Anti-Semitism & Charlottesville

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Dear Colleagues:

The recent events in Charlottesville have clearly raised the ever growing anti-Semitism bar even higher. Charlottesville was an example of how neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan were able to use the statue of Robert E. Lee to successfully incite an anti-Semitic and racist demonstration that led to a terror attack. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the UK, stated that “anti-Semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.”

As a result of Charlottesville, both American and Israeli politicians have weighed-in on the events. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that he was “outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred.”And, Tzipi Livni former justice minister and member of the Zionist Union faction stated “When it comes to racism, anti-Semitism and Nazism, there are never two equal sides. There’s good and there’s evil. Period.”

Furthermore, former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush released a joint statement condemning the hatred in Charlottesville stating,

“America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms…As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: We are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.”

Finally, as we gear up for the fall semester we will most likely see an impact of Charlottesville on the campuses. Among the most visible groups in Charlottesville was Black Lives Matter (BLM) who was protesting Confederate flags and statues on the one hand, but on the other have singled out Israel for condemnation, declaring it an “apartheid” state engaged in “genocide.”  This is clearly the kind of dichotomy we should expect to see more of.

As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.



Asaf Romirowsky, PhD

Anti-Semitism & Charlottesville

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Asaf Romirowsky

Asaf Romirowsky PhD, is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Romirowsky is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Professor ​[Affiliate] at the University​ of Haifa. Trained as a Middle East historian he holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London, UK and has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history.

Romirowsky is co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief and a contributor to The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.

Romirowsky’s publicly-engaged scholarship has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, The American Interest , The New Republic, The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet and Tablet among other online and print media outlets

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