Antisemitism and Judeophbia Explained

Last week, I attended a class on anti-semitism and the media, given by prof. Fred Krantz offered by the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research in Montreal (CIJR).

Prof. Krantz started off by giving a definition of anti-semitism. I share with you here two definitions of antisemitism.

“Bernard Lewis defines anti-semitism as a special case of prejudice, hatred, or persecution directed against people who are in some way different from the rest. According to Lewis, antisemitism is marked by two distinct features: Jews are judged according to a standard different from that applied to others, and they are accused of “cosmic evil.”

In 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now Fundamental Rights Agency), then an agency of the European Union, developed a more detailed working definition, which states:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

It adds “such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.” It provides contemporary examples of antisemitism, which include: promoting the harming of Jews in the name of an ideology or religion; promoting negative stereotypes of Jews; holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of an individual Jewish person or group; denying the Holocaust or accusing Jews or Israel of exaggerating it; and accusing Jews of dual loyalty or a greater allegiance to Israel than their own country.

It also lists ways in which attacking Israel could be antisemitic, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor, or applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.”

And then I discovered this short trailer for the movie Judeophobia.I thought this was an especially cogent summation about the current state of affairs regarding antisemitism from some of the best minds around.

The second part of Prof. Krantz’ talk was to point out how anti-Israel bias manifests itself in the media via the choice of articles and words in certain institutional papers, including The New York Times, The Tribune and others. He pointed out that it is important to remember that the editors choose what will go into the paper and how it is reported. This is amply apparent if you follow an NGO like Honest Reporting as I do. This year they even had a contest for who wrote the most dishonest articles, and the Guardian won.

And here is yesterday’s post from Honest Reporting called The Media Cheat Sheet.

Update November 18, 2019:

This was originally posted in February 2012. Sadly this issue has only become more serious and prevalent since then, in Europe, in the US and even in Canada.

This morning I was fortunate to catch a screening of Bogdan’s journey,

an amazing documentary which explores the consequences of antisemitic acts 70 years after the event both among Poles and Jews.

Its a must watch film for anyone who want to understand and to heal.

Thank You Bogdan for your brave journey and to the filmmakers who put this together.