Vice President International Affairs and Diversity (VP3)

Diversity Thursday: Antisemitism

Thursday 14 March 2024

With "Diversity Thursday", we (the Diversity Management Team at H-BRS) regularly focus on diversity aspects and anti-discrimination issues on Thursdays. Today's Diversity Thursday addresses antisemitism.
Diversity Donnerstag_Antisemitismus1

Antisemitism must have no place in our society. H-BRS stands resolutely against all forms of hatred and discrimination. But what exactly is antisemitism? Antisemitism can take many forms, which in practice also arise interwoven with one another. How can we counter antisemitism? You can find hints and tips here. One method of distinguishing Israel-related antisemitism from criticism is the 3D test.

If you witness antisemitism or experience antisemitism yourself, there are contact points that can help you. You are able to find these further down.

What is antisemitism?

"Anyone who forms an opinion about Jewish people that is derived from their Jewishness instead of their specific personal behaviour is acting in an antisemitic way. Jews have nothing in common apart from their Jewishness - they are just as different as members of other religions and cultures. It is this relationship between the individual and the group that matters: Antisemitism begins where characteristics of individuals are derived from group membership and vice versa. If Jews as a group are ascribed characteristics that go beyond their actual Jewishness, this is antisemitic."

Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für jüdisches Leben und den Kampf gegen Antisemitismus (Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight against Antisemitism)

Forms of antisemitism

Antisemitism expresses itself in various forms. Research into antisemitism distinguishes, for example, between anti-Judaism, modern hatred of Jews, guilt-avoidance antisemitism, Israel-related antisemitism and structural antisemitism. In practice, this distinction is usually not so easy to make because these forms are often intertwined.

Israel-related antisemitism:
Israel-related antisemitism uses the state of Israel for its form of expression. Antisemitic images are directed against Israel. This happens when Israel is demonised, the state is denied the right to exist or different standards are applied to criticism than to other democratic states. It is not always easy to directly recognise Israel-related antisemitism and distinguish it from legitimate criticism of the Israeli government and policies. However, there are clear criteria that make it easier to recognise. The 3D test can help here.

Structural antisemitism:
Structural antisemitism includes, among other things, antisemitic narratives without explicitly talking about Jews in them, but these include depictions of supposedly Jewish characteristics. This can be the case when complex social contexts and/or crises are simplified and personalised - for example, when a financial crisis is attributed to the machinations of a handful of people who are then portrayed as having supposedly Jewish characteristics.

Post-Shoa antisemitism / guilt defence antisemitism:
Post- Shoa antisemitism / guilt defence antisemitism (also known as secondary antisemitism) arose in the course of coming to terms with the Shoa (or Holocaust) and refers to the defence against guilt and responsibility for the crimes of German National Socialism. This also means the defence of the memory of the Shoah (or Holocaust). The term Shoah, like the term Holocaust, refers to the murder of around six million European Jews under National Socialism. A perpetrator-victim reversal often takes place in post-Shoah antisemitism, e.g. by continuing the antisemitic narrative that Jews are to blame or complicit in the hatred of Jews.

Modern hatred of Jews:
Modern Jew-hatred is when Jews are blamed for everything bad in the world or are blamed for structural problems. It is also often racist antisemitism, which characterises Jews as different and not belonging to society.

Anti-Judaism is understood as religiously based hostility towards Jews. The images circulating today often have Christian origins. However, anti-Judaism has been around longer than Christianity. In Roman antiquity and the Middle Ages, inflammatory, anti-Judaic propaganda by the church was responsible for the spread of hatred towards Jews.

Source: Amadeu Antonio Foundation

This is how you can counter antisemitism:

- Be aware and name antisemitism if you recognise it
- Consider beforehand: Who is the other person? Does the person you are talking to even want to enter into a dialogue?
- Have courage and dare to do so: simply saying "stop" also helps.
- Ask critical questions: What was really meant by the statement?
- Get help and support.
- Irritate your counterpart with questions and do not allow yourself to be provoked.
- Encourage them to think.
- Inform yourself thoroughly.


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