History of Antisemitism


Antisemitism is one of the most powerful, recurring hate ideologies in world history.  It appears even in countries with few Jewish citizens (e. g. Japan).  Although the term is modern, the phenomenon is ancient.  Antisemitism has assumed many and contradictory forms.  Whenever countries enter into a period of social ennui, economic stagnation, and popular anxiety, antisemitism increases.  It comes in both organized and unorganized forms.  The purpose of this s/dg is to study the history of antisemitism and try to understand its roots and staying power within the context of Jewish history.  Its malleability reflects a persistent societal need to identify the Jew as the Other, even though Jews were not prevented from living amidst their non-Jewish neighbors.  This "double gesture" helps explain both the extraordinary persistence of antisemitism and the equally extraordinary survival of the Jews.  

David N Myers, distinguished Professor Jewish History at UCLA provides the Jewish history, Walter Laqueur, the doyen of the history of hate-groups in Western societies, provides an interpretation of antisemitism through the centuries, and Deborah Lipstadt, an authority on the Holocaust (see Denial, the movie about her clash with Holocaust-denier David Irving), offers an analysis of the current situation.

Weekly Topics

1. Sept. 5  Myers, Who Are the Jews "Introduction, Names, Numbers, Cultures" pp xx1-72

2. Sept. 12   Lipstadt "Antisemitism A Conversation", pp ix-41

3. Sept. 19   Laqueur, "The New Antisemitism", "Interpretation of Antisemitism", pp vi-38

4. Sept. 26   Laqueur,  "Ancient and Medieval Antisemitism", pp 39-70

5. Oct. 3      Laqueur, "The Enlightenment and After", pp 71-89

6.  Oct. 10   Laqueur, "Racialism and Jewish Conspiracies", pp 91-106,

7.  Oct. 17 "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA01/kidd/thesis/pdf/protocols.pdf

8.  Oct. 24   Laqueur,  "Toward the Holocaust", pp. 107-124

9.  Oct. 31   Laqueur, "Contemporary Antisemitism", pp 125-150, https://www.adl.org/audit2018#major-findings

10. Nov. 7   Laqueur, "Assimilation and Its Discontents", pp 151-169

11.  Nov. 14 Laqueur "Antisemitism and the Muslim World ", pp 191-206

12.  Nov. 21 Lipstadt  "Toxifying Israel" pp 167-191, http://www.politicalresearch.org/2017/06/29/skin-in-the-game-how-antisemitism-animates-white-nationalism/#sthash.L8ae0KdG.pYwirGBY.dpbs,   https://forward.com/opinion/419988/debunking-the-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-anti-semitic/

13. Nov. 26 Myers, "Politics", pp 73-97

14.  Dec. 5   Lipstadt  "Oy versus Joy: Rejecting Victimhood" pp 225-243, Myers " Perception" pp 98-115, Laqueur "In Place of a Conclusion" pp 207, 208


David N Myers, Jewish History A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) 

Walter Laqueur, The Changing Face of Antisemitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day (Oxford University Press, paperback)

Deborah Lipstadt, Antisemitism Here and Now (Penguin Random House)