Second Herbert Berman Memorial Symposium on New and Recurring Trends in Contemporary Anti-Semitism

, November 16, 2002

 

 

Arab anti-Semitism is nowadays the major source of anti-Semitism in the world, the borders between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are in the process of being blurred, new centers of anti-Semitism have emerged in the Western world. These were major recurrent themes discussed at the 2nd Herbert Berman Memorial Symposium on Wednesday, November 13, 2002.

Dr. Meir Litvak of the Dayan Center in Tel Aviv, cautioned against the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict being mistaken for the primary cause of Arab hatred of the Jews and Israel.  He stressed that, while it was once believed that a peace agreement would bring the end of anti-Semitic feelings in the Arab world, it is now far too deeply entrenched for this.

Shlomo Avineri, Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University and former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, suggested to confront European leadership concerning their passive attitude toward Arab anti-Semitism. He said that besides France and Belgium which have also been subject to physical violence against their Jews, the major locations of verbal anti-Semitism in the West have moved inter alia to the Scandinavian countries.

Professor Israel S. Charny, Chairman of the Institute of Holocaust & Genocide Studies and editor of the Encyclopedia of Genocide called Berkeley “America’s capital of anti-Semitism.”

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, chairman of the JCPA’s board demonstrated how major classical motifs of anti-Semitism including the accusations against the Jews of being the source of all evil, poisoners of non-Jews and ritual users of their blood, nowadays originate in the Arab world but are being diffused further by Western sources. They are applied almost indiscriminately against Jews and the State of Israel.

Natan Sharansky, Israeli Minister of Housing and former Prisoner of Zion, said that while anti-Semitism persists in Russia, from his conversations with President Putin he has the strong impression that the latter intends to fight violent anti-Semitism as any pogrom in Russia might endanger its efforts to change its image in the West.

Other speakers included Professor Robert S. Wistrich, Chairperson of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, and Professor Dina Porat, Head of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism.

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