The uses of Jewish tradition by the revolutionary left, part II

Dialogue between Ivan Segré & Gérard Bensussan

Continuation of Avishag Zafrani’s interview with the philosophers Gérard Bensussan and Ivan Segré on the political uses of the Jewish tradition within the modern revolutionary tradition. How can we think about the processes of secularization of elements of the prophetic or messianic tradition at work on the extreme left, and their participation in the ideas of emancipation and redemption of the world? Why this permanence of a theological-political impulse in the context of our European political modernity?


Alexandre Bogen, Apocalypse 1994-2000, wikiart


Avishag Zafrani: To what extent are the Mosaic law, or the covenant dynamics, different from the contractualism of European political modernity – even though, as you have shown, it operates as a paradigm in Hobbes, Spinoza, but also Rousseau? Why don’t we “finish with the theologico-political complex”? What fails to disentangle itself?

Gérard Bensussan: The foregoing vicissitudes, in particular all that concerns political life and the distribution of political forces in Israel today, exemplify the thesis whereby Zionism sanctions the return, or rather the emergence, of the theologico-political in Judaism and is indeed the Jewish theologico-political. And this is why it encounters the question of politics, that is to say, the question of democracy, of politics as it is shaped and practiced from an existential, ontological freedom, the “infrastructure of infrastructures”, as Vassili Grossmann would say, in order to respond to the Marxist thesis in its own language. What I call democracy here… I need to digress for a moment since Zionism is part of these general determinations. What I call democracy is a mode of existence, a practice. It cannot be reduced to an institutional set of legal rules or to a factual or natural fact. The democratic existence precedes somehow the essence of democracy. As a form of existence, democracy enables the formation of a singular space beyond itself, beyond politics strictly speaking; it is the regime where the non-political exceeds, or might exceed, politics. People at times blame this concept for its abstraction, its formalism. Among its contemptors, one could identify the communists, but not only them, who radically contest its insufficiencies. But this is due to the limits democracy assigns to its own scope of practice. It sets up a sharing of existence, a common place, “all together in one place” as Levinas said, what we call today the living-together. But in so doing it designates, beyond itself, an unshareable, all that in our existences cannot be common or shareable. Thus considered, democracy constitutes the contemporary and fragile form of our relationship with politics. It always has to pass through mediations, compromises, negotiations – between the shared common and the non-shareable – through diverse and random forms of transactions between conflicting poles. Democratic politics is constantly busy trying to mediate between the truth and the great number, to quote Tocqueville. 

Zionism is confronted in its irreducible specificity with the same dilemma, though otherwise articulated. Democracy – in the sense of what has been called secularization, surely too loosely, too broadly – intends or would like to rely on “humanistic values”, while thinking and practicing itself as radical immanence stripped of any reference to an external, transcendent authority. To briefly answer your question, this gap is the figure through which the “theologico-political” somehow persists. One should not consider filling it, lest the worst would happen, i.e., immanence disguised as transcendence or transcendence masquerading as immanence. The gap provides the democratic measurement of politics. 

The creation of the State of Israel, and the very life of the latter confronted with the claim to a democratic existence other than its own, that of the Palestinians, have, by force of circumstances, led to a resourcing of political thought, which traditionally and legitimately refers to its Greek origins, with regard to the Covenant. The extent to which the Covenant contracted at Sinai is a resource for thought is striking, but it is also a transposable model. It would take far too long to explain the reasons for this, and others have already done so with great skill. I am more interested in the suggested comparison between the Covenant and the Contract, what makes them alike and different, which, of course, brings us back to the question of “transcendence” – I am speaking in Greek, like everyone else when dealing with such matters. Throughout all the debates of the 17th century relating to the Hebrew Republic, the Covenant was said to be precisely a “divine contract.”

Kibbutzniks praying during the 1948 War of Independence. Photo by David Eldan. @National Photo Collection Israël

Avishag Zafrani: How does the Covenant find its own potential democratic resources, starting from what notions that would belong to its history?  

Gérard Bensussan: The Covenant at Sinai, the Brit, is preceded by other covenants or pacts, such as those with Abraham and Noah, and will be renewed or followed by several others, especially in the framework of the Prophetic revival. It constitutes the unique and multiplied form in which God speaks to men, and men to God, in which they parley and decide. The word, as a word of covenant, constitutes the bridge that endlessly crosses the abyss of transcendence, as Blanchot rightly said. The Covenant at Sinai constitutes a paradigm of what Judaism transmits, in the form of the Ten words? for example, and more precisely in Deuteronomy, Devarim. I still remember my surprise when I read one day, at random in a text, that Hitler, according to a statement reported by Rauschning, intended to wage a final battle, for humanity he claimed, in order to “deliver it from the curse of Sinai”!

To sum it up very quickly, too quickly but so much the worse, and we return to the very beginning of our conversation: what seems to me to be central in the Sinai Covenant is the constant, fierce concern for justice. The institution of weekly rest, abominated by Hegel, not only in the architecture of time regulated by work, but also in its replicas – from seven days to seven years, concerning the release of debts, the fallowing of lands, the freeing of slaves, and the establishment of cities of refuge; of retaliation seen as the legal opposite to inter-individual vengeance; of caring for the lives of people, especially the poorest, the near and the far, the native and the foreigner, even in the rules governing the construction of a house, the setting of weights and measures.

The Covenant is a political paradigme – marked by a plebeianism (an essential characteristic of Judaism, as Alexander Derczanski[1] explained to me a long time ago!) – which demarcates its  “spirit” by comparison or opposition with the polis. Justice for all, justice at once – this is certainly what made this “spirit” demanded by the peasants at war against the lords in the 16th century as much as by the descendants of slaves in the struggle for their civil rights in the 20th century, although they were all Christians, and in a distorted way (!), by Western political thought. I want to say a final word about the comparison between Covenant and Contract. It seems to me that the understanding of the Covenant on the Hobbesian model of the transfer of forces to God as the Sovereign, and especially the determination of the “State of the Hebrews” as a “theocracy” in the Theologico-Political Treatise, have heavily jeopardized, and in a self-interested and even malicious way, the thinking of the Covenant as a resource of the political.

Ivan Segré : As regards the distinction between the Mosaic law and the contractualism stemming from the European political modernity, the answer commonly brought, from Strauss to Castoriadis, is that the said law pertains to a “theological” transcendence, whereas the contractualism pertains to a “political,” or even “democratic” immanence. Indeed, Leo Strauss wanted to acknowledge an irreducible opposition between Jerusalem and Athens. For my part, I consider that this answer clouds the issue and actually distorts it, both historically and conceptually. Besides, one can very well consider that the Bible – like the Talmud – was written by men, and nevertheless admit the validity of the Mosaic law, precisely by dint of Talmudic study. I will therefore take things in a very different way, quite the opposite of Leo Strauss, but in addition to what Gérard Bensussan has just said, and to introduce the heart of the matter, I will put forward the following analogy: the Mosaic law is to contractualism what the prohibition of incest is to the highway code

The highway code provides an acceptable illustration of modern contractualism, at least in the sense that it is secular and formally egalitarian, each driver being the equal of another before the law, even if he or she does not have the same car; moreover, the coherence of this codification ensures both the safety of all and the proper functioning of the automobile fleet, that is, traffic that provides individual freedom of movement, subject to the inevitable constraints of living together: I must stop when the light is red, or else there will be anarchy, the law of the strongest and permanent insecurity will prevail, and ultimately there will be less freedom of movement for everyone. But stopping when the light is red is a strictly functional norm with no intrinsic significance for the meaning of leading a good, sensible, truly human life. 

In contrast, the prohibition to unite with one’s mother is not a functional norm; it is a law endowed with an intrinsic existential scope since, as Freudian psychoanalysis rediscovers and conceptualizes, it directs the subject to the side of life, while the transgression of this prohibition directs him to the side of death. In this connection, Mosaic law will strive to scrutinize, in human existence, all cases that can be related, through different mediations, to this founding law – choosing life. For example, if we agree that my enjoyment is not the law, I will have to integrate, in my relation to enjoyment, the existence of others, and if I scrutinize the implications, this can lead far, very far, down to the details of daily existence. Going back to the example of incest, everyone agrees that a man is forbidden to sleep with his mother, but it remains to be elucidated how a foundational prohibition can be embedded in relationships or acts of existence without one being immediately aware of the meanings involved; and this is precisely what is at stake in the Mosaic law and in the discussions it raises in the Talmud. And the fact that the Talmudic exposition of the Mosaic law is essentially, and not occasionally, contradictory is a clear indication that it is not a highway code, or a governmental regulation of collective life since a dialogical, contradictory law has no functionality: if some interpret the red light as an injunction to stop, while others interpret it as an injunction to pass, the worst kind of anarchy ensues, in terms of road traffic. On the other hand, in the existential logic, that of the Talmud, it is normal that the one who attributes a certain meaning to a certain act should be led to forbidding it or, on the contrary, to recommending it in such and such a situation, whereas the one who attributes another meaning to the same act will be led to thinking and acting differently.

Talmudic school by Samuel Hirszenberg, Wiki


Avishag Zafrani: Would the prohibition of the Mosaic law establish, like the prohibition of incest, what distinguishes man from animal?

Ivan Segré : I have taken the prohibition of incest as an example because it is the most obvious one, but it goes in the same way for the prohibition of murder, of kidnapping, of the fact that my enjoyment is not the law, etc. In short, what is at stake in the Mosaic law, as I see it, is the humanization of the human animal, whereas in contractualism – as conceived in particular by Hobbes and, to a lesser extent, by Spinoza -, what is at stake is more a taming of the human animal. And besides, even the highway code can be interpreted, in a certain way, in terms of taming with a political and social purpose. 

This being said, rest assured: although I am resolutely on the side of the Mosaic law, I still stop at the red light as a general rule. Some will object: if I stop at the red light, is it not because transgressing the prohibition would turn me to the side of death? Certainly, but when one accepts the validity of the highway code, the relation between this law – to stop at the red light – and the question of life and death is strictly accidental, inessential, or strictly functional because when I run a red light because the road is free, I expose myself to the police, not to death. In contrast, the prohibition of incest is intrinsically a question of life or death, whatever the state of the road, and whether or not there are CCTV cameras. 

My argument, of course, assumes that one concedes my essential point, namely, that the Mosaic law is basically analogous to the prohibition of incest, except that it carries its implications very far. Others will consider that the Jewish religion is a particular cultural formation, made up of rites and taboos, like so many others known to anthropologists. This is another problem, which is basically that of the Talmud: what is the existential intelligibility of the Mosaic law? And if the Talmudic truth is exposed in an essentially contradictory way, I insist, it is because what is at stake is not the government of men, but the human relationship. 

I would say, therefore, in conclusion, that the Mosaic law, in a sense, is a way of putting an end to the theologico-political complex. As a proof, in the Bible, as we have said, the governmental authority, the imbrication of transcendence and immanence, i.e., the theological-politico complex, arises precisely when the Hebrews are no longer satisfied with the Mosaic law and ask Samuel to establish a royalty, “like the nations.” Somehow, they find it more convenient to obey a highway code. And the prophet immediately warns them that the price of security and normalcy will be oppression. 

Avishag Zafrani: In a book devoted to the elaboration of Nazi law, the historian Johann Chapoutot[2]showed how the Mosaic law, external to man, became the enemy of the law of nature on which a totalitarian, exterminating jurisdiction was to be based. The “law-making impulse” is an echo of what you underlined a little earlier, Gérard Bensussan, in your reporting of Rauschning’s comments. If I take this detour, it is, on the one hand, to question the conditions of a legislative ethic – in your words, Ivan Segré, thought of as “humanization” – positioned on the side of a conversion of animality or of the state of nature into a state of law that is detestable from the totalitarian point of view. What are these conditions based on? Moreover, do they impose a limitation on a mortifying “enjoyment” as you make it appear, and are they not also intended to limit the possible mutation of messianic desires into desires of apocalypses (clean sweep or collapse conducive to the renewal of the world)? In short, coming back to the link between revolution and Judaism, are there not legal obstacles to the ideological revival of eschatology? 

Gérard Bensussan: Your question is very loaded: law, revolution, Judaism, the “desire for the apocalypse,” the contract – in sum, politics and policy-making, religion and religious, and desire! In the way you phrase it, it brings to my mind and immediately summons, by immediate association, Benjamin’s text on violence[3], famous but so opaque, ambiguous, enigmatic, and violent itself in the sense that it inflicts violence on its reader, salutarily. Let me not go into detail here, but I would like to start again from the opposition between “mythical violence,” driven by a guiding principle, power, and “divine violence,” inspired by justice. This distinction ideally replaces that of the legitimacy or illegitimacy of this or that violence. The first one, the “mythical” violence, is a bad violence, it has to do with the law, either to establish it or to preserve it, and it fights violence by violence, adjusting itself on the sole balance of forces.

Divine violence, good violence, on the other hand, combats violence through justice. But it can only do so by being “destructive without limits,” writes Benjamin, who refers in particular to the biblical episode where Korah[4] and his two hundred and fifty companions, all those who represent and institutionally ensure “the domination of law over the living,” I quote the text, are annihilated to the last. How can we understand the nature of this divine violence? Why and in what way is its “purity” opposed to the “bloody” character of mythical violence, these are the words of Toward a Critique of Violence? The text does not hesitate to advocate hyperviolence in the eradication of law and its bearers, that is to say a revolutionary violence considered as the highest manifestation of “pure” violence among men. Some of these passages, read literally (but one must test this literality), provoked, in Marcuse for example, an indignant refusal – in particular the developments where Benjamin attacks the sanctity of life and where he goes so far as to detect in this dogma the sign of a weakening of the Western tradition. We are far from “humanization” by the Law, and actually we are far from any anthropology. Not to mention that Judaism, strangely summoned in these lines by Benjamin, posits the choice of life as a major ethical precept. What governs and orders the difference in a regime that separates mythical violence from divine violence? Is divine violence not then even more violent than mythical violence, since it is exterminating, “biblical,” whereas the violence that founds right, the mythical violence, is only regulating?

The Benjaminian “program” consists, in this text both brilliant and very obscure, in interrupting the permanent state of exception which signifies and embodies the violence of the law and that, concomitantly, of the State as an express form of perpetuated domination – hence the restorative and anti-progressive aspect, in the messianic-tikkounic sense, of this train of thought. 

One has tried to read divine violence as violence without violence, in a way, a violence which would be that of the living, a simple manifestation of this living justice which would never need to have recourse to the means of mythico-legal violence, since it would have at its disposal the “pure means” of an imperishable, revolutionary, messianic justice. Benjamin would oppose a violence-mean that should be condemned because it would be only the weapon of all the dominations and all the oppressions, past, present and to come, and a non-violent violence that would be essentially the interruption of the violence-mean by the justice. And yet, even the latter is achieved through hyperviolence!

Since I do not have the time to go into the difficulties of this text, I will limit myself here to pointing out one of its aporias in order to better determine what you call “legal obstacles to the ideological revival of eschatology,” which form precisely what is exemplarily refused, in this text at least, by Benjamin in his ambivalences and temptations, his vocabulary, the suspension of his choices.

Engraving of Moses holding the tables of the Law by Gustave Doré

Avishag Zafrani: How does one ward off the ambivalence of the legitimization of violence?

Gérard Bensussan: I think we need to question its power of seduction, to get rid of it, to change the ground. The criterion, the measure and the excess of politics are regulated, randomly, on and by democracy as a form of existence. This is really the crucial, burning question, which always envelops that of the revolution, whether it is thought of as a seditious threat or an achievement of essence. Democracy is under crisis, we are told, and this is undeniable. But it is because it is the crisis, its expressive figure. There is no democracy without crisis, internal, immanent, without crisis and without criticism of the democratic immanence and without self-criticism of the democracy. The issue of law then obviously arises, in the same movement, and it is this very issue that animates your question, if I have heard it correctly, it is the issue that haunts, that runs through all of Benjamin’s text. Law is the limit, and the limit carries with it, as everyone knows, the logical possibility of transgression and the metaphysical desire for the unlimited. Law is also the gap, the incompleteness, the complementation by jurisprudence, by the beyond of law, lifnim michurat hadin, a highly stimulating Talmudic notion: “Rabbi Yohanan said that Jerusalem was destroyed only because the judges decided strictly according to the law, they did not know how to go beyond the law.” Where there is no deviation, even of the law from itself, there is a danger. In Mein Kampf, Hitler writes that the total State to come will not tolerate any difference between law and morality, any deviation. This statement contains in advance, if one takes it seriously and it was taken very seriously, an inexhaustible reserve of extreme violence. What is not tolerated here is precisely the limit, the gap, the difference[5], the non-adjustment of the law. But this is indeed what engages its perpetual deconstructibility at the same time as its leaning to the indeconstructible of justice. The law is not always on the side of the mortifying fixity that Benjamin sees in it; it may nonetheless become so if it is engraved in marble, which is said of both the law and the tomb. But it may also, as the verse lifnim michourat hadin [And you shall do that which is right and good] indicates, anticipate the expression of justice, its requirement, its imperious necessity, in the sense of the Levinasian “it must.” In my opinion, many resources for thinking about politics beyond the Benjaminian enigma can be found in Levinas, Derrida, and obviously others before them, and even in the Talmud itself.

Ivan Segré: I thank Gérard Bensussan for his beautiful commentary of Benjamin’s text. It sheds light, in passing, on Brecht’s reservations. And indeed, any praise of violence, even if it is “divine,” risks flirting with “fascism.” Having said that, I come back to your question, Avishag Zafrani, which raises several important and delicate issues. 

First of all, regarding Nazism, it seems to me that it has at least three dimensions which, as intertwined as they may be, can nevertheless be distinguished: a totalitarian dimension, a racist and slavery dimension, and an anti-Semitic dimension. As such, Nazism is a fully civilizational phenomenon, irreducible to any kind of natural savagery. I would even say that it brings certain well-attested elements of Western civilization to a maximum intensity, rather than wiping out the achievements of that very civilization. Secondly, concerning the way in which Nazi ideology sought to draw from an alleged “law of nature” a kind of normativity applicable to human society, I observe that this is mainly true in the case of eugenics, which Hannah Arendt has taken pains to show was at the origin of the gas chambers. But eugenic policies in the 20th century were not the exclusive preserve of the Nazis: forced sterilization programs were applied even within Western democracies, from the United States to Sweden. And social Darwinism flourished first in liberal circles before inspiring Nazi ideology.

Now, in order to clarify what the Nazis were aiming at through the “ews,” it appears judicious to me, in order to approach this enigma, to start from what Hitler said and wrote on the subject, notably in his programmatic book: Mein Kampf. Now, according to him, the Jew is a “ferment of decomposition,” that is to say, a factor of subversion and racial, social, cultural and civilizational disorder, and for example, a notorious promoter of ‘degenerate art,’ which is not a negligible detail given the biography of Hitler (who was both a conventional and a failed painter). One could therefore reverse the argument that you put forward in the name of Johann Chapoutot and maintain that, in the eyes of the Nazis, it is because the ‘Jew’ does as he pleases that he must be eliminated in order to build a stable, orderly, hierarchical and conquering empire. Let us remember that in the Book of Esther, what triggers Hamann’s anger and then the decree to exterminate the Jews is fact Mordecai ’s refusal to bow down to him. 

I do not conclude, however, that it would be wrong to identify in Nazi anti-Semitism a form of detestation of the “law.” But in what sense of the word ‘law’? It is true that Nazism hated parliamentarianism and abolished the rules of the democratic game as soon as it came to power (paradoxically via the ballot box), just as it immediately brought the unions to heel. But I believe that Visconti, in his film The Damned, is right to situate things at a more essential level: the rise of Nazism is scrutinized at the heart of the intimate relationships within a family of the German industrial upper class, and it is not insignificant that the climax of the film, in a way, is a scene of incest, with the main character, the incarnation of Nazi resentment, raping his own mother.

Now to your proposal: you apparently deduce from Nazi totalitarianism that the rule of law in the parliamentary and liberal sense, that is, the law that Marx called ‘bourgeois,’ is a necessary safeguard, and you observe that the Mosaic law, understood as ‘legislative ethics,’ could play an analogous role with respect to ‘the possible mutation of messianic desires into desires for apocalypses’. Concerning your premise, I readily concede that bourgeois law is far preferable to Nazi or Stalinist totalitarianism, but not without observing that it has nevertheless harbored some imperialist and slavery-like follies, especially with respect to foreign peoples. The fact remains that the functioning of democratic institutions guarantees a certain number of so-called “fundamental” freedoms which, although formal, are no less valuable. Moreover, legal formalism can shelter or entrench real social progress, just as it can entrench regressions. It is therefore a battlefield that has the advantage of being policed, a normativity that can accommodate the imperative of social justice.

Marc Chagall, Noah and the Rainbow, Marc Chagall National Museum

Avishag Zafrani: Where does the Mosaic law differ from legal formalism?

But as for the analogy you suggest with the Mosaic law, I would be much more circumspect, because as I argued above, the issue of Mosaicism, Torah and Mitsvot, is not the formal regulation of social relations but their humanization, that is to say the emergence and the dynamics of the human form, in Hebrew: tsurat adam. The fact that it is an emerging form means that if our humanity is partly an empirical fact – that is, the fact that cats do not make dogs -, it is partly a more essential work to be accomplished: we have to take over from Creation and become truly human, which implies, on the one hand, that we do not return to our fundamental, gregarious or predatory animality, and which requires, on the other hand, that we give birth to our own humanity, so to speak. The inaugural word of Abrahamic history, “go for yourself,” is a word of liberation, Abram, who will become Abraham, being called to free himself from genealogical, social and idolatrous determinisms, in order to build a new horizon, that of the ‘promise.’ It is therefore also a call to go and meet one’s own humanity in a world, or a society, whose values ignore or flout the sublime vocation of the human being created in the image of the biblical God. If I now pass without transition from Genesis to the book of Exodus, the Mosaic law would thus be, on one side, that which forbids returning to Egypt and, on another side, that which directs towards a ‘promised land’ understood not so much in a geographical sense as in an existential, political, poetic and metaphysical sense. In contrast, contractualism, in my view, is rather a way of making life in Egypt acceptable. 

Compared to totalitarian hell, I do not minimize the progress that contractualism represents, especially in its democratic version. And so you are right to underline this point. But I nevertheless maintain its radical heterogeneity with mosaicism. And it is perhaps in this sense that one can interpret the ‘divine violence’ of which Benjamin speaks: it would be a question of thinking the irreconcilable character of the bourgeois society with the ‘promised land.’ Brecht would thus speak of a ‘Jewish fascism’ about Benjamin. This may be true in some respects. But it may also be a symptom of a fundamental ignorance of the metaphysical, ethical, and political significance of the ‘ten plagues’ of Egypt in the Bible.

Gérard Bensussan: I fully agree with what Ivan Segré says about study and existence, Torah and life; it is fundamental, and anyone who devotes himself to this task must make himself its humble or proud purveyor. I also fully agree with what he says about violence – all violence, even if it is ‘divine,’ i.e. ‘pure,’ ‘revolutionary,’ exposes us to ‘fascism,’ understood in a non-exclusively political sense, of course. I think that my suggestion about democracy consists precisely in trying to ward off this danger. Provided, in my opinion, and this is a decisive condition, that we do not reduce democracy to an institutional form, which it is also or otherwise it would not be, to an abstract word, a declaration of principles with no value and no effectiveness. Because, as soon as one stands on this position, which is also sterile, he or she is already pursuing a desire to overcome democracy, of the Heideggerian type, or else he or she is in search of a passage from simple bourgeois formalism to ‘real’ liberties, of the Leninist type, or else again he or she dreams of a return, of the Maurrasian type this time, to a certain naturalness of politics, as opposed to all the artificiality of the contract. Each time, we are already in the suspicion thrown on democracy, suspicion that is democratically inevitable, even welcome, but that has to explain itself over and over again. It is in this sense that I spoke of democratic existence exceeding, or preceding, its most diverse forms, its legal formality. It remains to be asked what Jewish plebeianism – and the ideas it conveys, tossed between Judges and Kings – brings to a thinking of democracy. I hope that we have contributed, at least, to ask this question.

Interview conducted by Avishag ZafraniPropos recueillis par Avishag Zafrani

Translated from French by Bernard Dov Belz


Gérard Bensussan is a philosopher and professor emeritus at the University of Strasbourg. He has taught throughout the world and is the author of some twenty books, including the recent “Miroirs dans la nuit. Lumières de Hegel” (Cerf, 2022). In spring 2023 he will publish “La transaction. Démocratie et philosophie” (PUF).

Ivan Segré is a philosopher; his work focuses on Judaism and classical and contemporary philosophy; he is the author of a dozen books including ” Judaism and Revolution ” (La Fabrique, 2014), ” Les Pingouins de l’universel. Antijudaïsme, antisémitisme, antisionisme” (Lignes, 2017) and “La Souveraineté adamique. Une mystique révolutionnaire” (Amsterdam, 2022). Since 2015, he has been a regular contributor to the alternative news website LundiMatin.


1 Historian and philosopher, specialist of the Jewish world in Central Europe, who played a major role in the revival of Jewish and Yiddish studies.
2 In La Loi du sang, penser et agir en nazi, Gallimard, Paris, 2014.
3 Walter Benjamin, W. Benjamin, “Zur Kritik der Gewalt,” Aufsätze, Essays, Vorträge (Gesammelte Schriften, tome II -1), Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp, 1991, pp. 179-203; trad. fr. in W. Benjamin, Œuvres I, Paris, Gallimard, 2000, pp. 210-243.
4 Biblical character who rebelled against the power held by Moses and Aaron, and in doing so, wished to return it to the people. 
5 The “difference” does not circumscribe an object, it is not a notion, but the sign of a movement, of a shifted force or of a dynamic at work.

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