YIISA Inaugural Conference Presents 110 Scholars Discussing Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity

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In what can only be described as an historic ingathering of academic specialists on anti-Semitism, hosted by the Yale Initiative on the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism and co-sponsored by the newly forming International Association for the Study of Anti-Semitism, the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research at the University of Capetown, the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA) at Indiana University, The Rabin Chair Forum at George Washington University and the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Bibbed University of London, 110 scholars presented contemporary, historical, political, sociological, religious and other academic perspectives on modern Anti-Semitism.

The conference featured a wide range of speakers and viewpoints with such speakers as: Rifat Bali, Alberto Benevenisti Center for Sephardic Studies and Culture, Paris; Anne Bayefsky, Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust; Edward S. Beck, SPME and Walden University; Doron Ben-Atar, Fordham University; Magnus Brechkten, University of Bonn; Catherine Chatterley, University of Manitoba; Phyllis Chesler, City University of New York; Irwin Cotler; Shalem Coulibaly, Paris Sorbonne; David Lebovitch Dahl, University of Copenhagen; Arnold Dashefsky, University of CT; Samuel Edelman, SPME and Cal State-Chico; Samuel Felberg, University of Sao Paulo; David Feldman, Bibbed University of London; Stephen Feldman, University of Wyoming; Robert Fine, University of Warwick; Paul Finkelman, Albany University Law School; Aleksandra Gliszyncska-Grabias, Institute of Legal Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences; Nora Gold; University of Toronto; Daniel Goldhagen, Harvard University; Lina Gorenstein; University of Sao Paulo; Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland; Charles Hill, Yale University; David Hirsh, Goldsmiths College, University of London; Defne Jones, Indiana University; Jonathan Judaken, University of Memphis; Gilbert Kahn, Kean University; Adam Katz, Quinnapiac College; C. Richard King, Washington State University; Barry Kosmin, Trinity College; Neil Kressel, William Patterson University; Marek Kucia, Jagiellonian University, Poland; Elisabeth Kuebler, University of Vienna; Richard Landes, Boston University; Jacob and Phyllis Lassner, Northwestern University; Kenneth Lasson, University of Baltimore Law School; Daniela Levy, University of Sao Paulo; Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University; Meir Litvak, Tel Aviv University; Kenneth L. Marcus, Baruch College and Institute for Jewish Community Research; Bjoern Milbrad, University of Marburg; Menachem Milson; Hebrew University and MEMRI; Ed Morgan, University of Toronto; Hilda Nissimi, Bar-Ilan University; Anita and Ilana Waingort Novinsky, Sao Paulo University; David Patterson, University of Texas-Dallas; Miriam Bettina Paulina Oelsner, Sao Paulo University, Dina Porat, Tel Aviv University; Walter Reich, George Washington University; Lars Rennsmann, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; Paul Lawrence Rose, Penn State University; Alan Rosenbaum, Cleveland State University; Alvin Rosenfeld, Indiana University; Jennifer Roskies, YIISA and Bar Ilan University; Terry Rowden, College of Staten Island; Marianna Scherini, University of Siena; Antonia Schmidt, Bergische Universitat Wuppertal; David Seymour, Lancaster University; Milton Shane, University of Cape Town, Michelle Sieff, Yale University; Charles Asher Small; Yale University; Peter Staudenmaier, University of Montana; Karin Stoegner, Central European University, Budapest; Lara Trubowitz, University of Iowa; Daniel Tsadik, Yeshiva University, Alexander Tesis, Loyola University Law School; Sebastian Voigt, University of Leipzig; Abraham Wagner, Columbia University; Ruth Wisse, Harvard University among many others.

Keynote Addresses were offered by Menachem Milson who founded MEMRI and showed video clips from MEMRI archives; Ruth Wisse who spoke to the issue:How Do We Put An End to Antisemitism: No Really, How Do We?”; Itamar Marcus from Palestinian Media Watch addressing the issue of ” The Central Role of Palestinian Antisemitism in Creating the Palestinian Identity,”; Bassam Tibi of the University of Goettingen speaking to the Issue ” The Islamist Islamization of Antisemitism;” to Rabbi David Nesnoff speaking on “After I Interviewed Helen Thomas: Journey from Conflict to Resolution.”

Sessions included: “Contemporary Antisemitism and the Deligitimization of Israel,” “Radical Islam and Genocidal Anti-Semitism,” ” Christianity and Antisemitism,” “The Internet and Proliferation of Anti-Semitism,” Law, Modernity and Antisemitism,” “Islamism and the Construction of Jewish Identity,” “Contemporary Antisemitism,” “Antisemitism in the Academy,” “Antisemitism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust,”” Lawfare, Human Rights Organizations and The Demonization of Israel,” “The Iranian Threat,” “Social Theory and Contemporary Anti-Semitism,”” Antisemitism and the Middle East,”: The Media and Dissemination of Hatred,”” Global Antisemitism,”” An Uncertain Sisterhood: Women and Anti-Semitism,” ” Hannah Arendt and Antisemitism: A Critical Approach,” “Conceptual Approaches to Antisemitism,”” Models for Combatting Anti-Semitism: UK.”” Understanding the Impact of German Antisemitism and Nazisim,” 400 Years of Antisemitism; Form the Holy Office to the Nuremberg Laws,”” Embracing the Nation: Antisemitism and Modernity,”” Antisemitism and the US,””Variations on European Antisemitism,” “Antisemitism Propaganda in Europe,” and” Self-Hatred and Contemporary Antisemitism.”

SPME was well-represented at the conference with Ed Beck, Richard Landes, Sam Edelman, Kenneth Marcus, Ed Morgan and Phyllis Chesler, all of whom are or have been involved with SPME over the years as board or task force members, with many Network Participating Faculty also presenting.

In what can only be described as a repeated message throughout the conference were the exhortations by individuals such as Charles Small, Ruth Wisse, Irwin Cotler and others not just to study the issues of Antisemitism, but to actively work on campus and in the disciplines, as well as the community. I was delighted to report in our session on our SPME efforts that we have indeed engaged and networked over 60,000 faculty to become involved in these kinds of activities in one arena or another, whether dealing with BDS issues or intimidation of Jewish students and faculty on campus and other forms Antisemitism on campus and in the academic community.

Those leaving the conference felt the challenges ahead which will be significant as mounting Antisemitism as well as anti-Israelism is growing as an expression of Antisemitism. For More Information and to see when the papers will be posted, go to: http://www.yale.edu/yiisa/crisisofmodernityconf82010.htm

YIISA Inaugural Conference Presents 110 Scholars Discussing Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity

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Edward S. Beck

Co-Founder and President Emeritus, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Contributing Faculty Member, Walden University

Read all stories by Edward S. Beck