Conference Agenda

RN31_04: Antizionism and Antisemitism
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Kim Robin Stoller, International Institute for Education and Research on Antisemitism (IIBSA) / Free University Berlin
Location: UP.4.213
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road


The Ideology of Antizionism

David Seymour

City Law School, University of London, United Kingdom

This paper offers an account of antizionism that draws on a critical reading of Hannah Arendt’s presentation of antisemitism as ideology that she discussed in Origins of Totalitarianism. I argue that Arendt’s account of the ideology of antisemitism - that it emerges from and detaches itself from the reality of Jewish/non-Jewish relations - can be seen to be at work within certain, more recent, strains of antizionism. I argue further that as a consequence, antizionism as ideology contains within it elements of the violence and terror that Arendt identified within the nature of (totalitarian) ideology as a whole; most notably the attempt to mould the actually existing world according to its own distorted image. I conclude by discussing the dominance of these developments in discussions of Israel and Palestine and the extent to which the space for rational discussion may or may not remain.

Antisemitism and Identity Politics

Karin Stoegner

University of Vienna, Austria

In this paper I will criticallly analyse current notions and practices of identity politics, both on the left and the right political spectre, and compare them as to how they refer or not refer to the possibility of a Jewish identity. The guiding question is whether Jewishness is regarded as a specific identity among others or whether Jewishness is implicitly or explicitly identified with the non-identical.

Measuring Antisemitism in Relation to Israel: a New Psychometric Scale

David Hirsh2, Daniel Allington1

1Kings College London; 2Goldsmiths, University of London

A range of psychometric scales for the measurement of antisemitism already exist, including the 11-item scale used by the ADL in its international surveys, the 7-item scale used by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and the 9-item scale used in the 2017 Jewish Policy Research survey of antisemitism. All of these scales are constructed from statements explicitly about Jews. Numerous survey- and experiment-based studies have used scales in order to test the hypothesis that negative untrue beliefs regarding Jews qua Jews (i.e. antisemitism) are related to negative untrue beliefs regarding Israel: a hypothesis that has been supported over and again by empirical findings. Such studies necessarily begin by treating statements about ‘Jews’ and statements about ‘Israel’ as expressions of two separate and distinct underlying constructs, each to be measured using a different scale. However, historical and qualitative research suggests that there may be in reality only a single construct, finding expression in beliefs about Jews qua Jews and in beliefs about Jews qua ‘Zionists’, ‘Israelis’, ‘Israel supporters’ or the metonymic ‘Israel’, yet modified in its expression by social desirability bias among individuals nominally committed to anti-racist politics. This supposition that is consistent with the repeated empirical finding of correlation. If it is accepted, then certain kinds of statements about Israel should be regarded as expressing not a construct related to antisemitism, but antisemitism itself.

We discuss the development and testing of a new psychometric scale for the measurement of antisemitism in relation to Israel. Consisting of demonstrably antisemitic statements that make no explicit reference to Jews, it was piloted on a convenience sample of staff and students at a British university (n = 340).

Antizionism Without Israel – On Forms Of Antisemitic Demonization Of Jewish Statehood Before 1948

Lukas Uwira

European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

The recent study of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2018) as well as most of the current research projects on contemporary antisemitism show a major problem of antisemitic antizionism. However, little research has been done on the history of hatred towards Jewish statehood dating back to the end of the 19th century. When reading academic texts regarding antizionism one could even get the impression that it’s a phenomenon of the second half of the 20th century.

The ongoing dissertation project aims to reduce this gap with a comparative analysis of text sources in German that had been published between 1887 and 1933. Based on a definition of antisemitism as an ideology, which is characterized as an »entanglement of the true and the untrue which differs from the full truth and the lie« (Adorno, 1972), the project primarily focuses on the comparison of the antisemitic reasoning with the empirical historical reality. Another priority is the analysis of the variety and correlations of arguments put forward. The key interest is to point out how this early antizionism was already deeply connected to modern, mostly racial antisemitism – and to assess if and how it is linked to present forms of Israel hatred. So far, two antisemitic and racist texts on the impossibility of Jewish statehood by orientalist Adolf Wahrmund and Adolf Hitler had been examined and could be presented at the ESA conference.