Antisemitism: National or European Constellation?

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Sergio DELLAPERGOLA, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
What are the fundamentals of contemporary antisemitism? Jewish excessive power, Holocaust denial, and Israel demonization are the three main strands of antisemitism. A fourth type stressing the Jew as a physical and moral degenerate was important historically but is less central today. There have been and there are different ideological foundations – pagan, Muslim, Christian, left-wing, right-wing, and liberal-centrist. Christians and Muslims view the Jew as enemy, but also as possible neophyte. Political antisemitism condemns the Jew for different and specular reasons: the Capitalist, the Bolshevik. For liberals, the main theme is assimilation of the Jews. Fundamental research needs include: noting the number of events and the number of perpetrators; looking at the number of people exposed to the event, or the multiplier of events and people exposed to them; a comparative framework, time-oriented and in association with external events – economic conjuncture for example; and understanding differential geographic, demographic, socio-cultural characteristics of perpetrators and victims alike. Finally, one needs to look at the frequency and patterns of Jewish response. Looking at past research experience, we detect studies of antisemitic acts, perceptions, and discourse. We need to start creating a coherent mapping sentence toward more integrated studies in the future. We must outline who is the active and passive actor; who pursues action after the initial antisemitic event; and what are the main diffusion channels. Longitudinal studies have been quite absent from the scene. How to react to antisemitism? Through educating people to Jewish values and history, doing good deeds and providing good behavioral examples, being politically active, bringing people to directly know Jewish and Israeli realities, and – last resort – knowing how to practice self-defense. Data illustrative of these topics will be presented based on recent research in Europe.