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Author(s): Dencik, Lars
Date: 2019
Abstract: This article deals with antisemitism in Europe and post-Holocaust Sweden and Denmark specifically. The idea that it is always “the same old antisemitism” that pops up and “shows its ugly face” does not find support in this study. Instead, we distinguish between three different kinds of contemporary antisemitisms: Classic antisemitism, Aufklärungsantisemitismus, and Israel-derived antisemitism. Our findings suggest that each of these antisemitisms is inspired by different underlying “philosophies,” and that they are carried by different social groups and manifested in different ways. In the Scandinavian countries today, we find that there is less classic antisemitism, much more Aufklärungsantisemitismus, and a relatively stronger presence of Israel-derived antisemitism. In our analysis this specifically Scandinavian pattern of antisemitisms is closely related to the highly developed processes of modernization in the Scandinavian countries on the one hand and the relatively large numbers of recently arrived immigrants from the Middle East on the other. This appears to imply that antisemitism based on racial prejudices is losing ground, as is antisemitism based on religious convictions. However, according to the European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights (FRA) in Antisemitism: Overview of Data Available in the European Union 2007-2017 (Luxembourg: Luxembourg Publications Office of the European Union, 2018), the incidence of violent antisemitic attacks seems to be on the rise. These typically emanate from small pockets of individuals in the population who share an image of all Jews being accomplices to whatever the State of Israel does. Considering how the processes of modernization operate it is assumed that other countries in Europe will follow a similar trajectory. Rationalization, secularization, and individuation will also come to penetrate these societies and weaken notions of “race” and “religion” as springboards for antisemitism. Thus, tendencies towards Aufklärungsantisemitismus will be strengthened. If integrating and getting rid of the marginalization and condescending treatment of its newly arrived Muslim inhabitants does not succeed, Israel-derived antisemitism can be expected to thrive. The pattern of antisemitisms in Denmark and Sweden might be a preview of what antisemitisms in twenty-first-century Europe could come to look like.
Date: 2019
Abstract: This article presents an analysis of the history of antisemitism in Iceland, a country that has never had a significant population of Jews or any Jews who practise Judaism. Due to their geographical location, Icelanders have always feared isolation and have readily embraced anything new from the outside world, including ideas and attitudes. Unfortunately, antisemitism was one of these new “ideas” that was adopted at the end of the nineteenth century in Iceland, where it made a good supplement to the traditional xenophobia that already existed. Antisemitism in Iceland during the twentieth century was part and parcel of the long process of building a national identity, both before and after the country’s independence in 1944. However, as the country was without Jews of its own, it transferred this newly discovered hatred to those it had already despised for years: Danish merchants and other foreigners. In many cases, it was claimed that Danish and German merchants who had no Jewish roots whatsoever were in fact of Jewish descent. The few real Jews who wound up in Iceland were not spared either. They were rejected and expelled, while a large group of Icelanders looked to Hitler’s Germany with interest.Very few individuals with a Jewish background chose to settle in the country after the Second World War and those who did lived cut off from one another and without any possibility of practising their faith. Since 1967 antisemitism has more frequently been vented in terms of anti-Zionism and hatred towards the State of Israel. Icelanders have always been distant from the wars and reality of Europe, so people engaging in acts of antisemitism in Iceland have not thought about its consequences. But in the globalized twenty-first century, antisemitism in Iceland has grabbed the world’s attention. It stands out as an anomaly in a country that prides itself on its tolerance, its free spirit, and its unequivocal defence of human rights.