Tag Archives: Anti-Semite(s)

Historian Deborah Lipstadt Assesses the New Anti-Semitism

Historian Deborah Lipstadt has published an accessible and comprehensive book about contemporary anti-Semitism called “Antisemitism: Here and Now.” The book, in which she spells anti-Semitism as “antisemitism” for reasons she outlines—is structured as a series of letters she writes to a fictional student and colleague — both of whom are composites of people Lipstadt has taught and worked with at Emory University in Atlanta.

Lipstadt, the author of books on Holocaust denial and the Adolf Eichmann trial, has experienced anti-Semitism as a result of confronting Holocaust deniers. In the early 2000s, she prevailed in a defamation lawsuit brought by David Irving, one of the more prolific and notorious Holocaust “revisionists.” Her victory was dramatized in “Denial,” a 2016 movie starring Rachel Weisz.

Lipstadt writes that anti-Semitism is challenging to define:

“It is hard, if not impossible, to explain something that is essentially irrational, delusional, and absurd.”

She recently spoke to JewishBoston about her new book and the ongoing scourge of anti-Semitism around the world.

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Is today’s anti-Semitism “old wine in new bottles?”

On some level, it is old wine in new bottles. There are certain aspects of the stereotype which continue to exist and don’t go away. What’s different today is a number of things. First of all, it’s coming from the right and the left simultaneously. That’s different. At the same time, we’ve got a third source, and that is Islamic extremists who have been responsible for dangerous, deadly events in Europe. In some sectors of the Muslim community, it has become embedded among people who wouldn’t think to do anything violent but think evil things of Jews. This combination is different, but the charges are classic.

Actor Rachel Weisz and author Deborah Lipstadt on the set of their film “Denial,” a Bleecker Street release. (Photo credit: Liam Daniel/Bleecker Street)

Actor Rachel Weisz and author Deborah Lipstadt on the set of their film “Denial,” a Bleecker Street release. (Photo credit: Liam Daniel/Bleecker Street)

In your introduction, you write, “By the time this book appears there will have been new examples of antisemitism.”

In some ways, the book is a work in progress. I was sure by the time it was published there would have been a number of instances that could have appeared. Five weeks after I hit the send button, Pittsburgh happened.

Speaking of ongoing anti-Semitism, what inspired you to write a book about it?

I wrote an article right after Gaza happened the summer of 2014 for The New York Times op-ed page. What struck me was the degree of anti-Semitism that got mixed up in opposition to that war. But it wasn’t just the war. There was the 2006 murder of Ilan Halimi. In 2012 there were the murders at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Then there was the shooting at the Jewish Museum of Brussels just before Gaza. Anti-Semitism was coming back in a way that deserved attention. The Times article was very popular, and my agent asked where my book proposal was. I sent him a brief proposal as a favor. He came back to me shortly afterward and said he sold the book. That’s how I came to write a book about anti-Semitism.

You talk about what I describe as “low-voltage anti-Semitism” that can happen casually at dinner parties or in dorm rooms. How do Jews deal with that?

While this book has received mostly amazing reviews, like any author, I tend to linger on the one or two negative ones. One of the reviews said I should not have told my fictitious student Abigail that when she encountered anti-Semitism among her roommates to go back and have a discussion. The reviewer said, “I would have told her to find new friends.” That’s the wrong answer. We’ll run out of friends very quickly if we do that. There is a lot of misunderstanding of what anti-Semitism is and what constitutes it. Our job should be to try to explain that to people. However, when you call me a termite [as Louis Farrakhan did] because I’m a Jew, I’m not going to try and educate you anymore. We have to discern between ignorance and what is absorbed from the ethos sphere, and the committed anti-Semite.

What do you say to young Jews participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement? And what are some of the anti-Semitic tropes associated with BDS?

Many people on campus who support BDS probably couldn’t find Israel on a map. I don’t immediately brand every person who supports BDS as an anti-Semite. Some people erroneously equate BDS with their parents’ votes against apartheid. But if you drill down to what BDS is all about it, it calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. That is anti-Semitism. As for the tropes, it’s this talk of power, control and money. It’s the anti-Semitic stereotypes put into a Middle Eastern context. A few days ago, people said the seven Labour lawmakers who resigned over anti-Semitism in their party were being paid to do so by Israel. If that supposition weren’t so dangerous, it would be simply absurd.

Antisemitism

(Courtesy image)

Are anti-Zionists and anti-Semites the same?

They are backing into each other. If you look at each of them in 1935 or 1945, they are not one and the same. Bret Stephens had a great article about the difference. I second what he says very much. Look at the division and we now see something quite distinct. We see something that has become this hostility to Israel. Opposition to Israeli policy is not anti-Semitism. It’s important to recognize that. We’re talking about a myopic view that all the troubles in the world are the Palestinians’—the only one at fault in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is Israel. Something is wrong with that.

I recently heard a story about a student in a New York City public high school who asked her teacher to sign a letter of recommendation for a summer program. She brought him the form, and when he saw it was for Israel, he said he wouldn’t write a letter for her. She asked if he would write a letter for a program in North Korea, China, Myanmar or Sudan, and he said yes.

Something is wrong when your singular focus is on one country. Something is wrong when you look at this complicated situation in Israel where there are wrongs on both sides. We see a dedication to Palestinian organizations that have a major commitment to the destruction of Israel within their charters. And you have to ask, why this myopic view? That’s when you come to anti-Semitism.

It’s almost Purim, and your middle name is Esther. Do you feel you have a Queen Esther-like role in the Jewish community?

Someone once sent me a quote from the Book of Esther where Mordechai comes to Esther to tell her she has to approach the king, or our people will be murdered. She initially says she can’t go to the king because she will be killed. But then she does talk to him on behalf of her people. In fighting deniers and anti-Semitism, I don’t feel I’m a queen of anything. What I do feel is very gratified that I’ve been given a chance to do this work. I wish anti-Semitism were an old problem, but there’s an urgency to understand it. People are so grateful and appreciative that I do that. I feel humbled and thankful that I’m getting this kind of reaction. I’m not a Queen Esther, but I have been given a similar gift of being in the right place at the right time. This enables me to contribute to an important battle.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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If you’re going to be a hater, make sure you’ve done your homework.

One great problem by hate against others is the non-knowledge of those others. The not knowing enough of history is the second part which makes that hate crimes and socio-political situations can re-occur.

An attempt at a discrimination graphic.

An attempt at a discrimination graphic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A video published this weekend by a politician from Gent showed clearly how people from different communities took over words they heard adults shouting at each other. As such we do hear young Moroccans (5-10 years old) calling to have all “the Makakken (sobriquet for Moroccans) out”, dark skinned girls shouting to get all niggers or Negroes where they belong, etc.. It is quite confronting to see how those young, so called innocent toddlers and teens, call their own group of people names, not really understanding the content of such calling and the hate they would or could create with it.

The pictures clearly show how an attitude of hate or love is created by the ones responsible for the education (parents, teachers, surrounding society) of the youngsters and the next generation.

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English: symbol of anti-zionizm

Symbol of anti-zionizm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 16 year old aspiring journalist in what looks like her first posting, can imagine that, for a teacher, a GCSE religious studies lesson on racism may be one of the most challenging classes to teach, especially in a school like hers; overrun with teenage girls desperate to voice their opinions in an attempt to seem more intelligent than their classmates.

She tells about her experience, which could happen in any school, she sitting in class, learning about prejudice, already pissed off having had to discuss why ‘reverse racism’ is simply just ‘racism.’

She looks at the

very link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism which racists everywhere deny they are doing. It is perfectly possible to be against the Israeli government and their brutal domestic policy, and simultaneously not be an anti-Semite.

In which she is totally right. Much too many people consider those who are against what is going on in Israel, to be anti-semitic, but they can be themselves real Jews as well as real lovers of Jews.

One of the great problems of the disturbance in relationships with Jews is that

as soon as you relate the Holocaust to the Arab-Israeli conflict in the way that has been done here, you are both insensitive and ignorant.

English: No racism Lietuvių: Ne rasizmui

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Preceding articles

What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

The Rise of Anti-Seminism

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Further reading

  1. USA Today: Rise in hate crimes spurs launch of database and hotline
  2. Daily Prompt: Instinct or Wisdom?
  3. Do White Nationalist Think Brown Babies Are Destroying Our Country? Ask Dr. Karen!
  4. Prejudice
  5. Prejudice and the ink in my skin…
  6. I am white, and I refuse to be ashamed of i
  7. This Post Is For White People
  8. Acting Black…
  9. The Irony of Prejudice
  10. What I Now Know About My Own Prejudices
  11. My Multi-Cultural Childhood Could be the Answer to Racism & Xenophobia
  12. Reverse Racism Doesn’t Exist
  13. Does reverse racism exist?
  14. The Truth About Reverse Racism
  15. What is reverse-discrimination?
  16. Liberalism has lost all perspective #reverseracism
  17. You can be a dickhead no matter your race, religion or sexuality
  18. public education, passing, #womensday2017, all for Prompt Night on A Dash of Sunny
  19. Complexity
  20. Is being racist against racists racism?
  21. Students Report Being Triggered by the Word “Trigger”
  22. High School Evacuated Due to Presence of “Toxic Masculinity”
  23. “Travel is Fatal To Prejudice” – Mark Twain
  24. Masters of Misunderstanding
  25. I see you
  26. Anticipation, Mrs. Beasley and Starlings
  27. Frankie’s America: Too strong to be brought down
  28. In the News: Hijab, Hijab, Hijab. Why Are We Obsessed With a Head Scarf?
  29. Muslims portrayed as “they” in the media
  30. Don’t Tokenize Us 
  31. “Use my Pronouns or I Won’t Eat,” Says Non-Binary Student
  32. Inadequate Evidence: The Major Problem with Microagressions
  33. We’re Not Friends
  34. The Thankful Foreigner: An Award-Winning Essay from a Millennial
  35. Dealing with the Stares: My Muslim Experiance
  36. When the PC culture goes too far…
  37. You have no Bucket
  38. The Illusion of Christianity in America
  39. Jewgle racism pt. infinity
  40. Reed’s quote of the day from Charles Caleb Colton on Truth
  41. Lectionary Sermon for Lent 3 A : 19 March 2017 on John 4:5-42
  42. Racial Tension in Trump’s America. What Are You Going To Do About It?
  43. Black Activists Reject Trader Joe’s: Might Attract ‘Non-Blacks’ – Minutemen New
  44. ‘Gingerism’ – is it a real thing?
  45. Flipping the Script: The Tragedy of Mary Rowlandson
  46. Comic: Antisocial media
  47. Coversations with Becky
  48. 10 Of Megyn Kelly’s Most Racist Moments
  49. I can’t believe I’m writing this in 2017
  50. A response to Racism
  51. How Not To Be A Privileged Ass …

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Battery Thinkers

I can imagine that, for a teacher, a GCSE religious studies lesson on racism may be one of the most challenging classes to teach, especially in a school like mine; overrun with teenage girls desperate to voice their opinions in an attempt to seem more intelligent than their classmates.

The other week, I was sitting in class, learning about prejudice, already pissed off having had to discuss why ‘reverse racism’ is simply just ‘racism.’ Doodling Radiohead lyrics over my folder and pondering why on earth I had chosen to study RS, I couldn’t help but tune into a conversation between two of my classmates. One girl, for the sake of privacy let’s call her Jennifer, was explaining to a friend why Israel obviously belongs to the Arabs, not the Jews. Fair enough, if she has evidence to support this. But what Jennifer said next surely would’ve angered anybody, let alone…

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What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

Since a year or five we do notice that the ten years of the growing ‘right’ has not only brought an aversion against immigrants and/or refugees. More and more the Jewish community became target of bullying and hate actions.

The deathly attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels was something which should have awaken the politicians. In Belgium the Jewish schools and centres could receive extra security measures from the Belgian government. That is nice but should be something that would not be necessary.

All over the West-side of the European continent we do see a growing resistance or hate against the choice of living of the Jews in Europe. Several young Jews found it already better to take everything together and to leave this part of the world to go to live in Israel, even when that meant also to go in the army for two years.

Many of us really wonder what we should do today in the face of global anti-Semitism?

There are those who still caution a “better to hush it up and make believe it isn’t there” policy. Giving it publicity, they claim, will only stoke the fire. A shrill response is counterproductive. When we show that we hurt, the argument goes, we’re giving our enemies comfort.
But they are wrong. They are as wrong as those in the early stages of the Holocaust who pretended not to see, who claimed Hitler can’t really be considered a threat, who were sure that the evil of Jew hatred was so obviously uncivilized and barbaric that it had no chance of succeeding. Wait it out, said those who counselled against protests, those who didn’t want to identify themselves as Jews with profound interest in saving their fellow Jews. It can’t happen here, they claimed. But it did – and they were proven wrong six million times over.

There are all too many Hamans today. Anti-Semites require the spotlight of our attention and the public scorn of our protests and demonstrations.

Today we see the growing  hostility toward or prejudice against Jews or Judaism as well as against Muslims, because of fundamentalist Muslims (Jihadists) defiling the Muslim faith and calling for a hate against Jews and non-believing people. It looks like we are also getting a revival of the rising nationalism like the one of the 19th century. Today we also see how the Roman Catholic Church, which in the 19th century sometimes subscribed to the idea of Jewish racial identity and sometimes denied it, like then not only fails to condemn European anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism, now the Muslim communities stayed too long silent condemning those Islamist fundamentalists who have nothing to do with real Islam. Balkans. Political/Physical map: regional, elevation.A problem by the Catholics is that in the East of Europe there are still some very right-wing priests and we must remember that in the Balkan several priests in the past had worked together with the Germans to get rid of the Jews. For Rabbi Giuseppe Laras this can well be the reason why the Catholic Church does not react stronger against the growing anti-semitism. He sees in it a continuation of a contempt towards the Jewish people that found genocidal expression during World War II, when Catholic Priests ran half the concentration camps in Fascist Croatia. Though we also should remember that this loathing also extended to Orthodox Christian Serbs, real or non-trinitarian Christians, like the Jehovah Witnesses, and also other minorities like the Roma who were slaughtered in these same camps by the hundreds of thousands.

By the threats of the jihadist groups like Al Qaeda, Daesh or ISIS, and the big amount of refugees coming into Europe lots of poorer Europeans see their jobs threatened and are fearing they would loose out on them.

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need not only to shout out our pain, we should motivate others to open their eyes and to see what is going on. We have to call onto those who say they are lovers of God.

We need to assert our Jewish identity – not mask it – with increased passion and vigor. We need to make the elimination of anti-Semitism not simply a Jewish cause but the universal response to a heinous crime which for far too long has soiled the pages of history.

As we prepare to observe Purim this year, let us make the noise required to eradicate the genocidal ambitions of anti-Jewish hatred which still continue to plague us.

The US delegation for the 2004 OSCE Conference...

The US delegation for the 2004 OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism, led by former New York Mayor Ed Koch and former US Secretary of States Colin Powell. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding article

Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God

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Additional reading

  1. Religious Practices around the world
  2. Protest against Tzahal concert in Antwerp
  3. Migrants to the West #6
  4. 2014 European elections
  5. Hamas the modern Philistines
  6. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  7. World remembers Auschwitz survivors
  8. 25 Orthodox rabbis issued a statement on Christianity
  9. French Muslims under attack
  10. At the closing hours of 2016 #1 Looking down at terror
  11. Jews the next scapegoat for Donald Trump
  12. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  13. Objective views and not closing eyes for certain sayings
  14. Donald Trump after declining numbers of people victimised for their religion managed to increase the numbers again

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Further reading

  1. Anti-Semitic threats towards Jewish Centers continue to rise in numbers
  2. anti-Semitism, the DNC, and Donald Trump
  3. Anti-Semitism row at Bristol University as lecturers rally round academic who claimed Jews should stop ‘privileging’ the Holocaust
  4. Jeffrey Goldberg on Mel Gibson: He is “Hollywood’s leading antisemite”
  5. This #Muslim interfaith activist knows more about #Zionism than most Jews
  6. France has passed the point of no return
  7. Far-right candidate sees a France sans kippas, headscarves — NZ Friends of Israel Association Inc
  8. Anti-Semites attack Philadelphia, USA Jewish cemetery
  9. Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia vandalized, more than 100 headstones toppled
  10. How has it come to this?
  11. Another day, another Muslim ban
  12. Meet ‘Based Stick Man,’ the Alt-Right’s LARP-y New Hero
  13. Mourning Oak Grove
  14. Israel: Boycotters are no longer welcome — Israel restricts visas — “If anyone insults us, we respond.”
  15. Israeli Apartheid Week in France — anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment has been high in France while Jews flee to the Israeli homeland — Under French law boycotting is illegal
  16. President Trump Vows to Give Up Denouncing Anti-Semitism for Lent
  17. In Israel, Lauding and Lamenting the Era of Trump
  18. American Liberal Jews: “staggeringly naive believing that marching at airports with signs that read “We love Muslims” will change those Muslims who hate Jews into Muslims who love Jews”
  19. Steve Cohen’s ‘That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic’
  20. Rochester Area JCC Re-Opens After Morning Bomb Threat
  21. A Sixth Wave Of Bomb Threats On Jewish Centers Also Targeted The Anti-Defamation League
  22. “The sad phenomenon of Jews accusing other Jews of provoking antisemitism can be found throughout Jewish history”
  23. Seattle Fed Says Kadima Purim Event Violates Promo Policy
  24. Donald Trump Is Not the “Least Anti-Semitic Person” Ever
  25. Switzerland funds NGOs that call for Israel’s destruction
  26. Glimmers of Hope
  27. Entire U.S. Senate Demands Trump Act on Jewish Center Threats
  28. The anti-Semitic Martin Luther
  29. So Many Hamans- Anti Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head
  30. Tomb of Purim Heroes Esther and Mordechai Still Standing in Modern-Day Persia -Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.
  31. Why Is Purim Essential?
  32. Headlines — 3/08/17
  33. “If you talk privately to those who work in the Jewish organization world, many will confide that the greatest threat to the security of the American Jewish community is “changing demographics,” which is a euphemism for a growing population of Arab migrants to the United States”
  34. A Liberal Zionism for the Trump Era
  35. Cindy Jacobs Wants To “Harvest” The Jews
  36. Also in Media: “The View from Israel: The Inevitable Outcome of the Establishment of Palestine.”  March 7, 2017
  37. Anti-Semitism (by If we the people)
  38. Ilan Pappe asks “Am I an anti-Semite?”
  39. Four steps to reach mutual understanding
  40. In An Angry And Fearful Nation, An Outbreak Of Anti-Semitism (by K Street)
  41. Remembering Amalek’s oppression of us-and others
  42. Goucher’s Jewish community reacts to anti-Semitic attacks
  43. The Rise of Anti-Seminism
  44. In an Angry and Fearful Nation, an Outbreak of Anti-Semitism (Reprint)
  45. The Story of Esther is Now
  46. United against Freedom…
  47. Activist: ‘Let’s free England from Jewish control’
  48. “A key teaching of the Book of Esther is that once the plague of Jew-hatred gets in the air, almost any environment can nourish it”
  49. Auschwitz
  50. Alternative Reality #5: Friends Indeed: Hoteps and Neo-Nazis Unite
  51. Islamophobia and its apologists
  52. Temple De Hirsch Hosts BDS Rabbi
  53. PewDiePie, Nazi?
  54. Show your love
  55. ADL plans Silicon Valley center to fight cyberhate
  56. A Sign That Reads ‘Beware of Jews’ Appeared in London
  57. Beware of Jews
  58. The Restless Ghosts of Baiersdorf
  59. Front National: Back to Holocaust Denial
  60. YouTube Grows a Spine
  61. Labour selects anti-Semite as New Plymouth candidate
  62. The enemy inside
  63. US ‘Outraged’ by UN Report That Accuses Israel of Establishing ‘Apartheid Regime’ That ‘Dominates the Palestinian People’
  64. The Guardian: Why won’t YouTube and Google consider moderators to tackle online hate?
  65. What Type of Utopia Will Israel Be?
  66. Italian rabbis accuse biblical conference of fueling anti-Judaism
  67. 167 House members ask Trump to retain ambassador to combat anti-Semitism
  68. US Muslim vets vow to protect Jewish communities
  69. Jews Support Muslims against Trump’s border closure
  70. Organizations call for Sebastian Gorka resignation for ties to far-right group
  71. On anti-Semitism, anti-Islam and fictitious alliances in U.S.
  72. Money Sought To Protect Jewish Schools
  73. Praying for an anti- anti-Semitic Awakening
  74. Alliel – A Window Into Tribal Arrogance
  75. Jewish mentality: Charging Palestinians millions of dollars to have their homes demolished
  76. Culture Clashes Real and Imagined
  77. The Old Man and the Tortoise
  78. The Goy According To Hoenlein
  79. Lost Tribes of Israel, Blood and History
  80. Sanctuary: An Interfaith Movement
  81. Vienna – 1938
  82. Come in, Come in
  83. Not That Jewish
  84. Why Call it Judaism? The Case for Humanistic Judaism
  85. Legitimacy: the Struggle of Progressive Judaism
  86. Is Pope Francis ushering in a revival of Catholic anti-Semitism as it seeks to ally itself with Islam? Prominent Italian Rabbi Giuseppe Laras sounds the alarm
  87. Sermon: Anti-Semitism: Do We Have a Problem?

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