#85 / Editorial

Jonas Pardo is part of this new generation of Jewish activists on the radical left who have decided to no longer let anti-Semitism pass. After having hidden his Jewish identity for a long time within his political camp, he finally gave up this dissimulation, a symptom of a persistent malaise, to come out and engage in discussions on the prejudices against Jews and Israel that can be expressed on the left and the extreme left. His new activity came from these discussions: organizing training sessions on the fight against anti-Semitism specifically for the left. The edifying and courageous text he offers us this week is both a testimony of his personal journey and the story of these training sessions, adapted to a very specific public that he knows well. Associative, political, anti-racist and trade union activists, but also journalists, artists and academics… Today nearly 300 people have attended this training: employees of investigative media Mediapart, participants in the seminar of the Crises and Criticism publishing house, members of the Longo Maï agricultural cooperative or the organizers of the “Antiracism and Solidarity” campaign in Toulouse. An intervention during the summer days of the ecologist party opened up the possibility of a training course for the NUPES (Alliance of the leftist parties) deputies who signed the charter proposed by the “fight against anti-Semitism” working group. Hence the question raised by his text: would a portion of those on the left be ready to catch up in the fight against anti-Semitism?

The category of “Arab Jews” – or “Jews of the East” – found itself at the heart of a polemic, initiated by a part of the Arab intellectual world, on the occasion of the exhibition held at the Institut du Monde Arabe until March 13 of this year: “Jews of the East, a multi-millennial history.” Denis Charbit, in his text “The departure of the Jews from the Arab countries, 1948-1967”, had already re-examined for K. one of the knots of the question raised: the conflicts of interpretation concerning the almost total disappearance, in twenty years, of the Jews who had been installed for centuries in the vast region that extends from the Maghreb to the Mashreq. This week, Elie Beressi and Noémie Issan-Benchimol propose a re-contextualization and reflection on the notion of “Arab Jews” – above all, Arabs judaizing or a community distinct from the majority of the population in which it has lived for centuries? – and its contemporary political uses.

“I first thought I was a writer, then I realized I was a Jew, then I no longer distinguished in myself the writer from the Jew, for both are but the torment of an ancient word.” It is with these words of Edmond Jabès that the text opens, in which Henri Raczymow tells us how he became a Jewish writer. The author, in particular, of Dix jours ” polonais “ (Gallimard, 2007), returns to the readings that formed him and to some of his books, to evoke his journey and to reflect on the meaning of an articulation: Jewish writer; Jewish writer?

Jonas Pardo has been an activist for several years within the radical left, where he has long hidden his Judaism. Following the attack on the Hyper Cacher, he decided, with a handful of other activists, not to let the anti-Semitism that sometimes manifests itself and the denial that often surrounds it continue. This was the first step in a process that would lead him to create a training course on the fight against antisemitism specifically designed to address the left. In this article for K. he tells his story, details his training workshop and the various reactions it provokes.

The identity of Jews from Arab countries is the object of a conflict of legitimacy between the State of Israel and the supporters of the Palestinian cause. This article proposes a contextualization and reflection on the concept of “Arab Jew” and its political uses, following the controversy that erupted at the end of 2021 around the Institut du Monde Arabe’s exhibition “Jews of the Orient, a multi-millennial history”. 

What is a Jewish writer? And how does one distinguish oneself as such? These are the questions that Henri Raczymow attempts to answer for himself: he returns to both his essential readings and to some of his books, to explain how – after the Shoah and, as he writes, having “lost his sources” – he has returned to his own Jewish history.

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