#167 / Editorial

What does this persistence for searching and identity mean in concrete terms for Jews, if not a singular relationship to the history, memory and culture of the Jewish people that, far from opposing national belonging, extends it by questioning it? This week’s article by Yossef Murciano on his Moroccan Jewish great-grandmother, and the exploration of their relationship, is a moving illustration of the questions that can emerge. Indeed, Méssaouda’s great-grandson remembers above all a lack of understanding, first and foremost linguistic: something could not be conveyed between Arabic and French. And yet, without knowing much about Méssaouda’s history and culture, he is steeped in this heritage. In evoking his strange familiarity with them, Yossef Murciano returns to the subject of family immigration.

For our second exploration this week, we republish Yann Jurovics’ clarification of the unprecedented situation caused by the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s request to issue international arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders, as well as for Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant, to which a postscript has been added. On May 24, following an urgent request from South Africa, the International Court of Justice issued new provisional measures concerning the military operations at Rafah. While the international press was quick to headline that the ICJ was ordering an immediate halt to these operations, we asked Yann Jurovics whether this was a correct interpretation of the new ruling.

Finally, to mark the centenary of Kafka’s death on June 3, we republish Ruth Zylberman’s interview with Reiner Stach, author of a masterly biography of the man who wrote in an attempt to overcome life. Right from the introduction, the biographer sets out the paradox with which he was confronted: Kafka may have been the brilliant writer we know, but his “physical existence offers a properly damning balance sheet.” Rainer Stach reminds us that during his short time on earth – 40 years and 11 months – Kafka wondered, endlessly and in vain, how to carve out a place for himself in a world where he found himself blocked. Ruth Zylberman spoke with the biographer, who looks back on his vertical plunge into the secret of an existence, that while it struggled to make much headway, placed the act of writing at its center.

Méssaouda is an Arab-Jewish great-grandmother who has just passed on. Yossef Murciano, her great-grandson, remembers her history, her humor, her language, and, above all, the memory of a lack of understanding. In this text, the distant descendant recalls his strange familiarity with Moroccan Jewish culture, in which he has been immersed all his life, without ever really knowing it.

What about the request to issue arrest warrants against the three main leaders of Hamas as well as against Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant just announced by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court? While his statement immediately aroused a hubbub of positions, we returned to question Yann Jurovics—a lawyer specializing in crimes against humanity and former expert at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda—for clarity.

In a magnificent biography, Reiner Stach brings to light, with scientific meticulousness and a rare narrative brilliance, a Kafka in colour, caught up in his intimate contradictions and those of his time.  In this first volume, devoted to the years 1910-1915, the reader follows step by step his discovery of Yiddish theatre, the consolidation of his vocation as a writer and his attempt to establish a love and marital bond with Felice Bauer through a monumental epistolary relationship. A meeting with Reiner Stach, who renews our vision of Kafka and our perception of the biographical genre.

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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.