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Home arrow Sociology arrow Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism Representation

Acknowledgements

I would like to begin by thanking the following institutions which have, in one way or another, supported the research activity upon which this book is based: The Center of Israel Studies at the American University, Washington DC, USA; the Iran Media Program at the Annenberg Center for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, USA; and the Association for Israel Studies. I am grateful to the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK; the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, UK; and the School of Applied Social Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, for providing stimulating research environments and for supporting my research over the years.

I thank Professor Joël Kotek and Dr Zsófia Kata Vincze for their immensely helpful attitude to my research into the visual aspects of antisemitism, Dr Andreea Ernst-Vintila for her challenging but constructive criticism on my research into social representations of the Holocaust, and Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor for inviting me to share my ideas with him and his colleagues at the Middle East Study Group at the University of Hull, which helped crystallise my thinking in this area. I am grateful to Dr Neil Jordan, the senior commissioning editor at Ashgate for his enthusiasm about my idea to write this book, and Dr Anne Kershen, the series editor, for her very helpful and constructive feedback on an earlier version of the book manuscript.

Finally, I must apologise to my family and close friends for neglecting them during the writing of this and other books and thank them for being so patient, understanding and supportive.


Series Editor's Preface

The two nouns which provide the title for this book would appear to refer to recent phenomena, both epithets having emerged in the late nineteenth century; the former denoting hatred of those racially identifiable as Jews, the latter signifying opposition to the establishment, and existence, of a Jewish homeland. Yet, the former has been used by a number of writers and historians, including the author of this book, to describe all forms of 'Jew hatred' since pre-Christian times, most particularly religious antipathy, otherwise defined as anti-Jewishness, whilst antiZionism – in the context of hostility to a Jewish nation state – in addition to those to be expected, has been, and still is, manifested by a small minority of ultraorthodox Jews who believe that a Jewish homeland could only exist with the, still awaited, coming of the Messiah.

However, this is no history book – though the author provides the reader with a commendable historical background to Christian and Muslim 'antisemitism'. This is a volume which provides a highly original, informative and, at times, disturbing, contemporary insight into the two designations of the title, and, by deconstructing both, demonstrates how they are, as he explains, 'complex, delineable, yet interrelated social psychological phenomena'. In order to comprehend the socialpsychological implications of modern day antisemitism and anti-Zionism, Rusi Jaspal (a chartered psychologist and senior lecturer in psychology) carried out piercing qualitative research amongst two specific groups, young Muslims in Iran and Britain and young Jews in Israel and Britain. He sought to evaluate the psychological motivations of the former and the impact of these on the latter. The interviews with the young people in Iran highlighted the persuasive power of Holocaust denial policy and propaganda. This goes some way towards explaining the mental and emotional imperatives that created the entrenched antisemitic and anti-Zionist views that informed and influenced the interviewees. In an ironic take on history, the young Pakistani Muslims interviewed in Britain, whilst denying they held any antisemitic sentiments, at the same time equated Zionism with Nazism, identifying the residents and advocates of the Jewish state as 'evil'.

In contrast, the Jewish Israelis interviewed considered the two phenomena as formative and interlinked elements of their 'Jewish' identity. However, in the spatial context of Europe and the Middle East, they differentiated between the levels of antisemitism and the threat this posed. These young people had developed defined coping strategies to deal with the phenomena under the microscope, some even at times 'passing' and assuming a non-Zionist identity in order to fend off anti-Zionist attack. Their counterparts in Britain demonstrated the complexity and diversity of being Jewish outside of Israel. As Jaspal clearly illustrates, these diasporic Jews represent secular and religious Jews – the latter ranging from ultra-
orthodox to liberal Jews – and proand anti-Zionists. As such, their responses to the threat posed by antisemitism and anti-Zionism varied in resonance.

This is a book which explores contemporary issues of international import which have been, in the nature of this book, largely under-researched. Examining the impact of antisemitism and anti-Zionism on young Muslims and young Jews within a psychological framework not only enlarges the breadth of migrant and diaspora studies but, in addition, and most importantly, augments our understanding of the emotional implications of religious and social-political condemnation amongst those who condemn and those who are on the receiving end of that condemnation. Antisemitism may be the longest hatred and antiZionism one of the more recent, but anything which increases our awareness of the consequences of those two phenomena and which, as a result, facilitates the eradication of bitterness and loathing is a worthy result. A reading of this book contributes to that understanding and thus should be firmly lodged on the library shelves of those who wish to see improved relations between the proponents and recipients of antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

Anne J Kershen

Queen Mary University of London

Spring 2014


 
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