Contemporary Antisemitism

Contemporary Antisemitism: Canada and the World

Derek J. Penslar
Michael R. Marrus
Janice Gross Stein
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 130
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442673342
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  • Book Info
    Contemporary Antisemitism
    Book Description:

    Antisemitism is reappearing in disturbing new ways and in unexpected strength. This resurgence is of deep concern to politicians, practitioners of law, the academic community, and to informed citizens everywhere. To address this, a scholarly conference was assembled at the University of Toronto in 2003.Contemporary Antisemitismis the result of that meeting.

    Editors Derek J. Penslar, Michael R. Marrus, and Janice Gross Stein, and the contributors to this volume address the following questions: is contemporary antisemitism an eerie echo of the past, or is it driven by new combinations of political, economic, and religious forces? How powerful are the anti-Jewish trends that so many have detected? And how should liberal democratic societies respond to this new threat against them? The essays map the terrain of antisemitic thought and practice, make important distinctions between expressions of antisemitism across time and space, and put various strategies of response into critical perspective.

    With its combination of voices from both scholarship and leadership ? including Chief Justice of Ontario R. Roy McMurtry and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney ? and its unique assessment of antisemitism in Canada and the struggle against it,Contemporary Antisemitismoffers new perspectives on one of the world?s most ancient and diffuse hatreds.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7334-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)
    Derek J. Penslar

    Antisemitism resists rational explanation and dispassionate inquiry. It is enduring yet protean, featuring undeniable continuities yet also staggering diversity across time and space. Antisemitism not only corrupts those who are seduced by its hateful teachings but can also cloud the judgment of those who strive to combat them. Antisemites and their opponents, whether Jewish or Gentile, regard each other in what is at times an oddly symmetrical fashion: just as the former see the Jew as eternal malefactor, so can the latter perceive antisemitism as embedded into the cultural foundations of Christian and Muslim civilization. The antisemite and his victim...

  5. Part I Canadian Leaders on Antisemitism

    • Chapter 1 Antisemitism: An Enduring Reality
      (pp. 15-25)
      BRIAN MULRONEY

      I was born in Baie Comeau, Quebec, then a small town on the St Lawrence River, in 1939, the year the Nazis marched and the Allies responded.

      My only recollections of the war are scenes of my dad – then a father of three young children – marching proudly up Champlain Street with fellow militia members, getting ready to serve if called. And I can still remember children’s whispers of German submarines lurking off our shores and my electrician father at dinner telling his family of the horrors of Hitler and why he had to be crushed if civilization were...

    • Chapter 2 Law and Antisemitism: The Role for the State in Responding to Hatred
      (pp. 26-32)
      R. ROY McMURTRY

      I believe antisemitism to be one of the most vicious diseases ever visited upon the human race. I also believe very strongly that the state has a vital role in combating the dissemination of hatred.

      As the Attorney General for Ontario for a decade, I and my ministry made the fight against hatred on the basis of religion or race a priority. For me, the issues of antisemitism and racism are very much linked and represent an almost seamless web of evil.

      When I became attorney general in 1975, the pluralistic and demographic nature of Ontario, and of Toronto in...

  6. Part II Scholars on Antisemitism, New and Old

    • Chapter 3 The Changing Dimensions of Contemporary Canadian Antisemitism
      (pp. 35-51)
      MORTON WEINFELD

      Antisemitism in Canada is changing. As many of the traditional forms have declined – though not disappeared – newer forms have emerged. The newer manifestations relate to issues of ‘reasonable accommodation,’ and, more seriously, to the use in many cases of animus towards Israel and Zionism as surrogates for traditional anti-Jewish expression.

      I define antisemitism as views or actions (including inactions) that are, or that most Jews perceive as, harmful. This definition is agnostic regarding motivations, focusing more on consequences than intentions. By including the perceptions of victims, it introduces a subjectivity that some might find problematic. After all, Jews...

    • Chapter 4 Historical Reflections on Contemporary Antisemitism
      (pp. 52-63)
      STEVEN J. ZIPPERSTEIN

      Not infrequently, our most contentious, conflicted conversations we have with ourselves. This statement is not meant to be the confession of a narcissist. Rather, it is meant as an admission that even in the university world, which is, one would think, designed so that faculty, students, and others can talk genuinely and sincerely, there are some areas, often among the most sensitive, that remain simply, even persistently, somewhere beyond the pale.

      I do not believe that the university is, as some have insisted, especially during the intellectual battles of the 1990s regarding the fate of the teaching of Western civilization...

    • Chapter 5 Antisemitism in Western Europe Today
      (pp. 64-79)
      TODD M. ENDELMAN

      George Santayana’s dictum that ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ is misleading and even dangerous advice. Its message – know the errors of your predecessors so you do not repeat them – fosters the illusion that history repeats itself in easily comprehensible ways and that those who are alert to this are prepared to face the future. It errs in assuming that seemingly similar events across decades and centuries are in their essentials identical regardless of the circumstances in which they are found. It ignores the possibility that the newest manifestations of a phenomenon may...

    • Chapter 6 Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: A Historical Approach
      (pp. 80-95)
      DEREK J. PENSLAR

      In his classic Zionist manifestoThe Jewish State(1896), Theodor Herzl claimed that the ‘Jewish Question’ was a matter ‘to be managed through counsel with the civilized nations of the globe.’¹ Herzl believed that, although antisemitism in Europe was pervasive, irrational, and ineradicable, Zionism offered a rational response to the problem, and so the same ‘civilized nations’ in which antisemitism flourished would also gladly support and help organize the mass movement of Jews to Palestine.

      In 1978, some eighty years after the publication ofThe Jewish State, Yehoshafat Harkabi, an Israeli scholar of the modern Arab world and Israeli security...

    • Chapter 7 The Nature and Determinants of Arab Attitudes towards Israel
      (pp. 96-120)
      MARK TESSLER

      Arab attitudes towards Israel are of interest for several reasons. On the one hand, in the context of the present volume, there is interest in determining the degree to which views about Israel are determined by views about Jews. More specifically, to what extent, if any, does antisemitism shape the way that many Arabs think about the Jewish state? On the other, beyond incorporating the Arab world into a broad assessment of antisemitism, a concern for Arab-Israeli peace makes it necessary to ask whether the Arabs, and especially ordinary citizens in the Arab world, are prepared to recognize Israel’s right...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 121-122)