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Author(s): Younes, Anne-Esther
Date: 2020
Abstract: This paper examines the discourse around anti-Semitism in Germany since 2000. The discourse makes use of the figure of the Jew for national security purposes (i.e. via the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the trope of the “dangerous Muslim”) and the politics of national identity. The article introduces the concept of the “War on Anti-Semitism”, an assemblage of policies about national belonging and security that are propelled primarily by white racial anxieties. While the War on Terror is fought against the Muslim Other, or the War on Drugs is fought against predominantly Latinx and Black communities, the War on Anti-Semitism is ostensibly fought on behalf of the racialized Jewish Other. The War on Anti-Semitism serves as a pretext justifying Germany's internal and external security measures by providing a logic for the management of non-white migration in an ethnically diverse yet white supremacist Europe.

In 2000, a new citizenship law fundamentally changed the architecture of belonging and im/migration by replacing the old Wilhelminian jus sanguinis (principle of blood) with a jus soli (principle of residency). In the wake of these changes and the resulting racial anxiety about Germanness, state sponsored civil-society educational programs to fight anti-Semitism emerged, targeting predominantly Muslim non-/citizens. These education programs were developed alongside international debates around the War on Terror and what came to be called “Israel-oriented anti-Semitism” in Germany (more commonly known as “Muslim anti-Semitism”).

Triangulated through the enduring legacy of colonial racialization, the Jew and the Muslim are con/figured as enemies in socio-political German discourses. This analysis of the War on Anti-Semitism has serious implications for our understanding of “New Europe”. By focusing on the figure of the Jew and the Muslim, the implications of this work transcend national borders and stress the important connection between fantasy, power, and racialization in Germany and beyond.