Cercle de l'Oratoire

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The Cercle de l'Oratoire is a French neoconservative think tank, created in the aftermath of the September 11 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Cercle is led by the journalist Michel Taubmann, who is also in charge of the news at Arte-Paris, along with his wife Florence, a pastor at the Temple de l'oratoire du Louvre and vice-president of the Amitié judéo-chrétienne group (Judeo-Christian Friendship). Many of its members (André Glucksmann, Pascal Bruckner, Romain Goupil, etc.) and the Meilleur des mondes journal supported the Iraq War.

The Cercle was formed, according to a report in the neoconservative journal the Weekly Standard as follows:

It was a few days after 9/11 and France was to observe three minutes' silence in solidarity with the United States and with our dead. Florence Taubmann, pastor of L'Oratoire, a grand and historic Protestant church a stone's throw from the Louvre in Paris, had the church bells rung. Then she went outside to join the observance. Only there wasn't one. People were going about their business, traffic was bearing down, horns blaring, as if nothing had happened, her husband, journalist Michel Taubmann, told the daily Libération. It was a moment that helped give birth to the "Cercle de l'Oratoire," an informal group of dissenters from the weird ideology now dominant among a French elite that hates America more than it hates Islamofascism.
Nearly five years later, the Taubmanns have gathered around them such intellectuals as the philosophers André Glucksmann and Pierre-André Taguieff, essayist Pascal Bruckner, Stéphane Courtois, a coauthor of The Black Book of Communism, and Kendal Nezan, president of the Kurdish Institute of Paris, as well as young writers and students. Notable figures like Bernard Kouchner, cofounder of Doctors Without Borders, and Nicolas Baverez, biographer of Raymond Aron and author of a much-discussed work on French decline, La France qui tombe, participate in its debates. Most of the leading lights are neocons in the strict sense: former leftists who long ago rejected Stalin and Mao and the Gulag, yet who haven't found a home on the French right. Their new journal, Le Meilleur des mondes ("the best of worlds"), takes its title from that champion of reason and intellectual freedom, Voltaire. "France is caught up in a kind of ideological madness," says Cercle member Jacques Tarnero, a filmmaker and writer. "The French have indulged a taste for radicalism ever since we cut off the king's head." In a world where beheading is once again a live issue, say Cercle members, true lovers of liberty can't afford to be wrong about who their enemies are and who their friends.[1]

The Cercle also launched a journal, Le Meilleur des mondes.

Le Meilleur des mondes

The journal Le Meilleur des mondes is published by the éditions Denoël and headed by Michel Taubmann. It launched a first petition in favor of United Nations's intervention in Afghanistan [2]. Two years later, it published another petition in Le Figaro supporting the US invasion of Iraq.[3]

This journal has been described by some in the French media as the "Voice of America" [4] or as a gathering point of French neoconservatives (néo-conservateurs à la française) [5]. The journal, however, rejects these labels, describing itself as "anti-totalitarian". It considers radical Islam as a "real danger", and claims that "there has never been so much anti-Jewish propaganda." [6]


  1. 'Led neocons', The Scrapbook, The Weekly Standard June 19, 2006 Monday, Vol. 11 No. 38
  2. "Cette guerre est la nôtre", published in Le Monde on 8 November 2001
  3. "Avec Washington et Londres, pour le soutien du peuple irakien" in Le Figaro, 4 March 2003
  4. Le Monde des livres, 24 March 2006.
  5. Marianne, 10 June 2006.
  6. Interview of Michel Taubmann by Anne-Juliette Brugière for the website Massorti.com, 15 October 2006