Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN31_08: Antisemitism in Context
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Karin Stoegner, University of Vienna
Location: UP.4.213
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

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The Reception of the so-called migration crisis in Poland: between Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and Anti-Gypsism

Krzysztof Jaskulowski

University SWPS, Poland

The aim of my presentation is to analyse the representations of the so called migration crisis and its reception in the context of dominant nationalist imaginary in Poland. Thus, my objective is twofold. On the one hand, I reconstruct dominant and hegemonic representations of migration crisis. I especially focus on the right-wing Islamophobic discourse which dominated public sphere after gaining power by Law and Justice (PiS) party in the end of 2015. I analyse how PiS utilised imported anti-Muslim discourse drawing and the same time on older local Anti-Semitic stereotypes to stir moral panic and secure its electoral victory and support among Polish populace. On the other hand, relying on qualitative research conducted in several local Polish communities I analyse how local people themselves made sense of migration crisis. Drawing on critical media theory I assume that people must be treated as active agents capable of transforming and modifying dominant representations according to its own interests, capacities and identities. However, I focus on those informants (the rejectors) who reproduced dominant Islamophobic discourse and perceived the Muslims as a multidimensional threat to the Polish nation. I argue that the rejectors’ attitudes towards refugees takes the form of cultural racism, which in some respects resembles traditional Polish anti-Semitism. However, I also demonstrate that the rejectors appealed to the anti-Gypsism discourse and projected anti-Roma stereotypes on the Muslim refugees. I also show the significance of anti-Muslim ideas circulating through migration networks in a transnational space.

Antisemitisms in the 21st century – Sweden And Denmark As Exceptional Cases, Or Forerunners for a General Trend?

Lars Dencik

Roskilde University, Sweden

There are several studies attempting to measure the degree of antisemitism between certain groups or between countries. We have found this to be a too simplistic way of analyzing the phenomena of contemporary antisemitism.

In previous studies we concluded there are rather different patterns of antisemitism, and that these patterns differ between European countries. We found there are actually three different antisemitisms in operation. Based on this we ask: which are images of a secret Jewish conspiracy circulating in today’s Europe, and which of them is today the most threatening to Jews in Europe?

We base our analysis of the ongoing transformations of the patterns of antisemitism in macro-sociological tendencies affecting developments in Europe today. Our empirical data show that the pattern of antisemitism differs considerably between the two Scandinavian countries Sweden and Denmark on the one side, and other European countries, in particular the former communist east- and central European countries such Hungary and Poland on the other hand.

By way of conclusion we discuss to what extent this should be attributed to Sweden and Denmark as exceptional cases, or whether it rather is so that the development of antisemitism in Europe has just gone more ahead in the two Scandinavian countries than it has in Europe in general? Can the specific pattern of antisemitism we observe in today’s Sweden and Denmark indicate what will be a likely future pattern of antisemitism in Europe in general?

Antisemitism And Racism In The Populist Era. The Italian Case.

Claudia Gina Hassan

University of Rome Tor Vergata Italy, Universiy of Castell Sant'Angelo Italy

Antisemitism, always latent, is currently resurging in concomitance with the decline of some taboos heretofore associated with the Holocaust. This recrudescence of antisemitism has become apparent during the 2019 International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Europe. The convergence of different kinds of antisemitism – of European descent and now revamped by Islamism – will constitute the focal center of this paper, aimed at a comparing antisemitism with several diverse manifestations of racism.

Contemporary anti-Semitism can be said to rest on three basic assumptions: the racialization of the Jews, the conspiracy approach to history, a historical judgment on modern bourgeois society as the era of Jewish tyranny. Although they partake of the same ideologies of difference and rely on similar stereotypes, anti-Semitism and racism lead to absolutely diverse strategic and political outcomes. While for racists the bourgeois world is the best possible one, and thus worth defending against the new barbarians at the gates of civilization, for anti-Semites the bourgeois world is the worst possible one, because the barbarians have already broken through the ramparts of civilization, and have even succeeded in infecting it with their mores.

Racist ideology is an ideology of fear, that originates in the drive for self-preservation. Anti-Semitism is instead pervaded by a logic of subversive mobilization, because anti-Semitism is an ideology of subversion and resentment. We can however state that, as Freud would have said, these mechanisms lurk in society and can always recreate a victimising mechanism.

Against this theoretical backdrop, the paper will compare anti-Semitic motifs in populist movements in Italy and other European contexts, such as France and Spain.

Evil twins? Anti-globalization movement and Antisemitism revisited

Holger Knothe

IUBH Nürnberg, Germany

Even in light of anti-globalization movement’s current decrease of importance both on a public and politcal level the analysis of the relationship between progressive and anti-globalization arguments on the one hand and antisemitic narratives within the anti-globalization movement on the other hand provides valuable insight. Especially when it comes to anti-globalization movement’s handling of the argument of fostering antisemitic narratives within their agenda.

As for the German section of the anti-globalization network Attac for instance it can be determined that Attac’s cosmopolitan and universalistic demand according to their self-perception of an emancipatory movement is interwoven with antisemitic argumentative patterns, secondary antisemitic defense reactions, and a rigid and stereotype perception of the Middle East conflict. Attac’s handling with the critique of antisemitic linkages within their own argumentation indicated a new amalgamation of rather incompatible elements and thus can be understood as a precursor and catalyst for current political actors with similar issues in handling the argument of being to close to antisemitic narratives. This is in particular appropriate when it comes to positioning processes within the political arena on the subject of antisemitism: A bare refusal of ‘classical’ antisemitism is not immune from getting involved in multifarious other forms of antisemitism. On the contrary, the variety and ambiguity of splintered antisemitisms might support an increase in their attractiveness.

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