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Author(s): Ullrich, Peter
Date: 2023
Abstract: This chapter addresses the effects of the German politics of memory and the historical overdetermination of the discourse on antisemitism in the country. German antisemitism discourse builds on an exceptionalist conception of antisemitism as delusional and exterminist, which is derived from the experience of the Holocaust. This conception has proven to be unhelpful in understanding, tackling or fighting contemporary manifestations of antisemitism in all their diversity, varying formative contexts and differing degrees of severity or threat, especially with regard to the overlap between antisemitism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The current debate on BDS, along with the range of legal and quasi-legal efforts to severely restrict the movement, is symptomatic of this discourse. Rather than conceptualising (and criticising) the movement in all its heterogeneous facets and ideological and practical ambivalences and contradictions, the bulk of the German anti-BDS discourse tends to equate BDS with the Nazi boycott against Jews. The IHRA’s Working Definition of Antisemitism, with its blatant weaknesses, gaps, internal contradictions and political bias, is applied as a helpful tool in these efforts. This chapter outlines the German debate on DBS, including various public scandals and tightening administrative measures tied to Germany’s symbolic anti-antisemitism. In doing so, it highlights trends towards the juridification, securitisation and ‘antifa-isation’ of the discourse on antisemitism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.