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Author(s): Rüthers, Monica
Date: 2014
Abstract: Jews and Gypsies are marginal men in the cultural topographies of Europe. During the past 25 years, both minorities underwent a process of festivalization. Jewish Culture Festivals and Klezmer music as well as Gypsy Music Festivals and Balkan Beats became highly popular. Jewish and Gypsy spaces were established and serve as tourist borderzones for the encounters of "Europeans" with their exoticized Other. A new European folklore emerges, successfully blending kitsch and terror, remembrance and the romanticized nomadism of post-modern lifestyles. Two case studies of the Jewish Culture Festival in Kazimierz and the Gypsy pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer reveal telling asymmetries. After 1989, the imaginary Jews were located in the former Jewish districts of Central European cities such as Cracow, Prague and Budapest or Czernowitz. The Holocaust became the foundation of a common European culture of remembrance, a new European tradition. Gypsies are revered as musicians, yet reviled as people. The very same regions of Jewish encoded "Central Europe" shifted eastward on the mental maps as soon as the Roma were concerned. Europeans are in fear of a Roma "invasion" from the East. The European ambivalence towards its Others is symptomatic of a community striving to imagine itself. In this process, to have or have not a common European history plays a pivotal role. The imaginary Jews seem to embody a common multicultural "European" past, whilst the Roma "come from India". They are represented as belly-dancing Orientals and used for drawing boundaries excluding non-Europeans.
Author(s): Kucia, Marek
Date: 2016
Abstract: Drawing upon developments in cultural and social memory studies and Europeanization theory, this article examines the Europeanization of Holocaust memory understood as the process of construction, institutionalization, and diffusion of beliefs regarding the Holocaust and norms and rules regarding Holocaust remembrance and education at a transnational, European level since the 1990s and their incorporation in the countries of post-communist Eastern Europe, which is also the area where the Holocaust largely took place. The article identifies the transnational agents of the Europeanization of Holocaust memory—the European Union’s parliament, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, as well as the United Nations. It analyzes chronologically the key Holocaust-related activities and documents of these agents, highlighting East European countries’ varied and changing position towards them. It examines synchronically the outcome of the Europeanization of Holocaust memory by these transnational agents—a European memory of the Holocaust—identifying its key components, discussing the main aspects, and illustrating the impact of this process and outcome upon the memory of the Holocaust in the East European countries. The article argues that the Europeanization of Holocaust memory has significantly contributed to the development of Holocaust memory in Eastern Europe, although other agents and processes were also involved.
Date: 2021
Date: 2021
Abstract: Overt state-sponsored antisemitism ended in Europe with the fall of the Soviet Union. Antisemitic attitudes, however, remain prevalent in Europe, and some European political actors have instrumentalized antisemitism for political gain. This report examines both the conscious use of antisemitism in European politics and the calculated tolerance of antisemitism, demonstrating that the oldest hatred remains a modern political tool.

Unlike antisemitic incidents of violence, vandalism, or insults, the political use of antisemitism does not target Jews themselves. Instead, antisemitic propaganda targets domestic or foreign audiences as a means of gaining political support. Demonstrating tolerance for antisemitism is another tactic of attracting political support. Polling data shows that these strategies have a rational basis. ADL’s 2019 Global 100 survey of antisemitic attitudes found that one in four Europeans polled harbored antisemitic beliefs.

Antisemitic propaganda has as its goal to energize and attract followers. Antisemitic propaganda is also used to tarnish political opponents in the eyes of a specific audience by intimating that someone is Jewish, supportive of Jewish causes or of the State of Israel. Other times, political opponents are slandered as antisemites or Nazis to diminish their reputations with specific audiences. Each of these techniques will be covered in this report, which focuses on the conscious choice of instrumentalizing or tolerating antisemitism for political gain. Antisemitic rhetoric by political actors as an indicator of bias is a much broader topic, and this report does not cover those instances.

The broad categories of the politicization of antisemitism include (1) politically motivated accusations of, or uses of, antisemitism against political opponents; (2) political appeals to antisemitic beliefs among the public, including the conspiracy theories about Jewish control of government, economy, media; and (3) tolerance of antisemitism within political movements as a strategy for increasing popular support. This list not exhaustive of the political instrumentalization of antisemitism, but this report provides illustrative examples from recent years in these broad categories.

Why is this report important? While violent antisemitic attacks receive wide publicity – and rightly so – the politicization of antisemitism can also severely impact Jewish communities. The British Jewish community provides a compelling example.

In January 2015, 11% of British Jews were considering emigrating, according to a poll by the UK’s Jewish Chronicle. That survey was conducted before Jeremy Corbyn, widely regarded within the British Jewish community as an antisemite himself, was even a leadership candidate for the Labour party. In September 2018, after antisemitism had become a serious problem in the Labour party under Corbyn, the Jewish Chronicle poll found that 39% of British Jews were considering emigrating. And in an October 2019 poll by the UK’s Jewish Leadership Council, just prior to the UK General Election, 47% of British Jews said they would “seriously consider” leaving the UK if Jeremy Corbyn were to win the election.

Had Jeremy Corbyn won, leading a major party widely recognized as tolerating antisemitism among its members, and had even 30% of British Jews emigrated as a result of that single event, that number of roughly 90,000 Jews would have been similar to the total of all the French Jews who left France over the past 20 years.

The sections below are select examples of the different ways in which antisemitism has been instrumentalized for political gain by various actors. The purposes and tactics vary substantially, but have the common element of politicizing antisemitism:

The Russian government instrumentalized antisemitism in the forms of propaganda and “false flag” operations to influence domestic and foreign public opinion in its conflict with Ukraine.
Polish political campaigns used overt antisemitic rhetoric during elections to win votes.
The Hungarian government used coded antisemitism in political campaigns against EU migration policies.
The UK Labour party consciously tolerated antisemitism to widen its political support from far-left radicals.
Ukrainian nationalists glorified World War II era fighters to promote nationalist narratives, while trivializing their involvement in the Holocaust.
The far-right Alternative for Germany party trivialized the Holocaust as part of their appeal to “Holocaust fatigue” among German voters.
Other political actors have engaged in similar acts of politicization, and their absence from this report is not indicative of any assessment. The cases below are simply the most blatant examples of the types of politicization to be highlighted.
Date: 2012
Abstract: Paideia - the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden was created in 2000 as an academic and applied institute of excellence, with the mandate of working for the rebuilding of Jewish life and culture in Europe, and educating for active minority citizenship. It does this through offering an intensive one-year educational program in Jewish Studies directed at future leaders of Jewish life and inter-cultural work. Each year 20-25 participants attend the program, from both Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds and a variety of European countries. In addition to the one-year Jewish Studies Program, Paideia has also developed activities for its graduates including alumni conferences, educational weekends and Project-Incubator, a two-week summer program to support projects and social innovation across Europe. Project-Incubator was introduced as a follow-up program for alumni, but has expanded its target group beyond graduates. Since its introduction in 2006, the program has developed over 100 different projects. After several years of activity, Paideia decided to conduct an evaluation study to provide a systematic overview of the program's contributions and achievements, and identify unmet needs. The evaluation comprised a follow-up study of all graduates from 2002-2009. This reportpresents the findings of that study. The study findings showed that graduates view the Paideia program as very successful and feel that it contributed to them to a great extent. It was found that all graduates continue to be involved in Jewish activities in their countries of residence. Most report that the program has had an important impact on their professional-life career, on their pursuit of Jewish Studies and on their involvement in Jewish community activities.