# 114 / Editorial

Two weeks ago, Bruno Karsenti read and analyzed for K. the new resolution tabled at French National Assembly by Communist MP Jean-Paul Lecoq to condemn “the institutionalization by the State of Israel of an apartheid regime”. The use of this reference to South Africa’s segregationist regime to describe Israel’s political reality is not new. In 1977, N. Oleynikov wrote for TASS, the official propaganda organ of the USSR: “Tel Aviv and Pretoria are related, just as apartheid in the Republic of South Africa and Zionism in Israel are simply different forms of racialism”[1]. While not recent, it has become ever more central to the expression of current anti-Zionism since the “World Conference against Racism” organized by the United Nations in Durban in 2001. David Hirsh, Director of the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, and Hilary Miller look back at this event and show how many participants in the Durban conference internalized and adopted the anti-Zionism that was reconfigured there, and how the proposal to recognize Zionism as the quintessential form of racism and apartheid in the world after the fall of the South African regime served to unify different movements and political circles, particularly on the left. We publish the first part of this two-part investigation this week.

Putin’s war on Ukraine sometimes rekindles, as a backlash, a dull pain in the relationship between European Jews and the unjustly attacked country, given its history. Despite the absolute necessity of defending Ukrainian independence, this sometimes leads to a certain discomfort. A discomfort linked to Ukraine’s emphasis on national heroes such as Stepan Bandera, as much as to the relativization of the Shoah that it sometimes makes, both to describe its national history and the war it is facing. In these conditions, beyond the obvious support in the face of aggression, how can we consider the prospect, defended by some, of a country that could belong to the European Union on the Polish model? This is the difficult question raised by Boris Czerny in his article, showing how the case of Ukraine is leading to a re-interrogation of Europe’s values.

The attack on the Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba on Tuesday May 9 will not be without effect on the relationship between Tunisian Jews and their homeland. As Le Monde immediately wrote, “old wounds have been rekindled, and a buried sense of insecurity has resurfaced.” In an article published on May 20, investigation media Médiapart pointed out that “four commemorations were organized in France following the attack on the Ghriba synagogue in Tunisia. No French minister took part. For French pilgrims, the trauma is mixed with a feeling of abandonment.” In this context, we republish Agnès Bensimon’s article on the departure of Jews from Tunisia, generally associated with the consequences of the Six-Day War, but in fact rooted in a Tunisian-French conflict, that of the Bizerte crisis in 1961. The accusation of treason made against the Jews of Bizerte, then their rescue in extremis, inaugurated the departure movement, causing the rapid disappearance of the Jewish presence in the country.


1 N. Oleynikov, TASS in Russian for abroad and in English, August 23, 1977, in Soviet Antisemitic Propaganda (London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, 1978).

The antizionism that dominated the 2001 UN “World Conference against Racism” was neither a completely “new antisemitism” nor was it simply the latest manifestation of an ahistorical and eternal phenomenon. During the peace process in the late 80s and 90s, the intensifying focus on Israel as a key symbol of all that was bad in the world had been in remission, but at Durban, the 1970s “Zionism=Racism” culture returned…

Russia’s unbearable aggression against Ukraine is combined with the fact that the country under attack has a problematic relationship with its past, to say the least. The history of its national construction and its memory of the Shoah sometimes violate Jewish memory. Boris Czerny examines the place accorded to the Shoah in Ukraine, and asks what it means in the debate surrounding the country’s eventual integration into the European Union.

The departure of the Jews from Tunisia, generally associated with the consequences of the Six Day War, was in fact rooted in a Tunisian-French conflict known as the Bizerte Crisis, which took place five years earlier. The accusation of treason leveled against the Jews of Bizerte, and their consequent rescue by Israel, marked the beginning of the rapid disappearance of any Jewish presence in Tunisia. Writing for K., Agnès Bensimon, a specialist in the history of the Jews in North Africa, tells us about the last days of the Jewish community of Bizerte.

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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.