Politics

“Israel was born a Jewish state, that was the decision of the people, and the question is not what is the identity of the state — it was born this way and it will remain this way.” This little sentence was said on December 22, 2021 by Mansour Abbas, an Arab member of parliament of an Islamist party and Minister Delegate in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. Noémie Issan-Benchimol and Elie Beressi give us the context and analyze it as a watershed moment in the history of Israeli political life.

Suspecting that the Germans care about the monuments of Nazism because they reflect a promise of greatness that unconsciously serves as a consolation to the perpetrators, Katharina Volckmer, a young German writer living in London, reminds us that Nazism was utterly abject. That no monuments to Hitler’s wet fantasies should be maintained; that no one needs them to remember German crimes. They only serve to make life in Germany unbearable for those who see their true purpose: to allow Germans to say to themselves that, after all, “it looked good”.

How to characterize “Zemmourism”? The philosopher Gérard Bensussan considers the way in which Eric Zemmour asserts himself as a “Berber-Jew” and a nostalgic of French “israelitism”, questioning the vision of history that underlies the far-right polemicist’s blind nostalgia as well as his adoration of force. In his text for K., he points out what appears to him to be a curious affinity of the candidate of “La Reconquête” with a form of stale Marxism that also deeply impregnates the ideology of the radical left.

“I have no other country,” writes the Israeli Ehud Manor in a poem quoted by Nancy Pelosi before the U.S. Congress. “There is no Israel for me” says the narrator of Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission. Danny Trom proposes, from a combined analysis of these two statements, a distinction between several experiences of the political relationship to one’s own country: that of having only one country, that of having no other, and that of having an alternative, even if it is impractical. The question arises here: is not every citizen of his state in Europe now in a position to feel a Jewish experience?

Is the revival of the Jewish community in Vienna a sign that a new form of diasporic Jewish existence is emerging? This is the stance of Julie Cooper and Dorit Geva who, following the schema of the historian Simon Dubnow, decipher the emergence in Europe of a new form of community, not nationalized, but inserted into a pan-European context. It could serve as a model, capable of becoming an alternative to the national form embodied in the State of Israel and that (perhaps in decline after having dominated) of American Judaism.

The plethora of charges made against Jews requires a constant reworking of the concepts used to characterize these phenomena. In recent years, the notion of “secondary anti-Semitism” or “guilt-rejecting anti-Semitism” has thus been invoked to characterize new forms of anti-Jewish hostility that relate to the Holocaust in order to deny it, relativize it, reverse the responsibility for it, etc.

Just one year ago — on October 29, 2020 — Jeremy Corbyn was expelled from the United Kingdom’s Labour Party, which he led from 2015 to 2020. The expulsion followed his reservations about the findings of the EHRC’s report on anti-Semitism in Labour. K. presents here a synthesis. It gives an account of both the reality of anti-Semitism within Labour and the way in which, after Corbyn’s resignation, Labour was able to face up to it. Strangely enough, while a part of the French left was willing to interfere in the English controversies to support Corbyn, it did not find it appropriate to revisit this report.

On October 20, Cassandre Fristot’s judgment was rendered by the French Court. So we wanted to go back to the rhetoric of the poster, and its “Who?”, brandished by this far-right activist during a demonstration against the health pass. The image quickly went viral in France. It provides a model of anti-Semitism to be decoded, where the speaker has to say what he thinks while hiding and encoding the violence of his words in order to make them circulate in the public space.

We, in Europe, have long been spectators of a debate on the relationship between Islam and politics. The matter has become as problematic as timely as it is elusive. How do we understand this problematic, which though arising in Islam has become a question for us all? Anoush Ganjipour’s latest volume, L’ambivalence politique de l’islam: Pasteur ou Leviathan? (Paris, Seuil, 2021, untranslated), stands out from the normal run of studies in the depth and radicalism of the internal critique it undertakes. K. meets with the author to discuss this landmark book.

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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.