Topics: Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, North African Jewry, National Identity, Jewish Identity, Holocaust Commemoration, Holocaust, Jewish Media, Newspapers, Magazines and Periodicals, Ethnography
Abstract: Drawing on ethnographic data from the mid-2000s as well as accounts from French Jewish newspapers and magazines from the 1980s onward, this paper traces the emergence of new French Jewish institutional narratives linking North African Jews to the “European” Holocaust. I argue that these new narratives emerged as a response to the social and political impasses produced by intra-Jewish disagreements over whether and how North African Jews could talk about the Holocaust, which divided French Jews and threatened the relationship between Jewishness and French national identity. These new pedagogical narratives relied on a very different historicity, or way of reckoning time and causality, than those used in more divisive everyday French Jewish Holocaust narratives. By reworking the ways that French Jews reckoned time and causality, they offered an expansive and homogenously “European” Jewishness. This argument works against a growing postcolonial sociological and anthropological literature on religious minorities in France and Europe by emphasizing the contingency, difficulty, and even ambivalence around constructing “Jewishness” as transparently either “European” or “French.” It also highlights the role played by historicity—not just history—in producing what counts as group “identity.”
Export-Import Theory and the Racialization of Anti-Semitism: Turkish- and Arab-Only Prevention Programs in Germany
Abstract: Since the year 2000, remembering the Holocaust and fighting anti-Semitism have come to be accepted as cornerstones of European identity. The flip side of this development has been racialization of Muslims by singling them out as the main contemporary anti-Semites. After discussing the emergence of the concept “Muslim anti-Semitism,” I scrutinize government-issued reports and anti-Semitism-prevention programs in Germany. I show how the recent wave of struggle against anti-Semitism depicts Muslims as outsiders who bring unwanted ideologies, evaluates their anti-Semitism as more dangerous than that of right-wing German nationals, and attributes to Muslims culturally transmitted psychopathologies that make Muslim nations prone to anti-Semitism. Experts locate the root of Turkish anti-Semitism in their “myth of tolerance toward Jews,” and of Arab anti-Semitism in their sense of a “false victimhood” and “desire for power and pride.” Educators focus on each nationality separately to distinguish these alleged group-specific myths and feelings. Efforts and money that go into producing nation-specific Muslim anti-Semitisms depict a new Germany that has fully liberated itself from any anti-democratic tendencies surviving from its Nazi past. It also obscures connections between anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim racism, both of which are active forces in mainstream German society.
Topics: Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Holocaust Education, Holocaust Commemoration, Memory, Youth, Racism
Abstract: This essay examines the relationship between contemporary racialized subjects in Germany and the process of Holocaust memorialization. I ask why youths from these contexts fail to see themselves in the process of Holocaust memorialization, and why that process fails to see them in it. My argument is not about equivalences, but instead I examine the ways in which the monumentalization of Holocaust memory has inadvertently worked to exclude both relevant subjects and potential participants from the process of memorialization. That process as a monumental enterprise has also worked to sever connections between racialist memory and contemporary racism. The monumental display of what presents itself, at times, as moral superiority does not adequately attend to the everyday, mundane, repeatable qualities of racialized exclusion today, or in the past.
Topics: Main Topic: Culture and Heritage, Jewish Culture, Jewish Heritage, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Memory, Holocaust Commemoration, Klezmer
Abstract: This article analyzes the growing interest in Jews and all things Jewish in contemporary Poland—from the spectacular popularity of festivals of Jewish culture to the opening of Judaica bookstores and Jewish cuisine restaurants; from the development of Jewish studies programs at various universities and the creation of several museums to artists’ and public intellectuals’ engagements with Poland's Jewish past and Polish-Jewish relations more broadly. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, over sixty formal interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish activists, and informal conversations with participants in various Jewish-centered initiatives, I argue that this cultural phenomenon is related to the attempt by specific political and social groups to build a pluralistic society in an ethnically and denominationally homogenous nation-state. I build on the literature on nationalism and symbolic boundaries by showing that bringing back Jewish culture and “resurrecting the Jew” is a way to soften, stretch, and reshape the symbolic boundaries of the nation that the Right wants to harden and shrink using Catholicism as its main tool.