# 169 / Editorial

There’s no denying that the electoral deadline set by the President of the Republic of France has thrown all French Jews into the peril of the far-right taking over the government. While some may play down this danger, or even say they want to support the RN (Rassemblement National; French far right political party), we have to take note of the fact that they are thus renouncing awareness of their minority condition and what it implies for politics in general. For the many others who do not fall into this trap, it is obviously impossible to tolerate the rise to power of reactionary nationalist parties and their consequences in terms of the persecution of minorities. Among the political positions that can be taken by the Jews of France, the left-wing Jewish voter is caught in a particular dilemma: they cannot be blind to the fact that on the side of the progressive forces that should welcome the minority perspective and articulate it clearly in opposition to the reactionary camp, antisemitism is gaining ground, to the point that in some constituencies antisemitic candidates are being invested without this causing any outrage. At K., we feel it is our responsibility to offer intellectual and existential support to all those who feel caught in this trap, whether in the first round of elections or in the second, when the dilemma will undoubtedly become even more acute, and when everyone will have to arbitrate within themselves, as Jews and as citizens of a European nation, to make the right choice. The texts we are producing and will be publishing in the coming weeks will bear the mark of this commitment.

Judith Lyon-Caen’s testimony to us this week expresses these persistent rifts with the utmost accuracy. For even if we want to suppress the dilemma, all it takes is a typographical slip of the tongue, one little “h” too many, to plunge us back into it.

As its resurgence after October 7 attests, “pogrom” is the term by which the modern persecution of Jews is expressed, serving as a memorial device that inscribes traumatic memory in a temporal series. But how did the term come into being, around what issues and events, and with what uses? Elena Guritanu has delved into the dictionaries of the last two centuries to offer us a linguistic history of the pogrom. Despite the gradual consecration of the term in the Jewish and European worlds, she notes a certain tendency, particularly in the Soviet Union, to eliminate it from the vocabulary. As if keeping the word silent would make us forget the horror.

Meanwhile in Canada, a new page of anti-Judaism is being written for Benjamin Wexler, a recent graduate from McGill University in Montreal, who is watching the anti-Israel demonstrations rocking his hometown with concern. These demonstrations have often descended into “overt antisemitism”: last November, for example, a synagogue on the outskirts of the city was firebombed. For Wexler, Canada’s 300,000 Jews – one of the largest communities in the diaspora – suffer from a curious tangle of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. They are promptly equated with “settlers”…

For Jews, the current political situation gives the impression of being caught in a bind, as if it were impossible to position oneself without betraying oneself. In this text, Judith Lyon-Caen bears witness to the doubts that beset her, and to the way in which one too many of a simple little “h” can mark the impossibility of breaking free from it.

Pogrom is the term by which the memory of persecution in Eastern Europe has found its way into Jewish memory. But when did it appear, and how was it used? For this text, Elena Guritanu delved into the dictionaries of the last two centuries, in order to trace the history of this term which, because it designates an undeniable horror, has itself been the object of omissions and denials.

In Canada, a fresh iteration of anti-Judaism takes shape. Ben Wexler, a recent graduate from McGill University in Montreal, watched with alarm as a wave of attacks swept through his hometown’s Jewish community. A series of firebombings, shootings, and vandalism targeted Jewish schools, synagogues, community centres, and businesses, beginning after October 7 and continuing into the present.  At the same time, protests against Israel often cross into explicit antisemitism and incitement. Wexler notes a curious variation on anti-Zionist formulas: Canada’s Jews – the Diaspora’s third-largest community, at 300,000 strong – are regarded as a distinctly ‘settler’ population, alongside the Yishuv and the modern state of Israel.

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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.