The Aging of the Victimized Jew
Under the impact of the Holocaust, research on antisemitism has proliferated in all directions. The trauma of the Shoah stood for many years behind the study of antisemitism as such. Now, at the threshold of a new century, this field of research must adapt itself to changing conditions. Antisemitism in the second half of the twentieth century transcends the limits of a Holocaust sequel, and should be viewed within its actual context. The accelerated change of pace calls for a close scrutiny of recent years as a chapter by itself.
Out main task is to understand the dynamics of antisemitism, to be able to distinguish between two intertwined strands. One ensues from societal confrontation between Jews and non-Jews in a real-life situation. Another defies reality, makes Jews into demons, and constructs a virtual world, independent of what Jews are or do. Although everything is undergoing transformation, antisemitism still represents an uncanny fusion between the real and the imaginary. The study of antisemitism has to unravel the complex nature of this phenomenon in a new and changing setting.
Definitions of Antisemitism
Since 1882, when the Great Bruckhaus Lexicon published the first definition of an antisemite, an impressive number of definitions, of antisemitism and antisemites, have been reached. They were published in lexicons and encyclopedias, by researchers and philosophers. These definitions have not been surveyed or compared as of yet.
Let us provide a few examples:
The Role of Antisemitism in the Historiography of the Holocaust
In the wake of World War Two, when the destruction of European Jewry in the death camps was revealed, antisemitism was the first, almost spontaneous, explanation for the mass murder of European Jewry.
Historians like Emanuel Ringleblum and Haim Aharon Kaplan of Warsaw, who had lived under German occupation, considered Nazi hate and antisemitism to be the direct cause of the destructive policy. Their diaries reflect on past experiences of anti-Jewish policies and violent outbursts, and they endeavored to distinguish between Nazi antisemitism and the traditional Christian anti-Jewish attitude in Europe. They wrote that the Nazis had succeeded in attracting the German people under their antisemitic banner as well as utilizing the anti-Jewish feelings of the native populations in occupied Europe as well.
The poet Yitzhak Katznelson viewed Nazi policy in the context of Jewish history in the Diaspora as a time when the devil was let loose: he condemned any future attempt by historians or social scientists to offer rational — economic, social, or political — explanations for the policy of annihilation. To him, this policy was the embodiment of the longest hatred in history in its most diabolic expression. Jewish reaction should therefore be vengeance.
past several years of research on the Third Reich have not led to agreement
among scholars about the role of antisemitism in its genocidal policy and
the implementation of the mass killing. Scholars have not contested the
centrality of antisemitism in Nazi ideology; they acknowledge that Hitler's
view of the Jews and his perception of their role in Germany's defeat in
World War I were central to his Weltanschauung, and that racial conceptions
were major motivations in the development of the policies of the Third
Reich. This in itself, however, cannot fully explain the anti-Jewish policy
of the Nazis before the war and the murder of the Jews and other populations
after 1939. Anti-Jewish feeling and violent outbursts had of course occurred
in Christian Europe for centuries and from the second half of the nineteenth
century, a modern formula of Jew hatred had evolved. Any explanation of
the Jewish policy of the Third Reich had to rest on the specific history
of the Nazi period and the few years that preceded their rise to power,
as well as an examination of the particular nature of Nazi antisemitism.
Even if we possessed conclusive knowledge of the decision-making process
of the ruling Nazis — which we do not — the actual killing of the Jews
was not an enterprise accomplished by a ruling elite or a sub-group of
the Nazi party. It involved hundreds of thousands of people in different
capacities, demanded loyalty, the expertise of specialists, and the underlying
support of Germans from all walks of life. This, of course, did not diminish
the importance of antisemitism, but evaluating its relative weight is burdened
with other factors that have to be integrated. Moreover, more recent research
on the implementation of the Jewish policy in the Third Reich has provided
a more nuanced interpretation of antisemitism. It seems that terms like
Nazi and völkisch antisemitism, traditional or even Christian
antisemitism, cannot fully express the divers ways in which Germans reacted
to, observed, or were involved in the Jewish policy. Therefore, the concept
of direct cause-and-effect has become more complex. Detailed and empirical
works on Eastern European countries where the Final Solution was realized
demonstrated its connection to the development of the Barbarossa campaign,
and other issues, such as food rationing, population, and security policy.
Thus the connection between antisemitism and racial ideology and the annihilation
of the Jews is now seen as more complex and somewhat more distinct. I will
examine the approaches to modern antisemitism, the interdependence between
Nazi racial ideology and antisemitism, its capacity to engage people in
the Jewish Policy and to motivate the participation in the Final Solution.
I will briefly relate to different schools that interpreted the dynamics
of the Nazi Jewish policy and its development, and I will also assess the
impact of Nazi and traditional antisemitism on anti-Jewish policies in
other European countries.
Antisemitism at the End of the Twentieth Century: The New Context of an Old Prejudice
The study of contemporary or current antisemitism is plagued with confusion. Widely differing assessments of antisemitism can be found both among researchers and commentators. Why does it occur? The absence of an agreed definition of antisemitism is partly responsible but more important is a failure to grasp the nature of the modern context of antisemitism and how that has changed during the last ten years. The key elements of the new context are: the collapse of state-sponsored antisemitism in the Communist bloc; the unprecedented freedom of Jews worldwide; the convergence of a diminished antisemitism with a more complex racism; the growth of an anti-antisemitic culture; the redirected focus of Jewish defense agencies away from the broad threat of antisemitism to the narrower threat to Jewish security; the growing impact of the Holocaust enhancing an awareness of the consequences of racism and antisemitism. There are two sets of reasons why this context is not grasped. The first has to do with the inappropriate underlying assumptions many researchers and commentators make. These assumptions relate to: the link made between current antisemitism and the Holocaust; the emphasis on expressions of antisemitism by groups which emulate Nazis and fascists; the reliance on data on antisemitic incidents and publications; the perceived centrality of Germany, Poland, and Russia; and the nature of antisemitism. The second set of reasons for failing to grasp the changed context relates to a cluster of issues, which have the most damaging impact on the study of current antisemitism: confusion about what kind of discipline the study of current antisemitism is; moral and emotional demands that create the wrong climate for understanding; the influence of political motivations; the exploitation of antisemitism for ideological ends; and the demands of publicity. The significance of the new context can be seen in the attitude to antisemitism implied in the international campaign for the restitution of Jewish assets in Europe. Until the underlying assumptions change, the negative influences are neutralized and the new context understood, research, analysis and comment on current antisemitism will remain mostly confused and unsatisfactory.
The United Nations, Israel, Human Rights, and the New Anti-Jewishness
This conference takes place at a historical juncture in the world of human rights in general, and the relationship of Israel to the United Nations in particular. For we are on the eve of commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the core of humanitarian law; while 1998 not only witnessed the fiftieth anniversary of the State of Israel, but the fiftieth anniversary of both the Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Indeed, there is a clear symbolic — if not symbiotic — relationship between Israel, the United Nations, and human rights. For if the commitment underpinning the Genocide Convention is “never again,” then Israel is a state born of that commitment; and if the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was designed to be the Magna Carta of humankind, Israel was to be, in the words of its founders, “a light unto the nations”; if the Geneva Conventions of 1949 were to be commemorative of international humanitarian law, the genocide of European Jewry was the paradigmatic basis for the “grave breaches” of the laws of war as set forth in the Geneva Convention.
The Jewish revolution, then — symbolized by the establishment of the State of Israel — and the human rights revolution — symbolized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the development of international humanitarian law — were as one in 1948–1949. But fifty years later, Israel finds itself at a critical juncture in the world of human rights, and, in particular, in relationship to the United Nations.
For as Israel’s fiftieth anniversary came to a close, a state founded as a metaphor for human rights was increasingly characterized — particularly by the United Nations — as a metaphor for a human rights violator; a state whose birthright was anchored in the UN Partition Resolution of 1947, now finds that Partition Resolution invoked by the United Nations Human Rights Commission against it; a state which looked to the Geneva Conventions — and international humanitarian law — as a protective regime against “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions by attacking Arab armies, now becomes the first state in fifty years to be targeted for indictment by a General Assembly of the Contracting Parties to the Convention; a state which advocated fifty years ago for the establishment of an international criminal court to bring war criminals to justice — and pioneered in the development of international criminal law — now finds its settlement policy characterized as a serious war crime under the draft Treaty to establish an International Criminal Court; and a state committed to the pursuit of peace becomes the only state singled out for condemnation as a “non-peace loving nation” by two Emergency Sessions of the UN General Assembly under the Uniting for Peace Resolutions.
Accordingly, on the occasion of this symbolic — if not symbiotic encounter of Israel and the United Nations — and against the backdrop of this Dickensian moment in the world of human rights — this paper will be organized around five themes, as follows:
I. Antisemitism Old and New: Definition and Distinction
This part of the paper will seek to identify the several varieties, or indices, of this new anti-Jewishness, so as to permit the evaluation of the United Nations as a case-study of this new anti-Jewishness, if not repository and instrument for its expression.
III. The United Nations, Israel, and the Jewish People; A Case-Study of the New Anti-Jewishness
2. The “Teaching of Contempt”: Israel as the “Poisoner of the Wells”
3. Ideological Antisemitism
4. Denial of Equality before the Law
5. The Politics of Exclusion: The UN Disenfranchisement of Israel
6. Denial of International Due Process
Democratization and Antisemitism in Postwar Germany
in Allied statements after 1945 and in the historiography on German Jewry
in the early Federal Republic, one finds a link between democracy and antisemitism.
While members of the American occupation forces often suggested that without
a thorough purge of prejudice from German public life, democracy was doomed
to failure, later historians have claimed that WestGerman politicians,
church figures, and the intellectual elite employed pro-Jewish statements
so as to satisfy Allied demands for a new democratic ethos in the aftermath
of Auschwitz. As a result of these efforts, so this mainstream view maintains,
German postwar parlance was infected with philosemitism, a particularly
pernicious form of refusing to “come to terms with the past.” This paper
will challenge this interpretation of GermanJewish relations after 1945
by examining, first, the meaning of philosemitism at the time and in subsequent
works on the period; second, the actual approach to democracy amongst political
parties and the clergy; and third, the precise nature of antisemitism from
1945–1965. By looking at a particular town, the Bavarian capital of Munich,
it will be shown that democracy was frequently invoked without mentioning
the Jews or currying favor with the occupation forces. It will be also
argued that several postwar assertions notwithstanding, antisemitism had
neither changed its face nor evolved into a kind of pseudo-compassion for
the Jews, in spite of a few instances to the contrary. Finally, the paper
will outline tchangesthat West German perceptions of the “Jewish Question”
underwent and assess these with reference to an altered appreciation of
democracy in the Federal Republic.
Political Antisemitism in West Germany: The Case of Gerhard Frey’s Newspapers
Over the course of the last forty years, the newspapers of the extreme right-wing millionaire publisher and politician Gerhard Frey have provided us with an important source for studying the development, strategies, and tactics of political antisemites in Germany in the post-Auschwitz era.
The most salient feature of Frey’s post-Holocaust antisemitism has been the way in which anti-Jewish messages have carried a concealed or insinuated character in comparison with the more overt antisemitism of the Nazi period or the nineteenth century.
New legislation and its tight enforcement by the Constitutional Court of the Federal Republic of Germany, have led not only to an absence in Frey’s newspapers of specifically racial antisemitism. but also to the non-existence of more traditional antisemitic remarks: for example, concerning the supposed physical features attributed to Jews. Instead, so-called “secondary antisemitism” has become a central feature of these newspapers.
The traditional negative image and characteristics attributed to Jew have remained intact, however, as has the notion of an “international Jewish conspiracy,” and these have continued to play a central role in the Weltanschauung of far-right circles, although naturally these images have been adapted to changes in the new world political order and in world Jewry.
Back in 1959, when Frey became publisher and chief editor of the extreme right-wing newspaper Deutsche Soldaten Zeitung, he adopted a moderate antisemitic line in which he aimed to distinguish the mass of supposedly negative Jews from the few “honest and noble” Jewish people — mostly German Jews, who were willing to comply with Frey’s ideology. In marked contrast to the uncompromising antisemitic positions of his predecessors in the extreme German Right, Frey recognized Walther Rathenau as a true German patriot (most likely in order to gain respectability and to counter the claims of those who denounced his publications as antisemitic).
At the time, Frey’s position regarding the Holocaust was ambiguous. He recognized and denounced unequivocally the Holocaust, and even supported compensation for the victims of Nazi persecution, but simultaneously, he claimed that the Jews had manipulated the number of Holocaust victims, and published sympathetic articles on revisionist literature. Gradually, the latter position became dominant, and Frey’s newspapers became unequivocally revisionist organs.
“Jews and Other Victims”: The “Jewish Question” and Discourses of Victimhood in Postwar Austria
Partly reflecting the heightened moral sensitivities of the specific Austrian historiographical response to the Waldheim affair, research on postwar “memory” in Austria seems often to be conducted as a kind of “archeology of scandal,” or a sort of “genealogy of duplicity” of Austrian postwar ruling elites. While not wishing to deny these political elites’ at times duplicitous behavior, or their prejudiced assumptions about Jews and things Jewish, the construction of post-war memory should nonetheless be viewed within a broader framework, which takes account of the very different political and discursive context within which these political actors made their choices. The various invocations of the ‘victim thesis’ ostensibly enshrined in the Moscow Declaration, for example, were not simply a matter of these elites’ contriving disingenuous arguments to obfuscate perceived ideological or realpolitische interests, or to evade a clearly recognizable moral responsibility. The historical accounts which informed the public memories of things like the “victim thesis” — accounts offered by political elites to give Austrians some positive meaning to their lived experience of the Nazi period, also possessed a moral salience that was able to draw upon moral categories which are recognizable today, even if the assumptions on which they are based are no longer shared or even tenable.
examining the political and discursive context in the immediate postwar
period, I hope to elucidate more precisely the way in which this context
helped define the conceptual limits of the emergence of the “Jewish question”
in public discourse in Austria in the early post-war years was to a large
extent excluded on moral as well as political grounds. Discrete but related
discursive practices about victimhood and suffering helped constitute what
I will call “discourses of victimhood” which found an echo not only among
national government officials, but also within the three “anti-fascist”
political parties, and, perhaps more surprisingly, within the newly reconstituted
Israelitische Kultusgemeinde. Together these discourses of victimhood-fully
consonant with the Western Allies’ elsewhere referred to as a kind of “memoire
volontaire,” which “explained” why Jews, thought part of the pan-Austrian
Opfergemeinschaft, possessed no specific claims within it. The “Jewish
question” in postwar Austria thus nearly becomes a history of silence(s).
Nearly, because I also wish to argue that however limited the public discursive
space was for the postwar Austrian “Jewish question,” a form of it survived
within the realm of private and semi-public discourse. I wish to illustrate
this by examining examples of authors’ requests to have their works removed
from the list of banned books compiled in accordance with the Austrian
Literaturreinigungsgesetz. Although all books on this list had been banned
because of their presumed Nazi content (the objective of the law was to
eradicate the “National Socialist spirit” in Austria, though this was never
defined), in their appeals the authors, or their publishers, made little
use of the conventional tropes of victimhood articulated by the political
elites. Rather, nearly invariably they offered evidence of their pre-Anschluss
friendship with, or assistance to Jews. Without any prompting, these banned
authors offered preemptively their answers to what they obviously perceived
as a “Jewish question” but which the authorities in charge of eradicating
the “Nazi spirit” in Austria never asked.
Governmental and Public Antisemitism in the Soviet Union 1945–1953
The final eight years of Stalin’s regime are renowned as a period of an official government policy of antisemitism in the Soviet Union. Many books and articles were published on this subject. In this paper I will only mention some well-known facts about the antisemitic policies of the regime, which will be the framework for the analysis of the social antisemitism.
Only with the opening of Soviet archives in the last decade has the researcher been allowed to learn about public opinion toward Jews during this period. In my paper I will present some examples of the attitudes of various strata of society toward the Jews. Understanding this attitude [of the public toward Jews] may also, to some extent, change the common conception regarding the reasons for governmental antisemitism, or at least it will add a new perspective.
Theodore H. Friedgut
The USSR, 1945–1991: Transformations of Antisemitism
object of this paper is to trace the changes in the type and expression
of antisemitism in the USSR from the end of World War II to the collapse
of the Soviet Union. In the course of the discussion, we will examine a
typology of folk, regime, and intelligentsia antisemitism, noting the various
conjunctures and transformations over the years. For each type of antisemitism,
we will attempt to discover roots and typical expressions. For each transformation,
we will attempt to present the social and political circumstances that
caused the change. The antisemitism of such disparate figures as Nikita
Khrushchev and Alexander Solzhenitsyn will be examined to see what, if
anything, they have in common.
Jews and Polish Society 1944–1946: Strangers in Their Own Land
In the summer of 1944, when the Red Armyliberated Poland, Jewish Holocaust survivors began to emerge from their hideouts and assemble in the liberated towns. These Jews had survived on Polish soil — in the forests, in places of concealment, or with Poles who had sheltered them during the occupation. According to data gathered by the first Jewish committees that came into being in eastern Poland, some 8,000 Jews congregated in these areas that summer.
From the moment they resurfaced, the survivors encountered hostility and estrangement on the part of the Polish population. Even before the war ended, even before thousands of concentration camp survivors began to return to their homeland from Germany in search of surviving kin or remnants of their looted family property, the Jews faced a reality that made one thing clear to them: Polish society did not regard them as members of the Polish national collective.
Can one state that the hostility between Polish society and the Jewish survivors who returned to Poland in 1944–1946 is based on the sweeping premise that Polish society perceived the Jews as supporters and sympathizers with the new regime being built in Poland, which much of Polish society regarded as inimical to Poland’s national interests? By basing oneself on the political dimension only, one does not obtain a full picture. It is obvious that hostility, estrangement, and assaults against Jews began before the complexion and the new intentions of the postwar Polish regime, and the Jews’ place in the apparatuses, became clear. This situation became evident chiefly after the repatriation from the Soviet Union in early 1946. However, anti-Jewish hostility and violence erupted back in the summer and autumn of 1944, when the first survivors began to revisit their home towns and their old homes.
The lecture will attempt to explore the hostility toward Polish Jews after the war in view of the encounter between two societies: that of the Jewish survivors and the riven, fragmented Polish society of the early postwar period.
Reflections on the “Jewish Question” in Postwar France
From its origins, la question juive was a catch-phrase that encapsulated the series of shifting but imbricated historical, religious, cultural, economic, social and political issues involved in Jewish emancipation. In the immediate postwar period, Jean-Paul Sartre’s Réflexions sur la question juive reopened this vexed set of problems in the wake of the Shoah. Whether critical or sympathetic, whether Jews or non-Jews, French writers in the postwar period often determined their own stance on the “Jewish Question” relative to the questions that structured the four parts of Sartre’s Réflexions: how does one become an antisemite and how is antisemitism perpetuated?; what defines Jewish alterity and what are the limits of the liberal tolerance of this difference?; what is the relationship between antisemitism and Jewish identity?; and how should the French respond to, or somehow solve, the problem of antisemitism? As a means to assess the broader issues framed by the “Jewish Question” in postwar France, this paper will discuss a sample of the postwar reflections on Sartre’s examination of the antisemite and “the Jew,” focusing on Louis-Ferdinand Céline, George Bataille, Emmanuel Levinas, and Claude Lanzmann. These responses are indicative of a widespread effort in postwar France to reevaluate the underlying Enlightenment assumptions of Jewish emancipation.
Sander L. Gilman
A Jew in East Germany: Secular Jewish Identity under State Socialism: The Case of Jurek Becker
shall be speaking about the role of Jewish self-definition in the German
Democratic Republic in the 1950s and 1960s. My focus will be on the question
of secular Jews and their contribution to the new Communist culture, and
the role of such a culture in shaping a new Jewish identity in the GDR.
My object will be Jurek Becker, and I will focus on his first novel (and
film), Jacob the Liar.
Engaging Japanese Antisemitism in the 1990s: The Marco Polo Affair
Japan seems to occupy a special place in the research on attitudes toward Jews in modern times. Although it lacks most of the features which characterize antisemitic societies, Japan has developed in the last century an intricate chronicle of anti- and pro-Jewish activities. The Japanese-Jewish discourse has set forth only after Japan had been forced to open its ports in 1854, and the first outburst of anti-Jewish race hate in Japan occurred with the outbreak of the Pacific War. In the latter half of the 1980s, there was a resurrection of negative Jewish images, as a new wave of antisemitic writings swept Japan. Still, due to the unique characteristics of antisemitism in Japan, it is perhaps easier to fight it.
As a case study of contemporary antisemitism in Japan, and the ways it can be fought, I seek to examine the attitudes and reactions which followed the “Marco Polo affair.” That is, in 1995, an article published in the monthly Marco Polo denied the existence of gas chambers during World War II. In the aftermath of the publication, Japan for the first time witnessed fully-orchestrated operations against the spread of antisemitism, which combine the use of Japanese and foreign media, criticism of well-known foreign personalities, political intervention, and even economic sanctions.
In this presentation, I will review the background of the publication, and discuss the consequences of the efforts to renounce it.
Visual Representation of the Other: The “Semitic” Gaze from the Screen
Visual representations are at the very center of twentieth-century historical consciousness. The mass press of the first decades with all its illustrations was followed by cinema and television. Films with historical subjects not only represent a single history, but rather several histories, and they dwell on memories that can be antagonistic. Given the long tradition of chauvinism, xenophobia, nationalistic sentiment, and prejudice against Jews in German culture, along with the process of their reversal after 1945, it is obvious that since the Holocaust, cinematic dealings with Jewish subject matter became highly problematic in Germany. German and Austrian cinema tried to overcome the shortcomings of traditional cinematic depictions of Jewish characters, and, at the same time, reproduced visually a traditional imagery. The screen became the cultural stage for conflicting images of Jews who embodied both a way of remembering and a way of constructing a German-Jewish and Austrian-Jewish perspective. The “Semitic Gaze” did not disappear, but it became an aesthetic device of coming to terms with today’s cultural ambiguities.
Gottfried H. Wagner
Richard Wagner after the Holocaust: A Critical Approach
to the Staging of The Ring of the Nibelung
I will briefly speak about the New Bayreuth spirit and stage directions after 1945 by Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner, and show some slides in reference to the Ring of the Nibelung. Following this, I will present my video clip of the Ring (which won first prize at the Biarritz Video Festival in 1988), with a brief introduction, followed by a discussion.
Antisemitic Discourse in Post-Communist Eastern Europe: An Overview
In dealing with antisemitic elements and stereotypes in political and intellectual discourse in the post-Communist East European countries, the paper will focus on some peculiar aspects and point to some new trends that have appeared in the last few years.
Despite its eclectic character of antisemitic stereotypes, it is possible to distinguish different types used to justify a particular antisemitic ideology, based on nationalist, racist, or irrational, mythical motivations.
In contrast to the pre-Holocaust period, there is a general tendency, even among radical antisemites, to avoid and reject any identification with an antisemitic stance, because that is still perceived as compromising.
A visible effort is being made by “professional” antisemites to do away with their early 1990s image of practicing only aggressive antisemitic journalism. The new trend is to publish books, “studies” with a“scientific” format, in order to give the impression of serious, legitimate argumentation, complete with “bibliography” and historical background. A negative, stereotyped image of Jews and Jewish history has penetrated the new post-Communist historiography and school textbooks as well.
The paper will approach the question of the contradictory assessments and evaluations of the present level of antisemitism in post-Communist societies made by researchers and analysts in the field.
Antisemitism in Present Day Hungary
In March 1995, we launched an empirical survey on the tenacity and strength of antisemitic prejudice in Hungary. We conducted personal interviews, each lasting about 60 minutes, and based on a standardized questionnaire, with 1500 individuals. The sample was representative of the Hungarian adult population (aged over 18 years) in terms of gender, age, place of residence, and education. The final result of our investigation is that 43% of the Hungarian adult population is not antisemitic; 255 is antisemitic; and 32% accept some of the traditional economic stereotypes about Jews without these stereotypes being accompanied by any particular antisemitic emotions.
The results of a causal analysis of antisemitic prejudices indicated that antisemitism in Hungary is currently a phenomenon of the capital city: antisemitic prejudice occurs more frequently among residents of Budapest than among residents of other settlements. Excluding the place of residence, other social-demographic variables do not directly correlate with antisemitic prejudice. Age, educational qualifications, and disposable social resources do, however, indirectly affect the degree of anti-Jewish prejudice — by way of other attitudes. Xenophobia is more common among older and less-educated groups; and antisemitism is one of the manifestations of this phenomenon. Our observations indicate that in sections of society with diminishing social resources the feeling of anomie is stronger than in other social groups disposing of a greater number of such resources. In turn, anomie induces antisemitic feelings both directly and indirectly — by generating xenophobia. In combination, anomie and conservative attitudes strengthen, in particular, the inclination towards extreme antisemitism. By themselves, religious-conservative views and attitudes do not induce antisemitism. The inclination towards antisemitism among groups with such religious conservative attitudes is most pronounced among those groups in which the feeling of anomie is strong or in which antisemitism performs the function of a code for the expression of ideological and political positions. In this last group, which amounts to about 1% of the total adult population, antisemitism is a political phenomenon.
Patterns of Post-Communist Antisemitism in Eastern Europe
The decade since the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe enables the researcher of current history to enjoy the benefits of a historical perspective in the making.
The paper outlines the major conclusions that can be drawn from the emergence of antisemitism in the post-communist societies as they are evident in the various states.
1. The heavy burden of the communist regimes which left a dark hole in regard to the Jewish past in the respective states, on the interwar and wartime antisemitism, and above all, with respect to the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust. The communist regimes have succeeded in cleansing historical memory of the burden of antisemitism, thus hindering the process of the various nations to face their own past.
2. Post-communist antisemitism has all the elements of continuity and adaptation of prewar motifs to present day realities. Thus, antisemitism in Eastern Europe has all the elements of a “return to history.” In this respect, present day antisemitism draws most of its arguments from the prewar discourse, while adapting them to the present situation.
3. However, post-communist antisemitism uses patterns of thought and ideas from the communist vocabulary — one more indication for the legacy of communism on present day antisemitism. References to the “Jewish role in globalization,” the “Soros assault on Eastern Europe,” and the “Jewish mafia” are characteristic of such a vocabulary.
4. Post-communist antisemitism is largely linked to the rehabilitation of the wartime fascist leaders and their ideas. The equation of the fascist extremists with present day “patriotism” — as in the case of Antonescu and Tiso — pushes to the background the true fate of the Jews and the results of antisemitism, while presenting the extremist elements as “true patriots,” the “victims of Jewish communists.”
5. The era of “post-communist transition” is not over — and as the Central and East European states continue their often rough and difficult road toward a democratic and civil society, antisemitism follows closely on the steps of post-communist reconstruction. Thus, antisemitism can be considered as a “case-study” of the process of transition.
The paper discusses the political and public appeal of antisemitism in the past decade focussing on the following aspects:
1. While antisemitism remains a marginal political force, antisemitic movements and parties are active both in the parliamentary scene — e.g., in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, with extra-parliamentary parties, as in the Czech Republic.
2. The antisemitic press (journals and newspapers) have not lost their appeal, and taking into account economic difficulties, have still held their ground (e.g., Romania Mare in Romania, and Magyar Forum in Hungary).
3. A decade after the collapse of the communist regimes, the “Jewish Question” remains high in public and political life, as the accusations about the communist past, and alleged present day role of the Jews reflects an almost unchanged pattern of stereotyping and anti-Jewish prejudices.
the experience of the first post-communist decade, some possible future
trends can be cautiously outlined: antisemitism will reflect also in the
coming years the progress made by each of the states toward a civil and
democratic society. The past remains relevant for the future, as along
with positive trends toward a rapprochement between the Jewish world and
the respective nations — as in dialogues, conferences, educational programs,
the rehabilitation of the dark sides of the history of the various nations,
and xenophobic nationalism will not wither away, and will remain an accompanying
factor in Eastern Europe.
The Holocaust and the “Nakba”: Recent Developments in the Arab Approach to the Holocaust
Is there, or should there be, an Arab attitude toward the Holocaust? This dilemma lies as a basic issue in the recent Arab debate on the issue. The Arab traditional approach to the Holocaust emanated from the conviction that it does not concern the Arabs: it took place in Europe and was perpetrated by Europeans, yet the Arabs were the ones who paid for it. This attitude did not basically change, but was exacerbated by the Arab-Israeli conflict, and led to the development of a two-pronged attitude toward the Holocaust, of justification and denial.
Methodologically, Arab writers and historians made not contribution to the study of the Holocaust, and in fact, refrained from in-depth research. They were on the borrowing side, selecting motifs in the European literature on the Holocaust, which could be easily incorporated in the anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist, and antisemitic discourse.
In the wake of the peace process in the early 1990s, a new approach seemed to be emerging, calling for the revision of the Arab perception of the Holocaust, and for undertaking an unequivocal position by condemning it and recognizing the suffering of the Jewish people. Although unconditioned, this recognition is to be met with the mutual recognition of the suffering of the Palestinian people — the Nakba vis-à-vis the Holocaust. The trial of Roger Garaudy in France and his visits to the region gave a new impetus to the debate on the Holocaust and added to it an additional dimension.
This paper seeks to illuminate shift and theimplied link it makes, against the background of the process of Palestinian nation-building and the creation of collective memory; and against the Arab quest for a place in the international League of Nations and civilization. Will this change entail a change in the Arab methodological approach to the Holocaust and give rise to a new trend of research of the Holocaust in the Arab world, free from political exploitation? Could this develop into a special new genre, like the special Islamic genre of antisemitism, and have an impact on the general study of the Holocaust?
The Image of Jews and Judaism in School Textbooks of the Arab Countries
A definition of antisemitism suggested by Prof. Bernard Lewis was selected to check the content of textbooks used presently in the schools of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under the supervision of the Palestinian Authority.
This definition was applied in the analysis of more than 140 textbooks, namely all those related to the teaching of Civic Education, Geography, History, Islamic Education, and Language, for all the grades, that is, from grade one to grade twelve.
The analysis of these textbooks points indubitably to the antisemitic character of these textbooks, and to the very offensive stereotypes appearing in them with regard to Jews and Judaism.
These stereotypes were not balanced by any other image of Jews and Judaism, since no such image could be found.
different explanation than the frustration motive mentioned by Bernard
Lewis was found to shed light on this type of antisemitism, which could
lead to develop a different strategy in fighting it.
Muslim Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in South Africa, 1945–1998
In exploring deteriorating Muslim-Jewish relations in South Africa since the Second World War, the paper argues that the Muslim community should not be treated as a monolith. Various intellectual discourses operate and compete. Some are innovative and progressive, with an emphasis on Islamic humanism and universalism; others are conservative or Islamist, at odds with religious pluralism and ecumenism. Qibla and the Islamic Unity Convention, for example, are heavily influenced by Khomeinism and some of the more radical schools of Islamic thought. Common to both strands, however, is a hostile critique of Zionism. In some cases this hostility is separated from antisemitism; in others, Zionism and Judaism are conflated into a combination which incorporates notions of international Jewish finance and imperialism. In the 1980s, according to Ebrahim Rasool, these ideas were often merged into an analysis of the South African struggle.
It will be argued that some of the Muslim anger is underpinned by historic landlord-tenant relations in the inner city, regional encounters between employers and employees in the textile industry, radical Islamic teachings, and of course, a general anger at white privilege with which the Jews are understandably associated. Antisemitism has become part of a “cultural code,” to appropriate a term used by Shulamit Volkov. Anti-Jewish stereotypes are deeply embedded. With the democratization of South African society in the 1990s, previously submerged voices and feelings are increasingly articulated in the public sphere. It is quite clear that a significant element among the Muslim community share the conspiratorial ideas of the far Right. The paper examines this discourse, including the Muslim press, letter columns in the daily press, and discussions on radio talk shows.
The paper also reflects on the connection between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, with particular reference to the work of Bernard Lewis. It will be shown that anti-Zionist rhetoric reveals and displays classic anti-Jewish motifs: Jews or Zionists have become, at least for some critics, diabolically evil. One sees this invariably in the rhetoric associated with Al-Quds Day, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan; in Pagad (People against Gangsterism and Drugs) slogans, as for example during a march to Oudekraal protesting agaisnt building plans in the area; in Mago (Muslims Against Global Oppression) rhetoric; and in Achmed Deedat’s book, Arabs and Israel. Conflict or Conciliation? Very often, anti-Zionist rhetoric and propaganda has degenerated into blatant antisemitism with emphasis placed on Jewish power, cunning, and duplicity. Islamic elements are increasingly vocal and disturbing. We saw this in the aftermath of a Muslims Against Global Oppression march on the Israeli Embassy in 1997 following the depiction of the Prophet Mohamed as a pig by an Israeli Jewish extremist. “Hitler, King of the Jews,” “Save the World Kill A Jew,” and “Free our country,” “Kill the Jews,” were some of the slogans that appeared on the door of the Wynberg synagogue shortly after the march. Within twenty-four hours, a bomb had gone off in the Jewish Book Centre housed in a private home. In December 1998, a bomb blast rocked the Wynberg synagogue in Cape Town. It would appear that the pipe-bomb was associated with the British and American attacks on Iraq.
The depth of specifically anti-Jewish sentiment, as opposed to anti-Zionist feeling, was noted over ten years ago by Farid Esack, a prominent Muslim cleric and intellectual. “Nothing that the Jews do will be enough for Muslims,” explained the exasperated Esack in response to a question asking if Jews would be accepted by the Muslim community if they renounced all recognition and support for Israel.
Holocaust denial has also crept into Islamic anger. In 1996, Radio 786, a Muslim radio station, had to apologize for airing an interview with Dr. Ahmed Huber, who spoke of the “Holocaust swindle,” and in May 1998, the same radio station interviewed Dr. Yaqub Zaki, who, besides claiming that the “million plus” Jews who died in the Second World War had died of infectious diseases, spent much of his time engaged with elaborate Jewish conspiracies, including a bizarre connection between Jewish financiers, the Boer War, Milner, and Zionism.
Given the nature of Middle Eastern politics, the character of the peace process, the structural relationship between Muslims and Jews in post-apartheid South Africa, and the influence of global Islamism, it would appear that Muslim attitudes toward Jews will not change dramatically in the foreseeable future. However, it should be noted that the vast majority of Muslims wish to share a multi-faith and multi-cultural South Africa. Only a small minority are intent on dragging the Middle East conflict with all its hostility into local politics.
Antisemitism in Germany 1948–1998: Politics, Culture, and Public Opinion
Germany’s unconditional surrender and the disintegration of National Socialism signified the end of a system for which antisemitism was the state ideology, radicalizing it to the point of genocide. The racial ideology had been morally and politically discredited and its public dissemination forbidden by the Allies. In order to distance itself from the catastrophe of National Socialism and to document to the world the democratization of the Federal Republic, a radical adjustment of the polity ensued. The prevention of antisemitism and the restitution payments served as the preconditions for the acceptance of the Federal Republic to the Western camp. The banning of any public expression of antisemitism should make the fiction that a rapid transformation had occurred seemed credible both internally and externally. This transformation, however, did not take place among personal antisemitic attitudes of individuals. The first opinions documented by the OMGUS surveys, and later by population polls show without discrepancy that antisemitism was still widespread. This disparity (and the conflict dynamic that ensued from it) between the norm propagated by the state, schools, and public of an anti-antisemitism, and the reality of antisemitic attitudes in the population is characteristic of the reconstruction phase. by the mid-sixties, with a new generation coming of age, this gap seemed to be closing. This emerging generation was socialized under liberal-democratic conditions whichhad rigorously impthe antisemitic tradition.
Whereas the war and postwar generation closely associated “Jews” with the Holocaust and the experience of guilt and responsibility, today the generation of the 1990s, with its temporal distance to this event, increasingly regards it as a historical burden, and as “abnormal.” It demands “normality” and wants to be recognized as “normal” citizens of “normal” Germany. Perhaps last year’s “Walser-Bubis debate” is an early indication of the change in the postwar semantic and altered dynamic of antisemitism. In any case, the most recent opinion polls suggest that antisemitic attitudes among the younger generation — in contrast tot the observations of the last forty years — is not decreasing.
The Decline of Antisemitism in the United States after World War II
American Jews today are more secure in society than they have ever been before. Unlike the 1940s, articles are no longer written advising Jewish parents how to explain the pitfalls of being Jewish to their children; debates no longer appear in print on the relative merits of changing one’s name; and discussions of the “Jewish problem” are neither in vogue or in need. The big issues of yesteryear — immigration restriction, limited educational and employment opportunities, and residential and resort segregation — are simply not concerns of the Jewish community anymore. More significantly, Jews need no longer rely exclusively on quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy to obtain desired political objectives. Their organizational spokespersons are open and above-board. Issues of concern to Jews are clearly enunciated and vigorously promoted. And finally, unlike the past, when Jews were virtually impotent but were perceived to have a great deal of power, they now wield a good deal of influence in the American corporate, philanthropic, and political arenas.
American attitudes toward Jews began to change immediately after World War II and continued being less antisemitic until 1964, when the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Law. At that point, all legal discrimination ended, and subtle discrimination declined even further. From polls, from anecdotes, from newspaper articles, from parochial school textbooks, one witnessed an extraordinary decline in bigotry.
Antisemitism has not ended, of course, but, aside from disgruntled minorities and marginal people, it is no longer acceptable to be antisemitic in public. My paper will explore the reasons for the decline in prejudice and show the various demarcation points.
The Catholic Church’s Attitude toward Antisemitism after World War II
Following the Second World War and because of the Shoah, the Catholic Church under Pope John XXIII started a long and painful process of doctrinal revision which led first to the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate in 1965. The accusation of deicide was not cancelled, but only limited to those Jews who were allegedly directly involved in the crime. The same Declaration decried “hatred, persecutions, displays of antisemitism, directed against Jews at any time by anyone.” In the subsequent decades, the Church published the Guidelines in 1974, and the Notes in 1985. In the first, the Church condemned antisemitism again, while the second states that “Christian sinners are more to blame for the death of Christ than those few Jews who brought it about.” Again, there is no absolution of the Jews. In his Encyclical Letter, “Lord and Giver of Life,” of 1986, Pope John Paul II speaks about a sin that cannot be forgiven in this life or in the next, namely, the killing of Jesus. In November 1988, the report Church and Racism stated that antisemitism has not yet disappeared, terrorist acts against Jews have multiplied, and anti-Zionism serves as “a screen for antisemitism.” No Christian persecutions of Jews are mentioned in the report, while it claims that “the Church did not hesitate to raise her voice” against Nazi doctrine. A short description is given in this paper of the encyclical against antisemitism that Pope Pius XI wanted to publish in 1939, but was prevented from doing so by his death. His successor, Pius XII, refrained from adopting this text. A strong effort is made by Pope John Paul II to defend his predecessor Pius XII, whom he claimed, had worked hard and effectively to assist Jews during the Second World War.
In September 1990 in Prague, antisemitism was defined as “a sin against God and humanity” and antisemitism is condemned in the Fundamental Treaty with Israel of 1993. the new Catechism published in English in 1995 states that “Jews are not collectively responsible for Jesus’ death” yet the old doctrine that “outside the Church there is no salvation” is reaffirmed.
In the symposium on anti-Judaism of 1997, the pope split the responsibility of “the Church as such” from “unjust interpretations of the New Testament” which “contributed to the numbing of conscience” of the “disciples of Christ.”
Finally, this paper discusses part of the recent document “A Reflection on the Shoah” of March 1998, which makes a clear differentiation between the anti-Judaism of the Church and the antisemitism of the pagans, which “had its roots outside of Christianity.” This is a total rejection of the Church’s ideological responsibility for antisemitism. Moreover, the document tries to establish a symmetry which never existed between anti-Judaism and “anti-Christian sentiment among Jews.” The questions of Christianization of the Shoah and the canonization of Edith Stein and the planting of crosses in Auschwitz are also discussed in this paper.
The Catholic Church in Latin America: Aspects of Antisemitism, 1965–1995
This paper will discuss the repercussions in Latin America of the Second Vatican Council in regard to the Jewish population and antisemitism.
The research examines how Nostra Aetate and other Vatican documents subsequently published, were received by the hierarchy of the Latin American Church. Was there a willingness on the part of the leaders of the Latin American Church to implement the changes that were authorized by the council in regard to the attitude toward the Jews? If so, how did Church leaders influence the Catholic public so that these resolutions would be implemented, and did the force of antisemitism decrease as a result of these new instructions?
Latin America, there was a significant decrease in antisemitic remarks
by Catholic clergy after the 1960s, in contrast to the period between the
two world wars. at the same time, some Catholics — some marginal groups
who see themselves as part of the Church, as well as some priests in prominent
positions in the Church — continue to emphasize the old antisemitic rhetoric.
Radical antisemitism continues to be an integral part of the Catholic outlook
both privately and in these groups, despite all the resolutions and instructions
of the Vatican and the local churches. This research will describe these
groups in three major Latin American countries — Argentina, Brazil, and
Mexico — and analyze their nature, their tendencies, and their influence.
Liberal Antisemitism and Conservative Philosemitism?: The Protestant Attitudes toward Jews in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century
Protestant attitudes toward Jews in the second half of the twentieth century have been marked by an apparent paradox. Conservatives have shown appreciation for the Jews and support for Israel, whereas liberal attitudes have been more ambivalent and reserved, if not outright hostile. A closer examination of Protestant attitudes toward Jews reveals a more complex reality, yet the initial paradox remains.
Liberal or “mainline” attitudes toward Jews have shifted considerably in the 1960s–1970s. Influenced by a new spirit of rapprochement between religious communities, Protestant theologians have entered into an “interfaith dialogue” with Jewish representatives and have modified Christian theology so as to recognize the legitimacy of Jewish existence alongside Christianity. One result of this new outlook was the decision of liberal churches to abandon missionary work among the Je. This was a revolubreak from long-held Christian convictions, according to which Judaism had become redundant after the advent of Christianity. Liberal Christian scholarship has taken increased notice of Jewish rabbinical sources, and a number of seminaries have invited Jewish professors to join their faculties. Those developments have not, however, been unanimous and have mostly remained limited to the realm of English-speaking and European churches. Third-world churches have, as a rule, retained the traditional Christian outlook on Judaism. The attitude of German liberal Protestant theologians toward Judaism has also remained negative, the effect of the Holocaust on their thinking notwithstanding. Moreover, the development of Protestant attitudes toward Zionism and the State of Israel has taken a very different direction. Leading Protestant theologians supported the establishment of a Jewish State in the years immediately preceding the birth of that country, and in the early years of independence. But matters changed in the late 1960s–1970s.
Influenced by Third-World outlooks on the Israeli-Arab conflict, many in the liberal camp developed a negative, critical attitude toward Israel with liberal churches and organizations often condemning its actions. Liberal attacks have been, at times, so vicious that Jewish (and some non-Jewish) observers have wondered if anti-Zionism did not come to serve as an outlet for covert antisemitism. Unlike overt antisemitism, which became unacceptable in polite western Christian circles, attacks on Israel did not involve guilt or embarrassment. In their heart of hearts, many liberal Christians had still found it difficult to accept an independent Jewish state as a legitimate entity.
attitudes have been just as ambivalent and complicated. Motivated by a
biblical Messianic understanding of the Jewish people and their role in
history, conservatives have warmly supported the State of Israel. But pro-Zionist
sentiments did not always guarantee the disappearance of prejudices against
Jews, and while liberal churches amended their theology, the conservatives
did not. Missionary efforts at converting Jews intensified, and the conservative
view, which looked upon Jews as spiritually and morally depraved, persisted.
In their view, only the acceptance of Jesus as their Savior would bring
about Jewish individual and national redemption.
“Verus Israel”?: Jewish Believers in Jesus — A Challenge for the Church
Since the Holocaust and the foundation of the State of Israel, the modern movement of Jewish believers in Jesus (=JBJ) presents a special challenge to western Christendom. Unlike the historical paradigm of Jewish converts who gradually assimilated into gentile Christian society, many contemporary JBJ insist on preserving and expressing their Jewish identity. As a matter of fact, they are found both within Protestant and Catholic circles. However, while JBJ view themselves as the direct successors of the first-century Jewish disciples of Jesus (Yeshua), for not a few within the official Church they seem merely an anachronism.
When JBJ emphasize attachment to their own Jewish heritage and Hebraic national characteristics, they face accusations that they are practicing a “double loyalty.” This is particularly true while they struggle to form autonomous congregations and unique worship services. The Church accuses JBJ of not being exclusively loyal to her traditions, and of retaining partial loyalty to the Synagogue. Such accusations lead to a situation in which the Church has very little confidence in JBJ. Furthermore, through such allegations of dual loyalty, the church de facto expresses her fear that JBJ are creating an intolerable category of “a Church within a Church.” this actually parallels the political antisemitic slogan of “a State within a State,” often made about Diaspora Jewish communities. In other words, establishing a particularistic “national Hebrew church” is seen as subverting the universal nature of the historic churches.
In practice, only individual JBJ are fully accepted into the established churches, such as Cardinal Lustiger, and the Carmelite monk, Elias Friedman on the Catholic side, and Dr. Jakob Jocz and Bishop Hugh Montefiore on the Protestant side. As a corporate and self-governing body, JBJ are not recognized as part and parcel of the ecclesiastical establishment. Therefore, among certain Christians they are presented as a marginal, schismatic, and even heretical movement.
There is also a negative reaction to the exegesis of many JBJ and their Christian friends that the “times of the Gentiles” are coming to an end, and that Jewish followers of Jesus will assume spiritual leadership in the world. The Church views such exegesis as a real threat to its own status and authority. For example. the slightest chance that there would again arise a Jewish Church is seen as a concrete “Jewish threat,” which undermines the existing prestige and legitimacy of the non-Jewish traditions of the churches. It is especially the Church liturgy which is challenged by JBJ who stress their observance of Jewish Holy Days and feasts, keeping the seventh-day Sabbath instead of Sunday, and celebrating Passover instead of Easter according to the Hebrew calendar. In fact, JBJ also challenge the Church for maintaining pagan traditions like having decorated Christmas trees and colored Easter eggs.
JBJ also negate one of the fundamental principles of the Church, namely, its ancient self-definition as THE “True Israel” (Verus Israel). They take the liberty to openly criticize the “Replacement Theology” of the Church, meaning that gentile Christianity replaces physical Israel and receives all her blessings; therefore, no unique spiritual role and future is left for the Jewish nation. As a result, JBJ strongly argue that the gentile Church committed a “theological usurpation” and disinherited the Jews from their spiritual and irrevocable patrimony.
In reaction, the Church presents modern JBJ as those who impose “Judaistic” and “obsolete” elements on the “free Gospel of Christ.” Spokespersons of the Church claim that JBJ are reviving and introducing old “Judaizing” policies into the cosmopolitan body of believers in Jesus. Furthermore, representatives of the churches also accuse JBJ of practicing the “irrelevant Judaizing custom of circumcision” for their children.
Another aspect of “Jewish arrogance,” according to Church dignitaries, relates to attempts by JBJ to rephrase theological terms by using biblical words in Hebrew, such as Messiah for Christ; Kehila for Church, Yeshua for Jesus, etc. Thus, JBJ are aiming at a genuine Hebraic expression of their beliefs. At the same time, they also emphasize their resistance to being “gentilized” by various customs that characterize the gentile churches. Thus, for example, on the one hand Messianic Jews avoid credal declarations, the use of crosses and clerical garb, while on the other hand, Hebrew Catholics elaborate a new Hebrew Catholic calendar where they incorporate the commemoration of the Latin Rite and Jewish liturgical years.
In response to such alleged “Judaizing,” the Church decries JBJ as a nationalistic group that polarizes the modus vivendi within the Christian world. It demands that JBJ not separate themselves in any way from the established gentile Churches, but rather integrate themselves into them. Thus we observe the reappearance of an anti-Jewish slogan, “Judaizers of the Church,’ which serves as an alarmist catchword causing de facto the delegitimization of Jewish believers in Jesus who plead for an independent Jewish identity. We should also note that the Church, in its ecumenical and interfaith dialogue with the mainstream Jewish communities, is constantly under pressure to disavow JBJ as a legitimate expression of faith.
The mutual recriminations of “Judaizers” versus “Gentilizers” clearly reflect the existence of tensions between Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Jesus. Such tensions become acute in two situations: first, when both sides interpret Holy Scripture differently, especially with regard to fulfiof biblical prophecy the restoration of the Jewish nation to their homeland; and second, when gentile Christians show signs of worry that JBJ plan to regain theological hegemony over the gentiles, as it was in the first century, and is mirrored in the New Testament.
JBJ denounce and reject the doctrine that “the Church is the true Israel,” and insist that theologically the Jews as a people still remain the Elect Nation in a divine plan. Therefore, they do not merely present a challenge to their adversaries, but allegedly become a “menace” to the Church. thus the Church also relates from another perspective to the “Jewish Question,” declaring that “Judenchristen,” “Hebrew/Jewish Christians,” or “Messianic Jews” create a “dangerous religious tendency within the Church.
An independent and authoritative Jewish Church, in the place of the ancient See of Ya’akov (James), the brother of Jesus, is perceived by many gentile Christians as a probably diminution of their prerogatives. All in all, it seems that such developments might eventually affect both the Holy Land, with its Arab-Palestinian Christians, as well as the global Christian community.
Denial of the Holocaust in the Growing Distance to the Historic Event: Is There a Chance of Defense?
The memory of the Holocaust for the victims as well as for the majority of perpetrators is a source of mourning, shame, and guilt. There are many reasons why the genocide is denied and the historical facts belittled: one motive is defensiveness as a form of self-protection. In order to resist the unbearable feeling of belonging to a perpetrator society, and of being morally stigmatized, the crimes are negated, belittled, and compared with the atrocities of other nations. The second and third generations added new arguments to this motive of the first generation, which operated by resisting the supposed insinuation of a “collective guilt” for all Germans. Following the initial large efforts to explain and feel personally affected by the events, the past in the 1950s and 1960s was addressed with silence, with western societies making the topic taboo. Since the 1970s, there is throughout the world a new interest emerging that also clearly brings with it the danger of the Holocaust being used as a political instrument. With the distance to the events growing larger, the interest among young people (third generation) is modified. This is a natural process which can hardly be countered by moral arguments. If the legacy of the Holocaust as a guide to ethical behavior is to be preserved, it will be necessary to convey knowledge of it without an ethical appeal.
Robert S. Wistrich
Historical “Revisionism”: A Contemporary Form of Antisemitism
this paper I propose to examine the origins, development, causes, and impact
of “Holocaust denial” during the past fifty years, especially in France,
Germany, Britain, and the United States. I will analyze both “hard” and
“soft” forms of denial, the overtly Nazi and racist “revisionists,” those
who claim to be pursuing an unwelcome “truth,” or an alternative and “scientific”
explanation for what happened to the Jews in World War II. In fact, the
self-styled historical “revisionists” seek to excise the murdered Jews
from history in the same way as the Nazis and other racist antisemites
once expelled living Jews from their midst. I shall seek to show how Holocaust
denial is indeed an extreme case of continuing the war against the Jews
beyond the grave. At the same time, its more insidious aspect lies precisely
in its claim to represent freedom of speech, the right to dissent, and
tolerance against the monopolistic tyranny of a new “Holocaust religion.”
How One Persson Made the Difference: Swedish Reactions to the Deniers of the Holocaust in 1989 and 1999.
Radio Islam was a regional radio station in Stockholm, starting in 1987, and brought to trial two years later. It was probably the most vicious, anti-Jewish radio in Europe since World War II. Its themes were similar to antisemitic statements in major Nazi publications from the 1930s and 1940s: the Jews commit sexual crimes and murder; there is a Jewish world conspiracy; they try to poison other races; we must rid ourselves of Jewish power and terror, etc.
To unmask this radio station, the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism made transcripts of the broadcasts. We tried to make opinion makers condemn Ahmed Rami (the responsible editor) and convince the Chancellor of Justice to bring him to trial. But the indifference in Swedish society was striking — many journalists thought that Radio Islam just expressed solidarity with the Palestinians.
Before and during the long trial in 1989, the silence of leading politicians and newspapers told a sad story. Sweden did not recognize Nazi antisemitic propaganda when it reemerged. On the contrary, a number of well-known writers and others defended Radio Islam.
However, expert witnesses during the trial made it clear to the jury that Radio Islam was a Neo-Nazi station. Not least, the denial of the Holocaust made its intentions obvious. Hundreds of hours of denials of the Shoah dominated the broadcasts. Thus, both jury and judges found Radio Islam guilty of defamation. Its editor was sentenced to half a year in prison.
That trial was the turning point. Gradually, journalists and politicians started to understand that a Neo-Nazi station had hit Stockholm; the debate increased the consciousness in the mass media about anti-Jewish agitation.
In June 1997, a new prime minister, Göran Persson, read an opinion poll on the ignorance about the Holocaust among many Swedish school pupils. He launched an extensive education program regarding the Shoah. The book Tel ye your Children… was the core of the project. To date, one million books have been printed and distributed in Swedish, and in a number of immigrant languages.
In May 1998, Mr. Persson also took the initiative to a broad international cooperation in intensifying educational projects about the Holocaust. The task force, led by representatives of the Swedish, British, U.S., German, and Israeli governments, have planned an ambitious program, which will be discussed and developed at an international conference in Stockholm in January 2000.
I discuss some of the reasons why Sweden in the period between 1989 and 1999 emerged from disgusting indifference to deep involvement in Holocaust education. the personal role and motives of Göran Persson tell us both the Zeitgeist and the possibility for one man to make a difference, when that man happens to be prime minister.
The Reception of the Denial of the Holocaust in France
In no other country has Holocaust denial aroused so much passion and public controversy as in France. The end of the 1970s marked the beginning of a number of lawsuits (in France — the “Faurisson Affair,” “Roques Affair,” and “Garaudy Affair”) which surfaced in regular succession. It is this uniquely French feature that I will address.
I will examine the different strategies of the intellectual world and media that oppose this movement. the strategies are multiple, more numerous than the players, and have varied throughout the period. The increase in power of the extreme Right, “Front National” profoundly modified the perception of the negationist phenomenon whether consciously or spontaneously. And we have also to take into account the media strategy of this small, but efficient, group.
Perhaps more important in such a subject is to put Holocaust denial at its correct level, its real importance. In this evaluation, history, politics, and memory are inextricably intermingled.
From Revisionism to Holocaust Denial: David Irving as a Case Study
Current literature dealing with Holocaust denial can be divided into two kinds: vulgar and unsophisticated antisemitic propaganda, and academic-style publications. The latter present a research methodology, primary sources, and a complete set of claims. Writers belonging to this camp usually do not deny that the Jews fell victim to persecution and that a large number of them died during the war. They do, ho, deny the existence of a sys, industrial plan of organized destruction which resulted in the death of six million Jews.
British journalist and historian David Irving is today on e of the most prominent representatives of this “academic” school of Holocaust denial. He arrived at the question of the destruction of the Jews as part of his revisionist writing on the Second World War, that he began to publish as early as the 1950s. He strove, in particular, to wage battle against Hitler’s demonic image in what he termed the “victor’s historiography,” while refraining from denying the extermination itself. His arguments against mainstream historiography were twofold: first, that the annihilation was perpetrated without Hitler’s knowledge; and second, the claim of relativity — the Allies, too, did not shy away from mass destruction. Toward the end of the 1980s, Irving’s attitude toward the question of the “Final Solution” began to be marked by growing extremism, with the adoption of a far more radical approach which doubted the veracity of the Holocaust.
This paper will focus on Irving’s transition from a revisionist approach, which sought to present a historical picture different from that commonly accepted in Second World War and Holocaust scholarship, to the espousal of views which questioned the uniqueness, and indeed the very historical veracity, of the Holocaust. It will endeavor to determine when and under what circumstances this transition occurred, and whether the views adopted by Irving in the late 1980s were immanent in his general historical concept and early historical writings.
The Felix Posen Bibliographical Project on Antisemitism
This paper will deal with the categorization of the material contained in the bibliographic database; questions which arose, such as defining antisemitism and designation of subjects (keywords), in the process of creating and maintaining the database; and how to use the database to access specific topics.
The Felix Posen Bibliographic Project of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, established in 1984, consists of an online database accessible through the Israel University Libraries Network in Israel, and through an independent web-site recently established by the Center on the Internet.
The project comprises an ongoing annotated bibliography, listing material from 1984 to the present, edited by myself, and a retrospective bibliography listing material published prior to 1984 (now covering the years 1965–1983), edited by Sylviane Stampfer. These databases together now contain over 28,000 items.
The Project has also produced 11 volumes of the bibliography in a printed version (published by K. G. Saur, Munich), covering the years 1984–1995.
Our long-term goal is to compile a comprehensive listing of all the works about antisemitism printed in the last few centuries. Included in the bibliography are books, doctoral dissertations, masters' theses, and articles from periodicals and collections. It does not include newspaper articles, book reviews, works of fiction, or audio-visual materials. The works listed come from a wide range of disciplines — e.g., history, sociology, psychology, literature, art.
All works dealing with the Holocaust are included, as part of the history of antisemitism in the twentieth century. The subject of Holocaust denial will be discussed as an example of material available in the databases for the use of scholars, students, and the public.
The databases can be accessed on the Internet via:
http:/sicsa.huji.ac.il/ bibsear. html
of European Jews to Antisemitism
in the Immediate Postwar Period
Holocaust survivors often likened the situation of European Jewry in the aftermath of the defeat of Nazism to that of citizens of a country that had been devastated by an earthquake. With the notable example of British Jewry, which, though weakened by Nazi bombings of English cities, remained unscathed by the Final Solution itself, Jewish communities in Europe struggled with the awesome task of reconstruction. It was an effort that was burdened not only by physical devastation and the massive loss of population, but also by profoundly unsettling psychological fears that led many Jews to question the future of Jewish life in Europe.
Of particular concern was the continued onslaught of antisemitism. Though outright physical attacks were rare, if only because hooliganism had gained a certain opprobrium after the defeat of the Third Reich, Jews continued to face verbal attacks in the street and in the press. In general, the defeat of Nazi racism led to the reemergence of older, more traditional forms of anti-Jewish sentiment that stressed the religious and cultural dangers of continued Jewish presence. Hostility was often focussed on attempts by survivors to regain land and property that had been expropriated during the war. In other cases, antisemitism was directed against refugees who, liberated from Nazi concentration camps, now scattered throughout the continent in search of physical safety and economic security. In still other cases, anti-Jewish attacks were kindled by trials of Nazi war criminals and their collaborators in formerly-occupied countries.
The response of European Jewish communities to antisemitism was complex and varied. Differences were especially noticeable between communities in western and eastern Europe. For the most part, reconstituted communities on the Continent were either too small or too burdened with physical reconstruction to develop organized defenses on their own. The result was a tendency to rely upon postwar governments and international Jewish agencies for help. In some cases, such as those of France and England, the community was strong enough to create autonomous responses. In such cases, militant self-defense was often reinforced by the experiences of young Jews in resistance organizations during World War II and/or by the example of Israel’s War of Liberation.
present paper will focus on the Jewish response to antisemitism during
the first four years after the defeat of Nazism. It will also examine the
impact of the rise of antisemitism upon the postwar debate within European
Jewry over its continued existence as a viable community in the Diaspora.
Special attention will be paid to British and French Jewry, which developed
the most sophisticated responses among the communities of Europe.
Patterns of Jewish Response to Antisemitism
Since 1945, antisemitism in Western countries has been characterized by a cyclical alternation of periods of resurgence (the 1959–1960 wave, the wave at the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, and the wave at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s), and periods of decline.
Having for different reasons failed to grasp the recurrent nature of the phenomenon, Jewish reactions have oscillated between two extreme poles. One the one hand, there are those who incline to underestimate any sign or manifestation of renewed hostility toward Jews, by making use of a wide range of what can be termed as “systems of securization.” And on the opposite hand, there are those who tend to overreact to any sign of antisemitism, by promoting a rhetoric of dramatization and combat. Both attitudes make wide use of the Holocaust. The first, by exploiting it as the ultimate proof for their claim that there is no antisemitism today: how can you compare the desecration of a few synagogues and Jewish cemeteries to the mass murder of six million Jews? The second, by wielding the Holocaust as a powerful means of mobilizing both Jews and non-Jews alike against the threatening and imminent return of Hitler and his gang.
This paper will also deal with the critical function played by the myth of Jewish passivity against antisemitism during the 1920s and 1930s. This myth is indeed a structural feature in post-Holocaust perceptions of past and present antisemitism.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: The Lie that Wouldn’t Die
In the “coffee-table book” edition of the British Museum exhibition of 1990 named “?,” they say: “In the musée noir oliterary fraud few works have deserved greater notoriety than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Marking a full century since the creation of this preposterous fabrication, we may be justified in noting that no other proven forgery has survived with such immunity, has enjoyed such world-wide distribution, has been so cynically used for sinister purposes, and has done so much damage, as these so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Of all the libels that have served as a means of incitement against Jews and as intellectual justification for antisemitism, the myth of a Jewish conspiracy to gain domination of the whole world is probably the most devious and, in the long run, the most dangerous.
Although this document has been pronounced a forgery and a plagiarism not only by courts of law in many countries, but also by world-famous experts and by political institutions (including a special committee of the U.S. Senate), it is being re-published and distributed around the world, displayed in bookstores and openly sold and quoted as authentic.
This is, first and foremost, a political document, and it has been successfully used as such to set the Jews up as scapegoats for every calamity that has befallen the world for the last century. Thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of Jews, have died because of this infamous forgery, and Hitler used it as a manual in his own plan to dominate the world and in his justification for exterminating the Jews.
The Elders of Zion has become a universal code-word to describe various phenomena of Jewish presence and influence on the world scene, at best, and the so-called Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world, at worst. It has been used, and is used to this day, not only by racists, but also by unscrupulous politicians to explain various disasters, from wars, economic crises, unemployment, and even the Aids virus. As the Protocols describe a criminal conspiracy planned and executed by a so-called “Jewish World Government,” they can be, and actually are, used in countries without Jews.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the Protocols have taken on new meaning, by their transformation into an anti-Zionist weapon, used by the Arab world to discredit the Zionist movement, and expose the State of Israel as a phase in the implementation of the Jewish plan of world domination.
I propose to argue that it is impossible to understand antisemitism in the twentieth century, and to combat it, without studying in detail the history of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, their origin, their world-wide distribution, and the impressive but futile attempts to discredit them.
is much controversy whether antisemitism can, and should, be fought by
legal means. In this context, I shall describe the important trials that
were held throughout the century in various countries, and I propose to
discuss whether a proven forgery deserves to be protected by freedom of
Struggling against Racism and Antisemitism — The Legal Approach
In my lecture I will try to present the post–World War II approach to racism and antisemitism. This new approach seeks to dissociate racist and antisemitic speech from the general framework of freedom of speech.
attempt has been done at various levels: at the constitutional and political
level (exclusion of certain parties), and at the criminal level (prohibition
of racist or antisemitic speech). It also involves denial of the Holocaust.
I will present the main issues and look at them in various countries.
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