Opinion: Understanding global anti-Semitism – Daniel Goldhagen

Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism (Photo credit: quinn.anya)

The following op-ed article published in the Jerusalem Post by controversial, best-selling. author, and former Harvard professor, Daniel Goldhagen is WELL WORTH A READ. Check it out!

via Goldhagen: Understanding global anti-Semitism | JPost | Israel News.

In the article, Goldhagen makes the case that on the back of the internet, anti-Semitism has become a global force, just like globalization.

Personally, I struggle with Goldhagen’s analysis which for me was strong on opinion and light on evidence. How can Goldhagen justify claims that one in two European‘s is anti-Semitic? I felt that Goldhagen’s article was inflammatory and perhaps more to do with promoting his new book.

What Goldhagen was describing as the spread of global anti-Semitism is very different from the political anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany.

For me, there are three separate events here.

Firstly, there are the official Germany ceremonies to reflect on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. The German Government and most Germans have behaved completely properly. There were isolated examples anti-Semitism designed to coincide with the Kristallnacht anniversary.

Secondly, there is the publication, designed to coincide with the Kristallnacht’s 75th anniverary,  of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report, entitled “Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of antisemitism” which is highly recommended reading. The research by the FRA included a pan-European online survey of 5,847 self-selected individuals who identified as Jewish in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the UK; these are the states in which an estimated 90 percent of European Jews live. The report confirms that anti-Semitism is still widespread and comes from across the political and social divide, not just the extreme right and extreme left. Looking at the incidence of anti-Semitism, it’s more widespread in certain countries, notably Hungary and France. However, as Spiegel highlights, the impact of anti-Semitism in Germany is more serious. Whilst this was an outstanding piece of research, I am a little concerned about the self-selected sample of 5000+ perhaps being slightly biased, so I would question the generalizability of the evidence?

Thirdly, Daniel Goldhagen published his latest book at the same time as the Kristallnacht anniversary. Having previously had a No. 1 best-seller, I am sure that  Goldhagen’s publishers are encouraging him to talk up his latest book. Also given Goldhagen’s sensational style of writing, I wonder why he never secured tenure as a professor at Harvard?

Although I am a keen political blogger, I am a novice in writing about anti-Semitism. BUT it occurs to me that there is difference between anti-Jewish feeling and anti-Israeli feeling. Whilst there is a connection they are not the same. Indeed at the Knesset Diaspora Affairs Comm meeting on anti-Semitism, there seems to be an emerging view that anti-Semitism has now  morphed into anti-Zionism.

Whilst I accept that the incidence of low-level acts of anti-Semitism have increased in Europe, as evidenced above, for me these are very different to political anti-Semitism as seen in Nazi Germany. In conclusion, I struggle with Goldhagen’s definition of global anti-Semitism; this does not fit with my understanding of Globalism.

Any thoughts?

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One response

  1. Pingback: Attacking anti-Semitism | by a broken finger

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