Antisemitism in the Twenty-first Century
Antisemitism is a much more complex phenomenon than most scholars in the field and nonexperts might expect or think. Antisemitism is not just a subcategory of hatred, racism, or bigotry. The Shoah was not a genocide “among others,” as many scholars in the field of “comparative genocide studies” or “postcolonial studies” insinuate or even proclaim as a truism.
Today, antisemitism appears mostly in three forms: (1) “traditional” antisemitism, both religious and racial, including anti-Judaism, blood libels, and conspiracy myths, among countless other tropes; (2) Holocaust denial, distortion and obfuscation, relativization, and universalization; and (3) hatred of Israel or anti-Zionist antisemitism. Post-Holocaust antisemitism is also framed as “secondary antisemitism,” insofar as it is related to the time after Auschwitz. Secondary antisemitism is related to the distortion or obfuscation of the Shoah and to project German guilt onto the Allies or the Jews and to minimize or trivialize German guilt.
The new Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism (JCA) initiated by Academic Studies Press will focus primarily on manifestations of twenty-first-century antisemitism. However, many forms of today’s antisemitism are not manifest at all but appear in hidden or coded forms. Of course, the many forms of antisemitism intertwine to make antisemitism not only the “longest hatred” and a “lethal obsession” (Robert S. Wistrich), but also a most flexible ideology. Accusing the Jewish people of both capitalism and communism is a case in point. Antisemitism is a “specific phenomenon,” as I have framed it in Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon (2013).
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