Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts - Volume 16, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5765/2004)
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts

Volume 16, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5765/2004)

"Anti-Semitism Issues"

Yehezkel Dror

Israel urgently needs a grand strategy toward the European Union. This is all the more so because the two parties disagree profoundly on fundamental issues and seriously misperceive each other. Israel has many strategic assets that it can use to improve its political and security relations with the European Union, but without a high-quality grand strategy these cannot be employed effectively. A first step is to dispel Israeli misperceptions about the European Union; more difficult is to cope with the deep disagreements and with the European Union's misperceptions. Seventeen principles can help Israel craft a grand strategy toward the European Union, in conjunction with additional grand strategies that Israel needs to formulate no less urgently.

Robert Wistrich

Anti-Zionism has become the most dangerous and effective form of anti-Semitism in our time, through its systematic delegitimization, defamation, and demonization of Israel. Although not a priori anti-Semitic, the calls to dismantle the Jewish state, whether they come from Muslims, the Left, or the radical Right, increasingly rely on an anti-Semitic stereotypization of classic themes, such as the manipulative "Jewish lobby," the Jewish/Zionist "world conspiracy," and Jewish/Israeli "warmongers." One major driving force of this anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism is the transformation of the Palestinian cause into a "holy war"; another source is anti-Americanism linked with fundamentalist Islamism. In the current context, classic conspiracy theories, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, are enjoying a spectacular revival. The common denominator of the new anti-Zionism has been the systematic effort to criminalize Israeli and Jewish behavior, so as to place it beyond the pale of civilized and acceptable conduct.

Manfred Gerstenfeld And Ben Green

Several organizations and individuals, in Israel and abroad, monitor foreign media's reporting on Israeli-related matters. Most pro-Israeli media watches are in English but there also some in other languages such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. There is evidence that pro-Israeli media watching does have an impact, both causing journalists to report more objectively and influencing policymakers.

Monitoring may make the media subject to certain checks and balances. As the criticism comes from many concerned people, it constitutes an important democratic process. Jewish organizations and individuals are among those in the forefront of the effort to make the media more accountable. Their actions have a social and political importance that goes far beyond public affairs aspects. As both the Middle East conflict and the disproportionate interest in it continue, media-watching activities are likely to grow further in the coming years.

Gerald M. Steinberg

In the wake of the Holocaust, as human rights norms have come to the fore, NGOs have become major actors in international politics in general and in the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular. These organizations and their leaders form an extremely powerful "NGO community" that has propelled the anti-Israeli agenda in international frameworks such as the UN Human Rights Commission and the 2001 UN Conference against Racism in Durban. Through their reports, press releases, and influence among academics and diplomats, these NGOs propagated false charges of "massacre" during the Israeli army's antiterror operation in Jenin (Defensive Shield) and misrepresent Israel's separation barrier as an "apartheid wall."

This community has exploited the "halo effect" of human rights rhetoric to promote highly particularistic goals. In most cases small groups of individuals, with substantial funds obtained from nonprofit foundations and governments (particularly European), use the NGO frameworks to gain influence and pursue private political agendas, without being accountable to any system of checks and balances.

This process has been most salient in the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The ideology of anticolonialism (the precursor to today's antiglobalization) and political correctness is dominant in the NGO community. This ideology accepted the post-1967 pro-Palestinian narrative and images of victimization, while labeling Israel as a neocolonialist aggressor. Thus, behind the human rights rhetoric, these NGOs are at the forefront of demonizing Israel and of the new anti-Semitism that seeks to deny the Jewish people sovereign equality.

Michael Whine

This article describes the processes by which Jewish organizations, led by the major American groups, have tried to alert international organizations to the threat that anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence in Europe again poses to Jewish communities and to democracy itself. At a series of conferences of the OSCE and the European institutions, these Jewish groups have overcome governments' reluctance to address the issue and have focused attention particularly on the threats posed by the spillover of Middle East tensions and the anti-Semitic messages promoted by Arab states, their media, and Islamist bodies. The Jewish NGOs aim to encourage the international organizations and European governments to face up to their responsibilities to protect their Jewish citizens, accept that anti-Semitism is different from other forms of discrimination, and begin to monitor and combat the threat through governmental and police action.

Jeremy Jones

Australia has a well-earned reputation as being not only accepting but welcoming of Jews. Successive Australian governments have believed Australia has a role in combating anti-Semitism internationally, and acted accordingly. Anti-Semitism has often been spoken of as an illness of the Old World and the Third World, with Australian opinion leaders suggesting that the Australian national ethos of giving everyone a "fair go" effectively renders their country immune from anti-Semitism. In recent years, however, there has been a growing acknowledgment both of the presence of anti-Semitism in Australia, and that it is the responsibility of political and moral leadership to confront it.

Manuel Prutschi

Canada is characterized by a set of fundamental values that help create a multicultural democracy and that are intended, among other goals, to protect vulnerable minorities. This article examines how these values, unfortunately, have not immunized Canada from anti-Semitism. It traces Canadian anti-Semitism's domestic historical evolution and puts the phenomenon in the context of its current worldwide resurgence.

The article analyzes the last four years, identifies anti-Semitism's Middle Eastern roots, and examines the nature and sources of its manifestations. It focuses, furthermore, on the period between March and July 2004. Analyzing individual anti-Semitic incidents, it finds that while little if any pattern emerges, at least in certain quarters anti-Semitism may have become almost systemic.

Using specific cases from the last four years as examples, the article concludes by demonstrating how Canada uses a specially designed legislative framework as one important way of combating anti-Semitism.

Susanne Urban

The new millennium has witnessed a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the world, especially in Europe. Anti-Semitism certainly did not disappear in Germany after WW II. What is new is the blunt expression of anti-Semitism and the fraternization between left-wing and right-wing, liberal and conservative streams. Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism continue to spread in German society and are more and more openly expressed.

Right-wing groups and neo-Nazis are no longer the only ones who agitate against Israel and Jews. Together with "traditional" anti-Semitism, Germany has seen a growth of leftist anti-Semitism along with anti-imperialist, antiglobalization, and anti-Zionist attitudes, all reinforcing the new German claim of having been victims in WW II.

There is a widespread animus against Israel, clearly not only toward Israeli policies, that often goes along with pro-Palestinian partisanship. This development is intensified by anti-Israeli media coverage in Germany, often accompanied by anti-Semitic language and images.

This "new" anti-Semitism in Germany correlates with changes in the nation's attitudes toward WW II and remembrance of the Shoah. Laying the blame for "immoral" conduct on Israel, and therefore "the Jews," makes clear that "they" did not learn the lessons of the Shoah; whereas Germans see themselves as having learned the lessons by being watchmen against "immoral" politics.

Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson

Jews were only occasional visitors in Iceland from the 17th century onward. Until the 1930s, the Holy Scripture as well as the most recent European trends in anti-Semitism constituted nearly the only knowledge the Icelanders had about the Jews. Jews in the flesh materialized as Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Most of the refugees moved on to other countries, and some were even expelled or deported. In the postwar period, Jews living in Iceland remained an isolated group. They quickly realized that most Icelanders showed no concern about the sufferings some of them had undergone during WW II. Members of the prewar Icelandic Nazi Party became high-ranking officials, war criminals found safe haven in Iceland, and an odd, social-democratic politician even engaged in publishing an anti-Semitic journal along with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Icelandic. Possibly because of anti-Semitic sentiments, some Jews in Iceland tried to conceal their Jewish background altogether. At present, the small Icelandic Jewish community keeps a low profile amid rising anti-Semitism centered on the Middle East.

Ben Cohen

Much of the recent analysis of leftist anti-Semitism focuses on developments since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000. This article, which takes Britain as a case study, seeks to situate what is commonly referred to as the "new" anti-Semitism in a historical context, arguing that many of the anti-Semitic themes currently present in leftwing and liberal discourse have been observable in the past. The article analyzes the evolution of leftist anti-Semitism, concentrating in particular on the motif of delegitimization that marks discussions of Zionism and Israel. It concludes that the organizational alignment of leftist and Islamist organizations, and the ongoing integration of Islamist and leftist attitudes toward Jews, represents a qualitative shift in the nature of leftist anti-Semitism in Britain.

Michael J. Bazyler

The Holocaust restitution lawsuits, filed mostly as class actions in American courts in the latter half of the 1990s, yielded billions of dollars in settlements for Holocaust survivors and their heirs. The American lawsuits, and the concomitant political campaign by American Jewish leaders and American government officials, also unearthed valuable historical data about the financial crimes of the Nazis and their cohorts during WW II. This post-Holocaust restitution movement, while viewed as a success, nevertheless created troubling moral issues, and this article focuses on five of them. First, does the demand for financial restitution demean the memory of the Holocaust? Second, once the funds are collected, how are they to be fairly distributed? This raises the provocative issue of who should be deemed a "Holocaust survivor." Third, should some of these restitution funds be allocated for Holocaust education and remembrance, or do they belong solely to survivors? Fourth, while payments to individual survivors from these settlements were in the thousands of dollars, the class-action attorneys earned fees in the millions. Are these attorneys entitled to such fees, even though the fees represent less than 2 percent of the total amounts collected through the litigation? Fifth, many of the lawsuits were defended by Jewish lawyers. Although European corporations accused of wrongful conduct both during and after WW II are free to hire Jewish lawyers to defend their interests, should lawyers who are Jewish have taken on the defense of such suits?

By confronting these gray zones of post-Holocaust restitution, this article aims to shed light on this latest and wholly unexpected legacy of the Holocaust.

Joel Fishman

In spring 2004, a group of pro-Palestinian radicals initiated a proposal that would have twinned Rafah in Gaza with Madison, Wisconsin. This initiative was significant, because only a few American cities have adopted Palestinian towns. Its acceptance would have meant a victory for the Palestinian Authority and its supporters by advancing their long-term objective of delegitimizing the State of Israel and by creating a climate congenial to politically correct anti-Semitism. The City Council of Madison met twice, on 6 July and 20 July 2004, to deliberate this proposal. Because the local Jewish community and unaffiliated Jews, some belonging to the "soft Left," acted effectively, the City Council did not adopt the proposal. Although Madison may seem far away from Israel, the decision reached there has considerable importance.

Yonit Golub

Anti-Israeli campus groups have made inroads at American universities by using the campus media, creating strategic partnerships with mainstream left-wing groups, and supporting certain members of the faculty and staff. Pro-Israeli activists who wish to combat this threat must respond to all three of these avenues by getting organized, utilizing the media, and maintaining relationships with organizations, campus influentials, and the Jewish community. The Coalition of Hopkins Activists for Israel (CHAI) was created in September 2000 to enact these steps in seeking to preempt potential anti-Israelism on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus.