Day Two Highlights: 2020 ISGAP-Oxford Summer Institute

Dr. Joël Kotek, Free University of Brussels (ULB) and The Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris
“The Myth of Judas as the Origin of Modern Antisemitism”

This presentation will aim to demonstrate that the very antisemitism that holds Jews responsible for the woes of the world was born in the Middle Ages. Furthermore, that the myth of Judas is the prefiguration of it. Antisemitism which hates the “Jew” should not be confused with anti-Judaism which rejects “Judaism”.

Professor Jonathan Wolff Alfred, Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; Governing Body Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford
“The Lure of Fascism”

Commentator Emily Lorimer, writing in 1938, warned that Hitler’s initial program was composed of three elements: the desire to create a ‘truly German’ state; to attack social democracy; and to secure the rights of the workers’. In this talk I take up Lorimer’s themes to consider developments in contemporary democracies, exploring especially how authoritarian leaders are again playing up ideas of national identity and undermining the institutions that hold democracy together. I also consider the dangers in attempting to graft crude nationalist ideas on to the workers’ movement.

Professor David Patterson, Hillel Feinberg Chair in Holocaust Studies, Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas
“Antisemitism from Hitler to Hamas”

This presentation explores the genealogical development of antisemitism from the time of the Holocaust, through the post-Holocaust spread of the Muslim Brotherhood, and up to the Brotherhood’s offshoot, Hamas. The presentation pays particular attention to the Islamist Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, as a key go-between for the Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Husseini had his first meeting with Hitler in November 1941 and organized Muslim SS killing units in the Balkans. In July 1946, now a Nazi war criminal, the Brotherhood gave him a hero’s welcome when he turned up in Cairo. Next, the presentation goes into al-Husseini’s recruitment and indoctrination of Yasser Arafat, and from there to the Brotherhood’s most influential ideologue Sayyid Qutb and his Nazi-inspired promotion of exterminationist Jew-hatred. It will be shown how his influence extended throughout the Jihadist world to such organizations as the PLO, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Although these Islamic Jihadists either deny the Holocaust or claim that the Jews were behind it, their ultimate, stated aim is to continue the work of the Nazis and bring about a Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

Dr. Shay Pilnik, Director, Emil and Jenny A. Fish Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center Yeshiva University
“Memory Without Memories: The Story of Babi Yar”

Babi Yar is the ravine on the outskirts of Kiev where over 100,000 people, primarily Jews, were murdered by the German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. While the Soviet Government attempted to forget about Babi Yar and, later, erase this massive grave from the face of the earth, both Jewish and non-Jewish artists and writers managed to preserve its memory in a variety of forms over several decades. In poetry, fiction, music and fine arts, these artists and cultural activists turned Babi Yar into the focal point of Soviet dissent and of the nascent Jewish nationalist revival movement in the USSR during the 1960s and 1970s. Their work has shown the extent to which Babi Yar came to constitute a “memory realm,” both physical and abstract, where Soviet and Jewish identities and, also, the meta-narratives of the Shoah and the Great Patriotic War, could converge. Parallel to this, the story of Babi Yar’s commemoration is a perfect example of the power and endurance of collective memory in a case where no physical memorial could be constructed as a memory marker for a historic event.

Dr. Barry Kosmin, Professor Emeritus, Trinity College, Connecticut
“Global Antisemitism and the University: A 200-Year Problem”

There is a long history of Jews beings subject to exclusion and discrimination both as students and faculty at universities. This has occurred frequently in societies as varied as the US, UK, Germany, Poland and Russia/USSR. In addition, the university in its role as an intellectual centre has been and continues to be the locus of ideological and social antisemitism in many countries.

Dr. Charles Asher Small, Executive Director, ISGAP; Research Scholar, St. Antony’s College, Oxford
“Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity”

This presentation will explore the impact of contemporary processes of globalization on marginalization and hybridity, and how this relates to the emergence of reactionary social movements that use antisemitism at the core of its ideology.