Antisemitism is a central problem in Western civilization. Its emergence in the late nineteenth century and horrific consequences in the Holocaust cast doubt on the very foundations of the modern Western world and values.
Using Steven Beller's new book on anti-Semitism, we look at the main theoretical debates of the daunting and often ironic complexities of the subject.
Was prejudice only part of a complicated historical context that enabled the discrimination, persecution, and extermination of Jews in the Holocaust?
We examine developments since 1945: anti-Semitism's diminution in the Holocaust's aftermath, the emergence of new forms of anti-Semitism, and the question of whether "anti-Zionism" is the "new anti-Semitism"- The New School
Steven Beller is the author of Antisemitism: A Very Short Introduction.
Susannah Heschel holds the Eli Black Chair in Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College.
She received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Colorado College in 2005.
Edmund Leites is the author of The Puritan Conscience and Modern Sexuality.
Steven Beller cautions against conflating anti-semitism with anti-zionism. He goes on to say that because Muslim anti-semitic sentiment has a rational basis to it, being based on real experience, he has hope that it can be rationally resolved.
Edmund Leites views the holocaust as the result of the rise of the German democratic nation-state, which subscribed to an ideology of homogeneity, and not as the culmination of centuries of historic antisemitism.
Susannah Heschel deconstructs the idea of racial anti-semitism to its roots in a Christian-based fear of Jewish moral degeneracy. She also addresses the political conflicts in the Muslim world today and the danger of racializing political issues.