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Reading List April 06, 2019

How To Talk About Anti-Semitism

A reading list.

Much like the border that separates Israel from Palestine, the line that demarcates what is and is not anti-Semitism is constantly being pulled into question—especially when it comes to the political project of Zionism.

While many progressives have critiqued the conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, our latest essay goes further. Authors Donna Nevel and Mark Tseng-Putterman argue, for instance, that the Anti-Defamation League’s research is biased and that it “reflects a broader anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian agenda” that other powerful Jewish institutions share.

We paired this new piece with some archival picks that look at the past and future of how we talk about Jews—including the language we use to talk about the financial crash, the “new” Muslim anti-Semitism, and an essay by Colin Dayan on why we must pay attention to how we speak about Palestinians, too.

—Rosie Gillies


What Anti-Semitism Is—And What It Is Not 
by Donna Nevel and Mark Tseng-Putterman

“It’s not anti-Jewish to point out that many Jewish organizations have power to exert their influence in damaging ways.”

• • •

All That Is Given: Hannah Arendt on Being Jewish
by Vivian Gornick

“The idea of a Jewish state appalled her. She had considered Palestine a homeland for the Jews but never advocated carving out Jewish sovereigntyat the expense of the Arabs already living on the land.”

• • •

Anti-Semitism and the Economic Crisis
by Neil Malhotra and Yotam Margalit

“In order to assess explicit prejudice toward Jews, we asked respondents ‘How much to blame were the Jews for the financial crisis?’ A strikingly high 24.6 percent of Americans blamed them a moderate amount or more.”

• • •

The Death and Life of the Jewish Century
by Benjamin Balthasar

“As the postwar liberal order crumbles, we are witnessing a radical shift in the structure of anti-Semitism. Its resurgence today is not a quirk of Trump, and it is not a response to Israel’s ever-more grotesque forms of apartheid.”

• • •

Is Germany’s New Anti-Semitism Really New?
by Carlos Fraenkel

“How big is the problem of this ‘new’ anti-Semitism, what is its exact nature, and what can be done about it? Is the talk of a new and distinctively Muslim anti-Semitism in Germany justified?”

• • •

Jews in Britain Are Not Facing an Existential Threat
by David R. K. Adler

“Very little space is afforded for beliefs that are simultaneously pro-Jewish and anti-Zionist. That space is consistently marginalized by mainstream Jewish figures.”

• • •

When Protesting Israel Becomes Hating Jews
by Jason Stanley

“History has shown time and again that it is not possible to dehumanize an enemy while treating their cousins, aunts, and uncles with equal respect.”

• • •

How Not to Talk About Gaza
by Colin Dayan

Palestinians are labeled as ‘terrorists’ by the powerful, so that lethal force is the rule and extreme violence—or exemplary disregard—may be directed indiscriminately against civilians and non-civilians alike.”

• • •

Why Israel?
by Claude S. Fischer

“Why do so many leftish Americans and Europeans who have no personal stake in the Palestine-Israel conflict focus on it? Why has Israel come to occupy so much of the left’s attention?

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