"New" Anti-Semitism in Contemporary German Academia

By Pallade, Yves | Jewish Political Studies Review, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

"New" Anti-Semitism in Contemporary German Academia


Pallade, Yves, Jewish Political Studies Review


It is one of the bitter ironies of the dialectics of modernity that the very sphere of science and academia, the purpose of which is to enlighten mankind, has provided intellectual cover to modern Jew-hatred. It was in Germany of all places that scientific discovery and academic discourse were subject to the utmost perversion, contributing intellectually and technically to the Holocaust. While anti-Semitism in German society in general has survived Auschwitz, its persistence in academia in particular is all the more a reason for concern. The tenacity and openness of anti-Semitic ideologemes in the writings and utterances of figures with an academic standing throws a dubitable light onto various institutions of higher learning and education, as well as onto the state bodies that fund them and that draw on their expertise. In conceptual terms it makes sense to differentiate between "old" and "new" anti- Semitism. Traditional forms of Jew-hatred that use a religious or racist pretext still exist in modern academic discourse in Germany, but are likely to be reprimanded and marginalized by society in general and by the academic community in particular, which generally perceives itself to be "critical, ' "progressive, " and "politically correct. " Yet it is precisely against this self-perception that a new political pretext for the articulation of anti-Jewish attitudes is often found in the Jewish State and its real or alleged behavior. Anti-Zionist rhetoric has become a socially acceptable way of expressing anti-Semitic sentiments in the German academic context. While the anti-Semitic nature of these articulations is generally denied by their proponents, their superiors in the political arena tend to ignore or belittle them. The wide-spread inclination to have recourse to "Jewish" anti-Zionist voices as key witnesses of particular authority has led to a situation where the "new" anti-Semitism has successfully infused the very academic discourse and research on anti-Semitism itself. At the same time there is a considerable reluctance on the part of German decision-makers and opinion leaders to confront this problem.

"Anti-Semitism, contained in anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism, like thunder in the cloud, has once again become honorable."l

Introduction

Anti-Semitism in academia is by no means a new phenomenon, nor is it an unusual one. Academics, while striving to approach an objective view of the world, are always part of society at large, a fact which must be borne in mind when discussing the present manifestations of Jewhatred in the field of higher education and scientific research. What makes anti-Semitism in academia extraordinary is the fact that this is the intellectual and scholarly sphere where many of the discourses that shape social reality and that are often taken for granted take place. Indeed, the notion of anti-Semitism, the very term itself, was the product of discourses that aspired, or at least purported, to be scientific in nature. Wilhelm Marr, its spiritual father, attempted to place the traditionally religion-based hatred of Jews onto a firm scientific footing. He wished to provide it with a new pretext more suited to the epistemological criteria of modernity. Others followed in his footsteps and expanded the concept to universal dimensions, providing it with the character of a "theory of everything." Jew-hatred purportedly gained objective consciousness of itself through its "scientific" emancipation from its earlier religious context of justification. What became known as antiSemitism constituted the negation of Enlightenment and its aspirations of human freedom through reason and science. Yet ironically it bore the very marks of the âge d'illumination, whose illegitimate but unmistakable offspring it was.

The racial theories and teachings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that climaxed in the Holocaust made their mark not only on particular faculties and universities, but left imprints that can be felt to the present day on numerous academic disciplines.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"New" Anti-Semitism in Contemporary German Academia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.