Day Four Highlights: 2020 ISGAP-Oxford Summer Institute
Professor David Hirsh, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London
“Is there a Relationship between Antisemitism and Contemporary Populism?”
Populism is a way of thinking which constructs a liberal, metropolitan, globalist elite and finds it responsible for everything bad that happens in the world. This elite is often conceived of as educated and wedded to various kinds of ‘unproductive’ production; it has been described as ‘people of nowhere’. It is said to care only about money and not at all about more ‘traditional’ social bonds like community, nation, family and class. Describing the phenomenon in this way makes its potential relationship to conspiracy fantasy, twentieth-century totalitarianism, and then to antisemitism obvious.
Haras Rafiq, Former CEO, Quilliam International; Member, UK Government Task Force on Counter-Extremism; Trustee, Muslims Against Antisemitism Member; Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda, Europol European Counter-terrorism Centre; Peer Mentor, IDeA
“Antisemitism – The Fuel of the Triple Threat”
Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman, Emerita Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department, Brandeis University
“Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in Contemporary Social Movements”
A discussion of the ways in which antisemitic and anti-Zionist assertions promulgated by some contemporary social movements and organizations illustrate the triumph of alternative narratives over historical fact. Some claim that the Jewish Temple never existed in Jerusalem—and the Jews have no historical connection to Jerusalem. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement asserts that the original sin was the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Some worthwhile movements with critically important social messages are sidetracked by “fake news” concerning Israel. One example: Black Lives Matter, created in 2014 as a response to the shootings of unarmed black men by police officers, is in many ways exactly the kind of organization that most American Jews passionately support, but the rhetoric produced by the movement—accusing Israel of “genocide”—is manifestly false and painful for Jewish allies.
Dr. Joel Finkelstein, Director, Network Contagion Research Institute Visiting Scholar, Madison Program for Ideas and Institutions, Princeton University
“Digital Antisemitism, Platform Sponsored Terror and the Race War”
Kenneth L. Marcus, Chairman of the Board, Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Former Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights (2003-2004, 2018-2020), U.S. Department of Education
“Defining and Combating Anti-Semitism”
In order to understand and address anti-Semitism, we must first define it. Yet defining anti-Semitism has been surprisingly difficult and controversial for scholars, commentators, and policymakers alike. This session will discuss the myriad challenges facing efforts to properly define and understand anti-Semitism, including conceptual issues, historical developments, and political disputes. We will look, in particular, at the uses and abuses and misunderstandings of the international Working Definition, as well as the prospects for future progress.
Jacob Dallal, Director of Academic Affairs, Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, Israel
“The Jewish State Combatting New Antisemitism”
Israel is the only country in the world to have its legitimacy and the premise of its existence called into question. This denial of the right of Jews to self-determination in their ancestral homeland is antisemitism in its newest form. This presentation will discuss what the Government of Israel is doing to counteract this attack on Israel’s legitimacy.
Special Envoy Elan Carr, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism
“Philo-Semitic Curricula and Narratives – A Proactive Response to Anti-Semitism”
Governments and NGOs justly focus on defensive measures in combatting anti-Semitism. These are necessary but not sufficient. A key component of the fight against anti-Semitism is the development of curricula and materials that breed appreciation and affection for the Jewish people and the profound contributions of Judaism to civilization.