European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism

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The European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA) was established in 2007 as a think-tank to examine the growth and development of antisemitism in the world today and to explore new strategies for countering this age-old hatred in all its forms.

2009 Report on Anti-Semitism[edit]

The European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA) published a report in 2009 entitled Understanding and Addressing the ‘Nazi Card' - Intervening Against Antisemitic Discourse which discussed comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany.[1]

The 2009 report incorporated from the 2006 report the five specific kinds of criticism of Israel that should be considered as anti-Semitism:[2]

  1. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  2. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  3. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  4. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  5. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

The report does not say all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic: "Abhorrence and protest against the policies, practices, and leaders of the Israeli state can be expressed in numerous forceful and trenchant ways, as they could against any other state - none of which would be antisemitic…"[3] and "Drawing attention to the consequent harms in [playing the Nazi card against Israel] should not be intended, or taken, in any way as an attempt to suppress criticism of Israel and its military practices" [4]

Antony Lerman criticized the report, and suggested that it could be used to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel, and suggests that the report's authors do not adequately address that possibility.[5]

References[edit]

  • Igansky, Paul, and Sweiry, Abe, Understanding and Addressing the ‘Nazi Card' - Intervening Against Antisemitic Discourse, published by European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA), 2000, online. Cited as "EISCA Report".
  • Lerman, Antony "Should we ban 'Nazi analogies'? Using Nazi analogies to criticise Israel or Zionism may be offensive, but should it be against the law?", in Guardian, 24 July 2009, online

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ignasky, EISCA Report. A brief excerpt from the report's introduction, p. 4:
    "Playing the ‘Nazi card’ is a discursive act involving the use of Nazi or related terms or symbols (Nazism, Hitler, swastikas, etc.) in reference to Jews, Israel, Zionism or aspects of the Jewish experience. It manifests in words uttered in speech or in writing, or in visual representations such as artwork, drawings, caricatures, cartoons, graffiti, daubings and scratchings, or visual expressions such as a Nazi salute or the clicking of heels. In many instances, the playing of the Nazi card is unquestionably antisemitic. However, the inclusion of particular modes of criticism of Israel in definitions of antisemitism has provoked controversy. The result has been a war of words which has stagnated into an intellectual and discursive cul-de-sac of claim and counter-claim about what does and does not qualify as antisemitism…. One of the most challenging components of antisemitic discourse in general, and the discursive theme of the Nazi card in particular, concerns the problem of when the Nazi card is played against Israel and its founding movement, Zionism. In this case playing the Nazi card involves equating the Israeli state collectively, or the state embodied by its leaders or its military practices, with Nazis, Nazi Germany, and the genocidal actions of the Nazi regime…."
  2. ^ EISCA report, p 34
  3. ^ EISCA report, p 24
  4. ^ EISCA report, p 32
  5. ^
    • Lerman Should we ban ..":
    "While much of the [report's] definition [of anti-Semitism relating to criticism of Israel] is unexceptionable, it cites five ways in which antisemitism could be seen to "manifest itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context". One of these – "using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism... to characterise Israel or Israelis" – is fully justified. The other four are contentious: "Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination"; "Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation"; "Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis"; "Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel". None of these four are self-evidently antisemitic. But all could be used to justify labelling legitimate criticism of Israel as antisemitic. So the authors' approval of them makes their claim that "Drawing attention to the consequent harms in [playing the Nazi card against Israel] should not be intended, or taken, in any way as an attempt to suppress criticism of Israel and its military practices" both naïve and flimsy."

External links[edit]