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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.
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
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.
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:
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.”
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.…
Last week, the Brandeis Center was in touch with the Albany, New York, Superintendent of Schools, after an Albany High School teacher had assigned her class to write persuasively that Jews are evil. The Superintendent has now apologized to Albany families for the teacher’s misconduct. The Albany Times Union describes the assignment:
Think like a Nazi, the assignment required students. Argue why Jews are evil. Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment to make an abhorrent argument: “You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.
The Times Union reports that Albany’s superintendent has now issued a formal apology:
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,…
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.
Author Nora Gold will speak tomorrow at McGill University on “‘I Don’t Know Why They Hate Us – I Don’t Think We Did Anything Bad To Hurt Them’: Jewish Girls (Aged 10-12) Reflect on Their Experiences of Antisemitism.” The talk is part of the the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy’s lecture series, which is conducted at several universities, including Harvard, Stanford, McGill and Fordham. Nora Gold is the creator of the online literary journal JewishFiction.net and the author of novels and an award-winning collection of short fiction.
Like much else about the 1960s, the mantra that “all politics is personal” was rather naïve compared to earlier, more pointed formulations. According to Harold D. Lasswell, who authored Psychopathology and Politics (1930) during the first wave of Freudian debunking, all politics is the displacement of private motives unto public issues, rationalized in terms of the greater good. Herman Melville—a first-hand student of the rise of “Jacksonian democracy”—put it succinctly in Moby Dick: “all mortal greatness is but disease.”
Not surprisingly, it was soon after the making and unmaking of Richard Nixon, that James D. Barber’s The Presidential Character (1977) launched a new wave of psychoanalyzing presidents. The problem with many of these studies is that they may be strong on psychology, but are weak on politics—specifically, the nexus between “presidential character” and public policy decisions. Another problem: historians have proved as prone to projecting their own agendas as politicians. It is true that liberal historians, disillusioned with LBJ, have not been reluctant to dissect his character, and that—given that they really had no other choice—they relatively soon fessed up about JFK’s peccadillos.
However, the iconic FDR and—to a lesser degree, Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman—have long received kid gloves treatment.