The issue of Israel and Jewish nationalism is the very center of the contemporary antisemitism, according to philosopher and academic Steven T. Katz, from Boston University, who considers antisemitism today as a combination of ideology and psychological pathology. Katz shares with Wide Angle his reflections on the stages of the development of anti-Semitism from the New Testament to today. Let me start with a comment on the New Testament in order to advance one fundamental claim that is relevant to our present considerations. I discern in the New Testament itself — in its anti-Jewish theology of fulfillment, displacement, and negation — the point of origination of the long-standing and tragic conflict between Judaism and Christianity. The Hebrew bible is read by the New Testament as the source of a promise that is betrayed by its intended beneficiaries, the Jewish people.
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In his introduction, Jonathan Judaken surveys theories and debates about anti-Semitism. He makes three salient observations about what hampers the field. First, it lacks agreed-upon definitions of its central concepts and terms.
Second, how anti-Semitism compares to Islamophobia, anti-black racism, and other forms of oppression is unresolved. Third, periodization of anti-Semitism remains vague. In particular, he underscores and counters eternalist and teleological narratives, claims about uniqueness, and apologetics. To move out of these theoretical impasses, Judaken makes two recommendations.
Second, he calls for more meta-level considerations, drawing from work in critical social and literary theory, postcolonialism, and studies of racism and gender. Congruent with this conceptual groundwork, Judaken suggests that Judeophobic discourses and practices encompass five modes—stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, racialization, and murder—and five periods—ancient, early Christian, high medieval, modern, and post-Holocaust.
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Translated by O ona S myth and C laudia P atane. Foreword by D avid I. K ertzer.
Statistical studies, rigorous scholarly research and journalistic inquiry demonstrate, through sad findings indeed, that an anti-jewish sentiment has become more present in the last few years. Intentional acts against Jews are on the rise, no longer restrained to profanation and insults. We could however shift points of view and propose another vision of anti-Semitism which, without challenging the truth of specialists, nor encouraging alarmists, would not hold to the narrow horizon of our present time but go further into the landscape of society and, inextricably, of culture. Some people could have everything to be racists.
Steven T. Katz: We need a new strategy for responding to current Judeophobia
In his introduction, Jonathan Judaken surveys theories and debates about anti-Semitism. He makes three salient observations about what hampers the field. First, it lacks agreed-upon definitions of its central concepts and terms. Second, how anti-Semitism compares to Islamophobia, anti-black racism, and other forms of oppression is unresolved. Third, periodization of anti-Semitism remains vague.