# 166 / Editorial

Beyond the demonstrations themselves, how is opposition to the Netanyahu government and the crisis into which it has plunged the country being organized in Israel? For there is opposition, and it is massive. Documenting it is more important than ever at a time when lazy international opinion is propagating the image of an Israeli society in solidarity with a Netanyahu government that not only seems intent on sacrificing the hostages, but is also continuing its attack on Rafah, with the unacceptable casualties it is causing, without any war aims or prospects for the future. We therefore continue this week’s series of articles by Julia Christ and Élie Petit – who set off for K. to encounter the complexities of an Israeli society grappling with war and its dilemmas – with an interview with Eliad Shraga, anti-corruption lawyer and founder of the Movement for Quality Governance. The country’s “biggest judicial troublemaker” has become famous for repeatedly taking the current government to court, which he does not hesitate to describe as a “group of criminals”. His conclusion is clear: the degree of corruption fostered by what he calls “a government mafia” threatens the liberal and democratic principles vital to Israel, and condemns it to stray into a war without end or objective which, according to this veteran, should have ended after six weeks. For the future to emerge, a process of cleansing the political sphere is therefore necessary: it is unthinkable that the Israel of tomorrow will be run in the same way as the one of today.

While it is vital that social and political criticism be expressed in our democratic societies, there is also a tendency for this criticism to go astray, in a way that is surprisingly regular. What characterizes this deviation of criticism is that it replaces the normative support it lacks with an evil intentionality. If it is necessary to criticize, but we no longer know in the name of what, then nothing is more convenient than to target monstrous entities. The text by Balázs Berkovits that we are publishing this week contradicts those who would like to excuse this conspiratorial tendency, on the pretext that it is the inevitable, if not legitimate, manifestation of salutary criticism. For to reason in this way is to forget, or not to want to see, that within the list of providential culprits, the Jews always end up as champions. But what explains this bitter victory? Could it be a kind of inability to conceive of Jewish agency, if not as synonymous with crime?

The way in which anti-Zionist critics currently focus on the assertion that the Jewish state could not possibly want anything other than genocide – when they do not hesitate, as Youssef Boussoumah recently did, for example, to describe it as “an entity that is an enemy of humanity” – supports the idea developed by Eva Illouz in the text we are finally publishing. She returns to the way in which antisemitism has long been linked to a representation of Jews as bloodthirsty executioners. Eva Illouz reminds us that Christian anti-Judaism, Nazism and Soviet anti-Zionism were all motivated and justified by a perception of Jews as a threat to the moral order, and even to the survival of humanity. It is this supposed virtuousness of antisemitism that allows it to run riot, while claiming to have the best of intentions.

Continuation of Revue K.’s interviews and reports from Israel. Julia Christ and Elie Petit met with attorney and founder of the Movement for Quality Government, Eliad Shraga. One of our interviewees called him “the biggest judicial troublemaker in the country”. He is a leading figure in the fight against corruption and for the rule of law. His case for the drafting of ultra-Orthodox into the army will have its final decision on June 2nd and could represent an important threat to the current coalition.

The historical crises of the first two decades of the 21st century, from 9/11 to the coronavirus pandemic and further, have prompted much discussion about conspiracy theories and their detrimental impact on the public sphere, public reason, democratic institutions, and, indeed, democratic political regimes. This renewed interest has been kindled in particular by the ever-growing presence of different, so-called “alternative” news outlets that reject mainstream news media coverage and framing. At the same time, conspiracy theories are linked to the concept of social critique and critical social science in general: there are debates in which they are discussed in relationship with the proper operation of democracy, contrasted to the rule of an antidemocratic elite. However, if conspiratorial criticism is simply taken as just another anti-hegemonic form of critique, as it is frequently done in some critical interpretations, then an important point will be missed, namely that it may turn out to be antisemitic. Conversely, it is equally or even more problematic if anti-hegemonic critique turns into antisemitism due to a conspiratorial worldview.

On what cultural soil is the radical condemnation of Israel based? Eva Illouz applies the principle of deconstruction of representations so beloved of part of the Left to the question of antisemitism. She sheds light on the old trope that feeds militant passion, and allows it to clear its conscience: the idea that Jews represent a danger to humanity.

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.