Inside the suddenly repressive literary world of Jewish and Israeli writers post-Oct. 7

This week, the editor of Guernica resigned in protest of her own staff and publisher. The respected literary journal had recently published of an essay by an Israeli writer and translator, Joanna Chen, called “From the Edges of a Broken World”. In the piece, Chen conveys Israelis, like their Palestinian neighbours, as human and worthy of compassion. The resulting backlash from left-leaning writers was swift, and Guernica ended up retracting the piece and apologizing for running it, after more than a dozen volunteer staff members quit in protest.

Except Jina Moore, the editor-in-chief, did not want to apologize. She stood by the piece. So she stepped down, and it sparked deeper conversations about safe spaces for Jewish authors and artists—such as the one on this week’s episode of Bonjour Chai.

Writer Erika Dreifus joins to discuss her own work in searching out publications still friendly to Jewish and Israeli Jewish writers and the broader ramifications of an ever-more-restrictive literary environment.

What we talked about


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast’s Substack.