Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts - Volume 15, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5764/2003)
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts

Volume 15, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5764/2003)

"Anti-Semitism Issues"

Simon Epstein

An anti-Jewish wave has shaken the Jewish world since October 2000. It is characterized by several eruptions of violent incidents (torchings of synagogues and various acts of aggression against Jewish passersby). It also translates into systematic media distortions in which the Israelis are depicted as cruel aggressors while the Palestinians, even though they are the perpetrators - and irrespective of the savagery of their attacks - benefit from the comfortable status of permanent "victims." This wave has manifested itself by disseminating a form of anti-Zionist propaganda that easily turns into anti-Semitism.

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Since early 2002, a variety of attempts to boycott or discriminate against Israeli academic institutions and scholars have been undertaken in several Western countries. These include proposals such as the divestment of Israeli securities, ostracizing Israeli academics, refusal to publish or review Israeli academic papers, hampering the career of pro-Israeli scholars abroad, etc. Several of the campaigns have anti-Semitic motifs. Many actions are initiated by university lecturers.

Israeli and Jewish defensive actions in response have been uncoordinated. The boycott has been internationally condemned by many institutions and politicians, while not one major academic institution or organization has supported it. Yet it is too early to consider that the worst has passed. Three case studies show several aspects of how the boycott can be efficiently countered. Suggestions for more effective future actions are made.

The academic boycott attempts and other discriminatory actions against Israel are likely to become indicators and precursors of a long-lasting general reassessment in the Western world of issues such as free speech, academic freedom, uncontrolled campus extremism that includes incitement to violence, university autonomy, the politicization of science, and the discrepancy in norms between parts of academia and society at large.

Shimon Samuels

"With a Clenched Fist and an Outstretched Arm: Antisemi-tism, Globalization, and the NGO Challenge in the International Arena" is based on the personal experiences of the author in the power politics of the NGO world, as played out at United Nations agencies, European regional assemblies, and such radical international organizations as the World Social Forum.

The essay analyzes the convergence of anti-globalization, anti-Americanism, anti-capitalism, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism in these arenas. It attempts to track the metastasis of the “new antisemitism” from the Durban hatefest to the Jew-bashing of Porto Alegre.

A contributing factor is the uncoupling of the Holocaust from contemporary attacks on Jews and the psychological mechanisms in Europe for expiation of the crimes of colonialism and Shoah-collaboration, by a role-reversal projection of Middle East imagery Nazifying the Israeli and Judaizing the Palestinian.

Gustavo D. Perednik

Jews currently make up less than 0.05 percent of Spain's population, where they were ambivalently rediscovered after four centuries of absence and demonization. Although deep and intense, Judeophobia in Spain is less scrutinized than in other Western countries. Spanish traditions, media, and vocabulary, even among intellectuals, point to a rooted hatred about which Spaniards are utterly naïve. This can be traced to a national obsession about unity and homogeneity, which may be related to the frequency with which blood libels were fabricated in Spain and included in law.

In spite of the vicious anti-Zionism of its press on both sides of the political spectrum, and the recurrence of "the Jewish lobby" scapegoat, most Spaniards remain unaware of Judeophobia in their country. This naivety could be used to advantage, making it a phenomenon that could be counteracted.

Sergio I. Minerbi

The purpose of this article is to analyze and confute some of the arguments recently put forward by important Italian intellectuals against Jews and against Israel. Neo anti-Semitism camouflaged as anti-Zionism is spreading in Italy today. Three main examples of this phenomenon are given: Sergio Romano, Alberto Asor Rosa, and Barbara Spinelli. Romano claims that the memory of the Shoah has become an insurance policy and is used by Israel as a diplomatic weapon, while Israel itself is "a war-mongering, imperialist, arrogant nation" and "an unscrupulous liar."

Asor Rosa claims that Israel "developed a marvelous army" but at the same time "the tradition and thinking melted away,"' while Israel affirms, he writes, "the racial superiority of the Jewish people." For Barbara Spinelli: "Israel constitutes a scandal" for the way in which Moses' religion validates "rights which are often meta-historical" and "linked to sacred texts." Spinelli thinks that Israel should express its culpability to Palestinians and Islam. She goes as far as stating that some Israelis dream "of a sort of second holocaust." She also attacks the "double and contradictory loyalty" of the Jews.

There is a short analysis of the Italian press and of the stand of the Catholic Church. The lynch in Ramallah is discussed, as well as the declarations of Ambassador Vento. The author also raises the question of school textbooks, the boycott against Israeli universities, and the existence of other voices, very different from the ones mentioned above.

Yosef Govrin

This essay outlines the main factors characterizing the anti-Semitic movements and manifestations in the former Soviet Union (FSU) republics and Eastern European countries in the post-communist era, following the democratization and liberalization process taking place in these areas since the early 1990s.

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