T O P I C
CLICK BUTTON TO GO TO
Tel Aviv University Worldwide
Editors Note: Antisemitism - antagonism has a long history whose history has chnaged over time. For example Dr Henry Abrahamson in his video on Medieval Antisemitism defines four periods
The term ‘antisemiteism’ only appeared at the end of the nineteenth century (see Wilhelm Marr). Many have since used the term anti-judaica when writing about it earlier. Its evolution is discussed at The Evolution of Antisemitism)
WHAT DO WE NOW MEAN BY ANTISEMITISM ?
WHAT IS ANTISEMITISM?
In 2005, the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), now the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), adopted a “working definition of antisemitism” which has become the standard definition used around the world, including by the European Parliament, the UK College of Policing, the US Department of State, the US Senate, and the 31 countries comprising the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In 2016, the powerful House of Commons Home Affairs Committee joined Campaign Against Antisemitism’s longstanding call for the British government and its agencies, as well as all political parties, to formally adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism, following which the British government formally adopted the definition. Campaign Against Antisemitism also uses the International Definition of Antisemitism.
INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.
Manifestations might include the targeting of the State of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
EXPERT LEGAL OPINION ON ADOPTING THE DEFINITION
In July 2017, Campaign Against Antisemitism published the opinion of expert counsel on the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism. David Wolfson QC and Jeremy Brier, who acted for Campaign Against Antisemitism pro bono, drew up the nine-page opinion. The opinion includes a detailed assessment of the definition itself, considers the application of the definition in difficult cases, and contains useful advice for politicians and public bodies (such as universities) which are considering using the definition.
The opinion states that: “The Definition is a clear, meaningful and workable definition. The Definition is an important development in terms of identifying and preventing antisemitism, in particular in its modern and non-traditional forms, which often reach beyond simple expressions of hatred for Jews and instead refer to Jewish people and Jewish associations in highly derogatory, veiled terms (e.g. ‘Zio’ or ‘Rothschilds’). Public bodies in the United Kingdom are not ‘at risk’ in using this Definition. Indeed, this Definition should be used by public bodies on the basis that it will ensure that the identification of antisemitism is clear, fair and accurate. Criticism of Israel, even in robust terms, cannot be regarded as antisemitic per se and such criticism is not captured by the Definition. However, criticisms of Israel in terms which are channels of expression for hatred towards Jewish people (such as by particular invocations of the Holocaust or Nazism) will in all likelihood be antisemitic.”
US SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES ANTISEMITISM AWARENESS ACT ADOPTING INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
The United States Senate hananimously passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which requires the US Department of Education to use the International Definition of Antisemitism “In reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”.
The Act specifically notes that “Antisemitism remains a persistent, disturbing problem in elementary and secondary schools and on college campuses. Jewish students are being threatened, harassed, or intimidated in their schools (including on their campuses) on the basis of their shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics including through harassing conduct that creates a hostile environment so severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit some students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by schools.” It also particularly praises the International Definition for including “useful examples of discriminatory anti-Israel conduct that crosses the line into antisemitism.”
The legislation was proposed by Senators Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, and Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, who said in a statement that the purpose of the Act was to “ensure the Education Department has the necessary statutory tools at their disposal to investigate anti-Jewish incidents.”
In 2005, the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), now the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), adopted a “working definition on antisemitism” which became the standard definition used around the world, including by the European Parliament, the UK College of Policing, the US Department of State, and the 31 countries comprising the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The US Senate is the latest body to formally adopt it.
Earlier this year, the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee joined Campaign Against Antisemitism’s longstanding call for the British Government and its agencies, as well as all political parties, to formally adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism, and for educational institutions to use it in disciplinary cases.
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism
The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism advances U.S. foreign policy on anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is discrimination against or hatred toward Jews. The Special Envoy develops and implements policies and projects to support efforts to combat anti-Semitism.
The Special Envoy was established by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) produces the State Department's annual reports on Human Rights Practices and International Religious Freedom, and the Special Envoy provides input on anti-Semitism for these reports.
The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism welcomes information on anti-Semitic incidents, including personal and property attacks; government policies, including judicial/prosecutorial decisions and educational programs on the issue; and press and mass media reports. The office can be contacted at: SEASinfo@state.gov.
The definition of anti-Semitism may be found here. Excerpts on anti-Semitism from the 2016 U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices may be found here.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CALLS ON EU MEMBER STATES TO ADOPT INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM AND APPOINT POLITICIANS TASKED WITH FIGHTING ANTISEMITISM
The European Parliament has voted today to call on member states to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism and to appoint politicians in each member state who are tasked with fighting antisemitism.
MEPs spoke to condemn rising antisemitism, demanding that member states cooperate to prosecute antisemitic hate crime, gather more accurate data on hate crime and its causes, “take expeditious action to prevent and combat antisemitic hate speech online” and “promote the teaching of the Holocaust”. The MEPs voted to ask the “[European] Commission and the Member States to increase financial support for targeted activities and educational projects against discrimination and hate crimes, to build up and strengthen partnerships with European Jewish communities, institutions and civil society organisations, and to encourage exchanges between children and young people of different faiths via joint activities, launching and supporting awareness-raising campaigns in that regard.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism strongly welcomes the European Parliament’s endorsement of the definition which is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, the definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
The International Definition of Antisemitism is already used around the world, but only recently have national governments begun to formally adopt it. Britain was the first country to adopt the definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings. Austria became the next national government to adopt the definition, and now the Romanian government has followed.
31 NATIONS OF THE
INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ALLIANCE
ADOPT EUMC DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
The 31 nations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) have adopted the EUMC definition of antisemitism. The definition, was first published in 2005 by the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), now the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), and has become the standard definition used around the world. Prior to its adoption by the 31 member states of the IHRA, the definition was already in use by the European Parliament, the UK College of Policing, the US Department of State and others including Campaign Against Antisemitism.
The definition recognises the many guises of contemporary antisemitism, including antisemitism disguised as political discourse regarding the State of Israel. The full definition can be found on our website.
The IHRA’s 31 member states are Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
AUSTRIA BECOMES THE LATEST COUNTRY TO ADOPT THE INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
25.04.2017 news ORF.at
Council of Ministers concludes anti-Semitism definition Today, the government adopted in the Council of Ministers the working definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). With the approval of the ministerial presentation presented by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), they wanted to set a "national and international signal", said ÖVP club chairman Reinhold Lopatka.
With the definition adopted by the IHRA - an international institution with 31 member states - adopted in May last year, "for the first time there is a text approved by an intergovernmental forum which, as a universal definition of anti-Semitism, should facilitate its identification and combating," the ministerial council report said.
Special Historical Responsibility
The definition reads: "Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews that can express hatred of Jews. Anti-Semitism is addressed in word or deed against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and / or their property as well as against Jewish community institutions or religious institutions. "The Ministerial Council bill also points to Austria's special historical responsibility.
In the future, the definition will also apply to education, the judiciary and the executive branch. Lopatka said that one must "do everything so that excesses that could cause such atrocities are already suffocated in the germs. That's why this anti-Semitism definition is so important to me. "Red, ORF.at/Agenturen (Google translation from German)
BULGARIA BECOMES THE LATEST COUNTRY TO ADOPT THE INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM AND ALSO APPOINTS NATIONAL COORDINATOR AGAINST ANTISEMITISM
The Bulgarian Cabinet has formally adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism. It has also appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev as National Coordinator for the Fight Against Antisemitism. The definition is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, the definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
In a statement, the Bulgarian Jewish community’s Shalom Organisation said: “For the Bulgarian Jewish community, this is a serious call for an uncompromising attitude towards all actions that overwhelm common values such as tolerance, humanism and respect for human rights. We strongly support the Cabinet decision and wish Georg Georgiev success in his new mission.”
Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings. Austria became the next national government to adopt the definition, followed by the Romanian government, then the German government, and now the Bulgarian government has done the same.
During the Second World War, Bulgaria was a member of Nazi Germany’s Axis and passed antisemitic legislation which barred Jews in territories under Bulgarian control in northern Greece and parts of Yugoslavia from holding citizenship. 11,000 Jews in those territories were handed over to Nazi Germany by the Bulgarian government, prompting a popular outcry throughout Bulgarian society, led by the Orthodox Church, opposition politicians and intellectuals. The outcry from Bulgarians was so fierce that the Bulgarian government stopped dead plans to round up and hand over Jews in Bulgaria-proper.
GERMAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
ADOPTS INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM FOLLOWING INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF MEASURES AGAINST ANTISEMITISM
The German federal government, the Bundeskabinett, has today formally adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism. The definition is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, the definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
Thomas de Maizière, the German Interior Minister, told Deutsche Welle: “We Germans are particularly vigilant when our country is threatened by an increase in antisemitism. History made clear to us, in the most terrible way, the horrors to which antisemitism can lead.” The cabinet adopted the definition at it regular weekly meeting, and has recommended that public officials including law enforcement use the definition. The move came in response to an independent commission on antisemitism which recommended that the International Definition of Antisemitism be adopted. A member of the commission, parliamentarian Volker Beck, told Deutsche Welle that the adoption of the definition should be seen as a “first step” which would help formalise measures ranging from “legal prosecution to educational measures to the sensitisation of the judicial system”. Deidre Berger, the director of the Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations of the American Jewish Committee gave Deutsche Welle examples of antisemitism being “all too often ignored in recent years”, citing an incident in which “the courts considered an arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal as non-antisemitic”.
The formal adoption of the definition was also praised by officials of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance who have been urging the alliance’s 31 member states to formalise the domestic use of the definition.
Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings. Austria became the next national government to adopt the definition, followed by the Romanian government, and now the German government has done the same.
ISRAEL On January 27, the international community will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that has become a fixture in the political and educational calendars in scores of countries the world over.
Israel is a founding member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), is an intergovernmental body established in 1998 and today made up of 31 Member Countries,10 Observer Countries, and 7 international partner organizations, whose purpose is to support and advance Holocaust education, remembrance, and research, both nationally and internationally.
In advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel formally adopted a definition of antisemitism based on the working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The definition acknowledges that manifestations of anti-semitism can also include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish Collectivity (criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country is not regarded as anti-semitic).
LITHUANIA TO APPLY THE UNIFORM WORKING DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
The Government meeting has approved the definition of antisemitism as endorsed by the session of the International Alliance of Holocaust Remembrance on 26 May 2016 in Bucharest. All the public authorities are recommended to take this definition into account in their work.
The IHRA recommendation regarding the consolidation of the legally non-binding working definition of antisemitism states: ‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews’. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’
“The entire democratic world must constantly fight the manifestations of antisemitism that are still observed nowadays, while preventing the slightest opportunities giving rise to this negative phenomenon. Therefore, the uniform and broad application of the definition of antisemitism will contribute to the efforts of the international community towards strengthening fight against antisemitism’, said Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.
It should be noted that the European Parliament adopted a resolution of 1 June 2017 on combating anti-Semitism, which calls on the Member States and the Union institutions and agencies to adopt and apply the working definition of anti-Semitism employed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Lithuania has been involved in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) since 2002, particularly in the areas of Holocaust education, research and commemoration.
MACEDONIA COMMEMORATES 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF DEPORTATION OF JEWS BY ADOPTING INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
The Macedonian government has formally adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the deportation of 7,144 Jews from Macedonia to the concentration camp at Treblinka.
The anniversary was marked by addresses from the President of Macedonia, Gjorgje Ivanov, and the local Jewish community. The next day, a march was held along the route where Jews were gathered and then taken to the train station. The Prime Ministers of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina took park, along with the Romanian Deputy Prime Minister, and the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said: “We must never forget what happened here 75 year ago. History is repeated only by those who are blind to the past. We will not become blind and we will continue to remember.”
The International Definition of Antisemitism is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, the definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings. Austria became the next national government to adopt the definition, followed by the Romanian government, then the German government, then the Bulgarian government and now the Macedonian government has done the same.
ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT RESOLVES TO INCORPORATE THE INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM INTO NATIONAL LAW
The Romanian government has decided to formally adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism. The definition is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, the definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
Romania’s Ministry of Justice will now consult the Ministry of Internal Affairs and law enforcement agencies, before proposing reforms which will incorporate the definition into Romanian law. The definition will be used to train law enforcement officers and will also be incorporated into the national curriculum in schools.
The Romanian government described the move as an “expression of Romania’s resolute action against antisemitism, extremism, racism and all forms of discrimination and intolerance”, saying that the country “will gain an efficient instrument for better defining antisemitic actions and for better understanding the consequences deriving from these”.
Britain was the first country to adopt the definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings. Austria became the next national government to adopt the definition, and now the Romanian government has done the same.
EXAMPLES OF BRITISH ORGANISATIONS WHO HAVE AGREED THIS DEFINITION
BRITISH GOVERNMENT BECOMES FIRST IN THE WORLD TO FORMALLY ADOPT INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
Today, we are proud that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, will announce that the British government will become the first in the world to formally adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism. This definition is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, this definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has worked hard over many meetings for the government to take this step and we applaud the Prime Minister’s leadership. We also recognise the major contribution of Sir Eric Pickles to this important result.
HOUSE OF COMMONS
HOME AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE CRITICISES LABOUR, TWITTER, NUS, POLICE AND OTHERS IN MAJOR REPORT, AND ADOPTS CAA RECOMMENDATIONS
The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee today publishes its report following its inquiry into the rise of antisemitism in Britain.
We could not have said it better ourselves: we are pleased to see that the Select Committee has listened to Campaign Against Antisemitism and that the report firmly endorses measures we have been calling for for two years.
The Select Committee’s rigorous report is uncompromising on the rise in antisemitism and the danger it presents. It directly accuses the enablers of growing antisemitism, including social networks, those on the far-left who allow vile Jew hatred to masquerade as political discourse, and the student leaders who have abandoned Jewish students.
The inquiry called Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone, among others, to give evidence. Campaign Against Antisemitism’s evidence included a letter, research and information on our recommendations.
The report makes the following key recommendations, which endorse our own:
The report also finds that Jeremy Corbyn has shown a “lack of consistent leadership” has created a “‘safe space’ for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people” in the Labour Party. The Select Committee was evidently disgusted by Ken Livingstone’s claims that Adolf Hitler “supported Zionism” as well as Shami Chakrabarti’s whitewash report into antisemitism in the Labour Party. The Select Committee additionally criticises the handling of antisemitism in the Liberal Democrat Party and National Union of Students.
The Select Committee’s report quotes extensively from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s research and recognises that antisemitism in Britain has reached a tipping point. The report makes recommendations which endorse the measures we have called for and must be urgently implemented.
Our only criticism of the report is that it is not sufficiently condemnatory of the Crown Prosecution Service whose response to antisemitism has been utterly deplorable. 15,442 cases of hate crime were prosecuted last year, but we know of only 12 prosecutions for antisemitic hate crime. In the same year, antisemitic crime in the UK reached a record high, rising 26% with antisemitic violence leaping by 51%, yet charging dropped. The Director of Public Prosecutions is presiding over an abject failure to crack down on antisemitism.
As Jews once again leave Europe and antisemitism is rising with chilling celerity in Britain, it is absolutely right that the Select Committee has endorsed the measures we have called for. They must now be swiftly implemented: the international definition of antisemitism must be universally adopted and applied — including in political parties — and the authorities must enforce the law against antisemitism with zero tolerance.
LONDON ASSEMBLY UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
The London Assembly has unanimously voted to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism. The definition was adopted by the Prime Minister in December, making the British government the first in the world to formally adopt the definition, something Campaign Against Antisemitism worked hard to achieve over many meetings. At the time, we also recognised the significant contribution of Sir Eric Pickles to the result.
The International Definition of Antisemitism is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, this definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
Labour Assembly Member Andrew Dismore proposed the motion, saying: “The recent rise in antisemitism is utterly obscene. We have a large Jewish population in London and they, like everybody else, should be protected from the words and actions of the intolerant and ignorant…In recent months we’ve seen Jewish people, and their properties, become the target for acts of hatred. If we’re to weed out antisemitism, we need to be clear about the challenge on our hands. These guidelines leave no room for doubt about the many ways in which antisemitism manifests itself. By adopting them we’re issuing a warning that any expression of antisemitism will not be tolerated. While it is vital the Assembly responds quickly and unequivocally to recent events, this motion goes beyond expressing alarm: we must take action to stamp out this despicable behaviour and we must take it now.” The motion was seconded by Conservative Assembly Member Gareth Bacon.
Throughout his career, Andrew Dismore has shown himself to be a true friend to the Jewish people of London and we are extremely grateful to him and his colleagues for taking this step.
NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS VOTES TO REAFFIRM COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM
Amongst the first decisions taken by the National Union of Students (NUS) electing Shakira Martin to replace Malia Bouattia as President, has been to reaffirm is commitment to the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Motion 426, entitled “It’s Time To Combat Antisemitism” quoted Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer research which found that 77% of British Jews have witnessed antisemitism disguised as a political comment about Israel, and roundly condemned outgoing President Malia Bouattia’s record on antisemitism.
Noting that “Jewish students have the right to define what they constitute [sic] as antisemitism” and the adoption by the British government of the International Definition of Antisemitism following a long campaign by Campaign Against Antisemitism and others, NUS resolved to adopt the definition and “To recommend that Students’ Unions use the…definition in guiding their responses to incidences of antisemitism”.
An attempt by a fringe group to have the union adopt a different, unusably loose, definition was defeated.
NUS has used a previous version of the International Definition of Antisemitism since 2007, but following the growth of antisemitism in NUS under former President Malia Bouattia, a survey of 485 Jewish students by the NUS showed that more than a quarter are living in fear of an antisemitic attack and less than half would be comfortable attending an NUS event.
We applaud NUS for taking this measure to reaffirm its support for Jewish students against antisemitism.
If you would like to help us to address antisemitism on campus, please contact email@example.com.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT ANTI-SEMITISM?
Asia Times, Scott Shay, November 15, 2018
Anti-Semitism is frequently viewed as “the canary in the coal mine.” It signals a more general climate of prejudice that manifests with an increasing hatred of Jews. In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, many articles have made this point. They focused on the extent of anti-Semitism in the US, and its relationship to other forms of ethnic, religious, and even gender-based prejudice.
While the “canary in the coal mine” viewpoint is important, the questions about anti-Semitism are far broader. To address them, we need a clear understanding of anti-Semitism itself. I stand with those who think anti-Semitism is a distinct form of prejudice – not because the degree of its cruelty (for the damage done by other prejudices has been no less deadly) but because of its nature. By understanding anti-Semitism, we can defeat much more than hatred of Jews and other peoples.
Anti-Semitism is about power. It is distinct from other prejudices by its obsession with perceived malevolent Jewish power and by its pervasiveness among disparate societies, political and ideological groups, and eras. From Nazism and Communism, from most streams of Christianity until the last century, to present day Islamism, from the hallowed halls of Harvard University to backwater towns, from an ancient Pharaoh to a current Malaysian prime minister, anti-Semites have accused the Jews of all manners of conspiracies to rule the world and destroy other peoples. This is not the case with racism against African peoples or Native Americans, for example, who are accused by racists of many heinous things, but not of world domination.
To understand anti-Semitism, we need to understand malevolent power more generally. The Bible continues to offer the most sophisticated intellectual and moral contribution to the nature of malevolent power we have through its discussion of idolatry. Unfortunately, most modern folk view idolatry as irrelevant. They think idolatry is about worshiping stones or spirits. This is a grave misunderstanding. While power is a natural phenomenon involving many facets, such as resources, strength, strategy, or information, the Bible defines idolatry as a set of lies about power and authority. Idolatry is the process of attributing of superior and inexplicable power and authority to finite people, animals and natural processes.
Since finite beings are limited by nature, which also limits all forms of power, idolatry is by definition a lie. Yet this lie is the basis for much human injustice, just as the Bible explains. From Pharaoh in Egypt to Senacharib in Assyria, idolaters built temples, ran pageants and wrote poems and epics to exult their “supernatural” power and authority. These lies justified their selfish oppression of the masses and their greedy conquests of other peoples. Idolatry underpins all genuinely malevolent power.
The Bible also describes how idolatry is always vulnerable to the truth. Neither Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar or Sanacharib were the gods or demi-gods they pretended to be. They could all be, and were all, toppled. Not that this is easy, nor without many casualties for they had natural power: military might and resources. But, their supposed supernatural power and authority was exposed as a lie.
As the biblical texts describe, the only God worth worshipping is above nature and incorruptible. No person is or can ever be divine; no person can ever have power or authority beyond nature, even though, as the Bible explains, we all carry a spark of divinity in ourselves, a soul.
Based on this fundamental axiom, the Bible mandates us to treat each other equally, for example, by loving our brothers and sisters in humanity as ourselves (Leviticus 19: 17-18) or by not doing unto others what we don’t wish done to ourselves (Talmud Shabbat 31a). These axioms are the root of justice and have come to be known as the Golden Rule. Justice is the opposite of malevolent power. Idolatry destroys the conceptual foundations of justice. You don’t need to believe in God or in the soul to reject idolatry.
Sadly, the 20th century provided a catalog of idolaters, who not only promoted their power but tried to avoid being exposed. Dictators like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim Jun-il on the left and Hitler and Saddam Hussein on the right, relied on idolatry. Whether they claimed to be atheistic or religious, they turned to Pharaoh’s playbook building statutes of themselves, they promoted songs, stories and pageants about their greatness, and they demanded complete obedience to their worldview.
Stalin famously ordered the Soviet space agency to project his face into the sky. Yet fearing they would be exposed, 20th-century idolatrous leaders turned lies into the truth and evil into good. Idolaters called themselves the victims and their victims the perpetrators. While the Nazis rounded up and murdered the Jews and conquered most of Europe, Hitler claimed he was defending the world from “Jewish evil and world domination.” In the name of “progress,” Pol Pot murdered Cambodian citizens with eyeglasses because they might “mislead” others. This subversive dynamic of idolatry underpins all anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is the projection of idolatry onto Jews. Anti-Semites are not people who criticize or debate specific Jewish viewpoints or communal decisions in a spirit of mutual respect. They are people who themselves harbor projects of domination and exploitation, but who fearing to be exposed, project their own malevolent intentions onto Jews. In Charlottesville, anti-Semitic marchers who genuinely seek white supremacy shouted, “Jews won’t replace us.”
Khomeini who wished to bring the entire world under Islamist control, regularly accused the Jews of seeking world domination. Hitler, railed against a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Germany, when he wanted to destroy the Jews! Anti-Semites say the Jews control the media, the Jews control the banks, the Jews control the Congress and so on all for their own benefit when this is actually what they themselves wish to do. Still, you might ask, why single out the Jews?
It is not the Jews’ success, nor their actual power that is the source of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism has often proliferated at times when the Jews were poor and powerless. Jews who tried returning to their hometowns in Europe after surviving the concentration camps could certainly attest to that. Rather, it is the Jews’ historic connection with monotheism that has made them the central target of this projected idolatry. This has been true even when many Jews are neither religious nor conversant in the texts.
By accusing Jews of malevolent and demonic control over organs of power (media, Congress, banks, etc.), true idolaters (whatever their specific ideology) project their own idolatry onto the Jews and thereby maintain their own delusions. Every idolater fears that their lies about power could be exposed. Yet since they refuse to reject their own injustice and lies, idolaters must eliminate the Jews who are connected to a God who upholds universal justice. Then “their god” that is to say, they win. The fact that so many anti-Semitic attacks occur at synagogues or in Jewish community centers, cemeteries, rather than at the other places Jews supposedly control, speaks to this connection.
This dynamic is also apparent in the anti-Semitic rants of a small minority of purportedly Christians or Muslims, who supposedly worship the same omnibenevolent God. The Bible anticipates this problem. While the first two commandments prohibit idolatry, the third commandment (according to the Christian count, the second commandment), prohibits oppression under the false guise of acting as God’s sole spokesperson or attributing to God ideas that are not in the Scriptures. This third commandment is too often trivialized as to merely prohibiting pronouncing God’s name in vain. However, if that is all there is to this commandment, it would not have been in the top ten. It is, further, the only commandment in the Ten for which there is no atonement. That tells the reader to take close notice. This commandment follows the first two on idolatry because it is simply another form of idolatry except under the hijacked guise of monotheism. The Bible warns against this phenomena of idolaters in monotheistic garb on multiple occasions. And for this reason, the Bible is accessible to everyone. Moreover, it was ordained to be read by everyone, as we are each responsible for understanding the dangers of idolatry.
Anti-Semitism is “the canary in the coal mine,” but not just for the rise of prejudice. Anti-Semitism is the sign of widespread idolatry and when idolatry takes hold in a society the real horrors begin. The greatest anti-Semites not only victimized other groups they destroyed the moral fabric of their own societies. Nazis not only hated and murdered the Gypsies and Slavs; they turned many ordinary Germans into liars, snitches, thieves and murderers. By uniting to combat anti-Semitism, people of all stripes can join together in combating idolatry which is the fundamental corrupting influence on society.
Wilhelm Marr (1819-1904) was a German agitator and theorist, who coined the term "antisemitism" as a euphemism for the German Judenhass, or "Jew-hate".
Marr was an unemployed journalist, who claimed that he had lost his job due to Jewish interference. A political conservative, he was influenced by the conservative pan-German movement, as expounded by Johann Gottfried von Herder, who developed the idea of the Volk, and the Burschenschaft movement of the early nineteenth century, which developed out of frustration among German students with the failure of the Congress of Vienna to create a unified state out of all the territories inhabited by the Volk. The latter rejected the participation of Jewish and other non-German minorities as members, "unless they prove that they are anxious to develop within themselves a Christian-German spirit" (a decision of the "Burschenschaft Congress of 1818"). While they were opposed to the participation of Jews in their movement, like Heinrich von Treitschke later, they did allow for the possibility of the Jewish (and other) minorities participating in the German state if they were to abandon all signs of ethnic and religious distinctiveness and assimilate completely into German Volk.
Marr took these philosophies one step further by rejecting the premise of assimilation as a means for Jews to become Germans. In his pamphlet Der Weg zum Siege des Germanentums über das Judentum (The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism, 1879) he introduced the idea that Germans and Jews were locked in a longstanding conflict, the origins of which he attributed to race — and that the Jews were winning. He argued that Jewish emancipation resulting from German liberalism had allowed the Jews to control German finance and industry. Furthermore, since this conflict was based on the different qualities of the Jewish and German races, it could not be resolved even by the total assimilation of the Jewish population. According to him, the struggle between Jews and Germans would only be resolved by the victory of one and the ultimate death of the other. A Jewish victory, he concluded, would result in finis Germaniae (the end of the German people). To prevent this from happening, in 1879 Marr founded the League of Antisemites (Antisemiten-Liga), the first German organization committed specifically to combatting the alleged threat to Germany posed by the Jews and advocating their forced removal from the country.
Although he had introduced the pseudo-scientific racial component into the debate over Jews in Germany, it is unlikely that he was influenced by the earlier theories of Arthur de Gobineau (author of An Essay on the Inequality of Human Races, 1853), who was only translated into German in 1898, a quarter of a century after Marr's pamphlet appeared. Furthermore, Marr himself was very vague about what constituted race and, in turn, the racial differences between Jews and Germans, though this became a feature of Nazi racial science. It remained for later racial thinkers to postulate specific differences: these included Eugen Dühring, who suggested that it was blood, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an influential race theorist and husband of Eva Wagner, Richard Wagner's daughter, who suggested phrenology as a means of distinguishing races.
On the other hand, it does seem likely that Marr was influenced by Ernst Haeckel, a professor who popularized the notion of Social Darwinism among Germany's educated classes.
Despite his influence, Marr's ideas were not immediately adopted by German nationalists. The Pan-German League, founded in 1891, originally allowed for the membership of Jews, provided they were fully assimilated into German culture. It was only in 1912, eight years after Marr's death, that the League declared racism as an underlying principle. Nevertheless, Marr was a major link in the evolving chain of German racism that erupted into genocide during the Nazi era.
LATE RENUNCIATION OF ANTISEMITISM
Toward the end of his life Marr came to renounce anti-semitism, arguing that social upheaval in Germany had been the result of the Industrial Revolution and conflict between political movements. According to Moshe Zimmermann he "openly requested the Jews' pardon for having erred in isolating the problem". He published in Hamburg a final essay entitled Testament of an Antisemite in which he explained the history of his thinking, asserting that he had originally been a "philo-Semite", having rejected "the miserable Romantic madness of Germanism". He complained that modern anti-Semitism was becoming merged with German mysticism and nationalism. Marr condemned 'the beer drinking leaders, the gay "Heil" shouters of modern anti-Semitism' and crude prejudice against Jewish writers and thinkers.
Antisemitism (also spelled anti-Semitism or anti-semitism) is hostility, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is widely considered to be a form of racism.
The root word Semite gives the false impression that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic people. However, the compound word antisemite was popularized in Germany in 1879 as a scientific-sounding term for Judenhass "Jew-hatred" and that has been its common use since then.
Antisemitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from expressions of hatred of or discrimination against individual Jews to organized pogroms by mobs, state police, or even military attacks on entire Jewish communities. Although the term did not come into common usage until the 19th century, it is now also applied to historic anti-Jewish incidents. Notable instances of persecution include the Rhineland massacres preceding the First Crusade in 1096, the Edict of Expulsion from England in 1290, the massacres of Spanish Jews in 1391, the persecutions of the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the Cossack massacres in Ukraine from 1648 to 1657, various anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire between 1821 and 1906, the 1894–1906 Dreyfus affair in France, the Holocaust in German-occupied Europe, official Soviet anti-Jewish policies, and Arab and Muslim involvement in the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries.
Expulsion * Forced Conversion * Being Burned Alive * Stake Burnings
* Holocaust * Pogrom * Book Confiscation * Taxation
Book Burning * Enslavement * Having to Wear Identity Badges
Property/Asset Confiscation * Being Outlawed * Mob Attacks * Public Torture
Synagogue Confiscation/Burning * Land Confiscation * Mass Arrests * Boycotts
(From Simple to Remember List from 250 BCE to 1945 CE)
1801 Bucharest - Mob Attack
1804 Russian Villages - Expulsion
1808 Russian Countryside - Expulsion
1815 Lubeck & Bremen - Expulsion
1820 Bremes - Expulsion
1843 Austria & Prussia - Expulsion
1850 New York City where 500 People, Led by Police, Attacked & Wrecked Jewish Synagogue
1862 Area under General Grant's Jurisdiction in the United States - Expulsion
1866 C.E Galatz (Romania) - Expulsion
1871 Odena Mob - Attack
1887 Slovakia Mob - Attack
1897 Kantakuzenka (Russia) - Mob Attack
1898 Rennes (France) - Mob Attack
1899 Nicholayev - Mob Attack
1900 Konitz (Prussia) Mob Attack
1902 Poland Widespread Pogroms
1904 Manchuria, Kiev & Volhynia Widespread Pogroms
1905 Zhitomir (Yolhynia) Mob Attacks
1919 Bavaria Expulsion
1915 Georgia (U.S.A.) Leo Frank Lynched
1919 Prague Wide Spread Pogroms
1920 Munich & Breslau Mob Attacks
1922 Boston, MA Lawrence Lowell, President of Harvard,
calls for Quota Restrictions on Jewish Admission
1926 Uzbekistan Pogrom
1928 Hungary Widespread antisemitic Riots on University Campuses
1929 Lemberg (Poland) Mob Attacks
1930 Berlin Mob Attack
1933 Bucharest Mob Attacks
1938-45 Europe Holocaust
The Persistent Survival of Anti-Semitism, MiDA, Robert Wistrich | 27/04/2014
Anti-semitism didn't die in Auschwitz; it just changed forms.
Antisemitism Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2009 Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2009 University of Minnesota, Human Rights Library
A Brief History of Antisemism Anti Defamation League
The Deep Roots of Anti-Semitism in European Society Jewish Political Studies Review 17:1-2 (Spring 2005)
The Theological Roots of Antisemitism - Simon Wiesenthal Center …
Antisemitism: A Historical Survey - Simon Wiesenthal Center ...
Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century Taboo no longer? My Jewish Learning by Ira Rifkin
Christian Action for Israel Canadian Friends, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem
STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
IT DIDN’T JUST START WITH HITLER
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ANTISEMITISM?
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RISING ANTISEMITIC CRIME FIGURES
IN 2 MINUTES
CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANTISEMITISM 2017 (2.00)
New report by CAA shows that antisemitic crime surged 44% in the last two years,
but charging and prosecution dropped to only 15 prosecutions last year.
The most recent edition of the National Antisemitic Crime Audit was published on 16th July 2017, covering antisemitic crime in 2016. You can read the foreword ABOVE, or download the full report.
This year’s report makes for shocking reading. Ever since crime targeting British Jews began to surge in 2014, each successive year has set a new record for antisemitic crime, and each year fewer crimes have been charged. 2016 was the worst year on record for antisemitic crime, yet instead of protecting British Jews, the authorities prosecuted merely twenty cases of antisemitic hate crime, including merely two violent crimes.
In 2016, antisemitic crime grew by 14.9% compared to 2015 (44.5% compared to 2014), but only half of police forces charged any of the antisemitic crimes reported to them. The failure to enforce is especially alarming due the ferocity of antisemitic crime: 1 in 10 crimes involved violence. The failure of police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service to protect British Jews is a betrayal.
The authorities’ inaction is laid bare by the fact that Campaign Against Antisemitism has had to bring its first private prosecution of an antisemite, and gone to court to successfully overturn an indefensible decision not to prosecute a neo-Nazi.
Frontline police officers and prosecutors routinely fail to recognise common forms of antisemitism, or fail to take it seriously. Officers and prosecutors are being given insufficient training and oversight.
While we were delighted to see many of the recommendations we presented last year adopted in the government’s 2016 Hate Crime Action Plan, those responsible for implementing them have failed to do so. The solutions are simple, but whilst the right promises are being made, little has been implemented. The result is that British Jews continue to endure intolerable levels of hate crime.
This year we make exactly the same recommendations as we did last year: produce specific training and guidance on antisemitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, developed in close consultation with us, in addition to the generic hate crime training that leaves officers and prosecutors ill-equipped to deal with the intricacies of antisemitism; instruct Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces; appoint a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to antisemitic hate crime; and require the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving antisemitism and their outcomes.
Britain has the political will to fight antisemitism and strong laws with which to do it, but those responsible for tackling the rapidly growing racist targeting of British Jews are failing to enforce the law. There is a very real danger of Jewish citizens emigrating, as has happened elsewhere in Europe,
unless there is radical change.