#45 / Editorial


We are not talking this week in K. about Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel, recently released in France, but rather his penultimate one, Submission (published in 2015). Danny Trom has chosen a disturbing sentence, pronounced by the narrator when he learns that his girlfriend has decided to leave France for Israel: “There is no Israel for me.” What could such a statement possibly mean? The article “Israel for Everyone” uses it as a starting point to examine the ongoing transformations of our political condition. Is political exile, conceived in the European critical tradition as an interior exile – the one who distances himself from his country geographically remains tied to his country – transformed under the effect of the specifically Jewish experience of exile? “There is no Israel for me” would then be the sign that a lack, the one that Jews have always felt, has now become part of the common political experience of Europeans.

Jacqueline Laznow speaks of another exile, one that is difficult but devoid of the melancholy specific to our time as mentioned in the previous text, that of the European Jews who left Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany or France for Argentina at the end of the 19th century. How did these Jews from the Old World integrate into the New? How did they maintain a link with Europe? Jacqueline Laznow, author of a thesis dedicated to “tradition and memory among the Jewish women of Argentina,” answers these questions.

The New World again, but further north. Ten days ago, a British citizen, Malik Faisal Akram, took four people hostage in a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. He demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, accused of links with Al-Qaeda and imprisoned in the United States for the attempted murder of American soldiers. The hostages escaped unharmed and the kidnapper was killed. “He held the extremely dangerous anti-Semitic trope that the Jews control everything, and that we could call President Biden to release her,” said Jeffrey Cohen, one of the hostages. Since then, synagogues and Jewish institutions have stepped up security in an America that has been alarmed by the rise in anti-Semitism since the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. In an article previously published in K., American journalist Abe Silberstein examines the forms of anti-Semitism that are rampant in the United States today and expresses his concern that something similar to the European situation is taking hold in the United States.

“I have no other country,” writes the Israeli Ehud Manor in a poem quoted by Nancy Pelosi before the U.S. Congress. “There is no Israel for me” says the narrator of Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission. Danny Trom proposes, from a combined analysis of these two statements, a distinction between several experiences of the political relationship to one’s own country: that of having only one country, that of having no other, and that of having an alternative, even if it is impractical. The question arises here: is not every citizen of his state in Europe now in a position to feel a Jewish experience?

Argentina’s Jewish community is mainly an outgrowth of European Jewry. Just as the nation’s overall population was constituted by waves of migration from Europe – in particular Spain and Italy – Jews from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France as well as a few from the Ottoman Empire and Spanish Morocco made the long way across the ocean, too. Researcher Jacqueline Laznow draws on culture, folklore, cuisine, and other sources to examine in this issue of K. Argentine Jewry’s integration in the New World.

American writer Abe Silberstein was struck, during the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian violence last May, by a peculiar expression of anti-Semitism. His text reflects his concerns and an atmosphere that makes him fear that something similar to the European situation might be taking hold in the United States.

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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.