Politics - Israël

The famous philosopher Judith Butler, invited by a collective of decolonial and anti-Zionist associations, declared – once again – during a round table in Pantin on Sunday 3 March that the 7 October attack was “an act of resistance” and not “terrorist”, and that it should not be described as “anti-Semitic”. That day, she further suspected the reality of sexual assaults committed by Hamas. By focusing on the case of Judith Butler, Eva Illouz criticises the positions of a certain Left which, she believes, undermines the egalitarian and universalist ideals of the Left and paves the way for hatred of Jews.

How can we talk about Gaza without distracting ourselves from Israel’s just cause? Faced with the attacks of October 7, the war had to be waged, with its dual aim: the liberation of the hostages and the lasting restoration of Israel’s security, i.e. the eradication of Hamas. All this in the inextricable conditions of a combat in which the adversary wishes the martyrdom of its people, and Israel as a Jewish and democratic state must ensure that they achieve none of their aims, including this one. However, this is not what is happening, and we need to redefine the situation in the light of this fact.

The stupidity of the discourse produced by the situation in Gaza is flourishing everywhere, in all camps. But it’s the stupidity of the intellectual elites that we need to focus on. After all, isn’t it their job to enlighten the world rather than obscure it? Isn’t that the function our societies have attributed to them? Our contributor Karl Kraus is convinced of this. That’s why he wonders about Judith Butler’s recent attempt to dumb down public opinion even further, a rhetorician by trade, but commonly presented as a philosopher and honored as one of the great minds of our time.

What is the nature of the proceedings initiated by South Africa’s request? What is the significance of the interim measures ordered? What is the difference between genocide and war crimes or crimes against humanity? Yann Jurovics, a specialist in these fields and a former jurist at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, shares his expertise on the issues at stake in the decision of the International Court of Justice, allowing us to appreciate the restraint of a legal approach untainted by political conflicts.

Israel faces an existential threat on multiple fronts. Externally, the country’s militarily challenging enemies are piling up. But we cannot overlook what threatens Israel from within. For Eva Illouz, Israel needs a vast centrist and social-democratic movement to renew the contract between state and citizen. Only such a movement can give Israelis back the strength that has been taken away from them, and save them from a real existential risk.

Faced with the verbal inflation that has been mounting in civil society, politics and the social sciences since October 7, Jürgen Habermas and three eminent colleagues from Frankfurt University – Nicole Deitelhoff, Rainer Forst and Klaus Günther – set out to clarify what solidarity with Israel, but also with the Palestinian people, really means. This is a short, hard-hitting text, written in the best tradition of critical theory which, to paraphrase one of its founders, Th. W. Adorno, assumes that when you find yourself in a world that plays with words, you have to put your cards on the table.

In France, a resolution tabled by Communist deputy Jean-Paul Lecoq to condemn “the institutionalization by the State of Israel of a regime of apartheid” was defended on Thursday May 4 in the French National Assembly, before being rejected. Bruno Karsenti reviews the text of this resolution and shows what the demon of apartheid brandished by the now hegemonic part of the French left is really for. He also shows how, while seeking to take advantage of the movement of opposition to the government that is currently taking place in Israel, the drafters of the resolution fail to understand its meaning and scope.

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?

This text is a friendly but critical reaction to Danny Trom’s article – “Israel: Towards a rupture? – in K., which discussed the dramatic course of events in Israel since the last elections and, in particular, the plans of the new government to change key aspects of Israel’s regime and identity. In it, Israeli scholar of modern Jewish history Amos Morris-Reich emphasizes what he believes is difficult to see clearly from Europe: Benjamin Netanyahu’s active role in Israel’s crisis and the extreme fragility of the unity of its society.

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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.