#135 / Editorial

Since the 7th of October, the K. editorial team has changed its schedule and the rhythm of its publications. Today, thanks to the Philosophie magazine, we are publishing an interview with the American philosopher Michael Walzer. The reason we wanted to include the original text is that it seems to us to be the most accurate description of the conditions of the current war and the precise dilemmas it poses. The author of Guerres justes et injustes (1977), while describing the Hamas attack as an “old-fashioned pogrom”, hopes that the Israelis will not fall into the cruel trap that has been set for them, “a new war with a full and multiplied meaning”, which is also causing very heavy civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, casualties that a democracy must try to avoid, despite the unprecedented nature of this type of war and the use of human shields by Hamas. Understanding the anger of the population, he was appalled by the use by some of the rhetoric of revenge, which is “never justified by the laws of war”. Deeply concerned by “the decision to impose a total siege on the Gaza Strip and perhaps to conquer it”, Walzer also stresses what is right and inevitable about this war waged by Israel in the light of what has happened. It must therefore remain what he calls a “limited war”, on the understanding that its legitimate objective is in fact the definitive neutralisation of Hamas, an Islamist organisation that has never aimed at anything other than terror and wants nothing other than the extermination of the Jews.

In universities, in the places where knowledge is produced and taught, how is the event we have been facing since 7 October being described? We have seen how politicians, especially those on the left of the political spectrum, have argued about how to describe the crimes and the perpetrators: some have denied the most sinister intentions. But what about the academic world: “One could legitimately have expected that [European and American institutions], following the example of their unanimous behaviour during the attack on Ukraine, would publish messages of solidarity with the victims of the Hamas attacks on the day after 7 and 8 October. Nothing of the sort happened,” writes Julia Christ, whose text reflects on the meaning of this strange silence, which is not one of astonishment, but the symptom of a very specific fear. This fear has been germinating and taking root for some time in these fields of knowledge, and there is no way of stopping it. We must therefore ask ourselves: what has happened in the recent development of the social sciences to make it possible for a large number of researchers and students to prefer to draw a veil over the Jewish experience and point of view, to the extent that their institutions find themselves paralysed and plunged into a deafening silence when it comes to the most obvious criminal acts against Jews? In this text, Julia Christ explains the deep-rooted reasons for this aberration in the democratic societies in which we live.

In the wake of Hamas’s bloody attack on Israel and the Hebrew state’s armed response against the Gaza Strip, American philosopher Michael Walzer, author of “Just and Unjust Wars” (1977), offers his analysis of the political and legal motives behind this unprecedented conflict.

European and American universities, once considered politically neutral, have gradually become involved in political statements in solidarity with victims of injustice. However, when it comes to events related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these same universities, without consulting each other, have generally remained silent, tacitly and collectively. They have thus revealed their fundamental reluctance to take a stand on any issue concerning the Jews, especially when the issue is their mass murder as Jews and in the most important Jewish centre in the world, Israel. Why is this so? What does it mean, in particular, that the majority of the social sciences have become incapable of studying the Jewish condition from an objective point of view, whether in the Diaspora or in Israel, and seem to have an irresistible tendency, without admitting it, to place “the Jews” in the camp of the “dominant”?

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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.