Eve Garrard on “The Pleasures of Anti-Semitism”

Eve’s piece is on normblog here and a version is also coming out in fathom.

Eve Garrard

Eve Garrard

“Antisemitism is much more than a cognitive error. It attracts by providing the deep emotional satisfactions of hatred, tradition, and moral purity.”

“Anti-Semitism is fun, there’s no doubt about it. You can’t miss the relish with which some people compare Jews to the Nazis, or the fake sorrow, imperfectly masking deep satisfaction, with which they bemoan the supposed fact that Jews have brought hatred on themselves, especially by the actions of Israel and its Zionist supporters, and that they have inexplicably failed to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.    (The Holocaust was not, of course, an educational exercise; and if there are lessons to be learned from it, we might think that the weakest pupils are those who once again wish to single out Jews above all others for hostile attention.) Like other forms of racism, anti-Semitism provides a variety of satisfactions for those who endorse it, and it’s worth trying to analyse these pleasures, so that we may better understand and combat the whole phenomenon.”

“There is a Jew-shaped space in Western culture, and the shape is not a pleasant one.   Long centuries of tradition have constructed the Jew as a being who is both contemptible and dangerous, the purveyor and transmitter of evil; and various tropes have been deployed to flesh out this picture – in particular the blood libel, according to which Jews use the blood of Christian children for their terrible ceremonies of machination and control, but also tropes about uncanny power, in which Jews are depicted as the puppet-masters of the rest of the helpless non-Jewish world.”

“…the devil frequently does have the best tunes, and the thin and reedy voice of rational argument is often quite drowned out by their brassy insistence. But we’ll do better in the combat, however we conduct it, if we realise that the views which we’re struggling against provide deep emotional satisfactions to those who hold them, satisfactions not easy either to overcome or to replace.”

Eve’s piece is on normblog here and a version is also coming out in fathom.

Eve’s “On Being Chosen”.

Eve Garrard on antisemitism in the Green Party.

Eve’s response to Richard Kuper on the EUMC (FRA) Working Definition of AntisemitismAnd on the UCU’s disavowalAnd more on UCU’s disavowal.

Eve Garrard’s 2009 piece on contemporary antisemitism.

Eve’s 2008 letter of resignation from the UCU.

One Response to “Eve Garrard on “The Pleasures of Anti-Semitism””

  1. Brian Robinson Says:

    Not directly related to Eve’s post (and I’m certainly not accusing anyone of antisemitism) but I can’t find anywhere more suitable amongst current posts to put this link. And in terms of what some may choose to make of Prof Hawling’s decision, I don’t think it’s entirely irrelevant.


    An open letter at Haaretz.com to Prof Hawking from Carlo Strenger.
    Hypocrisy and double standard: An open letter to Stephen Hawking
    By deciding not to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference, one of the world’s leading scientists is singling out Israel and denying it has been under existential threat for most of its existence.
    By Carlo Strenger | May.08, 2013 | 3:56 PM | 61
    Dear Professor Hawking … [G]iven my respect for your achievement I am surprised and saddened by your decision …
    Let it first be said that I have been opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories for many years … I think that Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank is indefensible morally, stupid politically and unwise strategically, and I will continue opposing it as long as I can … This being said, I have always found it morally reprehensible and intellectually indefensible that many British academics have been calling for an academic boycott of Israel. This call is based on a moral double standard … [Contextualises Israel’s violations by refering, inter alia, to Guantanamo, the USA’s current drone policy and continues] Professor Hawking: how can you and your colleagues who argue for an academic boycott of Israel justify your double standard by singling out Israel? You are simply denying that Israel has been under existential threat for most of its existence … [the hypocrisy of singling out Israel] I’m still waiting for the British academic who says he won’t cooperate with American institutions as long as Guantanamo is open, or as long as the U.S. continues targeted assassinations …

    In addition to the hypocrisy, singling out Israel’s academia is pragmatically unwise, to put it mildly. Israel’s academia is largely liberal in its outlook, and many academics here have opposed Israel’s settlement policies for decades. But once again, British academics choose the easiest target to vent their rage in a way that does not contribute anything constructive to the Palestinian cause they support.

    Israel, like any other country, can be criticized. But such criticism should not be based on shrill moralism and simplistic binary thinking – something I do not expect from academics.

    The letter concludes: “If your cancelation was indeed a function of pressures and not from health reasons, as stated by your university following The Guardian’s report, I would respect it if you were to reconsider your decision and come to the President’s Conference.”

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