RS 131F Course Notes - RS 131F A History of Anti Semitism 1...

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RS 131F: A History of Anti Semitism 1/7/08 1) Why should we study it? Omnipresence in Western Civilization. 2) 20 th Century- deep irony is that it was thought that this would be the century of progress where irrational hatred would be replaced by reason. 3) Questions raised by the Holocaust: Barbarism v. civilization The role of science and technology in modern societies. Genocides and ethnocide as problems of modernity. Philosophical questions—collective and individual responsibility. 1/9/08 European Jewish Congress- US Commission on Civil Rights in April 2006 announced that incidents of AS on college campuses had become a “serious problem.” The Commission recommended that the Department of Education’s office for civil rights protect college students from AS through vigorous enforcement of Title VI (of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964) applies to Discrimination of Jewish Students. Currently Title VI includes discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. AS as the “longest Hatred”- If we understand the dynamics of this hatred we may understand and remove other kinds of ethnic hatreds etc. Distinguishing between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism Both terms describe intolerance against Jews, a hatred of Jews, or a prejudice against Jews. These can take different forms—social, economic, cultural, political, etc. Bernard Lewis states in his book “The New Anti-Semitism,” Anti Semitism is marked by two special features. One of them is that Jews are judged by a standard different from that applied to others. The other special feature of anti-Semitism is the accusation against Jews of cosmic evil . “This accusation of cosmic, satanic evil attributed to Jews, in various parts of the world and in various forms, is what has come to be known in modern times as anti-Semitism.” 1
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The term anti-Semitism was created in 1879-80 by Wilhelm Marr, a German journalist, who was organizing an anti-Semitic League. He also used the term Judenhass (hatred of Jews) and Antisemitismus, which developed into Anti-Semitism. This was meant to show that Semitic races were inferior to the Aryan race. How did Marr use the term in his The Vicotry of Judaism over Germanenthum. Several scholars have been critical of “anti-Semitism” because “Semitic” and “anti-Semitic” are not parallel terms. They Prefer “anti-Semitism” so that there is no confusion over the meaning of the term-specific fabricated hatred of Jews. The most distinctive and powerful element of Modern AS is its integration of “race.” This is radically different from theological anti-Judaism or social/cultural anti-Judaism. Jews are now treated as a race instead of just a religion. Some theories used to explain [interpret] Anti-Semitism “Under-theorized.” The Socio-Functional explanation —the Jews as “scapegoat .” Social and political rivalries; economic tensions. Jews become convenient “buffer” between those that hold power and those without power. Jews seen as an easy target to get the blame for the ills of society.
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