ACTA: ANALYSIS OF CURRENT TRENDS IN ANTISEMITISM
ABSTRACTS OF OCCASIONAL PAPERS
Dymerskaya-Tsigelman, Liudmila; Finberg, Leonid: Antisemitism of the Ukrainian Radical Nationalists: Ideology and Policy. Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1999. ?? pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 14)
The political parties and movements of the post-Soviet Ukraine developed their platforms during perestroika, when the processes that led to the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union were unleashed. Both antisemitism and opposition to it became tools in a fierce ideological and political struggle. In contrast to Russia, which remains an epicenter of antisemitic activity, the Ukraine after its proclamation of independence has experienced it much less: anti-antisemitic activities have been much stronger, initiated by Ukrainian intellectuals whose goal was the establishment of a democratic Ukrainian state. The government establishment drew on the views of the democrats to contrast its own policy toward the Jews with that of the state antisemitism of the now-defunct Soviet regime, as well as the tactical policy of non-resistance to the evil of antisemitism by the leadership of the USSR during perestroika, and of Russia in the post-Communist era. At the same time, the state of crisis in Ukraine facilitated the establishment of extreme nationalist organizations. Before 1992 these groups resorted to antisemitism only sporadically, but since that time it has been increasingly exploited as an ideological tool for expressing opposition to democracy—traditionally identified with the West and with Jews. The extremists seek to establish a Ukrainian ethnocracy (natsiokratiia), modeled on the formerly fascist regimes of Germany and Italy. In the footsteps of both “old” and “new” rightists in Russia and the West, the Ukrainian extreme nationalists have created their own version of the Aryan myth in which the Ukrainian nation is seen as the “progenitor of the Indo-European race.” Its destiny is to become a superpower that will lead the Aryan world in fighting the forces of evil and destruction, behind which hide the Jews bent on world domination. Extreme nationalist organizations comprise a growing segment of the political spectrum in Ukraine today, though still of little significance. The extent of their impact will depend on the degree of future destabilization of society as a result of social, economic, and political considerations, as well as other developments in the post-Communist world.
Epstein, Simon (Simcha): Extreme Right Electoral Upsurges in Western Europe: The 1984-1995 Wave as Compared with the Previous Ones. Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1996. 29 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 8).
Since 1984, the extreme Right has made a prominent reappearance in West European political life. Various countries' electoral results, while definitely not indicative of a devastating landslide, are nevertheless sufficient to worry observers. Taken together they represent a wave which must be perceived as a whole, over and beyond characteristics specific to each country. Such a wave must be evaluated in terms of its dynamics (is it on the wane, or on the upturn?) and measured in terms of its intensity: what are the implications of the percentage of the votes won by the various parties compared with the results of past European electoral history? In any attempt to answer these questions, we must first describe the phenomenon, and then go back in time, in order to extract the information necessary to locate the current upsurge on the historical continuum.
Epstein, Simon (Simcha): Cyclical Patterns in Antisemitism: The Dynamics of Anti-Jewish Violence in Western Countries since the 1950s. Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1993. 27 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 2).
Traces the fluctuations of intensity of antisemitic incidents over the past thirty years, as recorded in Western Europe, the U.S., and Latin America, tending to follow general cyclical patterns. There were three main waves of anti-Jewish violence: the "Swastika Epidemic" (1959-60), the late 1970s- early 1980s, and between 1987-early 1990s. Compares the antisemitic waves with the figures of the ethnic and general crime rate of the same period, as well as with the spiral of economic crisis in Western Europe, concluding that there is only a partial correlation between these phenomena. The waves of antisemitic violence are governed rather by some autonomous laws, justifying a quantitative as well as a qualitative methodological approach.
Friedgut, Theodore H.: Antisemitism and Its Opponents: Reflections in the Russian Press, from Perestroika until the Present. Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1994. 14 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 3).
Analyzes the social groups in Russian society which are generating expressions of antisemitism (a section of the Russian intelligentsia, military circles, neo-communists, newly emerged nationalist groups), the major varieties and the techniques of their expression. Shows that the scope of present-day Russian antisemitism is limited, although not negligible. Notes that in the perestroika period it became possible to discuss antisemitism openly in the Russian press. Another novelty was the phenomenon of the judicial system becoming involved in cases in which antisemitism was the central issue. DR
Herzog, Herta: The Jews as "Others": On Communicative Aspects of Antisemitism: A Pilot Study in Austria. Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1994. 30 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 4).
The study, based on eighty test interviews, describes the present grass- roots image of Jews, the perception of Jewish "otherness" by the average Austrian, and the spread of old and new antisemitism stereotypes. The findings point to th conclusion that the image of Jews held by older Austrians has been passed on to the younger generation. The contemporary image contains a marked religious component, but without reference to deicide or ritual murder accusations. The were no specific questions concerning the Holocaust, but the topic arose spontaneously, revealing the common tendency for denying responsibility, and accusing Jews of being unwilling to let go of the past.
Kovács, András: Antisemitic Prejudices in Contemporary Hungary. Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1999. 50 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 16).
In March 1995 we conducted a survey on the tenacity and strength of antisemitic prejudice in Hungary. 1500 personal interviews were carried out, which were based on a standardized questionnaire and each lasting about 60 minutes. The group surveyed was representative of the Hungarian adult population (aged over 18 years) in terms of gender, age, place of residence, and level of education. The primary aim of the study was to measure the extent and strenght of antisemitic prejudice and to give a causal explanation for the presence of antisemitic views in the Hungarian society.
According to the results of our examination, 29% of the Hungarian adult population is non-antisemitic, 25% antisemitic, and 32% accept some of the economic stereotypes formed over the centuries about the Jews without these stereotypes being accompanied by any particular antisemitic feeling. The attitudes of a further 14% cannot be measured owing to the high number of missing responses; given the indifference, this group is also to be classed among the non-antisemites.
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. Apart from the place of residence,
other social-demographic variables do not directly correlate with antisemitic
prejudice. Age, education, and disposable economic-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 economic-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 particularly strengthen 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.
Kowner, Rotem: On Ignorance, Respect and Suspicion: Current Japanese Attitudes toward Jews. Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1997. 53 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 11).
Japan represents a special case in the research on
attitudes toward Jews in modern times, for Japanese-Jewish discourse was set forth only after Japan had been forced to open
its ports in 1854. The first outburst of anti-Jewish race hatred in Japan occurred with the outbreak of the Pacific War in
1941. In the latter half of the 1980s there was a resurrection of negative Jewish images as a new wave of antisemitic writings
The present research attempts to evaluate current Japanese attitudes toward Jews, as reflected in indicators such as stereotypes, social distance, and their general assessment of the Jews. In addition, it sought to investigate the relations between knowledge and exposure to information about Jews, and attitudes toward them. The study included three surveys and the research population consisted of 639 Japanese university students.
The first survey examined representative stereotypes of six national/ethnic groups, and the results indicated the existence of a rather positive image of Jews. This image contains solid perceptions of the Jews as industrious, competent, and strong-minded people, but also as somewhat unstable and insular people. Among the five outgroups examined, Jews were perceived as the group most similar to the Japanese. The second survey further investigated stereotypes of Jews, and revealed a more complex image which also contains definite negative aspects. Respondents who had greaterknowledge and exposure to information about Jews expressed more positive stereotypes of them. The third survey examined attitudes toward Jews and indicated the existence of suspicion and fear of Jews as individuals as compared with Westerners and foreigners. These attitudes are particularly evident with regard to contact with Jews.
Based on these findings, this work attempts to analyze current reasons behind Japanese attitudes toward Jews and suggests ways of changing these attitudes.
Levy, Shlomit: Israeli Jews' Perceptions of Antisemitism. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 1996. 38 pp. (Anaysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 10).
This article discusses Israeli Jews’ attitudes and reactions to antisemitism.
It is based on a study carried out in 1993, which is in part a follow-up
research conducted in 1985. The topics investigated included possible factors
in the development of antisemitism, expressions of antisemitism in Israel
and throughout the world, the dangers that antisemitism poses to the future
of the Jews in various countries around the world, and the State of Israel’s
place in reducing antisemitism. The research population comprises Jewish
adults, twenty years of age and over, residing in Israel (excluding kibbutzim).
The majority of Israeli Jews are involved in the problem of antisemitism.
Israeli Jews believe that antisemitism endangers most Jewish communities
in the world, including their own country — Israel. Even though no change
has occurred between 1985 and 1993 in the assessment of the situation of
antisemitism, there is an increasing trend to relate antisemitism to anti-Israeli
and anti-Zionist expressions. A marked drop occurred in the phenomenon of
“self-blame” among Israeli Jews, expressed by the fact that fewer respondents
“blame” Jews for the development of antisemitism, and slightly more respondents
“blame” non-Jews for the development of antisemitism. However, despite the
decline in “self-blame” for antisemitism, a considerable proportion of Israeli
Jews still continue to endorse this view. A distinction was made between
positive and negative characteristics of “the Jew”. Most Israeli Jews espouse
positive aspects of the image of the Jew, and only a minority agree with
generalizations about Jews’ negative traits or provocative behavior. These
findings coincide to some extent with the image of the Jew as perceived by
many non-Jews in this century; i.e., the Jew “with the brains and power to
control” various areas of life constitute a threat to the majority. Hence,
even the positive characteristics of the Jew contribute to the arousal of
antisemitism. The greater the adherence to religious tradition, the greater
the agreement with positive images of Jews, and the smaller the agreement
with negative images of Jews. Other social background variables are practically
not correlated with the perception of the Jewish stereotype.
As in 1985, also in 1993 there is a division of views on Israel’s contribution to weakening antisemitism, but a large majority think that the existence of Israel has strengthened Diaspora Jews’ ability to resist antisemitism.
Margalit, Gilad: Antigypsyism in the Political Culture of the Federal
Republic of Germany: A Parallel with Antisemitism?
Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the
Study of Antisemitism, 1996. 29 pp. (Anaysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism,
Analyzes the recent wave of ethnic hatred directed against Romanies (Gypsies), in the political culture of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). This ethnic hatred is designated here as antigypsyism. Differences and similarities between contemporary antigypsyism, antisemitism, and xenophobia are discussed, with a preliminary survey of antigypsy patterns, and its various manifestations since 1945.
Perdurant, Daniel: Antisemitism in Contemporary Greek Society. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 1995. 21 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 7).
Examines antisemitism in various aspects of Greek society in the 1980s and early 1990s. Regarding religious antisemitism, the official position of the Orthodox Church recognizes Judaism's contribution to Christianity and condemns antisemitism, but some in the Church exhibit anti-Jewish sentiments, hiding behind opposition to Zionists and Chiliasts (Jehovah's Witnesses). Greeks often confuse the terms Israelis, Zionists, and Jews. Discusses issues such as antisemitic texts in government schoolbooks, legislation against racial discrimination (which has rarely been enforced), political antisemitism expressed on occasion by the socialist PASOK party and by the Communist party, extreme right and terrorist organizations [e.g. ENEK (United Nationalist Movement), Ethniko Metopo (National Front), Chrysi Avghi (Golden Dawn)], antisemitic press and literature, and antisemitic incidents. The most common way of dealing with antisemitism in Greece is denial of its existence. SSC
Rodríguez Jiménez, José L.: Antisemitism and the Extreme Right in Spain (1962–1997). Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 1999. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 15)
This article surveys the origins of political antisemitism in Spain. Hostility toward Jews was particularly virulent during the Middle Ages, and reached its high point with the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Afterwards, it affected Jews who had converted to Christianity, and took on a racist content with the “purity of blood” statutes. Yet it was even then a prejudice with no relation to an actual Jewish community in Spain. In the twentieth century, the Spanish version of the “conspiracy theory” was inherited from the nationalist Catholic tradition, based on the conception of an imaginary “internal enemy” plotting the downfall of the Catholic religion and the traditional social order. The opponent is not a political organization, but rather some strange entity, which, by means of “revolutionary war” and “subversive agitation” attempts to destroy the overnment and the nation. From the end of the nineteenth century, Jews, along with freemasons, have been perceived as the conspirators. Alongside this is the notion of a universal Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Following the success of the Soviet revolution and the founding of the Spanish Communist Party, such “anti-Spanish forces” were primarily identified with the “corrosive communist virus,” often considered to be guided by the Jews. For the most part, political antisemitism has not been a central issue for the Spanish extreme Right, and it had only minor importance in Spanish fascism. However, the alliance between Franco’s faction and Nazi Germany during the Spanish Civil War opened the way for the emergence of racist antisemitism in the Spanish Right. It was during the 1960s that the first Spanish neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups appeared, the principal one being CEDADE. Later on, the Spanish neo-Nazis attempted to use antisemitic discourse to explain the political transition to democracy (1976–1982) following the death of General Franco. It drew on the same ideas that had been expressed in 1931 when the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed — that political turning points could be explained as the result of various “intrigues.” This article thus focuses on the transition to democracy, the use of the “conspiracy theory”; antisemitic discourse; the cultural infiltration of neo-Nazism through various publications; the relationship between neo-Nazis and the “New Right”; the “affair Friedman”; and the Friends of Léon Degrelle Society.
Rubin, Barry: The PLO - between Anti-Zionism & Antisemitism: Background and Recent Developments. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 1993. 37 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 1).
Explores how the PLO's attitude toward Jews and antisemitism has affected
its strategy, ideology, and behavior, from the 1960s to the present. Among
the sources of its doctrine on this issue mentions Islamic tradition, imported
elements of European antisemitism, and Marxism. Remarks that the PLO's had
a problem in finding ways to delegitimize Israel while not being discredited
in the West as antisemitic. Israel was portrayed as a creation of Western
imperialism, rather than as an expression of Jewish nationalism. The PLO
used these arguments - along with negative stereotypes of Jews from Arab and
Islamic history - to insist that Israel was doomed to collapse. While there
have been notable changes in PLO ideology over the past few years, significant
misconceptions remain. LV
Laslo Sekelj: Antisemitism and Jewish Identity in Serbia after the 1991 Collapse of the Yugoslav State. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 1998. 21 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 12).
First describes the Jewish community in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
which consists of
the two federal units of Serbia and Montenegro. There is no Jewish community
in Montenegro; only a few Jews have ever lived there. In Serbia there are
only 3,500 Jews in nine local communities affiliated with the Federation
of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia. Jewish identity is a voluntary ethnic
self-identification; some members of these communities are not of Jewish
origin, but have integrated into the community through their marriage ties.
The paper then focuses on the heritage of antisemitism in Serbia. After 1945,
i.e., from the time Communists came into power until the final disintegration
of the Yugoslav state, one may distinguish three stages: 1945–1967, a period
characterized by no public display of antisemitism; 1967–1988, in which
antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism; and 1988–1991, which saw the process
of "republicanization" and functionalization of Jews. The paper describes
the re-emergence of traditional antisemitism in Serbia since 1991, and the
misuse of Jews for the Serbian nationalistic agenda as part of the post-communist
development in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Concluded that antisemitism
in post-communist Yugoslavia, although peripheral, is a constant phenomenon.
Tadmor-Shimony, Tali: Antisemitism on the Information Superhighway: A Case Study of a UseNet Discussion Group. Jerusalem: The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1995. 19 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 5).
"Antisemitic propaganda is becoming more sophisticated not only in its
argumentation but also in its means of dissemination. The information superhighway
-- specifically, discussion groups that are part of the UseNet system -- is
one of the newest high-tech media for such propaganda. This article examines
the various types of antisemitic entries on the UseNet system and the responses
they provoke. To date, antisemitic propaganda appears to have been largely
unsuccessful, mainly because of the sophistication of the UseNet audience.
However, given the systems rapidly growing base of subscribers (now estimated
in the millions) and the virtually unrestricted format of many discussion
groups, it is likely that such propaganda will become far more pervasive."
Volovici, Leon: Antisemitism in Post-Communist Eastern Europe: A Marginal or Central Issue? Jerusalem: The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1994. 30 pp. Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 5.
Surveys on present trends of post-Communist antisemitism in Eastern Europe
reveal contradictory images of the weight and significance of current anti-
Jewish manifestations and rhetoric. An evaluation of the main themes of the
present antisemitic discourse points to the predominance of irrational myths
- the "Jewish (or Israeli) conspiracy" and world-wide "Jewish power." In
addition, the public debate on the Holocaust and collective responsibility
for crimes against the local Jewish population has had a significant impact
on public discourse. Questions of national identity, a tendency towards
historical distortion and mystification, and the propagandistic accusation
of "Jewish guilt" for the former repressive communist regimes form another
area of contention which leads to anti- Jewish manifestations. The reproduction
and spread of antisemitic motifs is found mainly in political discourse.
In order to understand whether antisemitic political groups are central or
marginal, it is necessary to consider the degree of their acceptance or
support by mainstream political forces, direct or insidious forms of legitimation
for them, as well as the force of the antisemitic tradition, and the amplitude
of public or official reactions against either the vulgar or the sophisticated
expressions of antisemitism.
Nordbruch, Goetz: The Socio-Historical Background of Holocaust Denial in Arab Countries, Reactions to Roger Garaudy's "The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics", Jerusalem: The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2001. 27 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 17).
Historical revisionism and Holocaust denial are widely encountered in Arab countries. References to the Holocaust as a “Zionist myth” are continuously expressed in public discourse, coming to a height in 1996 when numerous articles were published about Roger Garaudy’s book, The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics. Articles denying the historical reality of German crimes against the Jews during the Nazi period are often regarded as mere “curiosities” and explained away as being merely an instrument used to delegitimize the existence of the State of Israel. This paper reconsiders that assumption. Given the presence and vigor of Holocaust denial in the Arab media, an analysis of the reactions to Garaudy’s book can reveal some of the farreaching social and historical origins of Holocaust denial. Irrespective of its function within specific social conflicts, the dissemination of antisemitic codes — which includes Holocaust denial — has to be explained within the context of more general ideological developments. This study, therefore, provides new approaches to the analysis of the elements of Arab antisemitism through tracing antisemitic thought back to its socio-historical interaction with Islam, nationalism, and contemporary Islamist thought, reviewing both content and cause. This way, the origins of anti-Jewish expressions in Arab public discourse can be concretized.
Peri, Anat: Jö rg Haider's Antisemitism. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 2001. 35 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 18).
Haider's antisemitism is a typical example of postwar antisemitism in the German-Austrian cultural sphere. Haider, born after the war to parents who were both ardent Nazis, identifies deeply with his parents and their generation, and sees them as victims. Thus, relativization of the Holocaust lies t the core of his antisemitic views. He equates the Nazi mass murder of the Jews with Stalinist purges, expulsions of Germans from Eastern Europe after the war, etc. He often uses the strategy of comparing Jews to Nazis. In his public statements, Haider has attacked the "pretend Holocaust survivors" Ignaz Bubis and Robert Jungk as admirers of the Third Reich and collaborators with the Nazis. On the other hand, he praises "honest Jews" (e.g. Kreisky and Peter Sichrovsky) who make anti-Jewish pronouncements, and denounces "treacherous Austrians" (e.g. Anton Pelinka) who cooperate with Jews against Austria. In order to camouflage his antisemitism, Haider uses coded language, in which many terms (e.g. international, cosmopolitan) actually refer to Jews.
Michael Shafir: Between Denial and "Comparative Trivialization": Holocaust
Negationism in Post-Communist East Central Europe. Jerusalem, SICSA, 2002,
83 pp. (Analysis of Current
Trends in Antisemitism, 19).
Holocaust denial in post-Communist East Central Europe is a fact. And, like most facts, its shades are many. Sometimes, denial comes in explicit forms—visible and universally-aggressive. At other times, however, it is implicit rather than explicit, particularistic rather than universal, defensive rather than aggressive. And between these two poles, the spectrum is large enough to allow for a large variety of forms, some of which may escape the eye of all but the most versatile connoisseurs of country-specific history, culture, or immediate political environment. In other words, Holocaust denial in the region ranges from sheer emulation of negationism elsewhere in the world to regional-specific forms of collective defense of national "historic memory" and to merely banal, indeed sometime cynical, attempts at the utilitarian exploitation of an immediate political context.
The paradox of Holocaust negation in East Central Europe is that, alas, this is neither "good" nor "bad" for the Jews. But it is an important part of the quo vadis transitional equation. If under the Communist regime "antisemitism without Jews" (Lendvai 1971) was part and parcel of the of the non-optional pseudo-offer of monopolistic regimes, post-Communist East Central Europe remains "without Jews" but is no longer "without offer." Ideologies and politicians compete in a relatively free political market; there is no longer one history but several, and here, too, the offer is competitive. Last but not least, literati are also relatively free to "offer" their vision of past, present, and future. Attitudes towards the Holocaust will not directly determine the region's outlook. But they may do so indirectly, insofar as facing collective responsibility is part of any "democratic game."
Criminal responsibility, however, can never be collective. Though looming large in post-Communist East Central Europe, suspicions of an intended "collective incrimination" speak more of personal options than they speak of collective apprehensions. In a free society, choice is personal, but its outcome is collective. It is in this sense—and this sense alone—that Holocaust negation in the region is value-ridden. And those who "produce values," and offer them on the newly-established competitive market are politicians and intellectuals, sometimes working in tandem, at other times at odds.
The argument can be made that there is nothing specifically "East-Central European" about that. Indeed, that argument should be made. However, what is specific about the region is its former Communist legacy. And this collective legacy partly facilitates, partly explains, and to a certain extent even exonerates Holocaust denial and its "comparative trivialization."
In what follows, I shall, first, examine the Communist legacy of "organized forgetting" and its impact on post-Communist attitudes of denying the Holocaust; second, I shall separately scrutinize three Holocaust-denying postures ("outright," "deflective," and "selective"), before proceeding, in the last section of the study, to examine the specific East Central European aspects of "Holocaust comparative trivialization." These distinctions should be viewed as being above all generic, rather than being mutually exclusive. Each of these (largely heuristic) categories belongs to the larger "family" of Holocaust denying, but they are different in terms of intensity, scope, or basic motivation. Mobility from one category to the other (or back) is by no means impossible. In fact, it is rather common. As Pierre Vidal-Naquet put it when he stood up against the so-called Holocaust "revisionists": "there is more than one room in the revisionist house" (Vidal-Naquet 1992, 18). And people do move from room to room, one should add.
Yaakov Ariel: Philosemites or Antisemites?: Evangelical Christian
Attitudes toward Jews, Judaism, and the State of Israel.
Jerusalem, SICSA, 2002, 49 pp.
(Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 20).
The outlook of evangelical Christians toward Jews is the most complex and ambivalent of all Christian, and non-Christian, attitudes toward Jews in the modern era. Motivated by a literal reading of the Bible, and adhering to a messianic faith, many evangelical Christians view contemporary Jews as heirs to biblical Israel and the object of prophecies about a restored Davidic kingdom in the messianic age. At the same time, evangelical Christians insist that only those persons who are “born again in Christ” can be saved and promised eternal life. As the Jews have not accepted Jesus, they are spiritually and morally deprived. This dualistic view of the Jews forms the basis for the complex and at times contradictory evangelical views on the Jewish people.
Evangelical opinions of Jews can be unflattering at times. Negative stereotypes have found their way time and again into the writings and speeches of leading evangelists. Convinced that the Jews are in urgent need of the ameliorating Gospel and cannot be saved or reformed unless they accept Jesus as their Savior, evangelicals have carried out extensive missionary work among the Jews.
At the same time, evangelical Christians have been counted among Israel’s most ardent friends. Following the Six Day War in 1967, evangelical Christians became convinced that the State of Israel serves a crucial role in preparing the ground for the arrival of the messianic age. They have been active supporters of that country, taking a major part in the pro-Israel lobby in America. Some evangelicals have tried to help Jews rebuild the Temple.
In the final analysis, evangelical attitudes toward Jews cannot be defined as either philosemitic or antisemitic. Rather, their attitudes represent the evangelical theology, which is biblical, messianic, and evangelistic in its nature.
Joanna Michlic: Coming to Terms with the "Dark Past": The Polish Debate about the Jedwabne Massacre. Jerusalem, SICSA, 2002, 43 pp. (Analyisis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 21)
The debate about Jan Tomasz Gross’s Neighbors (2000) in which the author gave a detailed description of the collective murder of the Jewish community of Jedwabne by its ethnic Polish neighbors on July 10, 1941, has been the most important and longest-lasting in post-communist Poland. The publication of Neighbors raised important issues such as the rewriting of the history of Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War, of modern national history, and the reevaluation of the collective self-image of Poles themselves as having been solely victims. The article places the discussion within the context of two approaches to the collective past—first, the self-critical approach that challenges the old, biased representation of Polish-Jewish relations and the Polish self-image as victims; and second, the defensive approach that seeks to maintain the older representations of Polish-Jewish relations and the Polish self-image. A general description of the debate is presented, followed by an analysis of its various stages and dynamics. The conduct of the investigation by the Institute of National Memory (IPN) into the Jedwabne massacre and the official commemoration on the sixtieth anniversary of the crime are two crucial events that demonstrate that important segments of the Polish political and cultural elite are capable of overcoming its dark past. At the same time, reactions of the right-wing nationalist political and cultural elites and their supporters reveal that the defensive approach continues to exert influence in public life. Only time will tell if this latter phenomenon will become marginal.
Jovan Byford: From "Traitor" to "Saint": Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović in Serbian Public Memory. Jerusalem, SICSA, 2004, 41 pp. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 22)
The paper explores the political rehabilitation, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, of the recently-canonized Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović, a controversial early 20th-century Serbian Orthodox Christian philosopher who, having been vilified by the communist authorities as a “Nazi collaborator,” “antisemite” and “Fascist,” is today revered by the majority of Orthodox Serbs as the greatest Serbian religious figure since medieval times. The rehabilitation of Nikolaj Velimirović will be shown to have involved continual suppression and sidelining of a number of controversial aspects of his biography, most of which are related to his antisemitic views and right-wing political activism in the 1930s and 1940s. Drawing on the work of Irwin-Zarecka (1994) and Michael Billig (1997a, 1999a, 1999b), it will be suggested that embarrassing aspects of the bishop’s life were “repressed” by substituting a “replacement myth”—namely the portrayal of Velimirović as a martyr and a victim of Nazi persecution. A look at specific rhetorical and discursive dynamics demonstrates how the transformation from traitor to saint took place.
Robert Wistrich: The Politics of Ressentiment: Israel, Jews and the German Media, Jerusalem, SICSA, 2004, 37 pgs. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 23)
Contemporary expressions of Judeophobia—in Germany, as elsewhere in Europe—contain a potentially explosive mix of traditional and newer forms of antisemitism. Since 9/11, and especially in the wake of the Iraq war, anti-Americanism has been a potent factor in envenoming hostile attitudes to Israel and the Jews—as alleged architects of the war, and “aggressors” in the Middle East. Conspiracy theories, with an antisemitic subtext, have flourished on the Left and in the mainstream media, as well as on the far Right. One-sided representations of the Middle East conflict, downplaying Palestinian terrorism, the threat posed by radical Islam and the genocidal antisemitism rampant in the Muslim and Arab media—while highlighting Israeli counter-violence as gratuitous sadism—have contributed to fostering anti-Jewish feelings. “Anti-Sharonism” has been widely used as a cover to present Israel as a “criminal” state in its essence.
Such commentaries reinforce long-standing and widespread anti-Jewish stereotypes, revealed by surveys of German public opinion over the years—especially those related to Jewish money, power, and exploitative “abuse” of the Holocaust. Much of contemporary German antisemitism can best be understood as a form of ressentiment against constant reminders of the Nazi past and the desire to reverse the roles, to turn Israelis/Jews into “perpetrators” and Germans into “victims.”
Georges Bensoussan: Antisemitism in French Schools: Turmoil of a Republic, Jerusalem, SICSA, 2004, 46 pgs. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 24)
Antisemitism in French schools and universities has reached a worrying level. Its more spectacular manifestations are an increasing physical and verbal violence against Jewish pupils, as well as an unbearable pressure exerted upon teachers who try to lecture about the Shoah and the Second World War.
The phenomenon is deeply-rooted and not essentially limited to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Antisemitism in French schools is symptomatic of a social and identity crisis which may endanger the Republic and its fundamental values.
This paper explores the nature of Holocaust denial in Australia. It does so through a study of the beliefs and activities of the three organizations for whom Holocaust denial is a central belief: the Australian League of Rights, the Australian Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Adelaide Institute. Their activities, their international ties, and their relationship with the broader racist Right in Australia is considered. The paper concludes by reflecting on the future directions and responses to Holocaust denial.
Shimon Kreiz: Stereotypes of Jews and Israel in Russian Detective Fiction, Jerusalem, SICSA, 2005, 54 pgs. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 26)
Detective fiction has become enormously popular in Russia over the past decade. Although primarily intended as entertainment, these stories may also contain messages about current events and the reader can be influenced more than he would by a newspaper editorial or op-ed, since it is generally understand that those articles are meant to be read critically. When reading detective stories, the reader focuses on the question of “whodunit” and how the perpetrator will be caught, rather than on any political or moral message, and thus, may absorb such messages without examining them.
After a survey of historical images of and attitudes toward the Jews and Israel, we examine some of the recent works of the authors Alexandra Marinina, P. Dashkova, Friedrich Neznanski, Changiz Abdulaev, and Boris Akunin.
Though many of the Jewish characters in these novels are portrayed sympathetically, it is clear that the authors draw on both earlier and more recent stereotypes of Jews and images of the state of Israel.
Gershon Nerel: Anti-Zionism in the “Electronic Church” of Palestinian Christianity, Jerusalem, SICSA, 2006, 50 pgs. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 27)
The establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, and the parallel emergence of a Palestinian entity, continuously affects the theological outlook of the Church vis-à-vis Israel and Palestinian Christians. Arab Christians of various denominations reproduce the anti-Israel theology that originated in the historic churches. When leading Palestinian prelates shape their identity, they infuse their antagonistic interpretations into the Bible, comprising Old and New Testaments. Arab Christians frequently refer to Church History as it unfolded during the past two millennia in order to lay claims for their particularistic theologies and national positions.
Palestinian Christians closely link theology and the geopolitical reality. They claim historic rights with legal recognition, rooted in a “Palestinian gospel.” In fact, they validate their views using the biblical narrative. Authoritative clergymen among Palestinian Christians denounce contemporary Christian Zionism while opposing Israel through a systematic de-Judaization of the Bible.
Among the monotheistic religions of the Middle East, one does not merely discover a bilateral encounter between Judaism and Christianity, but rather a trilateral encounter between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. All three groups strongly express their ‘position on Israel’ either as identifiers or as opponents. Thus, for example, Palestinian Christians and Palestinian Muslims find a common interest in attacking Zionism, Israel, and the “Jewish Bible.”
The symbiosis between Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians currently evolves around confronting Christian Zionism as a “dangerous heresy.” Nowadays, anti-Zionism, anti-Israelism and antisemitism are the product of the dialectical nature of the relationship between Jewish History, Church History and Islamic History.
Leonardo Senkman: Democratization and Antisemitism in Argentina: An Assessment, Jerusalem, SICSA, 45 pgs. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 28)
This essay analyzes two concurrent processes that are taking place as democracy is restored in Argentina, and which affect the citizenship and self-confidence of the country’s Jews. The more pluralistic and democratic that Argentinean civil society becomes, the more unacceptable traditional antisemitism becomes, although it won’t disappear. At the same time, the more Jewish institutions in the public sphere participate in demanding justice after the two lethal terrorist attacks perpetrated in 1992 and 1994, the more they are valued and appreciated by non-Jews as citizens deeply involved in fighting for democracy and against impunity. This essay explores the effects of the tangled judicial investigation of both criminal attacks and the interplay between democracy, pluralism , impunity, and antisemitism in the last twenty years in democratic Argentina.
Itamar Radai: From Father to Son: Attitudes to Jews and Israel, in Asad's Syria, Jerusalem, SICSA, 38 pgs. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 29)
This research analyzes the perceptions, ideology and attitudes towards Jews, Judaism, and Israel in the Syrian public sphere under the regimes of the father and the son: Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad, presidents of Syria from 1970 to the present. During the years 1991–2000, Hafiz al-Asad negotiated a political settlement with his neighboring state of Israel, which did not materialize. The research focuses on this decade, and especially on the years since 2000 when Bashar al-Asad ascended to power following his father’s death. Did the years of negotiation with Israel change the attitude of the Syrian regime towards Jews and Judaism? Is there any difference in this regard between the regimes of Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad, and what are actually their positions? This research aims to answer those questions empirically by using a variety of primary sources: Syrian media, press, and official government declarations, and secondary sources on Syria and on antisemitism in the Arab and Islamic world.
Robert Solomon Wistrich: Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: The Case of Bruno Kreisky, Jerusalem, SICSA, 26 pgs. (Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 30)
In recent years radical forms of anti-Zionism have once more revived with a vengeance in Europe and other parts of the world. Since the hate-fest at the UN-sponsored Durban Conference of September 2001 against racism, the claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state which practices “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians has become particularly widespread. Such accusations are frequently heard today on European and North American campuses, in the media, the churches, among intellectuals and even among parts of the Western political elite. They have been given additional respectability in a polemical and tendentious book by former US President Jimmy Carter, one of the main architects of the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Agreement in 1979.
Unfortunately Israel finds itself pilloried today as a state based on racism, colonialism, apartheid and even “genocide”. These accusations are now much more widespread than in the mid 1970s when the United Nations passed its notorious resolution equating Zionism with racism. At the same time, Palestinian hostility to Zionism, the escalation of terrorism and open antisemitism in the wider Arab-Muslim world has been greatly envenomed. However the seeds of this development were already present thirty years ago and indeed go back as far as the 1920s.
What has changed is not so much the ideology but the fact that the culture of hatred among many Muslims has been greatly amplified by modern technologies and means of mass communication. Islamic fundamentalism and “holy war” have found an ever more fertile terrain in a backward, crisis-ridden Muslim world of Islamist jihad with anti-Americanism, hatred for Israel and continual media incitement steadily bringing the Middle East to the brink of the apocalypse.
Hence it is particularly important at the present time to understand the meaning and mobilizing power of “anti-Zionism” as well as its links to the Palestinian cause. At its heart lies the ideological negation of Jewish nationhood. However, one of the confusing factors in appreciating the discriminatory and dangerous consequences of this ideological anti-Zionism has been the prominent role played by Jewish intellectuals and political militants in its propagation. Jewish anti-Zionism has indeed a long pedigree. But since 1948 its implications have significantly changed. Today the implementation of its ideas would signify the dismantlement of a Jewish state which is home to more than five million Jews and a focal point of world-wide Jewish identity. Nonetheless, tensions in the relations between Judaism and Zionism, or concerning Israel and the Diaspora, the secular or religious foundations of Jewish identity, the role of the Left in promoting anti-Zionism (and/or antisemitism) and the Israel-Palestinian conflict stubbornly refuse to go away. On the contrary, these issues are once again hotly debated. Now, more than ever, they remain a source of contention among Jews and non-Jews alike.
In order to obtain a deeper historical perspective with regard to this debate it is especially illuminating to reexamine certain historical antecedents that go back to the 1970s. The political career of Bruno Kreisky, Austria’s Federal Chancellor between 1970 and 1983, provides an invaluable touchstone for such a discussion. He was the first Socialist and Jew to obtain such an exalted position in Austria; he was the only Jewish politician to ever rule a German-speaking nation, which he did, without ever losing an election. Kreisky proved in many respects to be a pioneer in forming European attitudes to the Palestinian Question. He was also one of the first statesmen to confront all the thorny questions relating to Zionism, antisemitism, the Holocaust and Jewish identity which still haunt us today. This ACTA reconstructs the contradictions, ambivalences and policy decisions which characterized Kreisky’s handling of these highly sensitive issues - an anti-Zionist approach which uncannily anticipated that which still prevails among much of the liberal and leftist intelligentsia in the Western world today.
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