# 101 / Editorial

This week marks the first year of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On this occasion, we republish the interview given to us by Pinchas Goldschmidt last October. In that interview, Pinchas Goldschmidt, who had recently resigned as Chief Rabbi of Moscow and, under pressure to support the war, had decided to flee Russia, spoke of his departure, as did many Russian Jews since the start of the war. Asking about the possible future of the Jewish communities in the East affected by the war, Pinchas Goldschmidt noted that “many of the [Ukrainian] Jews who left the country will not return, even if the Ukrainians win. Many Russian Jews who also left their country will not return either.” A few weeks after giving this interview, he expressed both his concern about the increase in anti-Semitic acts in Russia and publicly called on Russian Jews to leave the country.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has shown how the memory of the Second World War keeps resurfacing in the European people’s imagination. Putin spoke of “denazification” as Zelensky declared that “history is repeating itself” and the idea is floating throughout Europe, in a way that is both vague and insistent, that what is happening during one year could be a sort of repeat of what took place 75 years ago. Julia Christ, whose reflection starts from the desire to understand the use of the term “denazification,” analyzes how the signifier “Jew” and the memory of the Holocaust fuel all kinds of discourses, both in Eastern and Western Europe.

Demonstrations in Israel against the new Netanyahu government have become a defining element of the country’s political life and illustrate the growing polarization of its society between religious Zionists and secularists. Through a dystopian fiction, a television series has taken this cleavage to the extreme, by hypothesizing a territorial division. Autonomies thus stage an Israel split in two: a border separating a secular state with Tel Aviv as its capital from a theocracy run by an ultra-Orthodox religious group in the autonomous territory of Jerusalem. We republish the text in which Noémie Issan-Benchimol analyzes Autonomies, returning in particular to the imaginary of civil war in contemporary Jewish conscience.

As of this summer, Pinchas Goldschmidt is no longer the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, a position he held for almost thirty years. Born in Zurich, he arrived in Russia in 1988, during the Gorbachev era, to work on restoring Jewish life at the time of perestroika. He decided to leave his adopted country after the invasion of Ukraine, when he was pressured to support the war. K. met him while in Paris for a meeting of the Institute for Religious Freedom and Security in Europe (IFFSE), of which he is a founding member, as President of the Conference of European Rabbis.

There are the facts: the violence of the Russian force that is bearing down on Ukraine. There are the words: Putin’s propaganda, Zelensky’s desperate appeals to win the support of a West unable to provide a conclusive solution. Then there is the perception of the facts and the words in Europe, stunned by the event and forced to reflect on policy approaches. The return of war to our continental home already points to options for future European integration. These options, ineluctably, find themselves imbricated with questions of Jewishness and Holocaust memory. It is mainly on this issue that Julia Christ proposes her analysis, paying attention to the words used and to the representations deployed on both sides.

The series Unorthodox and Shtisel have been worldwide successes, familiarizing audiences with Haredi life. Noémie Issan-Benchimol discusses another Israeli series for K., Autonomies, which imagines the nation riven in two: on one side, the autonomous territory of Jerusalem, a theocracy led by the ultra-Orthodox; on the other side, the secular and Zionist state of Israel, its capital Tel Aviv.

With the support of:

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