# 171 / Editorial

The National Rally (RN), a nationalist, racist and antisemitic party, is on the brink of power in France. We therefore devote this week’s issue to the unique and indisputable challenge of this second round: the need to resolutely oppose the extreme right. If we’ve reached this point, it’s because, without changing anything in its ideological matrix, it has managed to pass itself off in the eyes of a significant proportion of the French population as something it could never be: a credible political alternative, a responsible and modern party. At the heart of this well-known “dediabolization” operation is the idea that the RN has rid itself of its antisemitism. From now on, the devil dresses as a philosemite. Julia Christ’s text examines the context in which the RN’s claim to be a “shield for Jews” may have been founded. And what responsibilities need to be assumed if we are to mount an effective opposition to an antisemitism that now knows how to move forward in disguise.

In order to dispel the illusion that the RN has become the defender of the Jews, and that the latter are therefore rallying it in large numbers, we publish a cross-interview between Johan Weisz – editor-in-chief of the extreme right media specialist Streetpress – and Jonathan Hayoun – co-author, with Judith Cohen Solal of an investigation (La main du diable : Comment l’extrême droite a voulu séduire les Juifs de France [The Devil’s Hand: How the extreme right sought to seduce France’s Jews ] (Grasset, 2019)) – on the evolution of its discourse and strategy concerning the Jews.

In our third text for this week we focus – as reflected in the dialogue between Bruno Karsenti and Danny Trom – on the dilemma facing Jews on the left, which has long been their political home, and which should be their refuge from the rise of the extreme right.

We know without a shadow of a doubt that the far right is structurally antisemitic. We even know it so well that we sometimes forget that antisemitism is not structurally extreme right-wing. In this text, Julia Christ examines the deleterious effects of this discrepancy between what is known, and what does not want to be known. Without changing its ideological matrix, the far right has turned suspicion into strength – the ability to assume what it does and control what it says – aided and abetted by opponents who, rather than assuming their political responsibility, take refuge in childish posturing: “we didn’t know…”.

Some people claim that the French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) is no longer antisemitic, and that the vast majority of Jews would vote for Bardella. To discuss these two dubious assertions, we spoke to film director and essayist Jonathan Hayoun– notably the author, with Judith Cohen-Solal, of La main du diable : Comment l’extrême droite a voulu séduire les Juifs de France (Grasset,2019) [TN:The Devil’s Hand: How the far right tried to seduce the Jews of France] –, and Johan Weisz, journalist and editor-in-chief and committed founder of the online media StreetPress. Interviewed by Elie Petit, they question the idea that, beyond the communication strategy, there would be a real normalization of the RN, while questioning the feeling of danger in which the Jews of France live, and its political consequences.

With parliamentary elections approaching in France, and the issue of antisemitism taking center stage in the political debate, the editorial staff of K. felt it was their duty to take a stand. However, given the existential and strategic dilemma facing Jews, we felt it was impossible for this position to be expressed in a single voice: it had to be divided. Two Jewish voices, those of Bruno Karsenti and Danny Trom, are thus articulated and answered here. Let there be no mistake: the aim is not to make each hold one pole of the electoral dilemma, but rather to grasp it at two different levels. First, that of the philosopher, who poses it from the point of view of what the reference to the Jewish condition represents, or should represent, for the Jews themselves, and above all for the Left and its future. Then that of the sociologist, who takes charge of the practical dimension of the dilemma, illuminating through the strategies of perseverance in exile the embarrassment and wanderings of Jews who no longer know where to look for security.

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.