In the 140th anniversary year of his birth on April 9, 1872, the French Jewish statesman Léon Blum is more timely than ever. In April, during France’s latest presidential election, Les éditions Albin Michel reprinted a short exhortatory text, “In Order to be a Socialist,” which Blum wrote in 1919 when he was 42. It was dedicated to his son Robert and in stately, decorously literary prose – Blum also published a book of his thoughts on the 19th century author Stendhal – counsels young people to be optimistic civic activists.
The Lublin-born French epistemologist and philosopher of science Émile Meyerson died in 1933, but is still remembered for his dedicated Zionism and friendship with fellow Jews, such as author and activist Bernard Lazare. Yet until now, Meyerson has been little known as a man. On April 28, Les éditions Honoré Champion published “Miscellanies: Short Unpublished Works” by Meyerson, edited by Eva Telkes-Klein and Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent.
The Moroccan-born Israeli historian Michel Abitbol is a possibly surprising source for savvy perspectives on the strained relations between Jews and France. Up until now he has produced cogent, concise works about North Africa such as “The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War” from Wayne State University Press as well as others so far untranslated into English. Now an emeritus Humanities professor at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, Abitbol has just produced a revised edition of his 1989 study, “Two Promised Lands: France’s Jews and Zionism,” from Les éditions Perrin.