# 156 / Editorial

“Never again!” The slogan has all the hallmarks of moral indignation, and it is inevitable that it will arise when a disaster occurs for which we know we are in some way responsible. Isn’t this horror intolerable, the horror that is currently gripping us and with which we are struggling, as is the case today in Gaza? But what repetition or what return are we conjuring up? The expression, as we all know, points to the Holocaust. But the reference is all the more effective because it remains implicit, distended. Horror may have its degrees, but we hear that fighting against it is a universal moral imperative that does not tolerate discrimination. The phrase “Never again” will cover all massacres indiscriminately, and its acuity will fade. This week Danny Trom explores a lesser-known source of the formula, which leads him to the poem by a Zionist pioneer, Yitzhak Lamdan: “Never again will Masada fall”. What the poet was trying to ward off was what he saw as the traditional passivity of the Jews, which, in his view, left them open to horror. As for the means of preventing this recurrence, they cannot be those of abstract universalism, any more than they can be those of militarism without any awareness of what it defends…

If a cat speaks when a parrot is eaten, is it enough to say “Jewishness” to understand what we are talking about? European Judaism, and French Judaism in particular, is a mixed reality, inherited from disparate socio-political contexts and traditions, which fit together as best as they can. However, this reality is all too often viewed from an Ashkenazi-centric perspective, which makes Yiddish with a Polish accent the marker of Jewish identity par excellence, and prefers – one wonders why – stuffed carp to the sweetness of North African pastries. The arrival of a free-thinking cat on the French cultural scene has righted some wrongs in this respect. Paying tribute to Joann Sfar’s brilliant comic strip Le Chat du rabbin, Ewa Tartakowsky takes the opportunity to question the colonial situation in which Algerian Jews became French, and the way in which it continues to fuel inequalities within the Jewish world.

A month ago, Javier Milei visited Israel. The world’s first libertarian president once again demonstrated his closeness to the Jewish community by announcing, as soon as he arrived at Ben Gourion airport, his intention to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. Usually outrageous, the man who likes to be nicknamed “el loco” showed unusual restraint during his visit with Netanyahu to the scene of the October 7 massacre. What is even more surprising is that there are rumours that, thanks to his prayers and dancing at the Wailing Wall, he was involved in the successful operation to free two Argentinian-born Israeli hostages a few days later. To help you understand why Milei aspires to become Argentina’s first Jewish president, and what Friedrich Hayek and Jewish messianism can do together, we are republishing this week the article that Francesco Callegaro devoted to this question in December.


On December 10, Javier Milei, “el loco” [the madman], officially became Argentina’s new president. One of the astounding aspects of the populist tribune’s rise to power is his relationship with Judaism. He made the chief rabbi of the Moroccan-Argentine Jewish community Acilba his “spiritual guide”, and declared that he would devote his life to the Torah once he had accomplished the political mission God had assigned him. Francesco Callegaro looks back at the strange theological-political knot in which Orthodox Judaism and the pinnacle of the Argentine state now find themselves intertwined.

Paying tribute to Joann Sfar’s comic strip The Rabbi’s Cat (Le Chat du Rabbin), Ewa Tartakowsky takes the opportunity to question certain “Ashkenazi-centric” prejudices. Isn’t there a tendency to relate to Maghrebian Jewishness while ignoring its specificities, thereby retaining something of the colonial legacy? In this respect, Sfar’s work, driven by the caustic lucidity of The Cat, is a valuable remedy for appreciating the subtleties of a mixed European Judaism.

What is the “it” whose repetition the slogan “Never again” seeks to ward off? At a time when the use of this phrase is becoming commonplace, to the point where some are turning it against the State of Israel, Danny Trom traces its genesis, beyond the reference to the Holocaust. Questioning the way in which Zionist pioneers appropriated the story of the fortress of Masada’s heroic resistance to the Roman legions, he sheds light on how the slogan relates to the Jewish condition, and how it can still inform our perspective on the current situation.

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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.