Monday, April 11, 2011

Review Antisemitism International

John R. Houk

© April 11, 2011

Have you heard of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of AntiSemitism (SICSA)? It is actually an academic fellowship that groups prominent intellectuals that study the ramifications of global antisemitism. It is a part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Here are some self descriptive excerpts from the Center’s website:

The Vidal Sassoon International Center (SICSA) was established in 1982 as an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to an independent, non-political approach to the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge necessary for understanding the phenomenon of antisemitism. The Center engages in research on antisemitism throughout the ages, focusing on relations between Jews and non-Jews, particularly in situations of tension and crisis.

The SICSA puts out an annual publication that has essays related to the issues involved in antisemitism. The essays are intent on finding understanding of the insidious phenomenon of Jew-hatred. This is vitally important because there has been a discomforting resurgence of antisemitism in the West and a horrifying indoctrination of Jew-hatred among Muslim dominated nations.

The 2010 “Special Issue” Antisemitism International is a good read that is best NOT to skim through. Read each essay with the intent toward attention. These are scholarly essays so it might take some time to digest the written words; nonetheless the essays will enlighten you to that which Jewish people have faced for aeons. And if you are Jewish you can examine these essays to gain an understanding how the teaching of antisemitism has been ingrained into non-Jews to make Jews the scapegoat for all the ills of the world. Blaming Jews for global ills is insane. The biggest agenda Jews have had while living in non-Jewish oft times prejudiced lands is to survive while retaining their identity in a non-threatening way. For many Jews this has translated into assimilation into Western nations. For the rest of Jews this translated into a dedication to faith insulated by Jewish religious communities from suspicious gentiles who always seem to think the worse about something that is different.

AntiSemitism International 5-6 – Special Issue

An Annual Research Journal

Edited by Robert S. Wistrich

October 2010, 192 pp, English, Paperback

ISSN: 1565-4850, SKU 45-654850


Robert S. Wistrich - Jewish "Otherness" in Historical Perspective

Anthony Kauders - Liberalism, Multiculturalism, and Jewish Identity in the Federal Republic, 1945-1990

Nelly Las - Secularism, Feminism, and Antisemitism: The Islamic Veil in France

Martina Libertad Weisz - Micro-physics of Otherness: Jews, Muslims, and Latin Americans in Today`s Spain

Suzanne Rutland and Sol Encel -
Australian Multiculturalism: Immigration, Race, and Religion

Micahel C. Kotzin -
Pictures at an exhibition: Art Galleries, the Academy, and Anti-Israel Polemics

Heidemarie Wawrsyn - Nazis in the Holy Land 1933-1939

Jeffrey Herf - Nazi Broadcasts to the Middle East during the Holocaust

Menahem Milson - A European Plot on the Arab Stage

Robert S. Wistrich - Antisemitism: The European and Islamic Legacies

Annexe: Interview with the Author

Jewish "Otherness" in Historical Perspective

Wistrich examines how Jews have been looked upon as “the other”. This otherness has existed against Jews even when a Jewish population was sometimes non-existent. “The other” is a kind of “us and them” mentality with “the them” being different from us. Myths evolved among “the us” that would make a scapegoat for a problem that exists even though “the them” has absolutely no context with the problem. It was easier to blame that which was different because no one of “the us” understood “the them” or “the other”. In Christian culture Jews were viewed as Christ killers and in Muslim cultures the Quran vilifies Jews as untrustworthy deceivers.

A closer examination of the Bible from a Christian perspective shows that the Jews were merely one cog that led to Christ’s Crucifixion. And even as part of that cog, it was the Jewish leadership of the day. Hello, people follow and leaders lead. The actual death of Jesus was at the hands of Roman soldiers that were under the authority of the Roman Emperor way back in Rome. So where is the accusation that Italians were Christ killers? That accusation will not come to Italians because as the Jewishness of Christianity became more gentile oriented the Italians were no longer “the other”. Instead gentiles became “the us”.

Liberalism, Multiculturalism, and Jewish Identity in the Federal Republic, 1945-1990

The theory of multiculturalism is based on three fundamental ideas: differences, recognition and cultural rights.”

Anthony D. Kauders

First, I will briefly outline how some of the most prominent proponents of multiculturalism have conceived of its task.  The emphasis of multicultural theory is necessary in order to evaluate its central tenets as against the more common, ill-defined … Second, I will show how Jewish officials and public figures … have for the most part shunned this form of self-understanding. And third, I will argue that a majority of Jews … multiculturalism is rarely an enticing option in light of past experience.

Secularism, Feminism, and Antisemitism: The Islamic Veil in France

There is very little understanding outside the country of this complex situation in France.”

If I am reading Nelly Las correctly, French society is full of inner conflict of secular, Leftists, Islam and feminism. The outcome of this inner conflict has evolved into a situation in which all the conflicted blame the Jews for the conflict.

Nelly Las

These are issues which for the last fifteen years have pitted Left against Left in France, feminists against their sisters, and even Muslims of different persuasions against each other. Between the lines of these profound differences, the Jews seem to be somewhere behind the scenes, playing an underlying, if unclear, role, whether direct or indirect. …  French Jews, who had successfully … adapted secularism, have unwilling been caught up in this debate, whose real subject is the integration of Muslim immigrants in France. Hence … a joust of religious, political and memory symbols: kippa (skullcap) versus veil; support for Israel versus support for Palestinians; colonization/slavery versus the Holocaust or Shoah; …”

Micro-physics of Otherness: Jews, Muslims, and Latin Americans in Today`s Spain

As in the Wistrich essay in the beginning there is an examination of “the other”. This time “the other” is observed in relation to the historical influence of “Jews, Muslims and Latin Americans”. Without refreshing my memory I believe “Latin Americans” represents the Spanish Christian Church experience that has probably had a major infusion of secularism as also is the case in all Western Europe.

Australian Multiculturalism: Immigration, Race, and Religion

As the title suggests this is an examination of antisemitism in Australia.

Suzanne Rutland and Sol Encel

Australian Jewry, which contains a large proportion of postwar Holocaust survivors, has benefitted from the development of multiculturalism, which has enable the community to foster a strong ethnic as well as religion identity. … The most recent wave of immigrants to Australia is largely from Muslim countries in the Middle East, …”

This essay goes on to relate that Australia has had its issues with “discrimination” and “repressive treatment” of “non-Anglo-Celtic” groups. This took its original form against Aborigines and later the fear of being overrun by oriental races. Evidently Jews were not necessarily overlooked in this discrimination even though the post Holocaust Jews were of a European origin hence having the appearance of Anglo-Celtic groups. And now with the more recent infusion of Middle Eastern Muslims that discrimination has a new focus which because of Radical Islam has alienated most Muslims even if they call themselves moderate. As you can see the Muslim versus Jew thing then is noticeable that undoubtedly forms negative perceptions of Jews who have pretty much integrated into Australian society as opposed to Muslims who have chosen not integrate.

Pictures at an exhibition: Art Galleries, the Academy, and Anti-Israel Polemics

This essay deals with the antisemitic portrayals in art which vilifies Israel and glorifies Palestinians. In this sense Israel is always in the light of oppressor even though most of the horrific destruction of life, property and community results from direct terrorism from Islamic terrorists or Israeli retribution upon Arabs that call themselves Palestinian property or illegal dwelling that supported the terrorism.

Nazis in the Holy Land 1933-1939

You should be amazed to discover that German Jews that had immigrated to the Holy Land  had an affinity to Hitler’s Nazism prior to the outbreak of WWII. German Jews who had become disappointed with British rule in their Mandate for Palestine who considered themselves more as secular Germans rather than ethno-religious Jews unwittingly began to disseminate Hitler’s Aryan racial superiority ideology. These guys must have been so blinded by anger toward the British they must turned a blind eye to Hitler’s Final Solution outlined in his seminal work of genetic racism in the book Mein Kampf.

Nazi Broadcasts to the Middle East during the Holocaust

Nazi Propagandists easily hooked up with the Muslim mind. After WWI many Arab Muslims of the Middle East expected a pan-Arab nation to be set up by the British. Part of the reason Arabs for the most part aided Britain in WWI was for liberation from the Ottoman Turks with the promise of self-determination. That did not exactly pan out as the Arab tribal-minded Muslim thought it would. Pan-Arabism was exchanged for British and French spheres of influence in North Africa and the Muslim Middle East. I suspect the British and French strategy was to not allow a united pan-Arab nation which might be more of a challenge to British-French National Interests than an advantage. Add to this the emerging knowledge that the Middle East was loaded with Petroleum propped into existence the old virtues of imperialism to exploit weaker nations and peoples militarily for natural resources needed to move the machine of industry.

At any rate Nazi Germany took advantage of this displeasure with the British and the French at the outbreak of WWII. Muslim elements under the control of British authority from present day Iraq though Egypt found great attentive ears to the Nazi propaganda broadcast in Arabic. Some prominent Arab families who had turned anti-British and were immersed in Jew-hatred began to mobilize insurrections in the British Mandate for Palestine, Iraq and Egypt.

Once Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, began to hook up with Adolf Hitler and top Nazis of the German regime, the Nazi propaganda broadcasts in Arabic moved from anti-British polemics to utilizing the Quran in matching Nazi Final Solution ideology. Al-Husayni (and various written forms of his name) inspired an anti-Jewish Arab Revolt in the Palestine Mandate which failed. Al-Husayni fled to Iraq where he hooked up with the prominent Muslim family politician Rashid Ali al-Gailani who performed a coup against the pro-British government. Hitler gave limited support by sending a couple of German bombers in support of the Ali al-Gailani revolt.

The British ultimately overcame this revolt; however al-Husayni then went to Berlin and participated in actual Nazi-Muslim propaganda to the Middle East. Al-Husayni somewhat became the go-between with Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna; thus the Nazi Jew-hatred cycle came to full circle in the Muslim Middle East. It is not that Jew-hatred did not exist in Islamist circles prior to Hitler, a mutual hatred of Jews found willing allies between Nazi military aid and Muslim Brotherhood desires of anti-British/anti-Jewish pan-Arabism to reestablish an all encompassing Caliphate. Indeed there was a bit of hope by the Grand Mufti that a Nazi victory at El Alamein would translate in Germany giving the British the boot from the Palestine Mandate with al-Husayni becoming the Head of State of a large swath of land that exceeded the Mandatory borders.

A European Plot on the Arab Stage

This essay documents the adaptation of European antisemitic literature that has been proven to be untrue forgeries and Jew-hatred blood libels into Muslim culture particularly in the Middle East. The primary focus that is taken as gospel in the Muslim Middle is The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The Protocols has a history that stretches to France and Germany; however the version that has been fabricated as the chief document alleging Jewish World Domination found concreteness in Czarist Russia about 1905 give or take a few years depending on who you read. The Protocols along with Mein Kampf are currently big sellers in the Muslim Middle East.

Antisemitism: The European and Islamic Legacies

Robert S. Wistrich’s last essay in the SICSA publication are some thoughts on Christian antiquity and embedded antisemitism which caused major concern in the West between the French Revolution and Hitler’s Nazi defeat in 1945. Wistrich briefly touches on the Jewish hope that the Holocaust was the worst of Jew-hatred and that a now enlightened world that had visual pictures of the genocide of nearly SIX MILLION Jews at the hands of the Nazi Final Solution had finally brought the world to an end of mass hatred of Jews. Wistrich claims he didn’t buy back in the post-WWII immediacy and has seen how the rabid Muslim Jew-hatred in the present has actually reignited cultural embedded antisemitism globally even in Europe. These last words at the end of Wistrich’s essay are something to dwell on:

It is vitally necessary to expose to the full light of day, with the requisite academic rigor, the real dangers of antisemitism from wherever they may come (and that must include the Middle East); and to do so without fear, favor, or political partisanship in order that we and our children not be condemned to repeat the past. This is a difficult but not an impossible task. We have an existential interest as well as a moral and intellectual duty of the first order not to bury our heads in the sand.”

JRH 4/11/11

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