From the Editors

, October 6, 2007

Jewish Political Studies Review 19:3-4 (Fall 2007) 

 

This issue opens with an analysis by Richard Landes of the increasingly important phenomenon of conspiracy theories. He points out that such theories contain three basic elements of apocalyptic movements: they are radical revelations about an otherwise opaque present; they are part of a larger, cataclysmic, final transformation of the world; and they refer to imminent events. After World War II, Western society seemed to have marginalized conspiracy theory. Yet, at the turn of the twenty-first century, there has been an aggressive rise in (traditional) Muslim conspiracism and a remarkable vulnerability to conspiracy theory in the West.

Manfred Gerstenfeld defines eleven categories of contemporary Holocaust manipulations. He maintains that political factors, which vary according to the perpetrators, are among the motivations for the distortions of Holocaust memory. Others include anti-Semitism or anti-Israelism, absolving one’s ancestors of national or personal guilt, and copycatting among people who know little about the Holocaust, Nazis, or contemporary Israel.

Michael Brown analyzes three different periods of Canadian multiculturalism. The first extended from 1759 to 1971 and was mainly characterized by Canada being a binational, bicultural, bireligious, and bilingual country. During that era the Jewish community lived a largely autonomous life on the margins, and between the cracks of the English and French communities. In 1971, a period of official multiculturalism began; since the beginning of the 1990s it is gradually being replaced by an open society.

Maurice Roumani portrays the final exodus of the Libyan Jews in 1967 as a result of violent outbursts against their community at the time of the Six Day War. Thereby a history going back 2,500 years came to an end. The community’s decline began in the 1940s with the application of Italy’s Racial Laws, Libyan Jews’ internment in concentration camps, and pogroms under the British administration. This led the large majority of Libyan Jews to emigrate to Israel after its establishment. The community’s situation continued to deteriorate after Libya’s independence in 1952.

Political relations between Israel and Australia have been almost consistently warm since before Israel’s independence. Colin Rubenstein and Tzvi Fleischer clarify that the vigor of this relationship can partly be explained by certain affinities of personalities and values.

Pakistan, conversely, has refused until today to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, even though their officials maintained clandestine contacts over the years. Moshe Yegar shows that the main reasons for Pakistan’s policy toward Israel are religious solidarity with the Arab-Muslim countries, fear of an adverse response by radical Islamist groups throughout the Muslim world, and concern that establishing diplomatic relations with Israel may cause instability in Pakistan.

In two “Perspectives” articles, Isi Leibler documents meetings with Indian prime ministers Indira Ghandi and Narasimha Rao.

Eran Benedek assesses in an “At Issue” article the new Respect Party in the United Kingdom. It comprises a coalition of the Socialist Workers Party with parts of the Muslim community, antiglobalization activists, and antiwar protesters. Its ideology is an amalgamation of radical international socialism and Islamism. While preaching peace and social justice, the party is intensely anti-Zionist/Israeli.

In a case study, Yohanan Winogradsky shows how a faked anti-Semitic incident by a young non-Jewish woman in France has caused negative fallout for those politicians who censured it as well as the Jewish community. This has led to a substantial decrease and toning down of official reactions to actual anti-Semitic events in France.

A number of book reviews conclude this issue. Several of them deal with anti-Semitism and related matters.

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