Article by Danny Trom

What is the “it” whose repetition the slogan “Never again” seeks to ward off? At a time when the use of this phrase is becoming commonplace, to the point where some are turning it against the State of Israel, Danny Trom traces its genesis, beyond the reference to the Holocaust. Questioning the way in which Zionist pioneers appropriated the story of the fortress of Masada’s heroic resistance to the Roman legions, he sheds light on how the slogan relates to the Jewish condition, and how it can still inform our perspective on the current situation.

The longer Israel’s military response in Gaza drags on, the more the memory of October 7 seems to fade in international public opinion. In this text, Danny Trom draws the consequences of such a development—the emergence of a clear divide between those for whom the event has passed and those who, increasingly isolated, keep it firmly in mind.

“Israel faces the vertigo of vengeance” was the headline of an article published in Le Monde a week after 7 October. But to imagine that Israel will act in this way is to delude oneself. Danny Trom explains why Israel will not and cannot avenge itself by deciphering what this omnipresent warning imperceptibly conveys.

Daniel Boyarin, Professor of History of Religions and a renowned specialist in Talmudic Culture and Ancient Judaism, has published this year The No-State Solution. A Jewish Manifesto [Yale University Press], which claims on its back cover to be a “provocative book”. “provocative book”. Danny Trom discusses the anti-Zionism and “diasporic nationalism” that Boyarin promotes.

Confronted with the illiberal temptations of the Netanyahu government, how can we sort out the criticisms of Israel that aim to find a solution by recalling what was the main intention of this state and those that aim to destroy it ? And, in particular, how can the criticism from Jews in the Diaspora, especially from Europe, free itself from its inhibitions and fears of being misused in order to assert its singular position?

In Communist Romania, Jews were traded for pigs, calves or cows. This is how Sonia Devillers’ grandparents – as she recounts in Les Exportés (Flammarion, September 2022, not yet translated into English) – were able to pass to the West. A picture of blood and guts emerges from Romania: after being slaughtered by hand, the surviving Jews were worth just about the price of the animals for which they were exchanged.

But what is the State of Israel? Danny Trom’s book The State of Exile proposes an answer to this apparently simple question: the State of Israel is not, cannot be, the nation-state of the Jewish people but a state “for the Jews”. Proceeding from the political experience of the Jews of Europe, it remains inscribed in the exilic configuration of the Jews, outside of which its very foundation would disappear.

How can we understand the composition of the new government formed by Benjamin Netanyahu, which gives pride of place to religious Zionism and to a nationalism itself increasingly tinged with religious references? How can we understand it historically and circumstantially? Danny Trom looks back at this event, which marks a break in the history of Israel and of Zionism itself.

We know the Christmas movie genre and its more or less serious sub-genres invented by Hollywood. Danny Trom, after having seen ‘Gremlins’ (1984), the horror film directed by Joe Dante and produced by Steven Spielberg, analyzes what could be a specific sub-genre to be identified, the Jewish Christmas movie…

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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.