The changes and divisions on the left over the Israel-Palestine conflict forms the central theme of this archive based study. While the Labour Party's supported establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, as a modernising force, the communist movement opposed it, on the grounds that it facilitated imperial influence in the Middle East. In 1947, however, the British Communist Party rallied to the Zionist cause, leaving the Palestinian cause with no effective protagonists in Britain. The left's sympathy, at the time, was overwhelmingly with the Israeli state, considering its establishment a recompense to the Jewish people for the Holocaust. It was only after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, that the new left in Britain began to articulate a critical attitude to Israel and support for Palestinian nationalism. It is a perspective which has gradually gained ground in the political mainstream.
For thirty years the director of the Wiener Library in London, the leading institute for the study of anti-Semitism, Walter Laqueur here offers both a comprehensive history of anti-Semitism as well as an illuminating look at the newest wave of this phenomenon. Laqueur begins with an invaluable historical account of this pernicious problem, tracing the evolution from a predominantly religious anti-Semitism--stretching back to the middle ages--to a racial anti-Semitism that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The author then uses this historical account as backdrop to a brilliant analysis of the newest species of anti-Semitism, explaining its origins and rationale, how it manifests itself, in what ways and why it is different from anti-Semitism in past ages, and what forms it may take in the future. The book reveals that what was historically a preoccupation of Christian and right-wing movements has become in our time even more frequent among Muslims and left-wing groups. Moreover, Laqueur argues that we can't simply equate this new anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and write it off as merely anti-Israel sentiments. National and religious minority groups have been systematically persecuted from Indonesia, to Bangladesh, Rwanda, and beyond, but their fate has not generated much indignation in Europe and America. If Israel alone is singled out for heated condemnation, is the root of this reaction simply anti-Zionism or is it anti-Semitism? Here is both a summing up of the entire trajectory of anti-Semitism--the first comprehensive history of its kind--and an exploration of the new wave of anti-Semitism that will be of interest to all concerned about the future of Jews, Judaism, and Israel.
Deciphering the New Antisemitism addresses the increasing prevalence of antisemitism on a global scale. Antisemitism takes on various forms in all parts of the world, and the essays in this wide-ranging volume deal with many of them: European antisemitism, antisemitism and Islamophobia, antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Contributors are an international group of scholars who clarify the cultural, intellectual, political, and religious conditions that give rise to antisemitic words and deeds. These landmark essays are noteworthy for their timeliness and ability to grapple effectively with the serious issues at hand.
The so-called ‘new anti-Semitism’ is an artificial construct created by Israel to counter growing popular opposition to its own racist policies. Loss of popular support means Israeli influence has been largely restricted to governing circles vulnerable to Zionist lobby pressure. The appearance of the new anti-Semitism has also created a tragic paradox particularly for Jews who believe in tolerance, diversity and human rights. For, if one accepts the precepts of the new anti-Semitism, to stand against Israeli racist policies and practices, you yourself must be deemed racist. In turn, the paradox has created an existential crisis of conscience for Jews worldwide.
Discusses Islamic antisemitism in the wake of the 9/11 attack. Attributes to antisemitism the Islamic edict ("fatwa") against Israel by Sheik Muhammad Sayyed al-Tantawi of the Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo, and agreement with it by Muslim clerics and foreign ministers of 57 states in Qatar in October 2001. Follows Bernard Lewis in distinguishing between reasonable opposition to the State of Israel, normal prejudice, and hatred of Jews as Jews. Notes the tendency among Muslims to adopt Christian- and Nazi-derived libels and myths about Jews, and to fabricate evidence from the Qur'an and Shari'a to support them. This is coupled with a double standard that condemns Israeli actions but ignores or justifies Islamic terror. Lewis states that nationalistic conflicts led to Islamic demonization of the Jews and a resort to violence against them. Calls for Arabs and Muslims to realize that Jewish self-pride expressed in peoplehood, religion, and the State of Israel are answers to Jewish identity, survival, and antisemitism.
For Theodor Herzl, Zionism, in the sense of a political movement to establish a sovereign Jewish state, offered the only workable solution to the problem of antisemitism. Some commentators today speak of a 'new anti-Semitism'. They claim, first, that there is a new wave or outbreak of hostility towards Jews that began with the start of the second Palestinian intifada in September 2000 and is continuing at the present time. Second, and more fundamentally, the 'new anti-Semitism' is said to involve a new form or type of hostility towards Jews: hostility towards Israel. This is the claim under discussion in Klug's paper. The claim implies an equivalence between (a) the individual Jew in the old or classical version of antisemitism and (b) the state of Israel in the new or modern variety. Klug argues that this concept is confused and that the use to which it is put gives a distorted picture of the facts. He begins by recalling classical antisemitism, the kind that led to the persecution of European Jewry to which Herzl's Zionism was a reaction. On this basis, he briefly reformulates the question of whether and when hostility towards Israel is antisemitic. He then discusses the so-called new form of antisemitism, especially the equation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism. He concludes by revisiting Herzl's vision in light of the situation today.