We recently posted an article written by Bob Pitt of Islamophobia-Watch concerning controversy over Islamophobic remarks by anti-Muslim speakers that led to several walk-outs at a symposium in London sponsored by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (JSA).
The walk-outs are a welcome development but a few of the condemnations of the disgusting and blatantly anti-Muslim remarks by speakers Bat “Eurabia” Ye’or (whose insane hatred of Islam and Muslims Danios covered) and Manfred Gerstenfeld left much to be desired. Take Dave Rich of the Community Trust’s response to Ye’or’s statements; Rich said Yeor’s words “could be construed as Islamophobic.”
No, Rich, they can’t be construed as Islamophobic, they are Islamophobic,
The controversy was prompted by contributions from two of the speakers. One was Bat Ye’or (the pen name of Gisèle Littman) who informed her audience that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is “the source of antisemitism” and that “Islam is denying the root of Judaism and Christianity with a profound belief in Jihad”
Manfred Gerstenfeld for his part “asserted that Muslim culture is inferior to Western culture.” In response to the controversy the JSA has this post on its home page: Drs. Richard Landes and Manfred Gerstenfeld’s responses to the British Left’s walkouts and criticisms. London Dec 2 2012.
What is the esteemed doctors’ response? An article with the tired, cliched supremacist title Why the West is Best that reads like it was picked out of the terrorist Anders Breivik’s manifesto. A little less than one hundred years ago the reasons White Westerners were giving for why the “West is best” was the racist claim that they were genetically and racially superior to non-White, non-Westerners, an idea that in part was central in leading to the Holocaust.
A strange thing to publish in a journal that is supposedly devoted to analyzing one of histories most pernicious forms of bigotry don’t you think?
Another fact that remains unanswered and which has been brought up by critics of the symposium is: why, when loony bigots such as Bat Ye’or and Manfred Gerstenfeld were invited, and displayed prominently on the blurb for the symposium, did those who eventually walked out even attend? Why didn’t they protest and demand the bigots’ exclusion beforehand?
Yet Dave Rich, Mark Gardner, David Hirsh and others happily attended a seminar that included these speakers. It’s not difficult to imagine how different their response would be to a seminar featuring individuals who asserted that Jews are conspiring to take over Europe or made claims about the inferiority of Jewish culture. The CST would demand that the speakers should be banned or that the institution hosting the event should cancel it. But when it’s a case of Zionist extremists promoting bigotry against Muslims, then the CST evidently thinks it’s enough to go along to the seminar and politely raise their “concerns” that such hate-speech is “incorrect, unacceptable and self-defeating”.
And here’s the bit I just don’t get. Mark Gardner, David Hirsh and Dave Rich must have known about the other speakers because they were listed in the information blurb for the event. How offended can they really have been when they only heard what they must have expected to hear?
the bottom line of what the symposium was all about: “At the end of the event, the former Labour MP, Denis MacShane, was given an award for his work in fighting antisemitism”. Yup, that Denis MacShane. No walkouts on him reported. There’s a certain consistency to that inconsistency.
It’s brought to our attention later in Pitt’s article that the editorial board of the JSA is staffed, through-and-through, by a familiar cast of anti-Muslim bigots and anti-Arab racists,
Gisèle Littman was hardly some randomly invited speaker. She is on the editorial board of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (along with the likes of Daniel Pipes, Andrew Bostom – and Philip Spencer, for that matter).
The combined effect of this disturbing information led me to research a little more into the JSA, and what I immediately learned was very problematic. One does not have to go far to see that the true intent of the JSA is unfortunately to demonize Muslims and Islam and to forward a narrative on the so-called “New Antisemitism,” that couches in academic terms what loons such as Pamela Geller spout daily in their crazed rants about Muslims. The “New Antisemitism” narrative reflects a cottage industry of “experts” who often present out-of-context and or exaggerate the degree/extent of “Muslim antisemitism,” specifically the role of “Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini,” in effect providing fodder and intellectual cover for the Islamophobia Movement. I will say more about this aspect of the “New Antisemitism” in a future article.
What I will note is the contradiction that is apparent between the actions of mainstream Jewish leaders in the UK during the 2012 symposium and their counterparts in the USA with regards to association and participation in events with the JSA.
In the United States, in 2010, a conference held by the JSA specifically on the topic of “Muslim antisemitism” featured well known anti-Muslim bigots and anti-Arab racists alongside mainstream Jewish leaders from organizations such as the ADL, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Anti-Israelism Initiative for the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, Baruch College and the American Jewish University.
First Annual Conference on “Muslim Antisemitism”: October 2-3 2010 at the Doubletree Hotel, NYC
At this 2010 JSA conference you had several individuals who featured prominently in the anti-Muslim movie produced by the Clarion Fund and director Rabbi Raphael Shore titled, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” as well as noted right-wing, anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Melanie “Mad Mel” Phillips:
- Richard Rubenstein Best Book: Muslim Antisemitism
Jihad And Genocide (Rowman & Littlefield)
- Anthony Julius Best Book: Uk Antisemitism
Trials Of The Diaspora (Oxford University Press)
- Kenneth Marcus: Best Book: Jewish Civil Rights
Jewish Identity And Civil Rights In America (Cambridge University Press)
- Melanie Phillips Best Book: Anti-Zionism
The World Turned Upside Down (Encounter)
- Robert Wistrich Best Book: Historical
A Lethal Obsession (Random House)
- Martin Gilbert Best Book: Forgotten Refugees
In Ishmael’s House (Yale University Press)
- Efraim Karsh Best Book: Israel
Palestine Betrayed (Yale University Press)
- Paul Berman Best Book: Overview
Flight Of The Intellectuals (Melville House)
As Well, JSA Would Like To Honor The Following JSA Writers:
- Best Original Article:
The Jewish Genocide Of Armenian Christians And Other Outrageous Claims Of Christopher Jon Bjerkness. Steven L Jacobs
- Best Original Essays:
Riga And Remembering Clemens Heni
Silencing Canadian Jews Andrew Bostom
- Best Book Review:
A Lethal Obsession Frederick Schweitzer
- Best Film Short:
The Mufti David Sokol
The titles of the books, articles and movies as well as the individuals mentioned as part of the conference are quite revealing. However the details of the 2010 conference are even more disturbing as we see Oren Segal who is “director of Islamic Affairs and terrorism expert at the Anti Defamation League,” Kenneth L. Marcus of “Baruch College and director of the Anti-Semitism & Anti-Israelism Initiative for the Institute for Jewish & Community Research,” and Mark Weitzman of the “Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of the New York Tolerance Center” sharing the stage with the likes of Daniel Pipes, Bruce Bawer, Andrew Bostom, Phyllis Chesler and other professional hate-mongers.
Details from the 2010 Conference:
Panel Participants: Steve Baum, Paul Bartrop, Bruce Bawer, Michael Berenbaum, Andrew G. Bostom, Phyllis Chesler, Florette Cohen, Sam Edelman, Clemens Heni, Daniel Goldhagen, Steven L. Jacobs, Gil Kahn, Lesley Klaff, Neil J. Kressel, Richard Landes, Alyssa Lappen, Kenneth Lasson, Elizabeth Midlarsky, Marcia Sachs Littell, Kenneth L. Marcus, Daniel Pipes, J. Christopher Pryor, Neal E. Rosenberg, Richard L Rubenstein, Frederick Schweitzer, Oren Segal, David Sokol, Marcia Sokolowski, Mark Weitzman.
Paul Bartrop is teaches comparative genocide studies at Bialik College, Melbourne. His latest book is Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide (Routledge, 2010).BARTRP@bialik.vic.edu.au
Steven K. Baum is co-editor of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism. His book Antisemitism Explained (UPA/Rowman & Littlefield) is scheduled for release at the end of the year. www.stevebaum.com
Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept (Anchor, 2007) was a national bestseller. His latest book is Surrender:Appeasing Islam Sacrificing Freedom (Anchor, 2010) www.brucebawer.com
Michael Berenbaum is a rabbi, director and professor of Jewish Studies of the Sigi Ziering Institute at the American Jewish University. He is the author of The World Must Know (Johns Hopkins 2005) and editor of Not Your Fathers Antisemitism (Paragon, 2008) and the Encyclopedia Judaica. www.berenbaumgroup.com
Andrew G. Bostom is a professor of medicine at Brown University and the editor of Legacy of Jihad and Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (Prometheus, 2008).www.andrewbostom.org
Phyllis Chesler is director of the Phyllis Chesler Foundation. She is emerita professor of psychology and women’s studies at CUNY. Her books include The New Antisemitism (Jossey-Bass, 2003) www.phyllis-chesler.com.
Florette Cohen is an assistant professor of psychology at College of Staten Island/CUNY. She is lead researcher with Lee Jussim and others of: Modern antisemitism and anti-Israeli attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2009, 97, email@example.com
Sam Edelman is executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). He is former dean at American Jewish University and emeritus professor at California State University, Chico. www.spme.net
Daniel J. Goldhagen is a political scientist at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University. He is the author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners (Knopf 1996), A Moral Reckoning (Knopf 2002) and Worse Than War (PublicAffairs 2009) which served as the basis for the PBS special of the same name released this year. He is currently writing a book on antisemitism. www.goldhagen.com
Clemens Heni is a Berlin based political scientist who is a regular contributor to Journal for the Study of Antisemitism and has published in Jewish Political Studies Review. He has two books on German antisemitism. His first English language edition Antisemitism – A specific phenomenon will be published shortly. His latest work is a MEF funded project of German Middle Eastern Studies and Islamism after 9/11.
Steven L. Jacobs is a rabbi and associate professor in the Dept. of Religious Studies University of Alabama. He has written Dismantling the Big Lie (Ktav 2003) and Fifty Key Thinkers in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Routledge, 2010). firstname.lastname@example.org Gil Kahn is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Kean University, in Union, NJ. His academic interests focus on decision-making with an emphasis on executive-legislative relations and the institutional tensions between Congress and the President. Kahn has been a consultant to the Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews, the domestic affairs department of Hadassah, the Synagogue Council of America and Shvil Hazahav. email@example.com
Lesley Klaff is a senior lecturer in law at Sheffield Hallam University, England, and an affiliate professor of law at Haifa University, Israel. She advises mulit-faith chaplaincy on issues of Jewish religious observance and serves as the book review editor for the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism. Her article, Anti-Zionist Expression on the UK Campus: Free Speech or Hate Speech? appears in the Jewish Political Studies Review Fall 2010.
Neil J. Kressel is a professor of psychology and director of the Honors Social Science Program at William Paterson University. His latest book is Bad Faith: Dangers of Religious Extremism (Prometheus Books, 2009). firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Landes is a professor of Medieval History at Boston University. His forthcoming books include Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience, and The Paranoid Apocalypse: The Protocols of the Elders 100 Years Later co-edited with Steven Katz.email@example.com
Alyssa Lappen is as free lance journalist who specializes in Islamic history. Her book reviews and articles such as What Really Happened in Mumbai? have appeared in the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.
Kenneth Lasson teaches law at University of Baltimore. His latest book includes Trembling in the Ivory Tower, (Bancroft, 2003) and related articles: Bloodstains on a “Code of Honor” The Murderous Marginalization of Women in the Islamic World, 30 Women’s Rights Law Reporter 407 (2009). firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcia Sachs Littell, is a professor and founding director of the MA Program in Holocaust & Genocide Studies at Richard Stockton College of NJ and Executive Director of the Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches. DrLittell@aol.com
Kenneth L. Marcus is the Ackerman Chair in Equality & Justice in America at the School of Public Affairs, CUNY/Baruch College and director of the Anti-Semitism & Anti-Israelism Initiative for the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. His book Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America (Cambridge University Press) was published in September email@example.com
Elizabeth Midlarsky is a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College Columbia University. Her publications include Personality correlates of heroic rescue during the Holocaust. Journal of Personality (2005) 73, 907-934. and Courageous rescue during the Holocaust. Journal of Positive Psychology, (2007) 2, 136-147. firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Pipes is Director of the Middle East Forum, which publishes the Middle East Quarterly and DanielPipes.org. He is a Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University His books include Militant Islam Reaches America (2002)www.danielpipes .org
J. Christopher Pryor holds a J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law and is practicing civil litigation in Kansas City. He has written on Bishop Richard Williamson and is a contributor to the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism. email@example.com
Neal E. Rosenberg is an attorney with an MA in Holocaust and Genocide Studies He co-edits the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism. firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard L Rubenstein is a rabbi and president emeritus University of Bridgeport. He is the author of the critically acclaimed After Auschwitz. His latest book is Jihad and Genocide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010). email@example.com Frederick Schweitzer is a professor emeritus of history at Manhattan College and is co-author with Marvin Perry of Anti-Semitism (Palgrave,Macmillan 2005) and Antisemitic Myths (Indiana Univ, 2007)firstname.lastname@example.org
Oren Segal is Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, and oversees the Islamic Affairs Department. He edits Terrorism Update, ADL’s Web site and newsletter dedicated to domestic and international terrorist activity, and trains federal, state and local law enforcement on homegrown Islamic extremist issues. email@example.com
David Sokol received his M.A. in psychology from Sonoma State College, Rohnert Park, California. He has held teaching positions at Goddard University and University of Vermont Medical School. In 1998 he retired from psychology to become an artist and write and has since published the critically acclaimed short animation The Mufti. He also has written The Golem Church Street: An Artist’s Reflection on the New Anti-Semitism. firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcia Sokolowski is an ethicist at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and the Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto. She is an Ontario psychotherapist and serves as ethics consultant for the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.
Mark Weitzman is the Director of Government Affairs and of the Task Force against Hate and Terrorism for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Chief Representative of the Center to the United Nations and Founding Director of the SWC’s New York Tolerance Center. Weitzman is a member of the official US delegation to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. He was lead co-editor for Antisemitism, the Generic Hatred which won a National Jewish Book Award. His latest Magical Logic is available. email@example.com
One has to question whether the purpose of the JSA is to fight Antisemitism or to promote anti-Muslim Islamophobic propaganda. If their board and past events are any indications then there is no doubt their purpose is to push anti-Muslim propaganda.
An important question that must be raised is that: while in London David Rich, Mark Gardner and David Hirsh walked out or condemned the Islamophobes what is the excuse of mainstream Jewish American leaders such as Oren Segal, Kenneth Marcus and Mark Weitzman who participated on a similar panel with noted racists and bigots? Why did they attend and why didn’t they walk out? What do the organizations they represent have to say?
Antisemitism is a real scourge and the way to combat it is not to align yourself with another growing phenomenon of hate: Islamophobia.
UPDATE 1/7/12: Oren Segal of the ADL responded to our article, saying,
I declined the invitation to attend the conference and did not participate in the event in any capacity.
If that is the case Mr.Segal should contact the JSA and ask that his name be taken off the list of those who participated in the 2010 conference.