Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts
Volume 17, Numbers 1-2 (Spring 5765/2005)
The Deep Roots of Anti-Semitism in European Society
The resurgence of European anti-Semitism after the Holocaust suggests
that it has deep roots in society. It has been fostered in a great
variety of ways by so many, for such a long time, in all European
countries that one might consider this form of hate and discrimination
as inherent to European culture and a part of European "values." New
European anti-Semitism often originates from a young age group,
which indicates that it is an anti-Semitism of the future rather than of
The European Union's attitude toward anti-Semitism is doublehanded.
Through its discriminatory declarations and votes in international
bodies the EU acts as an arsonist, fanning the flames of anti-Semitism in its anti-Israeli disguise. Simultaneously it also serves as
fireman, trying to quench the flames of classic religious and ethnic anti-Semitism. France is paradigmatic of this approach. Although European
anti-Semitism cannot be eradicated, certain steps can be taken to mitigate
it. This requires a major change in discriminatory EU policies toward
Israel. In the meantime there are increasing indications that the European
battle against anti-Semitism may be used, to the contrary, to facilitate
attacks on Israel.
The NGOs, Demolition of Illegal Building in Jerusalem, and International Law
Justus Reid Weiner
Various nongovernmental organizations accuse Israel of abusing the Arab
population of East Jerusalem by demolishing their illegally built (unlicensed)
homes. NGOs claim to be acting as the world's conscience and
proclaim the objectivity and accuracy of their reports. Using the idiom
of international law, these NGOs have inflicted lasting damage on Israel's
reputation. They accuse the Jerusalem municipality of having different
standards for house demolitions as between Arab and Jewish neighborhoods.
The general public, unable to decipher the legal jargon in the
NGOs' criticisms, tends to assume that they are credible.
Does Israel breach the human rights of the Arab residents of East
Jerusalem by demolishing their illegally built structures? At issue here
are the laws and facts underpinning the NGOs' accusations; whether
the NGOs make proper use of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other
instruments of conventional and customary international law; and the
extent to which these NGOs adhere to their proclaimed standards of
accuracy, objectivity, and political independence.
Eastern Europe: Anti-Semitism in the Wake of Holocaust-Related Issues
Although the study of the Holocaust and its historical lessons has traditionally
been regarded in the Western world as one of the most effective
means of combating anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia, in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe Holocaust-related issues have
been a major cause of anti-Semitic incidents and growing animus toward
Jews. In these societies, which are being forced for the first time to
confront the complicity of their own nationals in the crimes of the
Holocaust, practical issues such as the acknowledgment of the crimes,
commemoration of the victims, prosecution of the perpetrators, and documentation
of the events are proving to be a major source of tension and
conflict between Jews and non-Jews. Examples from eight di.erent post-
Soviet and post-Communist societies illustrate how this phenomenon has
developed over the past fifteen years. There is a need for greater scrutiny
and active steps to address this problem.
The International Commission of Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims:
Excellent Concept but Inept Implementation
The International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims
(ICHEIC) failed to meet its promises to Holocaust victims and their
heirs to compensate in speedy fashion policies that remained unpaid for
some sixty years. When the claims process has been completed only about
3 percent of the $15 billion value of unpaid life insurance Holocaust-era
claims will have been paid, few unpaid nonlife policies will have been
considered, and the process will take at least eight years instead of the
two or so originally anticipated. As of November 2004, ICHEIC plans
to complete its operations by mid-2006.
The chief reasons for this failure are inept governance and poor
management. Governance became akin to secret diplomacy, in which
ICHEIC's chairman and his immediate subordinates relied heavily on
dealing only with those who favored their views while making promises to
others that were never fulfilled or too long delayed. ICHEIC management
mainly ignored the numerous studies pinpointing the serious problems
with the claims process.
To make matters worse, insurance companies did not honor their
initial pledges, and political pressure on ICHEIC to initiate reforms
faded. Most Jewish and U.S. regulators participating in ICHEIC came
to believe that there was no alternative to ICHEIC, having been worn
down by the inflexible stance of ICHEIC’s leadership. Finally, the
U.S. courts recently dismissed suits against insurance companies and
National Socialism and Anti-Semitism in the Arab World
Anti-Semitism based on the notion of a Jewish world conspiracy is not
rooted in Islamic tradition but, rather, in European ideological models.
The decisive transfer of this ideology to the Muslim world took place
between 1937 and 1945 under the impact of Nazi propaganda. Important
to this process were the Arabic-language service broadcast by the
German shortwave transmitter in Zeesen between 1939 and 1945, and
the role of Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was
the first to translate European anti-Semitism into an Islamic context.
Although Islamism is an independent, anti-Semitic, antimodern mass
movement, its main early promoters—the Muslim Brotherhood in
Egypt and the Mufti and the Qassamites in Palestine—were supported
financially and ideologically by agencies of the German National
The Passion by Mel Gibson: Enthusiastic Response in the Catholic World,
Restrained Criticism by the Jews
Sergio I. Minerbi
Mel Gibson's film The Passion, first screened for the public on Ash Wednesday, 25 February 2004, aroused great interest among both Jews and Christians. The film's anti-Semitic content and violence were the major reasons for the wide attention it received.
On 3 October 2004, Pope John Paul II beatified Ann-Catherine Emmerich, whose visions were the basis for the movie, thus indirectly giving his blessing to the film. Several Vatican personalities have claimed that the film is not anti-Semitic.
Among Jewish organizations, the debate centered on whether one should criticize the film or avoid doing so, in order not to increase the interest in the movie. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League was one of the few Jewish leaders who did raise his voice against the film.
Japanese-Israeli Relations, the United States, and Oil
The article surveys Japan's attitude toward the Jews and Zionism
beginning with the positive phase in the 1920s and 1930s. It describes
the subsequent negative effect of the oil factor on Japanese-Israeli
relations, and the improvement in these since the fall of the Soviet
Union, the first Gulf War, and the Madrid Conference. The key change
for Japan was the decision by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Gulf
States to abolish their indirect boycott of Israel in September 1991.
The fact is underlined that Japanese-Israeli economic relations proved
robust enough to withstand the political upheavals during both the first
and second intifadas. The development of alternative energy sources to
oil would foster further improvement of relations. Although political
differences continue, future relations will be based on mutually beneficial economic interests centering on the growing importance of advanced technology.
Indonesia and Israel: A Relationship in Waiting
Greg Barton and Colin Rubenstein
Indonesia has faced much the same obstructions in developing its nascent
relationship with Israel as have all the other Muslim-majority nations
of Asia. While not inherently antithetical to Israel, Indonesia clearly
places a higher value on avoiding trouble with radical Islamist elements
at home than it does on normalizing relations with far-away Israel. The
precedent was established by founding President Sukarno, who brushed
aside early Israeli overtures and eventually adopted a strong pro-Arab
policy as part of an overarching anticolonialist worldview. Although under
Suharto the formal policy toward Israel remained largely unchanged,
around the margins the New Order regime found it useful to conduct
unofficial dealings with Israel, most significantly in the area of military
hardware. Since Suharto's demise in 1998, the idea of establishing ties
with Israel has arisen periodically in political circles, most notably under
the brief presidency of progressive Islamic leader Abdurrahman Wahid,
but any concrete developments are likely dependent on progress in resolving
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
American Jews and Evangelical Christians: Anatomy of a Changing Relationship
In the aftermath of the U.S. elections of November 2004, national attention
has focused on the role of the growing Evangelical Christian community.
Among many Jews and friends of Israel, this community -
and its views on a wide range of domestic and international issues - has
been a topic of great interest and debate for years. At a time when Israel
has lost ground in the battle for global public opinion, vocal support
from Evangelical Christians has been welcomed by many American
Jews and Israelis. The enthusiasm, however, is not universal; many American
Jews have misgivings about the Evangelicals' embrace of the Jewish
Those who are uncomfortable with Evangelical support point to a
long list of problems ranging from the theological reasons that this
community supports Israel and its hard-line views on territorial issues
to the positions espoused by many Evangelicals on a wide range of
domestic issues, including abortion, church-state separation, gun control,
and so on.
Among Jews who welcome Evangelical support, a common argument
is that Israel's present-day needs must take precedence over potential
problems in the future. They advocate cooperating on issues of
shared concern while agreeing to disagree on other matters, so long
as Evangelicals do not target Jews for proselytization.
In many ways, the debate over how to address Evangelical support
for Israel parallels the newer debate in the broader American society
that stems from the strong role played by Evangelicals in the national
elections. As the election results underscored, Jews who care about
Israel, including those uncomfortable with the notion of cooperating,
will find themselves unable to ignore the influence of the large bloc
of conservative Christians in America.
Jews and Fundamentalism
Samuel C. Heilman
The differences between active and quiescent fundamentalism, two stages of the phenomenon, help explain developments among contemporary Orthodox Jewry, which is also divided along these lines. Included in the former category are Orthodox Jewish settlers in the Land of Israel as well as Chabad Hasidim who are on a mission to transform Jewish life. Those who make up haredi Jewry, and in particular those in the world of the yeshivas, constitute the latter category. The year of yeshiva study spent in Israel by young Orthodox Jews from America plays an important role in shaping these categories.
Hazkarah: A Symbolic Day for the Reconstituting of the Jewish-Ethiopian Community
Emanuela Trevisan Semi
This article analyzes the invention of the Hazkarah (memory), a new holiday of Ethiopian Jews in Israel that commemorates those Ethiopian Jews who perished while trying to reach Israel from Ethiopia before and during Operation Moses (1984-1985), and is held concurrently with the national holiday of Jerusalem Day. The process of establishing this day is considered in light of this community's current sense of marginalization in Israeli society. Hazkarah expresses the Ethiopian Jews' process of Israelization in contrast to their traditional holiday of Segd, celebrated in Ethiopia to mark the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai and reintroduced in Israel to express the community's re-Ethiopianization.
Defeating Anti-Israeli and Anti-Semitic Activity on Campus - A Case Study:
Since the beginning of the Second Intifada in the fall of 2000, anti-Israeli activity, in the form of rallies, divestment campaigns, and misinformation
about the political situation in Israel, has increased significantly across American university campuses. Jewish students at
Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey, were intimidated
by the extreme anti-Israeli sentiment that often crossed the line
into anti-Semitic activity. In the months leading up to the Third
Annual Palestinian Solidarity Movement Conference, scheduled to
meet at Rutgers, pro-Israeli student activists mobilized to combat the
anti-Israeli movement by creating a new, proactive campaign. Called
Israel Inspires, this campaign had a major impact on student opinion
toward Israel, prevailing over both anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activity
in the fall of 2004.