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September , S. Review: Dierk Hoffmann Hg. Zionism before League of Nations. Women's Movements. Abolitionism in the Atlantic World. Socialist International. Standardisation in Europe. Free Trade. Although all five forms can appear parallel to or intermixed with one another, their emergence and development indicate particular historical roots. This article identifies the characteristics of the different forms of antisemitism and places them in their historical context.
The main focus is on the transnational developments that are important for the European perspective. Modern antisemitism possesses a long prehistory of Christian hostility towards Jews on religious grounds.
This precursor of modern antisemitism in Europe continues to provide a pool of images and stereotypes that originated within anti-Jewish Christian myths and have since been incorporated into other forms of antisemitism. Numerous motifs of modern antisemitism betray their Christian, anti-Jewish history, although the form of modern antisemitism and its reflexive relationship to the social context have fundamentally changed. In his religio-psychological study Moses and Monotheism , 3 the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud — [ ] undertook the first attempt to examine the psychosocial motives of religious antisemitism.
According to Freud, in the Christian myths, the rejection of the Jewish religion is connected with aggressive fears of Jewry, distorting the self-image of the Jews as a chosen people into a myth of world domination and control. In this respect, one can also see the arbitrariness of antisemitic projections as the motive for the emergence of anti-Jewish, religious antisemitism lies in Christianity's problems of self-reflection and legitimacy. Judaism, according to Freud, offered itself for anti-Jewish resentment merely because of its religious architecture.
The European dimension of the premodern history of modern antisemitism is, above all, characterised by the parallel existence of antisemitic stereotypes. Transfers and transnational connections were considerably less important before the emergence of nation states because structures of communication were still primarily organised at the regional level and were only beginning to gain a national dimension thanks to the gradual establishment of unified national languages. This meant that also in regard to antisemitism, Europe did not yet have much of an integrating function. Most antisemitic stereotypes and images emerged in the Christian context, and many of them were disseminated locally.
Antisemitism — EGO
This is true, for example, of the omnipresent myth of an "international Jewish conspiracy", which originated in the 13th century and has continued to exert an influence up into the present. Alongside demonisation, the central antisemitic myths included the blood libel , accusations of desecrating the host , the association with epidemic diseases such as the Black Death and charges of witchcraft and heresy. The myth of a Jewish conspiracy remained available for everybody and was reified into a semantic given. Modern antisemitism traditionally incorporated religious antisemitism, whose anti-Jewish orientation was arbitrary but by no means accidental, and, as a result, cannot deny its Christian heritage.
One can agree with Sigmund Freud that antisemitism and hate of Jews had its theological roots in Christianity and that this lives on unconsciously in the form of Christian myths and metaphors in the fantasies of modern antisemitism. The central reasons for the transformation of Christian religious motifs of anti-Judaism into modern antisemitism are to be found in the social context of modernity. Hannah Arendt — [ ] describes in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism a century-long process of transformation whereby antisemitism became increasingly detached from the real religious and social conflicts between Jews and non-Jews until it finally uncoupled itself from these completely in the ideology of National Socialism.
The connection between religious and anti-Jewish ideas, on the one hand, and the pseudo-scientific theories of race that emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries, on the other, produced a curious lack of personal experience, which led to the belief that only antisemites could decide who was to be regarded as Jewish and who not. In this way, antisemitism became a cultural code, 14 i. Here, modern antisemitism merged not only with the ethnonationalism and social-Darwinist racism that developed in the English-, French- and German-speaking spheres, but also with antimodern and anti-Enlightenment movements in general.
This is evident, for example, in the nationalist, antisemitic agitation of the student fraternities in the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy , the growing influence of antisemitic parties — especially in Central Europe , the affair surrounding Alfred Dreyfus — in France , the antisemitic echoes in the anticapitalist writings of early socialism and anarchism, the link between national identity and antisemitism in the thought of romantic idealist philosophy, and the persecution and pogroms of late-tsarist Russia.
The antisemitic worldview included not only the religious metaphors and myths of the past, but also ethnonationalist characterisations in which identifying attributes were ascribed to Jews that increasingly had little to do with the actual lives and customs of Jews. This makes it possible to comprehend the highly contradictory content of antisemitic resentment: Jews were accused of abstraction and thus modernity, which could equally include socialism, liberalism, capitalism, Enlightenment , urbanity, mobility or intellectualism.
Only the concrete and, in the political realm, the national did not have a place in the antisemitic fantasy because they represented the antipole to the differentiation, first described by Sartre, between general and concrete thought and commodity forms and the resulting dichotomy between sophistication and down-to-earthness in the antisemitic view of the world.
Within the context of the injection of nationalism and racism into European antisemitism, from the beginning of the 20th century, an antisemitic community developed as a social movement that increasingly broke down national barriers and, as a political movement, crossed state borders; in its activity, it opposed the nation state and the bourgeois republican order 21 and sought to bring the fantasy of a homogeneous people, or a "pure race", into line with Europe's political boundaries.
In particular, the German minorities in the states bordering the Third Reich participated in antisemitic agitation and in destabilising nationalist politics, while the collaboration of other nations and their active participation in the Shoah also showed that the antisemitic policy of extermination played an integrative, albeit barbaric, role in the Europeanisation of antisemitism.
The European content of antisemitism in the s and s was accompanied by the massive intensification of antisemitic policies in both Western and Eastern Europe , for example in France, Hungary , Slovakia , Rumania and Croatia , where — alongside daily discrimination — antisemitic measures were introduced at the political and legal levels. At the turn of the 20th century, and above all in the first third of the 20th century, antisemitism became a mass social event expressed in the form of demonstrations, marches and other collective rituals.
As a consequence, more social groups adopted an antisemitic worldview, and the impact of the antisemitic mass meetings further contributed to the increasing momentum of antisemitism. The process of creating a mass antisemitic community, therefore, also helped bring about the stabilisation of the cultural code. Through the bellicose and expansionist policies of National Socialism, antisemitism became, in practice, a European transnational movement which left little shelter for Jews.
The military defeat of National Socialism by the Allies challenged this view of the world.
However, as empirical studies of the period show, it did not alter the self-image of those who held these views and thus perceived these developments as an imposition: antisemitism transformed from being social "common sense" to a position the public expression of which was taboo.
At the same time, in the early postwar decades, the dominant form of articulating antisemitism became secondary antisemitism, albeit initially only in Germany and Austria. A product of the desire for exculpation from the National Socialist past, this secondary antisemitism emerged not despite but because of Auschwitz 27 as part of the politics of memory that holds the Jews responsible for the Shoah and defines the Holocaust as a negative disruption in the national memory. The need for a national identity and a normality that draws a line under the past places the responsibility for an identity disturbed by the Holocaust not on the mass murder of the European Jews by National Socialist Germany but rather on the victims of the Nazis who, according to this view, cannot come to terms with their fate.
Because antisemitism had been forced to justify itself in the wake of the German genocide of European Jews, social self-exculpation required that Jews receive the ascribed role of perpetrator, not victim. An important element of this variation of antisemitism is that while the form of articulation is secondary, the content remains antisemitic: even though the prejudices regarding "the Jews"— that Jews are powerful, influential and greedy — do not in this case share the goal of extermination present in National Socialist antisemitism, they do exhibit the madness of false projections and the desire for ethnic segregation.
Secondary antisemitism was and is present in all political spectrums, but is articulated in different ways: on the one hand, among neo-Nazis and the far right, a revisionist version dominates that denies, plays down or relativises the Shoah and glorifies, glosses over or smooths out the barbarism of National Socialism; on the other, the far left, within the context of the student and peace movements of the s and the s, supported nationalist movements which they believed to be marginalised and oppressed, above all the Palestinians.
Besides Germany and Austria, antisemitic defensiveness has become important in other European states and is currently developing a new dynamic within the context of the contemporary examination of National Socialism from the viewpoint of collaboration, as is evident, for example, in the Polish debate on Jedwabne and, by extension, on the Polish participation in the Shoah.
Throughout the continent, the rhetoric of the anti-imperialist movement in Europe was antisemitic. In this way, the oft-observed "new" global antisemitism has its origins in the European pro-Palestinian alliance of the far left, meaning its prehistory dates back to the s. The development of East European antisemitism exhibits several components that diverge from the developments in Western Europe. A form of antisemitism which was directed against Israel and relativised or negated the historical guilt acquired an integrative function, especially in the socialist and anarchist spectrum of Western and Eastern Europe.
The developmental dynamics in Eastern Europe contain very specific aspects which are important in regard to the transnational development of antisemitism in Europe. This is because the anti-Jewish prehistory of modern antisemitism has considerable significance for Eastern Europe due to the social and political dominance of Christianity in the East European states. In contrast to Western Europe, the formation of East European antisemitic stereotypes during the transition from Christian anti-Judaism to modern antisemitism was shaped by the image which antisemites developed of the traditional so-called Ostjude "Eastern Jew".
At the same time, the experience — characteristic for all of Eastern Europe — of social and economic crisis during industrialization , but in particular the agricultural and rural structure of large parts of the area, indicates how anti-Jewish resentment was interwoven with antisemitic stereotypes regarding the economy to concoct an image of Jewish dominance in international politics. While in Western Europe the processes of nationalisation — with few exceptions — were already complete, the socio-economic crises in Eastern Europe coincided with the nationalisation of society and the homogenisation of state identities.
This created — with the exception of Czechoslovakia , which had a democratic structure and was less tolerant of antisemitism — a significant potential for ethnicisation, but at the same time also produced dichotomic ascriptions during times of crisis, which — due to the already established Christian anti-Jewish stereotypes — crystallised into a modern antisemitism. The Russian Revolution and the national struggles against the spread of socialist influence in Eastern Europe in the interwar period laid the foundations for the merging of anti-Bolshevik and antisemitic stereotypes exemplified by the calumny of the "Judeo commune" that emerged in the Second Polish Republic.
In this way, antisemitic resentment in Eastern Europe was a retrograde rebellion against modernity in two regards: against both liberalism and socialism, i.