was published in 1977.We are at an absolutely diabolical juncture,” Finkielkraut says.Illustrative: Rioters throw projectiles at French riot police officers in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014, after clashes following a demonstration denouncing Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.Finkielkraut has spent his entire life in Paris except for two years in California while teaching at the University of Berkeley in the 1970s.Today, he lives with his wife of 33 years, lawyer Sylvie Topaloff (with whom he has a 30-year-old son), on a quiet street on the Left Bank near the Jardin du Luxembourg.“In recent years, tens of thousands of Jews have moved, some to Israel, most to neighborhoods where they feel more secure.Such a situation would have been unimaginable 20 years ago.
“I’m extremely worried — as much for French Jews as I’m worried for the future of France,” says Finkielkraut, during a recent interview with The Times of Israel in his Paris apartment.
His next book, which he’s now completing, will have a strong autobiographical focus.
In his youth, during the 1950s and ’60s, Finkielkraut says he faced relatively little anti-Semitism.
Before France is no longer France.” A few days later, Finkielkraut told one of France’s leading newspapers, Libération, that as a well-known Jewish figure, he would no longer feel safe living in the Paris neighborhood where he grew up with his parents on the Right Bank between the Place de la République and the Gare du Nord train station.
He said in recent years on several occasions while walking in that area, people had made the anti-Semitic “quenelle” inverted Nazi salute at him or verbally insulted him.