# 158 / Editorial

The United States’ abstention from the latest UN Security Council vote on March 25, 2024, seems to indicate a widening gap between Israel and its historic protector. Are we witnessing a divorce between Israel and the United States?

The text by Jean-Claude Milner that we are publishing this week was written before this vote, yet it sheds a unique light on it. In it, Milner gives us his analysis of this idyll, seemingly on the verge of ending, a break-up which, in his view, has already been consummated. As is often the case in affairs of the heart, divorce occurs when the illusions that cemented the relationship fall away. Here, the illusions identified by Milner’s analysis are entirely American: they stem from the projection onto Israel, the only democracy in the Near and Middle East, of the values of the American way of life and, above all, of the Western credo of peace. If the United States can abandon its unconditional support for Israel, and seek to place it under trusteeship, it would be because American Jews have long been more identified with the WASP world than with the Jewish world.

Milner’s radical analysis is crystal-clear, but is it really the last word in history? It seems to us to provide food for discussion, and so we add a commentary signed by Danny Trom and Bruno Karsenti. Just listen to the speech by Jewish Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, and you’ll find a living European perspective at the very heart of American power. Criticism of the form taken by Israeli military policy today can indeed be an authentically Jewish position. This was the point of the text “Gaza: How To Get Out”, which we published in K. two weeks ago. And Chuck Schumer’s recent speech[1] seems to testify to this kind of political awareness, steeped in European history.

As if echoing these issues, this week we also publish Macha Fogel’s latest column. Her dive into the Yiddish world leads her this time to the Satmar current, whose Yiddish-language press irrigates the Hasidic world from Brooklyn. How do these Jews, American but not WASP-identified, anti-Zionist yet concerned about antisemitism on campus, talk about the war in Gaza?


1 “My last name is Schumer, which derives from the Hebrew word Shomer, meaning ‘guardian’. Of course, my first responsibility is to America and New York. But as the first Jewish majority leader in the U.S. Senate, and as the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in U.S. history, I also feel very strongly my responsibility as Shomer Yisroel, meaning guardian of the people of Israel. Throughout Jewish history, there have been many Shomrim, and many of them were far greater than I claim to be. Nevertheless, this is the position I find myself in today, at a time of great difficulty for the State of Israel, for the Jewish people and for Israel’s non-Jewish friends alike.”

For many years, Jean-Claude Milner has been attentive and lucid about the role of the signifiers “Jew” and “Israel” in the reconfiguration of the post-Holocaust West. His books remain a constant source of meditation for many readers, who are keen to take a fresh look at the scope of the “Jewish question” in Europe. This week he analyzes for K. the restructuring of the relationship between Israel and the United States, in the context determined by October 7 and the war in Gaza.

In his article published in K. this week, Jean-Claude Milner offers us his sharp analysis of the evolution of the alliance between the United States and Israel, which we are indeed obliged to observe. For the philosopher, it’s all about identifying the forces behind a real divorce in progress. Bruno Karsenti and Danny Trom – with the very recent speech by Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in mind – revisit Jean-Claude Milner’s text and take another look at the depth of the crisis between the United States and Israel.

Since October 7, the enlistment of young Haredim, ultra-Orthodox Jews, in the Israeli army is no longer taboo. Several rabbis and heads of religious schools have even encouraged it in Israel, in a traditionally non-Zionist “black hat” world that differs from the religious Zionist universe. A significant part of the Hasidic movement, however, remains impervious to the chanting of the canon. The Satmar Hasidic movement, unknown in France but powerful in the United States, is even fiercely critical of the religious parties that support the war. To dive into their entirely Yiddish-speaking world, K. is presenting several long extracts from their newspapers.

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.

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.