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How Eric Hazan and Alain Badiou despise and hide the achievements of a century-old debate on Zionism and left antisemitism (2012)
Article mis en ligne le 5 octobre 2023

[The two authors wrote a 64-page “book”, with large characters, entitled L’antisémitisme partout. Aujourd’hui en France (Antisemitism everywhere, today in France) and published by La Fabrique, a company owned by Eric Hazan in 2012 ? It was translated by Verso in 2013, jointly with two additional contributions of Shlomo Sand and Ivan Segré, under the title Reflections about antisemitism, in 2013, and this time the four contributions reached the size of a book : 256 pages. I will not deal here with Segré’s and Sand’s articles, just with the French text of Badiou and Hazan.]

Anti-Zionism is sometimes a respectable ideology, when it is based on sound historical arguments defended by activists or intellectuals who do not concentrate their attacks on insignificant reactionary scarecrows or windmills . In his preface to a collection of essays on left-wing anti-Zionism, Rebels Against Zion. Studies on the Jewish Left Anti-Zionism (2011) , August Grabski adopts Todd Endelman’s definition about the difference between a non-antisemitic and an antisemitic anti-Zionism. For this British historian, legitimate anti-Zionist criticism of Israel becomes antisemitic and therefore illegitimate in the following circumstances :
"1 When it questions the legitimacy of the Jewish state but no other state and the legitimacy of Jewish nationalism, but no other nationalism, either in the Middle East or elsewhere.
2. When it denies to the Jewish state, but no other state, the right to express the character of the majority of its citizens (that is to be Jewish as France is French).
3. When it demonizes the Jewish state, turning the Arab-Israeli conflict into a morality play, a problem that Jews, and Jews alone, created and for which Jews, and Jews alone, are responsible.
4. When it expresses an obsessive, exclusive and disproportionate concern for the shortcomings of the Israelis and the suffering of the Palestinians – to the point that a conflict between two small peoples is transformed into a cosmic, Manichean struggle between the forces of Good and Evil
". August Grabski adds : "When criticism of Israel crosses any of these lines and becomes an obsessive narrative of fantasies and fears, that is when we are dealing solely with an antisemitic notions."