This paper offers a comparative discussion of different theoretical approaches to the construction of gender and Jewishness: the tradition of critical theory with a particular focus on Theodor W. Adorno; the Foucauldian tradition with a particular focus on Judith Butler; and contemporary approaches often described as ‘New Materialism’ or ‘New Feminism’ with a particular focus on Karen Barad. I want to investigate the degree to which each of these approaches can illuminate the social and historical genesis of ideas of gender and Jewishness, their ability to throw light on the emergence of notions of ethnicity as well as gender, and the degree to which these various approaches can self-reflexively account for their own possibility. Furthermore, the paper will begin to explore the extent to which these different theoretical traditions might be put into a mutually fruitful dialogue.
This investigation is part of my current research, tracing the development of constructions of Jewishness and femininity and their interrelations in German-speaking Central European culture between the late eighteenth and the early twentieth century through a series of case studies. These seek to explore the dialectic between abstract universalist tendencies and novel forms of difference and exclusion as an important feature of modernity. I investigate how notions of Jewishness and femininity have served to define the modern subject (usually connotated as gentile and masculine), what role they played for debates on the essence and the boundaries of citizenship and the nation, and how ideas about women and Jews helped to make sense of the experience of rapid social and economic change and the disappearance of familiar forms of life. In this way, a closer look at such discourses about the margins of society can help illuminate its core.
In his short lecture the author tries to sum up the very content of his own approach to genocide, genocidal action, genocidal policy, and genocidal mentality as a general pattern which was worked out, at first, in 1989 (Albrecht 1989), and which the author published in his book-triology on Genocide and Armenocide when discussing comparative and theoretical aspects of genocidal policy within 20th century (Albrecht 2006/08). As a scholar to comparative genocidal research, the author looks upon three genocidal victim-groups – the Ottoman Armenians (1915/16), the European Jews (1941/45, and the Serbs in “Satellite Croatia” (1941/45) as the three basic genocidal events during the two World Wars.
Characterising comparative genocidal research as a relatively ´new´ field of reseach, the author argues that the genocide against the Armenians as applied in the Ottoman state named “Armeniermord” (in German) as well as “Armenocide” (in current English) is, as the historical genocide a “murder of a nation” (Arnold J.Toynbee) “the Young Turks are responsible for” (Johannes Lepsius), not only the starting point but also, as the first “state-sponsored planned genocide within 20th century” (Edgar Hilsenrath), a basic feature for comparative genocidal research work. Richard Albrecht looks upon the Armenocide by remembering the historical context, “the first great festival of death” (Thomas Mann), and by discussing its very meaning not only historically but also systematically as (Irving Louis Horowitz called) the prototype of any “state sponsored domestic genocide” (Robert Melson) as planned, and organized, destructive – and typically lethal – actions of a state in context of political history within 20th century. Given this setting, genocidal violence can be defined as a specific form of violence for mass killing planned, and organized, by a state itself.
In §429 of The Will to Power, Nietzsche wrote: “The Sophists were Greeks: when Socrates and Plato took up the cause of virtue and justice, they were Jews or I know not what.” Whatever it was that led Nietzsche to identify Plato and Socrates as Jews, it clearly had nothing to do with their race. This suggests the inadequacy of the term “anti-Semitism,” which implies race-hatred, and thus allows it to be domesticated with other forms of race-hatred. A first step toward clarity is recognizing that National Socialism rested on a philosophical foundation, and that identifying it with racialist anti-Semitism not only obscures that foundation, but also was intended to do so. Consider Nietzsche’s famous observation that Christianity is Platonism for the masses. If Plato was a Jew, and if Christianity is Platonism, then Christianity—no less than Bolshevism and Machenschaft—is what a Nazi would call Verjudung, a “jewification” that has nothing to do with race. For political reasons, National Socialism could not attack Christianity too directly: racialist anti-Semitism was the logical cover for the necessarily covert anti-Christian anti-Judaism that constituted its philosophical foundation. It is with this philosophical core—not its exoteric symptoms, such as Holocaust denial—that philosophers must engage today, and Plato is a good place to start. Is our Plato still the “Jew” that Nietzsche took him to be? Is he still the thinker who linked virtue and morality to a transcendent and otherworldly reality, to a “kingdom not of this world”? By recognizing that anti-Judaism has not only survived the defeat of National Socialism, but has actually flourished among intellectuals, we can see why even the vulgar aspects of racialist anti-Semitism—mere symptoms, in a philosophical sense—are now on the rise. Thanks to the likes of Karl Lueger and Georg von Schönerer, Vienna is the perfect place for those who would combat those symptoms to rediscover and repudiate the philosophical foundation that became their core in the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in the First World War, a core that has survived her defeat in the Second. But it won’t be easy: one can’t cure the symptoms when the root cause lays hidden within.
The Left has often been described as one of the central actors of a “New Antisemitism“. So far, very little empirical research has been conducted to analyze antisemitic topoi and discourses in current left movements. By analyzing progressive contemporary social movements in the United States – including the “Occupy Wall Street“ movement, Palestine solidarity activists, anti-war groups and others – and their specific perspectives on antisemitism, this paper aims at filling this gap.
It asks what antisemitic topoi can be found among present-day left actors and how they are contextualized. Moreover, it shows activists‘ perspectives on antisemitism: How is antisemitism conceptualized? Is it considered a relevant problem? In order to develop a thorough understanding of antisemitism discourses it also explores related topics, including the Middle East conflict, the Holocaust and Holocaust remembrance, United States politics, and antiracism.
The paper will argue that in the US left, antisemitism is an “invisible prejudice” in a dual sense: First, its occasional articulation is generally not open and coherent, but takes coded and fragmented forms. Secondly, it is a prejudice that does not get taken seriously and cannot be addressed, causing it to be an invisible “-ism” in a left agenda.
This poses the question of which ideological and social factors support or hinder the emergence of antisemitic attitudes on the left? Using the framing perspective of social movement theory the paper will answer this question by looking at the three levels of content, context and identity.
While arguing that a specific left antisemitism is not an imminent threat, through analysis of the above-mentioned attitudes this paper dissects the theoretical and practical sites of fracture where antisemitism might grow. It therefore provides possible starting points for developing strategies for addressing antisemitism encountered on the left.
On a more theoretical level the research addresses questions relevant to the study of the so-called “New Antisemitism.“: First, it examines the ideological foundations and functions that “antisemitism“ as an ideology, a symbol and a cypher hold in left debates. It highlights the difficulty of finding a universal definition of antisemitism, particularly concerning the distinction between antisemitism and critiques of Israel, emphasizing the important role played by social context.
Any Jew who was persecuted as a Jew during the Nazi period has been affected by this persecution along his life course, and during his old age. The survivors are now over 70 and many of them need specific assistance. In order to evaluate their needs, a socio demographic study has been undertaken in France by the FMS (Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah). France is likely to have the largest survivor community in Europe, excluding areas of the former Soviet Union. A large definition of Jewish Nazi Victim (JNV) includes North African Jews who represent a great part of the French Jews. This includes those who were in Algeria between July 1940 and November 1942 (for those who were in recognized camps), in Tunisia between July 1940 and May 1943 and in Morocco between July 1940 and November 1942.
The presentation is based on the results of this study and will raise new questions relating to the interaction between the Nazi persecution experience, the life as a Jew in an Arab country and the migration to France.
Turks often feel as if Antisemitism does not exist in their homeland. For instance, Sabahattın Ali’s famous 1943 novel Kürk Mantolu Madonna [The Fur Coated Madonna] describes a love story between a young Turkish student named Raif and a Jewish cabaret singer named Maria Puder taking place in Berlin in 1928. In one of their dialogues, Ali writes what many Turks tend to believe – that Antisemitism is not a problem encountered in Turkey:
- My father was Jewish, says Maria Puder to Raif
- You are therefore Jewish
- Yes…might you too be Anti-Semitic?
- Oh no! In my country those things do not exist.
There has never been an official policy of discrimination in Turkey towards its minorities and their socio-economic status was usually stable. However, some events were exclusively anti-Semitic. The purposed paper will examine the the development of Antisemitism in Turkey in accordance with the historical events that Turkey went through, but at the same time it will present the distinction and/or the continuity of this said Antisemitism under the regime of the AKP. The paper will also examine the contemporary Antisemitic assertions expressed by the AKP, the Turkish ruling party members, in the light of Turkey-Israel relations. Furthermore, the paper will attempt to answer the question whether the current Turkish government, which is considered in the eyes of many Islamists to nurture the familiar Islamic oriented religious Antisemitisim, is having a new or different impact on Turkish Antisemitism. In addition, incidents and manifestations of Antisemisim in a variety of facets and aspects such as media, entertainment, culture, literature and of course, politics will be considered.
The Middle East generally and Israel specifically draw much attention in the international media. Positive coverage and esteem for Israel’s achievements have been accompanied by reports of the wars with its Arab neighbors, violent conflicts, and terror attacks as central components of the country’s international media coverage since the 1970s, and even earlier. In addition, a large number of organizations and players invest efforts and resources to harm this country and its inhabitants’ image. The result is a problematic public image of Israel, which has impeded tourism, investment, and immigration. Israel’s decisions makers, foreign and tourism ministries, Jewish organizations and other players face an extremely difficult challenge regarding the country’s problematic media and public image. These players believe that the country’s special attractions, diverse culture and history, its centrality to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and its advanced economy and technology can potentially attain a much better public image and make Israel more attractive.
Using the multi-step model for altering place image, this study sets out to analyze strategies used to restore Israel’s positive image. The analysis of Israel’s image and its marketing efforts can help us better understand how marketers manage nation branding and marketing efforts during prolonged crises and constant conflict. The paper is based on close analysis of dozens of advertisements, public relations campaigns, press releases, academic and popular articles, news articles, interviews, and websites of Israel’s government departments and Jewish organizations. The analysis shows that over the years the nation’s marketers used three kinds of strategies: focusing on the source, on the message, and on the target audience. The paper also evaluates the employment of these various strategies used by Israel’s marketers over the years.
The term ‚Zivilisationsbruch‘ as well as the term ‚unprecedented event‘ were both established to mark the specificity of the Nazi genocide of Jews. Nevertheless, the terms vary widely, especially in regard to the question of comparability. Whereas ‚Zivilisationsbruch‘ indicates exclusiveness and even geopolitical differentiations between the ‚West and the rest‘, ‚unprecedented event‘ seems to imply a treatment of relationing different forms of violence and extermination within a global framework.
In my paper I will argue that the shift from the term ‚Zivilisationsbruch‘, established by historian Dan Diner in the late 1980s in the context of the so-called Historikerstreit, to the term ‚unprecedented event‘, established by historian Yehuda Bauer in the late 1990s within the scope of the conjuncture of Genocide Studies, signalize transformations in the range of politics of memory, and that these transformations can be traced back to the rise and establishment of postcolonial criticism. Furthermore, I will demonstrate how the shaping of each term or concept refers to the history of colonialism. Finally, I will discuss the effects of the use of these terms/concepts in regard to what literary scholar Michael Rothberg has called a ‚multi-directional memory‘.
The present study will focus on the significance of Holocaust survivors of Greek communities in the collective memory of Israeli society. In this study, I would like to investigate the stories of Holocaust survivors of Greek decent. I will examine whether their stories received a proper and meaningful place in the narrative telling the story of the Holocaust. Assuming that these stories received little significance, I would like to further examine the reasons for the absence of Greek survivors‘ stories from the collective memory about the Holocaust today.
The purpose of this study is to examine reasons and factors that led the experiences of survivors of Greek descent to be “present in the collective”, but “absent from memory”. The main question I would like to investigate is why haven’t the Greek community of survivors been able to establish a significant internal community and did not see the need to stand out based on their unique experiences, which are exceptional to the landscape of Israeli society. The novelty of this study is its introduction and focus on the community of Holocaust survivors from Greece.
The paper will examine Alain Badiou’s concept of universalism by taking a closer look at Badiou’s books on Richard Wagner and Saint Paul. In the latter book Badiou describes his idea of universalism, that came upon the face of the earth after the Christ-event and Saint Paul preached his theology of universal salvation. In the book on Wagner this theoretical framework is applied to the interpretation of Wagner’s operas. This is when the deficits of the theory become visible.
Cultural relativism in Western societies involves multiple stakeholders: Islamists on the one hand, which are keen to present themselves and their ideology as the legitimate representatives of the Muslim community. Liberal and leftist intellectuals, who see the fight against a perceived Islamophobia and postcolonial discrimination of minorities as an update to or replacement of traditional anti-racism. The third actors are state institutions of Western societies, which are trying to shape policies of integration for immigrant communities and foreign policy strategies towards societies under the predominant influence of the Islamic religion, often relying on cultural and faith- based community organizations.
Since the attacks in New York on the 11th of September of 2001, there has been a broad debate about immigration, Islamism, discrimination and anti-Semitism in the West. The presentation refutes the dichotomy between immigrants of Muslim descent on the one hand and indigenous inhabitants seen as a homogenous bloc on the other. Instead it should be shown that cultural relativism is a political game between different parties involving anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism at the center – but often as a blind spot at the same time.
While secular Western laws and politics in general are painted as discriminatory against Muslims by Islamists and cultural relativists alike, the state of Israel is often condemned as the peak of neo- colonial repression against the oriental ‚Other‘. The presentation shall show instead, how the different brands of cultural relativism and anti-Zionism in Western countries relate to the repressed in the history of these very societies – between colonial past on one hand, the Holocaust and its remembrance on the other.
The Holocaust was realized by Hitler’s German occupation powers mainly on the Poland’s territory. Poles were witness of all phases of this crime. One can suppose that because of this fact, denying of the Holocaust would be impossible among Poles. It is true, that this idea was absorbed only recently, at the beginning of XXI c. Polish antisemites would not be credible denying the fact of the Holocaust, but they diminished the number of Jewish victims and they developed an idea of the so called “the Holocaust religion”, borrowed from (ironically) Jewish publicist Norman G. Finkelstein. Diminishing of the number of Jewish victims or portraying the condition in the Death Camps as “not so bad, as they were presented by Jewish scholars” had its previous precedents in the propaganda of 1968. The subject of my paper will be the comparison of the ‘anti-Zionist’ propaganda of 68’and contemporary denying of the Holocaust in Poland. I want to analyze in which those motives of Polish Antisemitic propaganda of 68’ differed from the one in the Western countries and in the Soviet Union and in which its contemporary form was influenced by the propaganda of Western ‘revisionists’.
The paper presents a critical discussion of the official approach to Holocaust commemoration in Britain in a wider context of social and political responses to contemporary antisemitism. In doing so, it addresses many of the themes set for the RN31 mid-term conference “Contemporary antisemitism and racism in the shadow of the Holocaust”, for example “How are antisemitism and Holocaust remembrance connected to each other?”, “What is the relationship between Holocaust remembrance/denial and ‘new’ antisemitism?”, “Relation of antisemitism, anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel” and “How are antisemitism and Holocaust remembrance/denial related to European colonial racism and postcolonial remembrance?”
The proposed paper offers a fresh perspective by drawing attention to an underexplored dimension in the long-standing debate on universalism versus particularism in Holocaust studies. It takes as starting point for discussion the observation that antisemitism exists as a social problem with unique characteristics, and examines to what extent countering it plays a role in the context of Holocaust remembrance in Britain – both at the level of political discourse as well as actual practice.
In previous research undertaken for a doctoral dissertation I have found that political responses to antisemitism in Britain – where they have existed at all – have mostly been accidental by-products of other political projects, such as anti-racism and the development of equality policies. Such a “universalistic” approach is also evident in relation to Holocaust education and, the focus of this paper, Holocaust commemoration in the UK.
As Tony Kushner has argued (The Holocaust and the Liberal Imagination: A Social and Cultural History, Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), British responses to confrontations with the Holocaust have historically been influenced by reluctance to engage with its specifically Jewish dimensions and by extension a failure to connect the Holocaust and Holocaust remembrance with antisemitism. The presentation puts forward the argument that this tendency is still clearly observable in Britain’s engagement with the Holocaust today, for example in the official approach to Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) and the way it has developed under the auspices the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
The paper contrasts this universalistic approach to Holocaust remembrance with examples from around the world, such as the work of the OSCE, where countering and preventing antisemitism is an important aim of engaging with the Holocaust. It is also contrasted with British parliamentary and government rhetoric that frequently raises the memory of the Holocaust in the context of highlighting the need to take action against rising levels of antisemitism in Britain.
While overall taking an empirical perspective, the paper also offers thoughts on the normative aspect of this topic by considering the implications of the universalistic approach to Holocaust remembrance in Britain for the fight against contemporary antisemitism. It is argued that despite many laudable and important aspects of Holocaust remembrance, a clear tendency of “de-Judaisation” renders it largely ineffective in addressing contemporary forms of anti-Jewish prejudice, in particular the so-called new antisemitism.
Through the lens of a European diasporic (Canadian) experience, this paper analyzes broader cultural processes such as Holocaust fatigue and envy, as well as the influence of post-Soviet and Middle East politics on public Holocaust memorialization.
The attempt to create a national Holocaust memorial in Canada has been beset by a variety of challenges that have shifted with changing social and political conditions over the past two decades. This paper provides a brief history of this protracted process, beginning with the War Museum Controversy of 1997-98, where a Holocaust gallery was proposed and rejected by the federal government, through the many years negotiating the parameters and disputed content of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), which originally began as a Holocaust museum based upon the example of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
The central controversy of this new federal museum has been its Holocaust gallery, which has been criticized and nearly removed under pressure by several different ethnic groups over the last decade. Canada has the largest and most vocal Ukrainian nationalist community outside Ukraine, and this group has been the most determined opponent of the inclusion of the Holocaust gallery in the new human rights museum.
Some European debates, like the double genocide thesis, are virtually unknown to the Canadian public but nonetheless influenced the battle over design and content of the CMHR. Old European grievances are at the center of this conflict and the most obvious example of this fact was a national postcard campaign with explicit antisemitic overtones.
Sparked by the creation of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in 2003, the renewed public debate over Holocaust memorialization in Canada suggests that there is a growing sense of resentment against the Holocaust as a Jewish experience and that this reality will likely stymie its public memorialization. The paper will conclude by arguing that the only way the Holocaust will be memorialized in Canada and Europe in the future is under a broad and inclusive rubric set by genocide and anti-racist education so popular today. The very definition of the Holocaust will likewise be revised (historically disfigured, I will argue) to include all the groups persecuted by Nazi Germany.
Historian of anti-racism, researcher at the French Institute of Education (École Normale Supérieure, Lyon), I would like to submit a proposal for the mid-term conference, which would be to make an inventory about the dual issue, in France, of fighting against racism and teaching Holocaust.
Born in France in the decades before the Second World War, the struggle against racism and anti-Semitism in its militant aspects is particularly structured after 1945, in the traumatic legacy of the Holocaust. The silence of right-wing extremists was short in the post-war, finding in provocations against the victims of the Holocaust and then in the genocide denial, a new way for anti-Jewish attacks. Anti-racist organizations (LICRA/International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism, MRAP/ Movement against Racism, Anti-Semitism and for Peace) quite naturally invested in the field of memory, making them inflexible guardians of the victim’s memory. The relationship between current extreme right and racist opinions are thus structured by a vision of the past, constantly replayed between the “neo-fascists” and the “neo-antifascists”. The consolidation of the National Front in the 1980s and its leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, amateur of provocations relative to the Second World War, has fed this configuration, anti-racist associations contributing generously to simplify the terms of the debates. The institutionalization of anti-racism, particularly through education, has extended this action to what has become today a real misunderstanding: a close and awkward association of the teaching of the Holocaust and the fight against racism and anti-Semitism. It is well recognized at the highest government level that a serious education and a repeated attendance of commemoration and places of remembrance (memorial educational journeys, participation in contests on the topic of Resistance and Deportation…) are the cornerstones of the fight against stereotypes and prejudices.
Yet we are observing in nowadays France a contestation movement of the genocide of the Jews, denounced as a poisonous, through the anti-Semitic provocations – among others – of a humorist like Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala. The showman has built his performances on the demystification of the Holocaust and the promotion of denial postures, inviting on stage one of the main representatives of this movement in France, Robert Faurisson. The media questioned the idea of a “Shoah saturation” in the opinion, coming from people far beyond the North African immigration circles. One could see nationalists of the far Right joining Dieudonné’s fans. Intellectuals and opinion leaders who expressed on the topic did not agree on the interpretation to give to a phenomenon raising acutely issues of racism/anti-racism, memory and freedom of speech. Anti-racist organizations intervened themselves with different interpretations of the phenomenon, reflecting the fragmentation of their militancy in today’s France. As usual for denial issues, the government brought a repressive response to the provocations. Radical methods, however, don’t solve the problem neither answer finally to the real issues: what is the politico-symbolic role played by the Holocaust in France? What is the legacy of the 70 past years of struggles against racism, using the memory of the genocide victims, in the current anti-Jewish attacks? Are the memorial policies and current cultural offer (media, museums and memorials, publications…) able to deal with the challenges of populism and nationalism? What is the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the current anti-Semitism and in the attacks against Holocaust?
Based on survey-data collected in 2012 by The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on Jewish perceptions and experiences of antisemitism in nine EU-member states, and separate surveys among the affiliated members of the Jewish communities in a Sweden, this paper gives an overview of how antisemitism is perceived by Jews in Contemporary Europe. Specific aspects on how Jews in the participating countries, as well as different categories of Jews, differ in their perception of antisemitism will be elucidated in relation to the historic, social and political contexts they live in. By way of conclusion the need for a deconstruction of the notion of ”antisemitism” and the necessity to introduce distinctions between different kinds of antisemitisms will be discussed.
Anti-Zionism and its relationship to antisemitism is the cause not only of scholarly disagreement, but also of ongoing public debates among socially concerned citizens. Part of what makes the “new” antisemitism a contested issue is precisely disagreement over what anti-Zionism is: whether it constitutes „legitimate criticism of Israel“ (on the one hand), or whether it is merely “disguised antisemitism” (on the other). If only for these reasons, it is imperative that scholars work to clarify the nature of anti-Zionism and its relationship to antisemitism.
Minimally, we need to look at these questions: what is unique about anti-Zionism? How is it distinct from other forms of anti-nationalism? Is it merely a code-word for antisemitism—as many critics suggests—or does it represent a qualitatively new phenomenon in the long trajectory of anti-Jewish attitudes?
In this paper I will discuss anti-Zionism and its relationship to antisemitism, both historically and conceptually. I will argue that anti-Zionism is not simply a veiled antisemitism, but that anti-Zionism indeed represents something distinct and something new. Furthermore, I will claim, it is precisely this novelty that makes it anti-Zionism a particularly dangerous ideology for our time. Too understand the destructive capacities of anti-Zionism, we need to have a closer look at what it promises: we need to grasp its emancipatory dimension.
Research on racism and ethnocentrism has mainly focused on the effects of the biography – past experiences – on the attitudes. It is however quite likely that such attitudes are also influenced by expectations concerning the future and the impact of the groups to which negative feelings are directed, on that future. That possibility will be explored on the basis of a random probability sample of 1964 inhabitants of Belgium, aged 25 tot 35.
Ethnocentrism is measured as negative attitudes towards “strangers”. The analysis will investigate to what extent expectations concerning the future, (1) add to the variance in ethnocentrism that can be explained by the material conditions and biography (such as level of education, socio-economic status, age, gender, religious background…) and, (2) in fact accounts for the explanatory power often attributed to those biographical elements and material conditions.
The future expectations that will be considered are:
- the expected quality of life, compared with one’s parents,
- the perceived future threats to personal well being,
- the perceived future threats to society
- the expected future development of society.
In my presentation I discuss contentious entanglements of Holocaust Remembrance and Remembrance of Colonialism with current academic debates on the relation of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim racism. The aim is twofold: As an introductory contextualization, I illustrate memory political contentions of post-colonial criticism “translating” into a post-national socialist context. Drawing on post- and de-colonial approaches, I subsequently show how debates on “Islamophobia” and anti-Semitism intermingle with antagonistic views on the Middle East conflict, in which anti-Zionist stances can blur with anti-Semitic frames.
Introductorily, I illustrate disputes that repeatedly emerge, when post-colonial criticism translates into a post-national socialist space. Adopting Dan Diners notion of reversed memories for the field of academic discussions, I suggest that the main conflict points are related to remembrance politics, even though they might not get explicitly debated as such. The first issue of contention regards debates over the question, if the Holocaust was a unique event in history or, as Hannah Arendt put it, a boomerang effect of colonial atrocities coming back to Europe. The second contested issue concerns the current relation of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim racism: While the one side focuses the “islamization” of anti-Semitism in the wake of the Second Intifada, the other emphasizes the rise of anti-Muslim resentment. The third disputed area can be regarded as culminating point of the first ones and relates to antagonistic political positionings towards Israel, a state that one camp frames as oppressive settler colony and the other as historical consequence of the Holocaust.
Expanding on the last point, I discuss how the post- or de-colonial analysis of current anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim resentment intermingles with Middle East debates. Drawing on two special editions of the de-colonial journal Human Architecture with focus on “Post-September 11th New Ethnic/Racial Configurations in Europe and the United States”, I illustrate how the anti-colonial framing of the Israeli state as “western-colonial project” can blur with anti-Semitic stereotypes, f.e. when the Israeli state gets framed as neo-colonial evil par excellence and a “Jewish complicity” with (Western) neo-colonialism gets postulated.
Concluding, I thus propose to adopt societal-theoretical approaches for the analysis of anti-Semitism to de-colonial perspectives. Furthermore, I point to the competitive zero-sum logics of the debates in general and suggest a multidirectional approach for the criticism of past and current racializations.
Arendt described her Jewishness as one of the given facts of her life, neither something to be proud nor ashamed of, but an inescapable reality. On the one side, she has been accused of lacking love for the Jewish people or even of flirting with antisemitic sentiments (by Gershom Scholem among many others); on the other, she has been celebrated as a trenchant critic of Zionism or indeed as a source for antizionist thinking (by Judith Butler and Jacqueline Rose among others). This reconstruction of Arendt’s Jewish writings takes issue with both these readings, which in their own ways are ideologically driven and wilfully one-sided, and in their place offers a phenomenological reading of Arendt’s Jewish Writings as a critical engagement with Jewish responses to the rise of antisemitism both in Europe and in Palestine.
The Vienna Project is a new multi-media social action memorial that grew out of my process as a returning Jew looking for my family in a city consumed with history, but where memory remained hidden. The three national memorials dedicated to remembering the victims of National Socialism left me feeling estranged from a city that bore the burden to remember the past. Walking the streets searching for evidence of thousands upon thousands of murdered citizens, I gradually felt compelled to tell a story about National Socialism in Austria that had not yet been told.
Relying on the project axiom “to not forget as we remember,” The Vienna Project was set to represent multiple persecuted Austrian victims of National Socialism, murdered between 1938-1945. Delivering a national narrative of murder, plunder and resistance in a country that did not technically exist between 1938-1945, was a challenging task.
Reclaiming Austrian citizenship in 2007, I remained a cultural outsider to the project, without language or history in a country that was now “my” country. For many years I was the only Jew on the project team and continue to be the only descendant of murdered Austrian victims. I am the project founder, president, fundraiser, project manager, and treasurer. I produce the ideas and the vision. I hire and I fire. While the project organization follows a democratic process, decisions about how to represent genocide in a memorial project representing multiple victim groups, are ultimately determined by me. Issues of authenticity and power are in the air.
The Vienna Project, situated in sixteen districts in Vienna, represents an
ambitious project and an original design. Opening on 23.October 2013 and closing on 18.October 2014, President Heinz Fischer attended Opening Events at the Odeon Theater and President of the National Council, Barbara Prammer will deliver closing remarks at Austria’s National Library at the Hofburg Palace. The project has been awarded significant attention and modest financial support. “Remembering Memory in Vienna” discusses my process of establishing The Vienna Project and the particular challenges inherent in making the first memorial project in Europe that reads as a national narrative, representing multiple victim groups in a differentiated format.
The Vienna Project represents the project that wasn’t suppose to happen at a distance of 4,000 miles with no advanced funding. The “Naming Memorial,” the project’s culminating event, is being developed as a “performance of the archives.” It is linked to the project’s axiom “to not forget as we remember.” The Vienna Project delivers the unequivocal message “this happened here.” It is about the past, the present and the future.
If a renunciation of instincts, as demanded by civilisation, inflicts a narcissistic wound on the individual, antisemitism allows for compensation. Against this irrational background, a “critique” of Israel can be understood as a contemporary form of rationalizing antisemitism.
The paper proposed here understands antisemitism as a socially determined phenomenon; and as such it is affected by social change. At the same time, the essence of antisemitism is understood as violence and hostility towards civilisation. The latter is fuelled by the renunciation of instincts as having been forced upon the human being throughout history. This paper claims that contemporary
antisemitism is also a form of collective narcissism, or a form of reaction to the increase in narcissistic injuries (cf. the works of Alain Ehrenberg and others) inflicted by reality.
In the 21st century, the antisemitic mania tries to cover itself up with a new form of rationalization. Today, it is not only the abstract “Jewish principle” which is at the center of antisemitic hallucinations; it is Israel as the expression of Jewish sovereignty as well. Hatred is directed towards the only democracy in the Middle East, all the more so at a time when the democratic principle itself seems to be at stake in Europe during these times of crisis. “Desperation in light of the impossibility of universal happiness is a primary root of inhumanity”, German philosopher Max Horkheimer once wrote. At one time, the search for social utopia and a good life superseded the love of God and the renunciation of instincts seemed bearable, if not rational. But the antisemitic “utopia” is a dystopia, an apocalyptic vision of redemption, the universalization of sorrow: If the world cannot be turned into paradise, it must be turned into rubble and dust. The narcissistic wound inflicted upon people by reality is compensated by the promise of a discharge of libido in a delirium of destruction – a delirium of destruction directed especially against the Jews, as they are identified with “good life” without having to exercise power against others. In the view of the antisemitic mania, the suffering inflicted by the vision of what seems unattainable – a good life for all – will not end before the last Jew has been killed and the remembrance of the Jews as well as the reason for their extermination have been erased. From this perspective, Holocaust denial is less ‘denial’, but rather a crucial part of the antisemitic mania to obliterate “the Jew”.
This desire for apocalypse, to be fulfilled partly by the destruction of Israel, can be analyzed in the writings of German author Günther Grass, or the journalist Jakob Augstein, for example. This paper will discuss this form of present-day antisemitism with a particular focus on narcissism. On top of the aforementioned aspects, the Antisemite enjoys the gratification that comes from presenting him- or herself as a brave combatant for freedom of speech. For Antisemites, being accused of antisemitism is far from intimidating; in fact, they enjoy narcissistic satisfaction. The more fingers are pointed at them, the bigger the boost to their ego. They do not consider themselves as being on trial; instead, they remain in the hall of mirrors of their own narcissistic egos. This makes them immune to any form of criticism.
Since Autumn 2000, the rise of verbal and physical attacks against Jewish institutions and individuals in France has triggered a large amount of controversies. Many prominent Jewish personalities have taken part in the debate : Alain Finkilekraut, Esther Benbassa, Rony Brauman, Theo Klein and Shmuel Trigano, to name a few. Has this new crisis modified old cleavages based on political lines inherited from French internal politics or the position of these personalities when it comes to Israel ? What are the main factors of disagreement between them ? How do they present their Jewishness in their argumentation and how is it perceived and used in the national debate on Anti-Semitism ?
This presentation will focus on the interactions between two factors in the discourses analysed : the reference to the history of the Destruction of European Jews by the Nazis with the collaboration of the VIchy regime in France; the role attributed to second-generation French Muslims in Anti-Semitic acts.
Focusing on UK survey data, this paper explores the changing nature of European and particularly British racism. It seeks to develop explanations for three paradoxes: the mainstreaming of a norm against prejudice alongside an apparent rise in self-reported prejudice; growing hostility towards migrants alongside everyday processes of conviviality; and perceptions of migrants as a national rather than local threat despite evidence that migration’s negative impacts are local rather than national. The paper argues that the figure of the white migrant embodies a structure of disavowal which enables new forms of racialisation to emerge despite the mainstreaming of a norm against prejudice. It briefly considers the figure of the antisemite as a limit case of both the norm against prejudice and these structures of disavowal, and concludes with a call for a turn away from an epistemology of prejudice to an epistemology of effect when studying racism.
Goldberg, Chad Alan
This paper aims to accomplish three main tasks. First, through a comparison of Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, Werner Sombart, and Max Weber, it identifies patterns in how German intellectuals from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries described the relationship between Jews and modern capitalism. On the one hand, it finds that the early Marx, Simmel, and Sombart described modern economic life as the universalization of a Jewish spirit. On the other hand, the mature Marx and
Weber described modern capitalism as superseding Jewish contributions that made it possible.
The paper’s second task is to explain these patterns; it emphasizes the role of cultural schemas derived from Protestant Christianity, an important aspect of the cultural milieu shared by all four thinkers (notwithstanding the Jewish backgrounds of Marx and Simmel). Antisemitism is ruled out as an alternative explanation, but it is argued that antisemites and those opposed to antisemitism subscribed to many of the same cultural schemas about Jews. The paper’s third task is to clarify the implications of these findings for contemporary social inquiry in a context of renewed capitalist crisis and economic antisemitism. The reasons for the persistence of the schemas are explored. Furthermore, it is argued that social scientists should not drop inquiry into the cultural dispositions of particular groups in favor of the ahistorical approach of neoclassical economics. Rather, they must become more historical—in regard both to the groups they study, for only in this way can they avoid essentializing others as an ongoing mode of exclusion today, and in regard to themselves, in the sense that social inquiry must become more attentive to how the social scientist’s own habitus—his or her own internalized history—shapes her vision and division of the social world.
The political and social upheavals of the last decade of the 20th century in Europe mark on the one hand the end of the East-West and Cold-War conflict as a last burden of World War II, but pose at the same time serious and poignant questions regarding the past, which will not be solved by mere social-economic answers, even if they were in the long run to offer positive prospects for the future. The political climate in many Western democracies struggling to meet the demands of a united Europe shows a growing concern with the diversities of opinion in terms of economic, social and religiously orientated political solutions needed to mould post-war Europe into a place where people can feel at ease and at home in a truly open society free of prejudices and especially Anti-Semitism, which is unfortunately a growing phenomenon in Europe today.
The destruction of European Jewry still casts however its dark shadow over the continent.
Although one would not deny the extraordinary character of the Holocaust as an historical event, there exists a considerable debate concerning the uses and misuses of memory regarding its moral implications, its moral space of figurative discourse.
The question posed by Myth, Memory and Messianism after Auschwitz is therefore: what are the political, ethical and messianic implications of breaking the silence of Auschwitz, of speaking, not only the unspeakable, but speaking the language of those whose voices were not heard then and which cannot be recaptured to-day, but are still very much present in our society.
The article explores the political-theological dimensions of this hidden discourse based on a variety of historical and religious experiences as present in current scholarship.
The German and Austrian perception of the ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’ features the trivialization of the antisemitic character of the regime by down-playing the threats of the Iranian nuclear program to Israel. Germany and Austria are at the forefront when it comes to making billions again with the sworn enemy of Israel without any difficulty. The utterly skewed perception of the Middle Eastern conflict always perceiving Israel as the troublemaker influences the perception of the Iranian regime: The public opinion in Austria and Germany is more than willing to deem the statements of Iranian politicians and clerics, which aim at the extermination of Israel, as essentially justifiable criticism of Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians, and explain the more candid quotations away as ‘translation issues’. The trivialization of the Iranian regime is of key importance for understanding the delegitimization of Israel in Austria and Germany.
Since 2000 at the latest, calling for an end of Israel as a Jewish state has become acceptable even in Western mainstream discourses. Even though the loss of lives in terrorist or rocket attacks and the possibility of a future nuclear attack by Iran are the most imminent threats for Israel today, the delegitimization of Israel as a Jewish state represents not only a serious problem for Israel but also feeds Antisemitism all over the globe. As the delegitimization campaign against Israel involves demonizing the Jewish state, it is an important indicator for contemporary Antisemitism in Europe in general and in the successor states of National Socialist Germany in particular. Therefore its analysis could provide an important contribution to a better understanding of modernized antisemitic resentments.
This paper deals with the role of antisemitism within the wider frame of regional Nazi cultural and identity policy in Western Austria between 1938 and 1945 and its legacy. I will discuss said policy’s implications for present day attempts of establishing a ‘culture of remembrance’ and argue that so far this issue has been widely underestimated – if not outright neglected. The paper is based on early findings of an ongoing research project on Culture and Identity Policy in Tyrol-Vorarlberg between 1938 and 1945 at the University of Innsbruck’s Institute for Contemporary History.
Nazism’s takeover in March 1938 caused a massive change in traditional administrative and self-governing structures in Western Austria and, as I will argue, in local concepts of identity. Within a year, Vorarlberg ceased to exist as a separate entity, as the former federal state became part of a new Reichsgau Tyrol-Vorarlberg. Eastern Tyrol was annexed by Carinthia and the towns of Mittelberg and Jungholz became Bavarian. At the same time, Berlin reassured its fascist ally Mussolini, that it had revoked all claims to South-Tyrol, formerly part of Austria. The scope of this interference went far beyond a mere administrative reform. In fact, it proved to be an ideological challenge for local Nazi authorities, which at the same time were trying to implement their cultural revolution and to root their new regime within the regional cultural context.
One strategy of implementing this new national-socialist Tyrolean identity concept was emphasizing Volkskultur, as an allegedly authentic Aryan expression, versus a more ambiguous high culture. Efforts were undertaken to rid said concept of Volkskultur of any perceived Jewish influence. To some extent the term Jewish served as a wildcard for any seemingly outside influence – especially if it was hailing from Vienna. Tyrolean Nazis were highly successful in implementing a regional form of Volksgemeinschaft, by merging party formations such as the SA and HJ with private clubs and associations from the arena of Volkskultur. Community bands, military tradition associations and folklore in general became essential pillars of the Nazi regime in Western Austria. Yet, with regard to organized proponents of Volkskultur, 1945 meant neither a stop, nor a real turn, but rather continuity.
While Holocaust remembrance has found its way into the official Tyrolean ceremonial calendar and memorials have been erected, the almost symbiotic relationship between Tyrolean Volkskultur and Nazism, between 1938 and 1945, has been ignored by large. Quite in contrast, it is often presented as a somewhat archaic representation of authentic Tyrolean identity, untainted by Nazism and the Holocaust – thus ignoring the massive influence of antisemitic Nazi ideology in shaping its current performance.
There is a current of left and radical politics which is tempted to see Jews not only as vulnerable to antisemitism but also as the architects and beneficiaries of the exploitation of the oppressed masses. This current was strongly represented at the UN conferences against racism in Durban in 2001 where it pushed for the recognition of Zionism as the key expression of racism on the planet. In 2014 Judith Butler, Slavoj Zizek and other influential social theorists constructed the rhetorical ‘deconstruction’ of Zionism as a central philosophical issue of our age. The campaign for a boycott of Israel concretises the political and the philosophical centering of Zionism into a global social movement. In the Twentieth Century antisemitism was widely seen as a right-wing phenomenon and Jews were understood as part of the wider fight against racism and colonialism. But the Twenty-First has seen a shift back towards an older paradigm; those Jews who decline to identify as anti-Zionists have felt themselves more and more unwelcome in the communities of the oppressed and the progressive; Jews have been portrayed as white rather than victims of racism and as racist imperialists rather than at risk from them. Following their experience of ejection from the global antiracist movement, a number of Jewish NGOs sought a hearing within the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and the EU (European Union) for the ways they experienced these developments as expressions of antisemitism. I argue that after Durban and the experience of “antiracist” antisemitism, it is not coincidental that the spaces which appeared open to Jewish concerns were the networks of predominately “white” states. One result of this was the EUMC’s (European Union Monitoring Commission, later the Fundamental Rights Agency) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which set out some guidelines to help recognise that variety of antisemitism which is manifested in particular kinds of hostility to Israel. In this paper I argue that the struggles around the Working Definition symbolise and illustrate the diremption between two opposite visions of antisemitism.
Lay theories of racism and anti-‐Semitism have a profound impact on how people deal with issues and questions concerning Jews as possible victims of prejudice and discrimination. This is because they enable people to determine what kind of
discourse about topics associated with Jews (e.g. the remembrance of the Holocaust, the Israeli-‐Palestinian conflict, the German-‐Jewish relations, etc.) is “appropriate“ or problematic. Thus they also enable people to set boundaries between themselves as “democrats“ on the one hand, and “anti-‐Semites“ on the other. At first glance, it appears that lay theories about anti-‐Semitic prejudice might be essential for stabilizing and protecting democratic structures in everyday life. On the basis of qualitative analysis of empirical data (group discussions and interviews) I would like to show that lay theories “theorize” anti-‐Semitism predominately as intentional behavior. Consequently, assumed good or bad intentions shape the way many people make judgments about others when they deal with the problem of possible expressions of anti-‐Semitism. Following Jürgen Habermas, I will interpret this reduction of anti-‐Semitism to intentional acts of anti-‐Semites as an attempt to create personal accountability, and therefore as a critical everyday approach to prejudice. However, I will also highlight a contradictory consequence of this practice of lay theories, which is that the assumption of intentionality can also lead to excusing perceived anti-‐Semitism when existing solidarityties to other people and groups are at stake. Perceived anti-‐Semitic expressions are then excused as “unintentional“ and therefore as unproblematic or even as liable to “misinterpretation“ yet legitimate forms of the “criticizing” Jews (or Israel). Here it becomes clear that lay theories that focus on the
aspect of intentionality of prejudice do not only have strong limitations when it comes to thecritique of prejudice but that the transition between such lay theories as means against anti-‐ Semitism and as means of legitimizing anti- ‐Semitism is a smooth one. In a last section I will connect these finding from the field of the study of anti-‐Semitism to the study of racism and highlight interesting similarities but also differences. For this purpose I will refer to public discussions of recent racist incidences.
Colour-based conceptions and discourses of racialisation have been dominant in Anglophone societies for some centuries. These remain important – although somewhat disrupted by recent recognition of Islamophobia as a ‘proper’ form of racism, and by reactions to the current/ongoing economic crisis, from 2007/08. Such reactions have often taken the form of nationalist, xenophobic and racist backlashes – although anti-austerity Occupy! Movements have [mainly] been far more inclusive in their outlook and demands. The groups targeted in recent fascist, far right and xenophobic backlashes have included a range of peoples and ethnicities: many, people `of colour’, but others who have lighter skin tones – e.g. some Muslim people; eastern Europeans in Britain and elsewhere; [Ashkenazi] Jews in France and across eastern Europe; Roma people, almost universally.
This paper explores how the categories ‘black’ and ‘white’ have operated for Jews, particularly in Anglophone countries (Jacobs, 2006) and how this dichotomy may play out in the current crisis. Dichotomous views of ‘race’/ethnicity have both marginalised and at times incorporated Jews. Analysis of anti-Semitism sits uneasily within a phenotypical frame, emanating as it did from the enslavement of African-Americans, from European colonisations and divorced from the shadows of the Holocaust. Anti-Jewish racism has thus often been dismissed in multicultural settings as not conforming to the ‘profile’ of racism.
Even though race categories are imagined (cf Miles, 1982; Anderson, 1983) they have concrete and often measurable outcomes in terms of marginalisation, discrimination and (often) violent oppression. Acknowledging this, some have argued that ‘black’ and ‘white’ should be seen as political rather than biologically-based categories (Brah, 1996; see also Goldberg, 2006). Thus, such categories are not easily dismissed in analytical terms (Anthias and Yuval-Davis, 1992), given the benefits accruing to those classed as ‘white’. What applicability, if any, might this usage hold where Jews become a majority people, and another oppressed minority – Palestinians- or today, migrant black Africans – exists?
Despite the points above, various national cases [e.g. the USA, South Africa; Britain] demonstrate the complexity and ambiguity arising when ‘race’ dichotomies are superimposed on other forms of ethnic division. Jews may simultaneously benefit from categorisation as ‘white’ (whatever their appearance); may be discriminated against as lesser ‘whites’ or may be seen as unclassifiable Others. Colour-based distinctions may also appear among Jews.
Recognising the distortions of dichotomous views of ‘race’/ethnicity implies the importance of exploring the different and varying factors that might make up (and help to shape) racist visions, theories and practices. These might include political debates; racialised visions [see e.g. Werbner, 2013]; violent attacks (Jacobs, 2008; Kushner, 2013); and socio-economic and class factors (Loury, Modood and Teles, 2005).
If the use of dichotomous ‘race’ categories obfuscates antiSemitism and Jewish experience, it also fails to encompass the experiences of many other groupings. It is important both to explore and to document specificities in forms of racism, but also the continuities that exist (see Fine and Cousin, 2012) among these. The latter is crucial today: new ways of connecting minority groupings – including European Jews – of thinking about racialised divisions, and of (re)forming effective alliances, are urgent.
What happens when the head of state is an antisemite? The case of Turkey and its current government shows how antisemitic world views can bias decision making with long-term consequences for the Jewish communities, domestic and foreign policies, and political culture in general.
The paper examines the roots of Tayip Erdogan’s antisemitism and discusses antisemitism in Turkey. Erdogan’s antisemitism is generated and fostered by four main factors. Firstly antisemitism is part and parcel of Islamist Turkish ideology including conspiracy theories about “Dönmes”, i.e. crypto-Jews; the abolishment of the caliphate and the creation of modern Turkey as a Jewish plot; and anti-Zionism and conspiracy theories about Israel. Secondly, antisemitism is widespread in Turkey. According to the recent Anti-Defamation League survey, 69 percent of the population harbor antisemitic attitudes. This corresponds to a survey from 2008 when 68 percent had a “very unfavorable opinion of Jews,” up from 59 percent in 2006. Antisemitic books such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf are popular and easily available. Antisemitic movies and series such as the Valley of the Wolves and Ayrilik are endorsed by state media. Thirdly opposition to antisemitism is low. Few individuals but a handful of intellectuals such and human rights activists seem to care. The small Jewish community who is directly targeted does not dare to speak up. Lastly, and most importantly, Erdogan’s world views are profoundly antisemitic. Already in 1974, he wrote, directed and played the lead role in the play Mas-Kom-Ya, which presented Freemasonry, Communism and Judaism as evil. Erdoğan’s muse still is Necip Fazıl Kısakürek whom he praises as a guide for himself and future generations. Kısakürek was an anti-Semite who called for Jews to be cleansed from Turkey.
What are ethnic identities and boundaries like in a progressive neighborhood that downplays all rigid social identities and boundaries? What does it mean to be Jewish in a cosmopolitan-like local community where the local community is constructed across social differences? Based on ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative interviews and figurations of all personally significant relationships of the informants this presentation considers Jewish identity in relation to the question of belonging. Belonging is considered as a three-fold relational process between 1) feeling at home (or not) and individual actions (the individual level dynamics), 2) the processes of making bonds and boundaries and crossing them (the relational level dynamics), and finally, 3) the solidified patterns of inclusion and exclusion (the structural dynamics). In the ethnographic fieldwork (done in 2013-2014) in Brooklyn as a non-Jewish, non-American and non-New Yorker, I kept coming back to the same puzzling what it means to be Jewish in a progressive New York neighborhood. Is being Jewish an ethnic, cultural, social or religious category? One informant, a 40 year-old secular Jewish woman, gave me the telling response of “Good luck finding it out – we don’t know it ourselves”.
Even if ethnic and social boundaries were in the studied progressive neighborhood often downplayed, many even secular Jews were drawn to Jewish identity and had significantly more Jewish persons than others, in their figuration of significant relationships. Both in the feeling at home and the patterns of making bonds, “being Jewish” was an organizing principle. As the patterns of active boundary making from the side of the interviewed Jews were less significant, I got the sense (not verbalized by the interviewed Jews themselves) that Jewish identity as a sort of magnet that drew together very different kinds of persons with different beliefs and life orientations, had to do with the Holocaust, anti-Semitism (actualized and feared) and the associated solidarity among the Jews. In this sense, from the Jewish persons’ side, belonging in the Jewish identity would even in a progressive setting, hence, be more than anything else, related to the historical and structural-level dynamics, or fear of them, however subtle they may in a contemporary, progressive setting be. From others side, at least at the outspoken level, any actualized negative attitudes were, however, related to the Israeli politics. Instances of anti-Semitism were especially shocking to progressive Jews who felt strong local belonging to their neighborhood and anticipated friendly atmosphere. By others, they were associated with Israeli politics that they did not even agree with, even if Israel meant a world to them. Coming from other sociological lines of thinking than ethnic relations, the intention of this talk is to invite conference participants to make sense of the research material fresh from the field. The Brooklyn fieldwork is part of a cross-cultural ethnographic study (2012-2017) about belonging and local community in active and progressive neighborhoods of New York City, Helsinki and Madrid.
Holocaust inversion – the provocative comparison between the brutal genocidal Nazi treatment of the Jews with the policies and practices of the Israeli state towards the Palestinians and the associated idea that “the Jews” should have learnt a ‘moral lesson’ from the Holocaust – has recently been deployed by Members of Parliament during debates in the House of Commons. Despite the recommendation of the 2006 Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism that the Government adopt the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism which lists the ‘Nazification’ of Israel as a manifestation of contemporary anti-Semitism; and despite the 2009 Report of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism that the ‘Nazification’ of Israel has the potential to incite violence against British Jews, the public equation of Israel with Nazism by Parliamentarians has attracted little to no censure from their Party Leadership. Using a recent example of Holocaust inversion in the Liberal Democrat Party and the weak response from the Party Leadership as a case study, this paper will attempt to shed some light on why this is the case. The case study will show that Holocaust inversion has become shrouded in otherwise innocuous ideas about the need for language to be “precise” and “proportionate” rather than treated as an instance of anti-Semitism. It will also show that powerful trends in Britain which shape the political agenda mean that the “precision” and “proportionality” requirement cannot and does not restrain a politician’s anti-Semitism or his demonization of Israel. It will further consider why the Liberal Democrat Party Leadership failed to treat the politician’s Holocaust inversion as a case of anti-Semitism despite complaints from the Jewish community, and it will suggest explanations, such as deliberate obfuscation, confusion, denial, and indifference. The paper will conclude that while it is legitimate for politicians to make considered criticisms of Israel and the Palestinians, it is not legitimate for them to demonise Israel by comparing her with Nazi Germany. The deployment of Holocaust inversion in Parliament should be treated as anti-Semitism and disciplined accordingly.
In September 2005, some of Tony Blair’s advisors proposed to replace the Holocaust Memorial Day with a Genocide Day to avoid offending Muslims. This is only one example of an ongoing „competiton of victim status“ which has increasingly become a central point of contention within academic debates. In this session, I argue that connections between the political and public discourses on the one hand and academic discourses on the other are rarely taken into account in scientfic research, even if they affect defining concepts and standard terminology. As discrimination of Muslims increased significantly, well-established politics of identity started to modify correspondingly. Suddendly even parts of the far-right refered to the state of Israel positively, focused on the Quran as a „facist book“ or/and emphasized the antisemitism of Muslims. Some scholars, like the well-established German antisemitism researcher Wolfang Benz, even began to assume that antisemitism is decreasing nowadays. Simultaneously the allegation of raging „islamophobia“ supported a perception of Muslims as the „new Jews“. Especially in the context of the research on „islamophobia“, the assumption of a similarity between „islamophobia“ and antisemitism became a defining aspect of this research along with avoiding characterizing the discrimination of Muslims as a contemporary rearticulation of racism.
The success of the concept of „islamophobia“ will be contextualized along three crucial socio-political contexts: the instrumentalization of anti-Muslim racism by political Islam and islamism as well as for antisemictic purposes; the denial of an specific eliminatory antisemitsm within anti-racist movements and theory; the depolitization of racism through a focus on questions of cultural identity.
The subject of this paper is the argument of a qualitative change in antisemitic
resentment in Europe and Germany and therefore the debate on the
interpretation of this change. Overshadowing this debate is the memory of the
Holocaust and thus the potential of secondary antisemitic reactions in Post-
Holocaust-Germany. The debate also reflects the term “new antisemitism”,
which suggests qualitative differences between the old, too well known
European antisemitism, and the so-called “new antisemitism”. Yet what
exactly is “new” in “new antisemitism”? And what exactly are the
characteristics of the qualitative change? Do these characteristics justify the
talk of a “new antisemitism”? And which theoretical and conceptual
frameworks are suitable in analyzing contemporary forms of antisemitism?
In order to answer these questions the paper examines the change in
antisemitic resentment regarding antisemitism’s structural characteristics as
well as the change’s main features. In a final consideration the paper
discusses two different conceptual frameworks aiming to explain a protean,
manifold, flexible resentment like antisemitism in sufficient fashion.
Polls and surveys done in Europe in recent years, including the years 2013-2014, demonstrate that Anti-Semitism sentiment still prevails among significant sections of the public in several European countries, on both sides of the former Iron Curtain. The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is „Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in“ and the second most widely accepted is „Jews have too much power in the business world.“ Polls also show that a significant percentage of the Europeans agree with the stereotypic claim that Jews try to use the Holocaust for their own benefit and that the Holocaust had played a major role in the UN decision to establish a Jewish State.
In my lecture I will try to explain the historical and political context of these accusations, including the trend to compare Israeli army conduct to that of the SS and the Gestapo of all the military forces in the world. The lecture will examine these stereotypes against the changes in European discourse, including the embracing of decolonization, civil rights, multiculturalism, and defense of the underdog. An effort will also be made to contend with the question when condemning Israel for its activities in the occupied territories or against neighboring Arab countries is a legitimate criticism and when it „new anti-Semitism“ aim to undermine the very legitimacy of the State of Israel.
The main topic of this paper will be the presentation of the results of the research on anti-Semitism, xenophobia and national stereotypes carried out from 1992 to 2012. Some questions concerning the remembrance of the Holocaust and also the comparison of the situation of Poles and Jews during the Second World War will be analysed. There is an interesting dynamic of anti-Semitic attitudes, but also of changes in the evaluations of the Second World War experience and the remembrance of the Holocaust. In the analysis, I would like to show how the popularity of the opinion on the “monopolization” of the war memory by Jews and the Holocaust has changed and increased during the last 20 years. Max Scheler’s concept of resentment will be used in this analysis. I’ll also use the earlier, 2002 results of the research in Ukraine for a comparison with the Polish results in this analysis.
An important question, which the analysis will try to answer, is what kind of political ideology is the source of the resentment towards the remembrance of the Holocaust? I will also try to confirm the hypothesis about Polish – Jewish national/cultural rivalry. This hypothesis has been presented in our previous conferences, but now there are new possibilities to confirm it. The role of anti-Semitism as a source and effect of some national ideologies will also be described.
Purpose: The purpose of our presentation consists in two levels. In the first level we wish to present the way by which two major phenomena, that the last years tend to hold a place in modern societies, express and promote a new antisemitism. These phenomena are the Holocaust denial and the Holocaust Remembrance Day. In this level we will make an overview of the Holocaust denial theory and the arguments of its supporters and we will analyze, by the examination of specific cases, how the Holocaust Remembrance Day is been used to serve the construction of antisemitic feelings. In the second level of our presentation, by the use of historical information we will attempt to show that the arguments of the Holocaust denial theory have no historical basis and that the parallelisms between the past and the present that being used in some cases during the Holocaust Remembrance Day are entirely arbitrary.
Method: Our presentation was based οn two things: 1) on a thorough research on books and articles, archives of speeches and interviews and on testimonies that we found both on the internet and libraries. 2) On a carefully and critical intersection of the information that we found.
Results: We discovered that there is a trend shaped by the world of intellect and the world of media and politics that undermines the truthfulness of the Holocaust. Most of their arguments are linked to the contention of some of the most critical facts of the Holocaust, such as the existence of the gas chambers or the number of millions of Jews that lost their lives during the Holocaust.
Recent years have also witnessed the use, in some particular cases, of the Holocaust Remembrance Day in which is being expressed the “equalization” between the Jewish victims of the Holocaust with the Palestinians. Thus is been promoted a further identification of the Nazi regime with the State of Israel.
Conclusion: Based on the above a crucial matter is been born and this is the revision of history. Misinterpretation and denial of some unquestioned historical facts tend to disorientate public opinion and to recycle ideologies that in the past have proved disastrous for mankind and lead people in destructive behavior. Thus in order to confront such challenges, both in present and in future, it is our duty to maintain an objective and critical “look” of the past. If anything if we overlook the valuable lessons that we can be taught from history then, as the philosopher George Santayana said, we are “condemned to repeat it”.
The lecture “Racism as group phenomenon in Austria” will contribute to questions on difference generating strategies and individually respectively universally valid “knowledge” of “the others” within the mainstream society of Austria. In which ways are these thoughts being communicated, and how are they contended and argued for or against? . In what ways are dominant discourses such as the ones on culture/multiculturalism, “home”/borders, and “race”/racism, which have emerged from my field research, put into effect within the established, dominating networks? How is the above mentioned generation of difference legitimized in this line of argument? And finally, what roles do these mindsets play in the constitution of individuals and groups?
These are the main issues this lecture aims to tackle along with the hypotheses about similarities and distinctions of various racist attitudes and communication strategies within the mainstream society of Austria. The empirical data for this work had been gathered by means of participant observation and episodic interviews. In my work I attempt to explore questions through thematic encoding and an additional extensive analysis of selected sequences of the interviews, employing the method of critical discourse analysis.
I have chosen the open model of Speech Communities as the underlying frame for my analysis of racism within groups. By utilizing this concept it was possible to elucidate some, in many ways similar strategies used by individuals to position themselves within racist respectively anti-racist groups. However, people tend to take multiple positions, depending on their current context, surrounding, and, above all, their Speech Community. This relates to doubts concerning aspects of anti-racism as well as to conflicting issues within racism itself.
Especially in regard of the group phenomenon of racism, it could be observed that racist attitudes and actions have a strong tendency to get amplified within Speech Communities, which in turn is the prerequisite for the perpetuation and reproduction of racism.
This work represents an addition to the few anthropological researches on actors of racism in Austria’s mainstream society and tries to illustrate that a fundamental opposition against groups which are perceived as ideologically different to one’s own, leads to a division in society which may seem insurmountable.
Muslim women, with their bodily and symbolic evidence, play a crucial role within discursive practices where the issue of religious signs has become an emblematic political node of the tensions between Islam and the West, Muslims and European political cultures. Deteriorated images of Muslim women often depicted as oppressed victims of male dominion, subjugated by a religious tradition allegedly considered reactionary tout–court and incompatible with modernity strongly emerge in the European public debate. Thus, female body is often transformed into a sort of emblem of a wider political debate which nourishes forms of misrecognition and enemysation of the other, while it is fostered, inter alia, not only by the resurgence of Islamophobia in several European countries after 11/9 and the terrorist attacks occurred in Madrid and London, but also by the legacy of a deeper rooted colonial unconscious and post-colonial racist practices.
This paper aims at exploring – through the analysis of international scientific debate and the outcomes of selected socio-ethnographic research carried out in Italy and other European countries –
the ways Muslim women are perceived and depicted in the European public space, how do they confront prejudice and discrimination practices, devoting particular attention to the ways through which they negotiate their multiple belongings and try to rebuild the social link between subjectivity and public space. Daily life, in this perspective, plays a crucial role: i.e. those interaction settings such as physical and symbolic spaces where the presence of the other is made meaningful and where stereotypes produced at public level may be domesticated.
Academics, Holocaust organizations such as USHMM & Yad Vashem, as well as the ADL and JCPA all list position papers, which describe Holocaust denial as a form of antisemitism:
“Prejudice against and hatred of Jews and which includes…hate speech, violence targeting Jews or Jewish institutions and denial, minimization, and distortion of the facts of the Holocaust “(USHMM, 2009), and in the opinion of Historian Robert Wistrich includes “the minimization, banalization, and relativization of the facts and events, in order to cast doubt, on the uniqueness or authenticity of what happened during the Shoah”(Wistrich, 2001). Results of a policy survey jointly conducted by USHMM and Harvard Kennedy School of government have found that 1% of all US published news articles contain some form of expressed denial, while on the Internet-surveying Google Suggest, Google Trends, Google Insights and Facebook- an alarming increase of specific Holocaust denial websites was noted. This survey went on to study population opinions and a Roper Starch opinion poll, somewhat controversially, found that 20% of Americans were not sure that the Holocaust happened. Other surveys have consistently noted smaller numbers in the US, but far larger numbers in Europe and especially in the Middle East.
These aspects of antisemitism are closely tied to attitudes toward the state of Israel and anti-Zionism which have been famously summed up by Natan Sharansky as the 3D’s:Demonization, Double Standards and Deligitimization.
We shall bypass the Internet, a notorious place for proliferation of Holocaust denial and antisemitic websites and attempt to focus our attention to US news organizations- print and television- but will look at social media. Here it becomes a subtle exercise, especially since the 2005 court case “Irving vs. Penguin Books and Lipstadt” whereby Irving sued for defamation based on Lipstatd’s book “Denying the Holocaust”, lost and had to pay judgment.
How this plays out is seen through media examples:
One sees television reality show host, Montel Williams, urging his audience to “tune in and find out about the real facts and myths of the Holocaust”.
NYT and CNN reporting which consistently couches discussion of the Palestinian conflict in anti-Israeli context whereby claims by Israel are excessive and founded in terminology implying that the Holocaust is distorted in self serving fashion (see: Noam Chomsky- “Chronicles of Dissent” 1992).
An honorary Oscar for Jean-Luc Godard in 2010 has been seen as giving a nod to his generally unfavorable and distorted treatment of the Shoah.
Very recently, various television interviews of Iranian leaders- CNN and Amanpour with Ahmadinejad and Rouhani, talk shows as in Piers Morgan appearing with Jimmy Carter, tend to give a pass to various forms of Holocaust denial and, cumulatively, demonstrate alarming trends.. The famous February tweet by Khamenei questioning the “certainty of the Holocaust” was dully reported but not questioned. These examples of arguably targeted under reporting, serve to bolster denial.
Our work attempts to collate and present the current state of Holocaust denial and antisemitism in the English media of press, television and Internet social websites.
Additionally a brief survey of monitoring methods in place by organization such as the ADL and JCPA will be discussed. The results should provide a better working knowledge of these issues and also serve as a guide for future action.
The author of this essay describes islamophobic racism in the song „Krankheit“ (disease) by a band named Abendland (occident). Therein he identifies elements known from classic antisemitism. The author argues that these persistant patterns of thought work as ideological grounds for the mobilisation of both, islamophobic and antisemitic racism.
The issue of anti-Semitism, racism, and prejudice in general is not limited to open antipathy and discrimination, but (especially after 1945) comprises latent forms of prejudice as well. Whilst the concept of communicative latency (Bergmann/Erb) describes anti-Semitism as a social taboo, research on ‘subtle racism’ (Pettigrew) or ‘institutional discrimination’ tries to cope with the emergence of more elusive forms of racist or sexist prejudice. Those approaches share the awareness that one characteristic of modern societies is the simultaneousness of an official taboo and a persistence or further development of prejudice in everyday praxis, talk, and consciousness. My presentation is going to pick up this problem of latency and persistence and asks in what kind of social praxis prejudice is being passed on in spite of an official taboo. I will focus on the question how prejudiced thinking is being socialized and reinforced in nursery schools, given that an open, intentional, and official dissemination is part of the taboo and – in case it occurs – scandalized and prosecuted.
In an empirical study (comprising ethnography, videography and qualitative interviews) in a German nursery school we observed an early childhood education that, on the one hand, is (at first sight) pretty respectful towards children with a migration background and/or Muslim children: the nursery-school teachers for example minded and explained different religious and nutrient habits and needs of the migrant children and didn´t try to impose a German ‘Leitkultur’ on them. On the other hand, when being asked about their multi- or intercultural practice, the teachers differentiated between ‘native German’ children and ‘alien/foreign children’ with the result that it is not mutual respect and recognition (given that we are all different and have different habits and needs) that is being teached, but that migrant and Muslim children in fact are first and foremost produced as an alien group in a performative way without an according intention of the teachers. Thus, my conclusion is that it is a necessity for nursery school teachers to be able to reflect on this kind of problematic praxis and its unintended outcomes. That becomes all the more important as we know that children start to think in ingroup/outgroup and ethnic categories as early as nursery school/preschool age. Having shown that this kind of praxis and nursery school socialization conveys a highly problematic conception of the self and the other which is open for racist categories, I will conclude with some remarks on how anti-Semitism or some of its elements and prerequisites may likewise be unintentionally conveyed in nursery and preschool education.
The above proposed title illustrates one of the most salient example of cotemporary Antisemitism in Europe today.
The current antisemitic events in Greece, should be considered against the major trend that characterizes Greece since the second half of 2012 and its influence two years later, spring 2014, is of increasing concern. On June 17, 2012 eighteen members of the Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn, hereinafter: GD) were sworn into the Greek parliament. In so doing, it has arguably become not only the most extreme right wing political party to have won parliamentary seats in Europe in the last years, but also among the most extreme to have entered a European national legislature since-Nazi era Germany. By the beginning of this week, May 25th, approaching its “second anniversary”, GD, not long ago a fringe movement, won three seats in the European Parliament elections.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras described GD as „a right-wing extremist, one might say fascist, neo-Nazi party”.
Its popularity has surged ever since and almost throughout the entire period is considered as Greece’s third-largest party. No other party has managed to captivate the growing levels of despair of the population at the debt stricken country as effectively as the GD had capitalized on the country’s economic plight. Although, following the unprecedented judicial crackdown. in October 2013 the party took a dive in its popularity, by the end of November 2013 it recovered some of those losses. Also in its new arena, at the European level, GD is expected to perform well due to a wave of anger against economic austerity.
Emboldened by its success, the GD became gradually more visible in public life and has become openly antisemitic. Its lawmakers have frequently used undisguised antisemitic rhetoric inside the Greek Parliament which sometimes seemed more like a parliament in Hitler’s Germany than in a European country in 21st century.
Thus, I will further elaborate the role of GD, a right wing party, to populism in the interconnection of antisemitism and Holocaust denial. With its swastika-like emblem and Nazi salute, its aggressive rallies, an unabashed reference to Mein Kampf as well as its propagation of literature touting the racial superiority of the Greeks promoting Aryan supremacy, racist and antisemitic ideology,and Holocaust denial, the party is the linear heir of the German national-socialist party.
The crackdown on the party corroborated that GD is a Neo Nazi party, with atisemitism as a key element in its ideology. Its leadership – in the time following their arrest and prosecution on charges of establishing, participating in and leading a criminal organization, blamed the Jews and Zionists behind their persecution. In this context I will relate the antisemitism and anti-Zionism to criticism of Israel.
The inevitable question is: is it possible to ban the GD?: I will explain why it can not actually be done according to Greek legislation. Instead, the suggested solution is to reinforce legislation or to amend the Antiracist legislation. I will expound the various bills proposed in the last year. All drafts include punishment of Holocaust denial, which as of the moment does not constitute a penal offence in Greece. However, no further development took place after November 28, 2013, when the competent parliamentary committee began processing the draft law before parliamentary discussion for vote.
In conclusion and relation to nationalism. Even if in Greece, GD is not a member of the governing coalition, it can support and have an impact on the government, normalising racist and antisemitic speech along the way, pushing its views into mainstream policies. By winning representation at the European parliament, characterized by the alarming successes of the far right, the GD will aim to spread its agenda and ideology. This in turn, can strengthen the position of the GD in Greece and contribute to the rise of nationalism, which first always hurt minorities, being the victims of racism and antisemitism.
The term anti-Gypsyism (Ger. Antiziganismus) has found currency in the 1990’s. This term, unlike anti-Semitism, has not been an endonym of a political movement. It is a technical term denoting the racism against as Gypsies labeled individuals and groups. Yet it has not been established in the academic landscape till this day. Due to its analogical form to the term anti-Semitism, anti-Gypsyism has been often criticized and rejected for equalize both resentments.
My position, however, argues that the term anti-Gypsyism doesn’t aim at equalizing and relativizing anti-Semitism but serves to distinguish between hatred against so called Gypsies on the one hand and “conventional” forms of colonial racism on the other. This paper focuses on the intersection of anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism, illuminates their Janus-faced relation and tries to contribute to sharpening the term anti-Gypsyism in its analytical regard.
The essential differences and multifaceted parallels of the imagination of Jews and Gypsies can be described on the basis of 19th century Ethnography and Gypsy Studies (“Tsiganologie”). To achieve this a psychoanalytical reading of anti-Semitic and anti-Gypsy topoi appears as a productive approach to examine these parallels as well as their differences.
The imagination of the East European Jewry bears eye-catching resemblance to anti-Gypsy clichés. 19th century scholars have drawn the cliché-laden comparison of Jews and Gypsies as oriental people without an own state explicitly. Leo Löwenthal recaps the imagination of East European Jewry as
“Vorwurf der Unsauberkeit und Schlampigkeit” and its identification with dirtiness. “Die äußere Erscheinung […] schafft Assoziationen an Unsauberkeit. […] Sie schwelgen in Schlampigkeit und Lasterhaftigkeit. Sie versagen sich keine Genüsse und Lüste und wehren sich gegen jede Form selbstauferlegter Disziplin.“2
But anti-Semitism cannot be reduced to the projection of the East European Jewry. While Gypsies are abominated and fascinated as pre-civilized and archaic elements, ridden by drives and impulses that the bourgeois subject has to repress and suppress, anti-Semitism is more ambivalent. Corresponding the cliché, Gypsies stagnate on the threshold of incarnation (“Menschwerdung”), whereas Jews appear
as archaic and modern at the same time.
The influential power of anti-Gypsyism derives from the id and the rancor against all those that allegedly don’t have to repress their drives and impulses. The anti-Semitic complex on the contrary derives from the id as well as the superego: Here the motives of an uncontrolled, anarchic realm of drives as well as an unequaled ideal of renunciation of instincts are relevant.3 As a first approximation one can sum up that anti-Semtism is mainly characterized by displacement of paternal authority onto Jews, whereas anti-Gypsyism is characterized by displaced postulations of suppressed drives.
Another key difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism is their different nexus to conspiracy theories. While the insinuated list and furtiveness of the Jew is condensed to the illusion of a worldwide conspiracy and domination, anti-Gypsyism remains on a level of everyday life (“Lebenswelt”). While the accusations of criminal intrigues against the Jewry are assembled to a
global conspiracy on a large scale, in the case of anti-Gypsyism these intrigues articulate in accusations of ubiquitous petty crime. Related to these different forms of projections are that anti-Gypsyism constantly needs a concrete object (e.g. the beggar), while the anti-Semitic delusion can find articulation even without a concrete object.
1 Theodor Tetzner: Geschichte der Zigeuner. Ihre Herkunft, Natur und Art. Weimar: Voigt, 1835, p. 59.
2 Leo Löwenthal: Falsche Propheten. Studien zum Autoritarismus. (Schriften. Vol. 3), Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp,
1982, p. 220.
3 Franz Maciejewski: Zur Psychoanalyse des geschichtlich Unheimlichen. Das Beispiel der Sinti und Roma. In:
Psyche. Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse und ihre Anwendungen, 1994, Vol. 48, No. 1, p. 30-49, here p. 47.
Currently, at least in german-spoken debates, the argument is often stressed that Antisemitism is an irrational ideology that one must not explain as a result of actual historical developments or examples, since it is a delusional closed system of thinking that creates its own imaginary world functioning independent of actual historical and societal developments. Against this argument I want to, based on a critical examination of the theses that Moishe Postone laid out in „Antisemitism and National Socialism“, show that Antisemitism is not per se irrational but rather the tipping of a rationality taken to the extreme. Regarding Antisemitism as purely irrational means to reify the notion of Antisemitism with potentially fatal politically-practical consequences
Since 2007 the German government allocates 19 million Euros a year to fight what they call historical and contemporary anti-Semitism in the country. The former is understood as the remnants of Nationalist-Socialist thinking whereas the latter term refers to anti-Semitism among Muslim background immigrants. This group, who gained access to German citizenship only since 2000, is now increasingly under public accusation for not showing an interest in learning about the Holocaust and hence not sharing the collective responsibility for German history. Along with sexism, homophobia, and violence, anti-Semitism is one of the most serious accusations Muslim background immigrants are defined as non-fit for being part of Germany.
One year-long observations of Holocaust education and anti-Semitism prevention trainings organized specifically for Muslim immigrants show that Holocaust education for Muslim background Germans encourage them to look into the histories of their own ancestors and focus on the wrong doings they did to their own Jews. These programs teach Turkish background Germans how Turks wrongly believe that they have been tolerant of Jews when they actually have not. And they teach Arab background Germans that the Mufti of Jerusalem collaborated with the Nazis. I argue that these programs can be seen as a simultaneous invitation and exclusion of immigrants for being Germans. They are invited to become Germans by engaging the Holocaust history, claiming and condemning their anti-Semitism just like other Germans did after the World War II. At the same time, the programs exclude them from German identity by emphasizing their different ethnic histories and how as ethnic communities they did not condemn their historical wrong doings. Finally, by emphasizing the perpetrator role Muslims played in relation to Jews in history and the anti-Semitic attitudes they may hold today, these projects turn a blind eye towards the way in which Muslim background immigrants are victims of everyday racism in contemporary Germany
Padovan & Alietti
In 1938 the Muslim Brotherhood organized a conference in Cairo, where they distributed copies of Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. When Nazi war criminal Haj Amin al-Husseini, organizer of Muslim SS killing units, turned up in Egypt in 1946, Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna declared that al-Husseini had executed a glorious jihad alongside the Nazis. Proceeding from such connections, the proposed paper argues that the antisemitism inherited from the Nazis is as much a defining feature of modern Islamic Jihadism as it was of National Socialism. Indeed, in his last testament, written on 29 April 1945, Adolf Hitler enjoined those who would come after him to continue the “merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, international Jewry.” It will be shown that, of all those who followed in the footsteps of the Führer, Islamic Jihadists have taken up this Hitlerian legacy in the most pervasive and systematic manner.
The paper lays out the central tenets of Nazi ideology and demonstrates how those tenets are reflected in Jihadist ideology. Like the Nazis, Jihadists ideologues such as Sayyid Qutb, for example, embrace a totalitarian worldview dividing humanity into good and evil, with the Jew as the primary, unredeemable evil. Drawing largely on Mein Kampf as the Jihadists’ influence, the paper outlines the Jihadist strategy of sanctifying Jew hatred. Indeed, al-Banna declared that he learned from Hitler the importance of propaganda as a means of inciting hatred and sowing fanaticism. Inspired by Hitler’s manifesto (and other forms of European antisemitism), the Jihadist hatred of the “Zionist entity” has nothing to do with the occupation; rather, it is a religious hatred of evil itself, which takes “Zion” to be a base of operations for the Jewish domination of the world: the Jews must be destroyed for the sake of all humanity.
The paper closes by noting a difference between Nazi antisemitism and post-Holocaust Jihadist antisemitism: whereas the Nazis eclipsed God by determining good and evil through a “triumph of the will,” the Jihadists appropriate God by presuming to speak for Him. In both instances the extermination of the Jews is necessary to achieving the ideological aim.
The denial of the Holocaust is an integral part of anti-Semitism after Auschwitz, but uses priority primary or classical anti-Semitic stereotypes like the „secret Jewish power“, with which the “Holocaust legend” had been enforced at the expense of the innocent Germans and – since the turn of the millenium – Palestinian people. The international network of neo-Nazi Holocaust denier scene has its origins while in the U.S., however, their activities made their political relevance only in Germany and Austria. Because only in the so-called “perpetrators countries” they hit the mass need to reduce the historical guilt and responsibility. Due to the ban of open Holocaust denial in Austria, soft revisionist discourses became predominant here. The Holocaust is no longer simply denied, but relativized by references to other (real or alleged) war crimes. Finally, the example of the Islamic Republic of Iran shows that Holocaust denial cannot be understood only as a retrospective guilt and memory defense today, but also as a prospective anti-Semitic practice, as part of the ideological and – thing to worry – soon atomic-warfare against the state of Israel. Even outside Iran and Islamist groups Holocaust denial and relativization is nowadays primarily used as a means to delegitimize the state of Israel. And so it’s no longer limited to the neo-Nazi scene.
Hungary offers an interesting and poignant case-study of the complex relationship between contemporary anti-Semitism, particularly as manifested in East Central Europe, and expressions of Holocaust remembrance. Several noteworthy recent developments, such as the acrimonious exchanges between some of Hungary’s leading historians over the proposed „House of Fates“ („Sorsokháza“) in Budapest, or concerning the historiography of the Hungarian Holocaust, have received comparatively little attention outside Hungary due, in the main, to the paucity of translations of the relevant Hungarian-language texts. However, other developments, such as the on-going demonstrations in Budapest’s Szabadság Tér – against the monument to the German occupation of Hungary, in spring 1944 – have received much wider publicity in Western Europe and North America.
In the view of liberal Hungarian historians including László Karsai and Krisztián Ungváry, Hungary’s Fidesz government is committed to scripting a new national narrative in which the Holocaust of Hungary’s Jews is seen as almost entirely the consequence of the German occupation of Hungary, in March 1944, rather than as the culmination of a lengthy Hungarian-driven process of marginalizing, pauperising and demonising the country’s Jews. Such efforts to construct a new and essentially fictive national narrative – of Hungarian impotence and innocence during World War Two – inevitably compound the difficulties of combating a recrudescence of anti-semitism in present-day Hungary. If Hungarians were widely active in hiding or in helping individual Jews during World War Two, as suggested by many of the proposed exhibits at „The House of Fates“, or if Hungary was largely innocent of complicity in the Holocaust of the country’s Jews, which is implicit in the construction of the massive monument commemorating the German occupation of Hungary in 1944, then how should ‚ordinary‘ Hungarians respond to intense, widespread Jewish hostility to these initiatives? If Jewish organisations and individuals vehemently oppose these government-sponsored acts of collective remembrance then Jews may all too easily come to be viewed by Hungarian society in terms of well-worn anti-Semitic tropes. In rejecting the Fidesz government’s efforts to establish an ‚authorised‘ and sanitised collective memory of Hungary in World War Two, the country’s Jews may once again find themselves labelled as unpatriotic, as outsiders and as driven by their own exclusive interests, which are – on this view – inimical to those of ‚true‘ Hungarians.
My paper is a direct result of a discussion that followed a panel of three presentations on contemporary Christian anti-Semitism at the conference “Deciphering the New Antisemitsm” organised in April 2014 at Indiana University. After the three presentations, in an odd way comparing to other panels, the entire discussion was not about the papers themselves, but about a larger and probably more disturbing topic: Are the basis of Christian anti-Semitism still alive? My answer to that question was definitely yes. Of course scholars, since Moses Mendelssohn and the Wissenschaft des Judentums, but mostly after the Holocaust, have tried to present Judaism and Christianity as siblings, rather than enemies. The Second Vatican Council’s “Nostra Aetate” Declaration (1964), as many other Protestant and Catholic documents issued since 1947 have created the impression that the Christian anti-Semitism is dead. Theologians such as Paul Van Buren, Johann Metz, or Dominic Crossan have reassessed the entire basis of Christology on a new framework which downplays the New Testament’s anti-Judaism. But the problem with Christianity is that often the scholars are not heard at the grassroots. As I will show in my paper theological anti-Semitism is still preached from the pulpits throughout the Christian world. I will bring forward in my paper examples from Orthodox countries such as Romania, but also from Western countries such as Great Britain and the United States where, in evangelical Churches the New Testament is still taken literally and where Passion week celebrations are explicitly playing the Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus. As I will argue in my presentation, because of political correctness and because the experience of the Holocaust is still too close in time, in most of these cases the Jew (or the Pharisee) is rather a mythical figure without a clear connection to the real Jews or real Israelis. But this happened before. There were other moments in the Christian history when, because the Jews were not present (or visible), this discourse was mostly a mythical one; but when the Jew became real, the anti-Semitic basis of Christian theology became heavily involved in supporting political, racial or economic anti-Semitism. The anti-Israeli discourse in the West seems to be at the moment separated from the roots of Christian anti-Semitism, but as long as the New Testament is believed to be literally inspired by God (hence the anti-Judaism is seen as legitimate in the eyes of God), there will be a danger in the Jewish-Christian relations. My paper will examine the New Testament anti-Semitism/anti-Judaism and how this is still alive, or can become alive in Orthodox and Evangelical Christian Churches.
For decades, the “new women’s movement” in Germany and Austria faded out female perpetrators in the Third Reich: concentration camps overseers, welfare workers and denunciators enthusiastically participated in the anti-Semitic outlawing and extermination of Jews. Until the late 1980s feminist publications depicted women in the Nazi era predominantly as “birthing machines” and “surveillance machines” who had suffered “just like the Jews” – a feminist version of the ‘perpetrator-victim reversal’. Is it an expression of a specific female form of anti-Semitism that matriarchal researchers blame Judaism and “old Israel’s murderous program” for the destruction of matriarchy and depict it as an especially patriarchal religion?
After the Six-Day War numerous women’s conferences passed declarations in which they condemned Zionism as the worst form of racism. Many of them were dominated by PLO women who not only made it impossible for Jewish women to speak about their persecution e.g. in Iraq, but totally dominated the scene, even making it impossible for non-Jewish speakers to broach the issue of persecution of women. Thus, anti-Zionism and the idea of Jews as especially patriarchal often overshadowed discussions about the discrimination of women. In reaction to that Jewish feminists often claimed that it turned out impossible to be Jewish and feminist in (secondary anti-Semitic) Germany or Austria.
From the early 1990s onwards numerous studies on female Nazi perpetrators have been published, but the question of female anti-Semitism still remains insufficiently analyzed, as Wendy Lower’s book on “Hitler’s Furies. German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields” (2013) shows. She refers to the “Studies in the Authoritarian Personality” conducted by a team around Theodor W. Adorno, but excludes the most important insights of the study. Furthermore, Lower is not aware of a preparatory study for the “Authoritarian Personality”, in which predominantly female probands were questioned, resulting in far-reaching insights in similar mechanisms of male and female anti-Semitic projections, but differing contents of those projections. Still, the reviews of Lower’s research on 13 biographies of women who ‘went East’ and often committed cruel crimes show how newsworthy her results are: the reviewers seem not upset about the fact that Jewish children were thrown from balconies or slammed against ghetto walls, but they claim that it is particularly tragic that this was committed by young mothers or pregnant women.
Today, the leading figure of queer-theory is also an exposed (Jewish) representative of anti-Zionism or “post-Zionism” as she calls it. In “Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism” (2013), Judith Butler does not speak about the “old Israel” anymore, but blames today’s “illegitimate”, “racist” Israel for its impending destruction due to continuous “deportations” and “concentrating colonialism”. She implicitly ascribes the patriarchal aspect to the violent Jewish state and depicts the Diaspora as the only “ethical” form of Jewishness, but ends up deconstructing Jewry by demanding that even the Diaspora needs to “disperse” itself in order to remain “ethical”. By justifying a dozen times why she refers to Jewish authors in her book in the first place she gives the impression that being Jewish and post-feminist is impossible even nowadays. Unlike the Jewish feminists who disappointedly came to this result due to pressure from outside, for Butler being a queer-theoretic ostensibly necessitates the negation of any kind of Jewishness.
My diploma thesis (2010) deals with the conveyance of the subject of National Socialism and the persecution and extinction of Jews and other groups to school pupils in Austria. Since the 1980s the term “Holocaust Education” is used worldwide for the educational work in this field as well as for the discourse about it. Holocaust Education is by definition closely bound to the transmission of moral values.
A central objective related to the study was to determine the character – self-conception, contents and didactic approaches – of Holocaust Education in Austria and to answer the question whether it represents a contribution to the development of critical and mature subjects in the understanding of Critical Theory as described by Adorno. For this purpose the critical-theoretical foundation of education after Auschwitz was outlined: 1.) The status of education within the Critical Theory of Adorno was examined. 2.) It was indicated why, to what ends and how education after Auschwitz should be proceeded. 3.) It was investigated how education can contribute to combat Anti-Semitism. And 4.) it was tried to amalgamate the findings of points one, two and three.
On this theoretical foundation categories for a qualitative content analysis were generated. Then the set of categories was adapted to a comprehensive scope of material, won through qualitative, semi-structured, problem-centered interviews with actors of Holocaust Education in Austria on the level of the Ministry of Education, the Mauthausen Memorial and several NGOs.
The so obtained critical survey and analysis of Holocaust Education in Austria was prefixed by an outline of the history of teaching National Socialism and the Holocaust at Austrian schools and of its contemporary framework conditions.
As central connecting factors and differences between the concepts of “Education after Auschwitz” and “Holocaust Education” could be indicated the following:
While Adorno’s suggestions refer on education from early childhood to adulthood, Holocaust Education is confined to a restricted time frame and means education about Auschwitz, yet both concepts are targeting similar goals: responsibility (in a Kantian
understanding), empathy et cetera. Even so a big discrepancy consists related to the positioning of education within social structures. Adorno’s ideas of education are embedded in the social theory of Critical Theory, and he only sees very limited potentialities for education within the economic and political conditions. Despite many critical approaches in the field of Holocaust Education, in most cases teaching the Holocaust is not bound to a fundamental critique of society, nor is there an ample space allocated to the theory and the critique of Anti-Semitism. One further difference, for instance, manifests itself in the way of thematisation of perpetrators and victims of National Socialism. Whereas Adorno assumes that it can only be prevented that Auschwitz happens again if one comes to know the mechanisms that render people capable of such deeds and if those mechanisms are revealed to the subjects, contemporary Holocaust Education primarily deals with the stories of the victims, less with the perpetrators and by-standers and most projects do not (or only rudimentarily) realize a “turn to the subject” in the understanding of Adorno.
All in all the picture of Holocaust Education in Austria is very heterogenic. Many approaches prove good links for the development of critical and responsible subjects; others can even be called counterproductive in the sense of Adorno.
In my paper for the ESA-conference I’d like to present the study I made for my diploma thesis and its findings. Moreover I want to raise (and answer) the question if these findings are still relevant.
In 2012, the German debate on ritual circumcision has presented us with a religious controversy, which, unusually and supposedly unintentionally, targeted the German Jewish community.
Stemming from medical doctors, lawyers but predominantly from secularists (mostly members of the humanist associations in Germany), the secular discourse was received as a fierce offense against the practice of this Jewish tradition and therefore against German Jewry and Jewish life in general.
In my research on the debate, I interviewed religious (Jewish, Muslim, Christian) representatives as well as their secular(ist) counterparts, and analysed the ways, in which the secular discourse finds its way into religious controversies. The study lead to conclude that the relentless adherence to secularism can reach a level of totality, which seems to disregard historical and societal factors and circumstances and therefore borders with antisemitic tendencies. These are well-covered under the discourse of human rights and the protection of the innocent child. Based on my empirical findings, and using a Foucauldian and Asadian approach towards the formation of the secular, my paper will highlight possible convergences and correlations between forceful secularist claims and antisemitic (anti-judaist) practices and discuss whether secularist claims (can) present new forms of antisemitism.
Revisiting key theoretical insights developed by the Frankfurt School the paper develops critical conceptual tools to theorize elements of contemporary antisemitism in an increasingly complex, contradictory, and “partially globalized world” (Robert Keohane). In so doing, it tackles four interrelated questions: First, what do we know about antisemitism, and what can we learn from critical theory about its varying societal conditions and political contexts? Second, what binds together antisemitism’s “modernized” political expressions? Following a historical pattern, antisemitism is “intimately linked” (Adorno 1964) to nationalism, and to strong, politicized ethnic and religious identity claims. But we also see it articulated in new contexts of Manichean and anti-pluralist ideologies, including a concurring rise of a new “inverse orientalism” among parts of the radical left grounded in a “cosmopolitan” or internationalist self-understanding. Third, then, how does the empirical resurgence of anti-Jewish hostility and the image of the “cosmopolitan Jew” relate to the rise of counter-cosmopolitanism, defined as a generalized, reactionary opposition to sociocultural change and cosmopolitan norms in the present global age? The theoretical argument about antisemitism and counter-cosmopolitanism can be traced back to the Frankfurt School’s ideology critique of antisemitism. Both antisemitism and counter-cosmopolitanism are, it is argued, interrelated objectifed ideologies in present-day global politics. They can be interpreted as ideological expressions of an uneasiness within global (post)modernity, and as reflections of its material contradictions and crises. Among other things, antisemitism can be understood as a sociocultural matrix embodying fears, problems, failures and hopes of today’s modernization and globalization; contemporary judeophobia can be conceived as an anti-modern, counter-cosmopolitan reaction that is itself shaped by political (post)modernity. The actualized critical theoretical conceptualizations of antisemitism—and empirical examples thereof—have, fourth, implications for critical cosmopolitan responses that aborb both the legacies of the Holocaust and the Frankfurt School’s unwavering solidarity with the ideas of universal justice, freedom, and human dignity.
The Social Democratic journalist Albert Huber was known for his provocative stances through his entire life. In the 1950s and 1960s, he penned articles sympathetic to the Eastern Bloc. At the same time, he defended Nasser and the cause of Arab nationalism. He turned to Islam, adopting the name of Ahmed Huber. Denying Israel’s right of existence, he was accused of anti-Semitism. After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, he promoted the cause of political Islam and even defended the death fatwa by Khomeini against Salman Rushdie in 1989. Despite being numerous times called out as an extremist, dismissed by his employers and standing at the centre of scandals, he was only excluded from the Social Democratic party in 1994, after the full extent of his collaboration with farright
and neo-Nazi circles had been exposed. The usual narrative is that Huber was a political convert, changing his conviction from left to right. His world view is usually dismissed as ‘crude’ or ‘bizarre’. Such assessments prevent us from truly understanding Ahmed Huber’s ideological convictions – and their influence in 20th and 21st century history. There is evidence that Huber’s mindset is not as rare as this narrative assumes, as Huber’s biography is far from unique. There is an array of left wing activists who, sympathetic to Arab nationalism and Islam, started to openly advocate anti-Semitic positions and other positions which are considered to belong to the Far Right. The most famous ones are certainly Roger Garaudy, former head of the Communist Party of France and the well-known terrorist Carlos, both later converts to Islam. Other left wing activists who embraced similar positions include Horst Mahler.
Based on new material, among it hitherto unstudied archival material in the Swiss Bundesarchiv and the German MFS-Archiv, I argue that Huber possessed a comprehensive and consistent political world view throughout his entire political life. This world view was the so called Third Position, which had been advocated by National-Bolshevists, partisans of the New Left and the New Right and Islamic intellectuals. The Third position was especially influential in anti-colonial and anti-imperialist circles in Germany and Switzerland in the 1950s and 1960s.
The dissemination of Third Position opinions in both the Left and the Right is generally underestimated and therefore overlapping and alliances between both camps, in particular with regard to anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist activities, are often misinterpreted. I argue this Third Position is essential for understanding the history of European anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism after World War II.
Sarri, Anna Holmlöv
The paper will focus on and explore two aspects, the first is the collective Swedish national narrative of the Holocaust and the second is contemporary antisemitism and its connection to the concept the Third Generation Survivor.
In Swedish upper secondary schools there are a number of students who questions the Holocaust and the fact that the Holocaust took place. There are also outbursts of antisemitic attitudes and ideas in society in general and more specifically in schools in Sweden. A teenage student, who goes to one of the larger and very popular upper secondary schools in the Stockholm city center, one day found the Nazi Swastika on the door to her locker. She was chocked and the school reported the incident to the police. When the chock had somehow vanished she decided to visit other upper secondary schools in Stockholm to tell her story; that of a Third Generation Survivor, that of her belonging to a family with grandparents who survived the extermination camps in Poland but also that of her belonging to a family where some of the relatives were murdered as a result of the Final Solution initiated by Hitler. She decided that she wanted to tell her story and let others, her age, take part of it.
The definition, a Third Generation Survivor, is a concept which contains a very specific symbol when it becomes public, as it has done in this case. It can be understand as if someone, the girl, has decided to memorise the story of her family and that of the Holocaust and make it her responsibility to do so. This enfolds her in to a collective, national narrative where many voices are trying to be heard focusing on remembrance of one of the largest crimes in history. But the concept is also a reaction to the antisemitic attitudes and ideas that are spread, as we speak, here and now.
During one year I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the area of Stockholm, Sweden focusing on ethnographic interviews with eight persons who define themselves as Third Generation Survivors, and I have also conducted ethnographic observations during events initiated by the Jewish community in Stockholm, such as religious services, community meetings, cultural and memorial events.
In this paper, I open Alain Badiou’s reflections on the Holocaust, the Jews and Antisemitism to a critique informed by Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment. Attention is paid specifically to three important themes of that work; The Domination of the Universal over the Particular; the aphorism that ‘myth is already enlightenment; and enlightenment reverts into myth’; and antisemitism in the era of ‘ticket thinking’. I argue that in the light of this critique, Badiou’s own thinking can be seen as suffering from what Dominick LaCapra referred to some years ago as ‘transference’; that is, ‘the manner in which the problems at issue in the object of study reappear (or are repeated with variations) in the work of the [theorist]’. I conclude by locating Badiou’s thought on these issues within a broader ‘radical’ tradition, the contours of which first appeared in the ‘critical’ anti-Jewish emancipation arguments of the early to mid-19th century and which continue to the present day.
Marx’s initial response to antisemitism was grounded in a set of cosmopolitan values which his successors largely abandoned, to the detriment of both the struggle against antisemitism and Marxism itself. Instead of developing Marx’s initial insights, too many Marxists found it easier on the one hand to avoid thinking about the fundamentally reactionary nature of modern antisemitism and, on the other, to drift towards an accommodation with forms of nationalism that, significantly, excluded thinking seriously about what could and did happen to Jews without a nation state of their own. Most Marxists ignored the mortal threat that a radicalised antisemitism was to pose for the Jews, culminating in the Holocaust. After the event the self-proclaimed Marxists ruling the Soviet Union not only suppressed discussion of what had happened to Jews but accused them of being both nationalists (of the wrong, Zionist sort) and cosmopolitans (now a term of abuse). This bizarre charge was itself a distinctive contribution to the post-Holocaust repertoire of antisemites but has not fundamentally been the subject of any coherent critique by more serious Marxists, largely because of the systematic abandonment of Marx’s cosmopolitan perspective. It will be argued here that there are, however, some grounds for developing Marx’s initial insights in the post-Holocaust responses to antisemitism of Horkheimer and Adorno and also of Hannah Arendt, despite their evident divergences in approach.
In this presentation it is mainly about deciphering the contradictory moments within antisemitism and sexism as manifest in the image of nature that is intrinsic to both: while Jews, during the long history of European antisemitism, have preponderantly been identified with anti-nature, it is the other way round with regard to the image of woman where a direct identification with nature can be observed. But this first view might also be deceptive. A closer look at the ideological construct of nature and how it is represented in the antisemitic and sexist images of Jew and woman elucidates a much more complex relation: nature and anti-nature are intermingled in antisemitism as well as in sexism. This contradiction can only be understood when situated in the broader context of society as totality, more precisely in the essential law of capitalist sociation and its intrinsic antagonism. Thus, the antisemitic and sexist images are not simply manifestations of a prejudiced worldview but have to be shifted into the context of an objectively oriented critical theory of society. Through this analysis, based on the early critical theory of Horkheimer and Adorno as expressed particularly in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, it is possible to advance to basic motives of antisemitism and sexism – a level where, this is my assumption, they are closely interrelated in functional and structural terms.
In his essay “Portrait de l’antisémite”1, Jean Paul Sartre commented that antisemitism is not just a matter of taste, a question of whether or not you like “the Jews”. Rather, he emphasised that antisemitism is a world view that is not limited to being against the Jews. He noticed that one cannot be an antisemite without further intellectual principles and described elements of this specific way of interpreting social processes. Against this background this paper asks for the relationships between antisemitism, anti-Zionism and Holocaust perceptions in Morocco, and how this relates to the Islamic, (pan-)national and ethnic collective identity constructions in the political field. It focusses on the predominant political ideologies in the public discourse: Islam/Islamism, Moroccan nationalism, Pan-Arabism and Berberism.
This paper analyzes one of last taboos of modern Western society, namely antisemitism. This analysis is being conducted through a reading of Hannah Arendt’s views of antisemitism. Arendt was not known as a sociologist. She shared many of her Weimar contemporaries’ prejudices against the Social Sciences and sociology in particular, but this did not prevent her to present a sociological analysis on antisemitism, which will be read here in conjunction with the works of Georg Simmel, Karl Marx, Werner Sombart and Juri Slezkine. In an early essay on the subject written in France in the late 1930s, Arendt places the emergence of modern antisemitism in a class struggle between the German aristocracy and bourgeoisie. Jews were considered the ultimate bourgeois newcomers incapable of understanding the laws of deference that held society together. The sociological role of money and its identification with the Jews will anchor the analysis here. Thus, starting with Arendt’s theory of antisemitism, a larger framework of modernity and antisemitism can be developed.
In my presentation, I will attempt to explore the various intergroup relations of Neo-Nazis towards the Muslims in the Czech Republic. Hetero-stereotypes and intergroup bias between these two scenes will be analyzed by using interdisciplinary approach that will include field observation and methods of discursive analysis in order to describe the wide spectrum of mutual relations that could range from open hostility to more or less disguissed affinity. By exploring the conflicting images of Muslims in the neo-Nazi thought („barbaric immigrants“ vs. „Palestinians holocausted by the Zionists“), my presentation will attempt to name the less-known factors that are responsible for policymaking of the far-right about the muslim cultural space and thus define the conditions, under which the mutual cooperation is or is not possible. Exploration of anti-immigration rhetorics will show, how is the islamophobia being connected and misused for the purpose of antisemitism and what do such accusations reveal about foreign inspirations of the Czech antisemitic scene. The presentation will be concluded by short overview of the Neo-Nazi attitudes towards the events of “Arab Spring”.
While the European Union Parliament did not endorse the reference to Europe’s ‘Judeo-Christian’ roots in its constitution, the question nonetheless provoked an on-going debate on Europe’s symbolic foundation and its future identity. On the one side of the debate are those who cite the ‘Judeo-Christian’ commandment to care for the stranger as central to European civilization, while on the other side are those who argue for the exclusion of Islam from Europe in the name of the ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition. The term ‘Judeo-Christian’ is often taken to be a sign of reconciliation directed towards European Jewry after the Shoah, however it is now most commonly used in relation to debates on Europe’s identity, the rise of Islam in Europe, and immigration (LexisNexis). My aim is to understand and challenge the notion of a ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition as a politically correct form of post-Shoah supersessionism and a carrier of modalities of exclusion with regard to Islam in Europe today. By analyzing the shifts in the discourse of ‘Judeo-Christianity’, developing a genealogical account of its meaning in relation to the idea of Europe, I seek to understand what, if any, relationship is there between Europe’s excluded others (Anidjar 2003; 2007, Balibar 1991; 2004, Bunzl 2007)?
To begin to understand the exclusionary modality currently at play in Europe, it is necessary to consider how and why the notion of ‘Judeo-Christianity’ came to symbolically represent European identity. The goal is to understand whether this terms veils a new exclusionary violence in the aim of a trans-national European identity formation. This engagement allows for a consideration of the parallels (without denying that there are significant differences) between the different discursive mechanisms of exclusion with regard to Europe’s ‘others’. The focus of this paper is the empty signifier ‘Judeo-Christian’, applied to tradition, heritage, faith etc., which has both a convoluted chronicle and content. Coined in Europe in the 1830’s by F.C. Baur, the founder of the German Protestant Tubingen School, the term’s popularity faltered in the late 19th century and was replaced by the descriptors Aryan and Semitic (peoples, races, cultures etc.). At the onset of the First World War most traces of the term JX had disappeared, both in intellectual and popular discourse, which is why many scholars argue it was born in the US. This American re-birth also led to its re-definition. What Baur meant by JX is precisely contrary to its American usage. In a nutshell while the former term is bathing in supersessionism, the latter seeks to overcome this violently antisemitic theological construction. However a closer investigation of the term shows that even the latter ‘well’ intended usage is problematic. In the first part of my paper, I will briefly consider the different origins of the term JX in order to demonstrate, in the second part of my paper, how its current usage in Europe remains true to its European exclusionary genealogy in relation to both Jews and Muslims.
Proposed paper deals with the role and functions that Antisemitism played in rejection of open society activist of 1989 in Central European countries. Author argues that Antisemitism in Central Europe immediately after the revolutions of 1989 started to serve a function of exclusion and disqualification of liberal elites fostering liberal pluralism and multicultural society, and plays a role in the political battle over open society and liberal-democratic regime.
In fact, in countries such as Slovakia, Czech republic, Hungary, and Poland one can draw a line and observe attempts to disqualify protagonists of open society – from the reform processes of 60´s through disqualification of Velvet revolution leaders up to putting a question mark on civil society leaders nowadays.
By the term Antisemitism author understands universal substitutive phenomenon, that seeks to blame Jews, or more often those who are considered to be Jewish, for being responsible for misfortunes, political and economic turmoil’s; it derives from conspiratory thinking; it is accompanying modernization and globalization processes modernization; it constitutes way of rejection of liberal-democratic regime; and in the form of neo-Antisemitism it serves as a way of fighting against open society.
Author in his analysis also employs the theory of social construction of reality to explain the causes of anti-Semitism, the way it is replicated and spread in the society, and the way stereotypes and prejudices are formed. As part of his multi-faceted approach to the topic, the author employs two case studies of two authorities from Slovakia – Martin Bútora and Fedor Gál in order to better illustrate how anti-Semitic sentiments can lead to exclusion of liberal elites from public life. Author does not only map the historical or present state of anti-Semitism, but through application of researched information formulates hypothesis of future trends in development of anti-Semitism in Central Europe. Author points out at systemic overlap between anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories on one hand and anti-globalization, anti-Westernism, and anti-Americanism on the other.
Concluding author shows how Antisemitism in Central Europe is primarily not about Jews anymore; it plays a role in the political battle over open society and liberal-democratic regime. In this respect, ideas of changes of 1989 are far from becoming part of value orientations of citizens of Central European countries these days.
The paper will give an overview of the long history of the SPD dealing with antisemitism. Since the founding of the modern German Nation State in 1871 the SPD was denounced by the political right for being “Vaterlandslose Gesellen”. In the Weimar Republic Social-Democrats were discredited as a “Judenschutztruppe”. Thus a mélange of antisemitism, anti-cosmopolitism and anti-Socialism determined the relation of the ruling classes to the SPD for a long time of German history..
Socialists thinkers tried to understand the complex phenomenon of antisemitism since the late 19th century, when it became a political force. In hindsight the socialist analysis underestimated the danger posed by the antisemitic ideology. On the other hand it tried to grasp the new political movement out of social and economic conditions, whereas liberals regarded antisemitism as a mere relict of the middle ages that will automatically vanish with the advance of the bourgeois society. The paper will reflect on the ambivalent analysis of antisemitism in the late 19th century that still often constitutes the foundation of a social-democratic perspective until today.
In a second step I will point out the role of the SPD in combating antisemitism in its different forms from the Weimar to the Berlin Republic. Having been exiled, persecuted, imprisoned and tortured between 1933 and 1945 Social-Democrats played an important role in the struggle against the National-Socialist regime. Nevertheless the SPD did not pay much attention to the persecution and destruction of the European Jews. The concept of the “other Germany”, thought of as being the majority of the German population, posed a hindrance to understanding the relevance of antisemitism and the horrors of the Holocaust.
Despite this ignorance the SPD was the most important political force in postwar (Western) Germany for dealing with the crimes committed by the Nazi-regime and for talking about the extermination of Jews. Leading social-democratic politicians not only were the first to demand a compensation for the Jewish survivors but also played a major role in the reparations agreement of 1952 with the state of Israel.
Until today the SPD puts an emphasis on the special relationship between Germany and Israel as the state of Jewish survivors. For example the Social-Democrat and former German ambassador in Israel, Rudolf Dreßler, declared the safety of Israel as part of the German raison d’état in 2005 long before the conservative chancellor Angela Merkel adopted this position. Before the national election in 2013 the head of the SPD, Sigmar Gabriel, excluded a coalition with the Left Party because of its hostile relation to Israel and its dominant anti-imperialist worldview.
The paper will thus give an overview of the ambivalent attempts of German Social-Democrats to understand antisemitism theoretically and present the broad lines of SPD’s complex history of dealing with antisemitism politically. The importance of the SPD in this respect has until today often been neglected.
On the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day in April 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazin) released an unprecedented statement calling the Holocaust „the most heinous crime“ in modern history. He „expressed his sympathy with the families of the victims and many other innocent people who were killed by the Nazis.“ The Holocaust, he went on, „is a reflection of the concept of ethnic discrimination and racism which the Palestinians strongly reject and act against,“ urging the Israeli government to use „the incredibly sad commemoration of Holocaust day“ to take the chance to find a „just and comprehensive“ peace with his people, based on a two-state solution.
This was the first public official reference to the Holocaust by a Palestinian or Arab leader, which acknowledged the Holocaust for what it is. It was met by a sour official Israeli reaction, interpreting Abu Mazin’s move as an instrumentalist attempt to soothe criticism against the unity deal he reached with his Islamist rival Hamas few days earlier. But the statement is not new and reflects a trend in Palestinian and Arab public discourse on the Holocaust, which emerged since the mid-1990s in response to international and regional developments, as well as to the universalization of the Holocaust lessons and remembrance. Despite the setbacks it suffered due to the lingering peace process and the upheavals of the „Arab Spring“, this trend seems to gain new momentum.
This paper seeks to highlight the divergent attitudes to the Holocaust in the Palestinian public discourse, which has „indigenized“ the Holocaust and its terminology either for the reconstruction of Palestinian national identity or for the demonization and delegitimization of Israel. The expanding Holocaust consciousness and learning around the globe enhances the integration of its concepts and symbols in the global contexts of racism, genocide and anti-imperialism. Yet, this process proved to have a double-edged result. On the one hand, the Holocaust turned into a yardstick of all evil and its memory and lessons are revered by the international community; and on the other hand, its symbols and terminology are increasingly inverted and used against the state of Israel. Thus, creating two sets of questions: One pertaining to the issue of the uniqueness of the Jewish experience versus its universalistic meaning, and the other regarding the implications of Holocaust inversion.
This paper serves as a case study for the examination of questions arising from the expanding usage of the Holocaust as a metaphor in the global public discourse. It claims that the competition on a victimhood status, which typified the Palestinian national identity discourse, and the adoption of Holocaust metaphors distorted the Palestinians‘ perceptions of the Holocaust and drove them almost automatically to take a contentious stand over issues related to it. They created a moral equivalence between what happened to the Jews in Europe under Nazi domination and what is happening to them at the hands of Israel, diminished the significance of the Holocaust and challenged its uniqueness. Whereas the wrong-doings toward the Jews were minimized, the injustice toward the Palestinians was magnified, leading to the dehumanization of Israel, Zionism and the Jews.