There’s no denying that the electoral deadline set by the President of the Republic of France has thrown all French Jews into the peril of the far-right taking over the government. While some may play down this danger, or even say they want to support the RN (Rassemblement National; French far right political party), we have to take note of the fact that they are thus renouncing awareness of their minority condition and what it implies for politics in general. For the many others who do not fall into this trap, it is obviously impossible to tolerate the rise to power of reactionary nationalist parties and their consequences in terms of the persecution of minorities. Among the political positions that can be taken by the Jews of France, the left-wing Jewish voter is caught in a particular dilemma: they cannot be blind to the fact that on the side of the progressive forces that should welcome the minority perspective and articulate it clearly in opposition to the reactionary camp, antisemitism is gaining ground, to the point that in some constituencies antisemitic candidates are being invested without this causing any outrage. At K., we feel it is our responsibility to offer intellectual and existential support to all those who feel caught in this trap, whether in the first round of elections or in the second, when the dilemma will undoubtedly become even more acute, and when everyone will have to arbitrate within themselves, as Jews and as citizens of a European nation, to make the right choice. The texts we are producing and will be publishing in the coming weeks will bear the mark of this commitment.

Judith Lyon-Caen’s testimony to us this week expresses these persistent rifts

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For Jews, the current political situation gives the impression of being caught in a bind, as if it were impossible to position oneself without betraying oneself. In this text, Judith Lyon-Caen bears witness to the doubts that beset her, and to the way in which one too many of a simple little "h" can mark the impossibility of breaking free from it.

Pogrom is the term by which the memory of persecution in Eastern Europe has found its way into Jewish memory. But when did it appear, and how was it used? For this text, Elena Guritanu delved into the dictionaries of the last two centuries, in order to trace the history of this term which, because it designates an undeniable horror, has itself been the object of omissions and denials.

In Canada, a fresh iteration of anti-Judaism takes shape. Ben Wexler, a recent graduate from McGill University in Montreal, watched with alarm as a wave of attacks swept through his hometown's Jewish community. A series of firebombings, shootings, and vandalism targeted Jewish schools, synagogues, community centres, and businesses, beginning after October 7 and continuing into the present.  At the same time, protests against Israel often cross into explicit antisemitism and incitement. Wexler notes a curious variation on anti-Zionist formulas: Canada's Jews - the Diaspora's third-largest community, at 300,000 strong - are regarded as a distinctly 'settler' population, alongside the Yishuv and the modern state of Israel.

What is it that explains the ability of anti-Zionism to unify protests in the name of emancipation, and the fact that Israel has become the focal point of criticism from universities? In a measured and enlightening text, Bruno Karsenti takes a step-by-step look at the language of student protests, to gain a perspective on the political reconfigurations that lie ahead. In this language, two notions are opposed as irreconcilable: the nation, the only historically realized political form of collective and individual emancipation, and an apolitical fetish – the solution to all ills – autochthony. A drifting critique haunts the university, which instead of reflexively reclaiming the potential of the political form nation – which has undeniably led to crimes – opposes it with the fantasy of a pure, authentic people. Unbeknownst to the students, it is the old ‘Jewish question’ that finds a new formulation, around the unthinkable persistence of the Jewish people in the modern nation.

Etgar Keret is a leading Israeli writer, whose talent for blending the mundane with the magical is appreciated both in Israel and abroad. In this interview conducted by Emmy Barouh a week ago, Keret evokes the feeling that, since October 7 and as the government plunges the country into war, the reality experienced by Israelis is losing its consistency, and escaping any grip they may have had on it.

The rise of the far-right party of France in the recent European elections, begs the question for many Jewish voters who their votes should go to where they can even find representation… If the union of the left is desirable, it’s on the condition that it is purged of its antisemitic tendencies, even when they are cloaked in anti-Zionism. Otherwise, it may be called “united”, but it will no longer be truly “left-wing”. If the legislative elections confirm the division of the national public sphere between an alliance of the right around the RN and an alliance of the left around LFI, a trap will have closed on the Jews of France and, with them, on all citizens for whom democracy, the rule of law and social progress, in a united Europe, constitute an ideal.

Méssaouda is an Arab-Jewish great-grandmother who has just passed on. Yossef Murciano, her great-grandson, remembers her history, her humor, her language, and, above all, the memory of a lack of understanding. In this text, the distant descendant recalls his strange familiarity with Moroccan Jewish culture, in which he has been immersed all his life, without ever really knowing it.

On what cultural soil is the radical condemnation of Israel based? Eva Illouz applies the principle of deconstruction of representations so beloved of part of the Left to the question of antisemitism. She sheds light on the old trope that feeds militant passion, and allows it to clear its conscience: the idea that Jews represent a danger to humanity.

The historical crises of the first two decades of the 21st century, from 9/11 to the coronavirus pandemic and further, have prompted much discussion about conspiracy theories and their detrimental impact on the public sphere, public reason, democratic institutions, and, indeed, democratic political regimes. This renewed interest has been kindled in particular by the ever-growing presence of different, so-called “alternative” news outlets that reject mainstream news media coverage and framing. At the same time, conspiracy theories are linked to the concept of social critique and critical social science in general: there are debates in which they are discussed in relationship with the proper operation of democracy, contrasted to the rule of an antidemocratic elite. However, if conspiratorial criticism is simply taken as just another anti-hegemonic form of critique, as it is frequently done in some critical interpretations, then an important point will be missed, namely that it may turn out to be antisemitic. Conversely, it is equally or even more problematic if anti-hegemonic critique turns into antisemitism due to a conspiratorial worldview.

Continuation of Revue K.’s interviews and reports from Israel. Julia Christ and Elie Petit met with attorney and founder of the Movement for Quality Government, Eliad Shraga. One of our interviewees called him “the biggest judicial troublemaker in the country”. He is a leading figure in the fight against corruption and for the rule of law. His case for the drafting of ultra-Orthodox into the army will have its final decision on June 2nd and could represent an important threat to the current coalition.

What about the request to issue arrest warrants against the three main leaders of Hamas as well as against Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant just announced by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court? While his statement immediately aroused a hubbub of positions, we returned to question Yann Jurovics—a lawyer specializing in crimes against humanity and former expert at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda—for clarity.

Our K. editorial team continues their reports from Israel with Julia Christ and Elie Petit. After their account of the demonstration for the release of the hostages on Saturday May 4, 2024, this time they attended a Yom Hazikaron ceremony with one question in mind: how does this eve of the “Remembrance Day for Israeli War Victims and Victims of Actions of Terrorism” differ from all the others?

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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.