The Re-emergence of Anti-Semitism in Post-Communist Europe

I should like to draw attention to the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism’s special issue, “Eastern European Antisemitism” (Vol. 4, Issue # 2, 2012), which is now available on line at http://www.jsanitsemitism.org/pdf/jsa_4-2.pdf

Guest edited by Andras Kovacs, Professor of Sociology at the Central European University, Budapest, and specialist in the subject of anti-Semitism in post-war Europe, this special issue discusses and analyses the findings of important sociological research by eminent European academics on the re-emergence of anti-Semitism in Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia since the fall of communism.

Noting that more than 4 million victims of the Holocaust came from Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia owing to both passive observance and active support of the ghettoization and deportation of Jews to the death camps, a series of articles show how the anti-Semitism of the pre-war period never left these countries but remained throughout the communist era in both the private and political spheres, so that the apparent “re-emergence” of post-communist anti-Semitism is not only a relic of communism itself but is also a continuation of the old anti-Jewish prejudices that haunted Europe before the war.

What is particularly interesting about the research presented in this series of articles is the description of the forms that the anti-Semitism took during the pre-war period and during the communist era, and how that anti-Semitism has been reconstituted since the fall of communism. Specifically, the research provides empirical data on the size of anti-Semitic groups within the current societies of Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, their typical social features and attitudes, and draws a comparable picture of the changes in anti-Jewish prejudice since the pre-war period to the present day.

Blaming the Victim for Anti-Semitism

 

LDB Board Member Richard Cravatts (Simmons/SPME)  has co-authored this important op ed about the abuse which has lately been heaped upon two of the most outspoken critics of campus anti-Semitism. The piece features LDB Academic Advisor Tammi Rossman Benjamin  and British mathematics lecturer Ronnie Fraser, the subject of Brandeis Blog postings here and here  and here.  Cravatts’ co-author is Acting SPME Executive Director Asaf Romirowsky.

Blaming the victim for anti-Semitism

By ASAF ROMIROWSKY, RICHARD CRAVATTS

Jerusalem Post

04/20/2013 22:56

Whether or not the union feels it is being anti-Semitic is not relevant; anti-Semites rarely admit to their behavior.

Of late we have witnessed a new methodology used to suppress those who speak out against anti- Semitism in academia. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Hebrew lecturer at UC Santa Cruz, and Ronnie Fraser, a lecturer in mathematics in London, have respectively taken on their schools and unions with regard to how anti-Semitism has infected their organizations and caused an uncomfortable, even hostile, environment based on the politics of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

Berkeley Chancellor Repudiates Student Senate’s Anti-Israel Divestment Resolution

Outgoing University of California at Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau  has rejected the anti-Israel divestment resolution  that the Berkeley student senate passed just yesterday.  The Daily Californian has published Birgenau’s statement, which emphasizes that the student senate has no influence on the university’s investment policies.  In a pointed repudiation of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and…

UC Berkeley Student Senate Passes Anti-Israel Boycott Motion

The Daily Californian and J Weekly are reporting that the University of California at Berkeley student senate passed a resolution this morning calling for divestment from Israel.  The debate had reportedly been “heated” and lasted over ten hours, with the final vote taken just before 5:30 a.m. this morning.  Supporters reportedly reacted to the news with “cheering, stomping and cries of joy”:

The nonbinding resolution, authored by ASUC senator George Kadifa, calls for the divestment of reportedly more than $14 million in ASUC and U.C. funds from three companies that provide support to Israel’s military in the Palestinian territories or contribute to the building, maintenance or economic development of Israeli settlements in the territories. The language of the resolution, according to the Daily Cal, calls the U.C. system a “complicit third party” in Israel’s “illegal occupation and ensuing human rights abuses.” The newspaper reported the resolution names the three companies: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Cement Roadstone Holdings.

Berkeley’s student senate had previously passed a similar measure which was later vetoed by the senate president.

In 2010, a BDS measure very similar to this year’s resolution sparked heated debates, drawing hundreds of people to senate meetings, and garnering international attention. The senate passed that resolution 16-4, but it was later vetoed by then-president Will Smelko, and a vote to overturn the veto fell one vote shy of the necessary two-thirds majority.

In response, Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman of the Berkeley Hillel issued a statement entitled, “We Should all be Proud of the Jewish Student Leadership at Cal.”  Rabbi Naftalin-Kelman’s statement stresses that the student senate’s vote “has no practical effect whatsoever.”

North Carolina Professor Uses Holocaust Image to Falsify Blog on Deir Yassin

A University of North Carolina professor, Omid Safi, has reportedly falsified a blog posting on Israel’s 1948 treatment of Palestinians at Deir Yassin by illustrating it with a photograph that was in fact taken of Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust.  The Elder of Zioyon blog, among others, reports that Safi has used this Holocaust concentration camp photograph in posting on the Religion News Service (RNS) blog. The photograph was removed before we visited the site, but it is shown in this image captured from Safi’s posting:

Fake Deir Yassin Photo

This misuse of this Holocaust image illustrates the concept of “Holocaust inversion,” which is used to describe the practice of Jews, Zionists or Israelis of behaving like Nazis or having culpability for Holocaust-like crimes.  Holocaust inversion is often described as an indicator of anti-Semitic expression.  The U.S. Department of State, for example, has explained this phenomenon as a kind of “Holocaust denial or trivialization” in its report on Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism.”

Manitoba Bars Anti-Israel Group for Human Rights Violations

In a major decision of international signfiicance, the University of Manitoba’s student union has stripped the Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) of official recognition.  The Manitoba student’s union is the first such group to bar this anti-Israel campus group based on the anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination that take place each year during Israel Apartheid Week.…

Contact Brandeis Center Lawyers About Campus Anti-Semitism

Students and professors: If you are aware of anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli incidents on your college or university campus, please contact lawyers at the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.   The Brandeis Center is an independent, nonprofit civil rights organization that combats campus anti-Semitism through legal advocacy, research and education.  Through our legal initiative,…

Petition Against Anti-Israel Bullying and Bigotry on Campus

A group called “Students Against Bigotry” is circulating this petition against “anti-Israel bullying and bigotry on campus.”  The campaign for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel often degenerates into hatred and smears.  We oppose harassment, bigotry and bullying against any group. The petition may be found here, and its text is shown below.

STUDENTS AND ALUMNI OF NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGES 

CALL FOR AN END TO ANTI-ISRAEL BULLYING AND BIGOTRY ON CAMPUSES—

AND CALL FOR HONEST, CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE AND ACTIONS

We represent the silent majority of students who are fed up with the anti-Israel activity on increasing numbers of North American campuses.

We are tired of being subjected to anti-Israel slogans, events, and street theater.

We are tired of boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns against Israel (BDS), especially the divestment resolutions that are stealthily introduced to our student governments.

We are tired of the bullying of those who dare challenge these hostile tactics and messages.

We are tired of the bitter divisiveness the anti-Israel campaign foments on campuses.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Conduct Anti-BDS Petition Drive

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East SPME is circulating a faculty Petition to Condemn Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel.  The timing is important, as the BDS movement has recently scored a rare string of victories in North America.  Student governments have lately passed anti-Israel BDS resolutions at the University of California campuses at San Diego, Irvine and Riverside.  Meanwhile, Canada’s largest student government, which is at York University, last week endorsed the anti-Israel boycott.  Efforts to counteract the BDS movement have also had some traction, as pro-Israel groups have succeeded in convincing UC Riverside’s student government to reverse itself and revoke its divestment resolution.  In this volatile environment, SPME has intervened with an international faculty petition drive that attacks the BDS movement, rather than merely defending Israel against false charges.  In its message to “All Faculty” (below), SPME charges that the BDS movement BDS “uses false premises that mischaracterize Israel  in order to justify calling for sanctions against it.”  Specifically, SPME argues that BDS’ real purpose is to eliminate the State of Israel and undermine Jewish ethnic identity, while its affects are to bolster anti-Semitism and undermine peace: