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Zionism, Judophobia and Islamophobia: The new bedfellows



Speaker: Professor Haim Bresheeth, SOAS, London


Over the last couple of decades, the term 'New Anti-Semitism' has been increasingly used, though it originally appeared in the 1960s. It was (and is) used to denote a supposedly new form of anti-Semitism, originating in the 20th century, and bringing together the far-left, radical Islam and the far-right, and masquerading as a criticism of Israeli policies. The introduction of this new concept, has done much to curtail and circumvent anti-Zionist critique, tarring it with the brush of racism. This paper will examine the relationships between Zionism, Islamophobia and Judophobia in the first part of the new century, especially in the European context. A historical argument about racism always suggested that all forms of racism are as abhorrent, should be discussed and fought together, and that combining the struggle against all such forms will benefit all.

This has been opposed for many decades by Zionism, claiming specificity and exclusivity for anti-Semitism, and refusing to combine forces against other forms of racism. In this, Zionists used the Holocaust as a marker of specificity, setting Jews apart from other groups which have suffered racism. By trying to control the debate and the terminology around new ant-Semitism, and by affecting some European bodies with policy repercussions, such as the legal definitions of anti-Semitism, there is an attempt to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, and thus make such positions beyond the social pale. Despite the clear evidence in the last decade that anti Jewish sentiment in Europe is fuelled by a concatenation of the war crimes committed by the Israeli state and the correlated uncritical and unconditional support for such policies by Jewish communities everywhere, with many people finding it difficult to make distinction between Israeli and Jewish identities, the Zionist analysis claims this to be anti-Semitism (or more accurately, Judophobia). This paper will uncover the contradictions of this argument, as well as its political underpinning.

About the speaker: 

Professor Haim Bresheeth is a filmmaker, photographer and a film studies scholar, retired from the University of East London, where he worked since since early 2002. He now teaches at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His books include the best-selling Introduction to the Holocaust (with Stuart Hood, 2 reprints since 1997). 

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When & where

12.00pm - 1.00pmTuesday 3rd March 2015

DLG09 Rhind Building City, University of London Rhind Building London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom