Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives

Indiana University Press  2013

 

After the Holocaust ended in Europe almost seventy years ago, one might think that its impact would have significantly reduced if not eliminated anti-Semitism by the twenty-first century.

It did not.

There has been a disturbing resurgence of hatred in the past decade: anti-Semitism once again occupies a large global presence. It is expressed in the halls of government and academia, among elites and the common people, in the media and in places of worship, and it has led to a spike in violence directed at Jews and Jewish institutions. Resurgent Antisemitism presents original research by some of the field’s leading scholars attempting to understand what is “new” about “the longest hatred.” The nineteen authors included in this volume write from a dozen different countries and demonstrate the unprecedented global reach of this age-old social pathology, with particular focus on the social, intellectual, and ideological roots of the phenomenon.

Although there are differences among the scholars on definitions of anti-Semitism, they all agree that contemporary antisemitism is driven largely by ideology and political biases rather than by religious or racial hatred of Jews. The older forms of Jew-hatred are not totally gone, but they have been largely replaced by objections to Jewish particularism— especially in the efforts to demonize and delegitimize Jewish national existence in the State of Israel. Myths about Jewish materialism and negative perceptions of Judaism have been replaced by aggres­sive fantasies that blame, accuse, excoriate, and demonize Jews. As several of the authors demonstrate, aggressive anti-Jewish sentiments are especially pervasive today throughout the Middle East and within Europe’s growing Muslim communities.

Along with anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, and anti-militarism, anti-Zionism is now a familiar trope among intellectual and political groups on either extremes of their respective spectra, Jews and Israel are identified with these global tendencies. The authors conclude that anti-Semitism looms at its most threatening since the Holocaust. Resurgent Antisemitism contributes to our understanding of this most vexing of prejudices and is highly recommended.



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