Topics: Main Topic: Antisemitism, Antisemitism, Antisemitism: Muslim, Jewish - Muslim Relations, Terrorism, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Islamophobia
Abstract: To date, scholars have rarely talked about contemporary antisemitism and Islamophobia in France as part of a single story. When they have, it has typically been as part of a framework for analyzing racism that is essentially competitive: some depict Islamophobia as less a real problem than a frequent excuse to ignore antisemitism; others minimize antisemitism as an unfortunate but marginal phenomenon by comparison with the pervasive nature of anti-Muslim racism in French society. This article argues that the two are inseparable, and it focuses on a hitherto overlooked set of connections: in the era since the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in January 2015, at key flash points that question Muslim belonging in France, the position of Jews has repeatedly been invoked in ambiguous, contradictory ways. Participants in these public debates have sometimes forcefully maintained that Jews are unlike Muslims, since they have long been fully integrated French citizens. At other moments, these discussions have raised the specter of Jewish ethnic and religious difference. By emphasizing Jewish particularity, such debates evoke, perforce, the past twenty-five years of controversies about the allegedly problematic attire, food, and beliefs of France’s Muslims. The article focuses on several key moments, from the speech of Prime Minister Manuel Valls before the French parliament in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks, to the kippah and burkini affairs of 2016, to the provocative comments of candidates in the 2017 presidential elections concerning Muslim and Jewish religious and ethnic markers of difference.
Topics: Main Topic: Antisemitism, Antisemitism, Antisemitism: Muslim, Jewish - Muslim Relations, Terrorism, Jewish Perceptions of Antisemitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Abstract: This article explores tensions in French Jewish discourses about antisemitism in the post-2000 period. Drawing on commentary from French Jewish intellectuals, national Jewish organizations, and the French Jewish press from the mid-2000s until after the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks, I note a complex relationship between change and continuity in discursive characterizations of French antisemitism. While empirical manifestations of antisemitism were notably transformed by the Toulouse attacks of 2012, much French Jewish discourse insisted on continuity from the early 2000s onward. At the same time, Jewish narrative practices shifted rather dramatically. In a political context where Israel was often depicted as part of a history of violent settler colonialism, early 2000s Jewish discourse divorced French antisemitism from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and (post)colonial racism in France. After 2012, some Jewish commentators linked Israel to French antisemitism by likening terrorism in Israel with Islamic antisemitism in France. These disjunctures between narratives and empirical violence suggest that the “structures of feeling” behind Jewish reactions to contemporary antisemitism cannot be reduced to empirical questions about safety and security. Social scientists thus need to move beyond an empirical analysis of antisemitism itself and attend to the cultural and affective work Jewish discourses about antisemitism do in any particular moment.
Topics: Main Topic: Antisemitism, Antisemitism, Antisemitism: Muslim, Jewish - Muslim Relations, Islamophobia
Abstract: Are Muslims the “new Jews” of Europe? The spectacle of Middle Eastern and African refugees shuttled by train from camp to squalid camp has understandably drawn parallels to the darkest pages in twentieth-century continental history. Such a historical comparison between Islamophobia and antisemitism, however, risks missing their ongoing interrelation. This article examines that interrelation, arguing that Islamophobia and antisemitism now most resemble each other as complementary mechanisms for diverting the anxieties bred by the global economic order. Antisemitism has long scapegoated the Jews for capitalism’s tendency to produce outsized winners. But there has been no comparably global shorthand for the anxiety prompted by capitalism’s losers—until now. Muslim refugees help give a name, Islam, to the masses seemingly encroaching from the margins of the world system. The result, I argue, is the hardening of Islamophobia and antisemitism into the inextricable poles of a reactionary worldview. Taking France as a case study, the article reads the burkini bans prompted by the July 2016 terror attack in Nice as an expression of middle-class fear about downward mobility. Targeted at both internal Muslim leisure and external Muslim encroachment, the bans evoke how European unease about globalization increasingly takes Islamophobic form. Such intolerance threatens not only to lodge Islamophobia at the heart of a reconstituted Europe but also to erode the vigilance against antisemitism once characteristic of the postwar European project.
Introduction: Judeophobia and Islamophobia in France Before and After Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher
Topics: Main Topic: Antisemitism, Social Media, Internet, Antisemitism, Antisemitism: Muslim, Jewish - Muslim Relations, Islamophobia, Terrorism
Abstract: This article opens with an assessment of the narratives that emerged in the immediate wake of the Charlie Hebdo / Hyper Cacher events in January 2015. It does so by examining the differing hashtags of the moment—#jesuisCharlie, #jesuisjuif, #LassBat—and how each offered a distilled account of what the moment meant; these competing interpretations were echoed in the news coverage and the commentary that followed. The article proceeds to set out how this special issue reframes and reevaluates the recent history of relations between Jews and Muslims in France. Each author suggests that Judeophobia and Islamophobia are inextricably entangled in ways more complicated than simple formulas or hashtags can encapsulate. Taking on the suggestion that “Muslims are the new Jews” in France (or in Europe), the special issue instead urges an appreciation of the interlocked vulnerabilities and insecurities of both Jews and Muslims. Such an approach requires a recognition of the structural and institutional forces and ideologies that have shaped their interconnected destinies in the last generation.
Abstract: Modern Greek historiography has rendered Salonican Jews invisible in the national historical narrative, while those occasional works appearing in the past decades have treated them as a coherent and isolated community. In the 1970s and 1980s, a leftist historiography challenged the nationalist narrative but replaced it with a methodological ethnocentrism. The “new Greek history” was almost exclusively preoccupied with state formation, failed modernization, class structure, and the impact of the West, neglecting various religious, gender, and ethnic internal “others.” Only in the 1990s did the politics of identity and memory provide a space for the emergence of an interest in Greek-Jewish history. However, reliance on the homogenizing and static concept of community (borrowed from Greek historiography) and the absence of bottom-up, sociohistorical works still result in the exclusion of Salonican Jewry from the historiographical mainstream. The Greek-Jewish historiography of Salonica shares many of the negative features of Greek historiography, and both should turn to a systematic and multidimensional study of crossings and interrelations between axes of difference.
Topics: Jewish Community, Jewish Identity, Main Topic: Identity and Community, Post-War Jewish History
Abstract: The Dutch Jewish community is part of Western European Jewry and as such is part of what Bernard Wasserstein describes as the vanishing Diaspora. The community is one of Europe's smallest and it was also the Western European Jewish community most heavily damaged by the Shoah; it lost 75% of its population. It is surprising that the community still exists. It has gone through many changes, most notably in the 1960s. Progressive Judaism and the Lubavitcher Habad movement have made considerable inroads in the religious community, but the population has become largely secular, and new secular Jewish networks have been established. Dutch Jews have redefined their identity, shifting from “Dutchmen of the Israelite religion” to “Jews” or “people with a Jewish background,” belonging to a social and cultural minority. A small population exchange has taken place between Israel and the Netherlands. The brief baby boom after the Shoah and the newly formed networks outside the religious framework have revitalized the community. But most Jews in the Netherlands are married to non-Jews, and in spite of unique efforts to integrate the Israelis into the community, the future seems uncertain.
Topics: Main Topic: Identity and Community, Jewish Identity, Zionism, Diaspora, Diaspora Relations, Israel-Diaspora Relations, Israel Attachment, Post-War Reconstruction
Abstract: How have Jews in Germany, stranded or returned there after World War II, related to Israel and to Germany, and how have their attitudes evolved since then? For decades, most Jews had no plans to stay in Germany, and their identification with and commitment to Israel, certainly in the first two decades, was extraordinary. However, over time their distance and even hostility to the German environment began to lessen, especially as West Germany developed ever closer ties with Israel. To a considerable degree, Germans themselves first reinitiated contacts with Jews and Jewish issues via Israel. In recent years, coinciding with the influx of Russian Jews and the policies of the Netanyahu and Sharon governments, there has been renewed emphasis on Diaspora and its values and a more positive reappraisal of the history of Jews in Germany. Nonetheless, basic ambivalences remain in place.