General Antisemitism

British University to host conference questioning Israel’s right to exist

This is a cross-post from The Warped Mirror by Petra Marquardt-Bigman

In an article on “Europe’s New Anti-Semitism,” Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks argued a few years ago that it was important to realize that throughout history, assaults on Jewish life always needed “justification by the highest source of authority in the culture at any given age.” For our own time, this means according to Sacks that “any assault on Jewish life – on Jews or Judaism or the Jewish state – must be cast in the language of human rights,” which is reflected in “the by-now routine accusation that Israel has committed the five cardinal sins against human rights: racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, attempted genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Against the backdrop of deadly terrorist attacks on Jews in several European capitals in recent months, some of Europe’s political leaders – most notably French Prime Minister Manuel Valls – have passionately denounced antisemitism and pledged to fight it. Yet, the problem identified by Rabbi Sacks remains, and in the wake of the most recent attacks in Copenhagen, a Wall Street Journal editorial rightly noted that “[e]lite hostility to Israel amplifies street-level anti-Semitism.”

Unfortunately it seems that such elite hostility to Israel will be showcased at a conference scheduled for April at the University of Southampton. The official announcement describes the conference as “a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine.” The conference is supposedly “unique because it concerns the legitimacy in International Law of the Jewish state of Israel;” however, as students of antisemitism will know, there is nothing “unique” about singling out the world’s only Jewish state for delegitimization.

The conference has been initiated and organized by University of Southampton professor Oren Ben Dor, and his views on the conference’s subject are no secret: the intensity of his animus against Israel is nicely illustrated in a fundraising letter for the conference, where the Nahariya-born (former) Israeli claims to have grown up “in Palestine.”

Ben Dor SouthamptonU1

Ben Dor’s fundraising letter notes explicitly that the “conference is fully hosted, and supported by the University of Southampton. The university enables us to use its hospitality services, event organisation, marketing network and financial administration for the organisation, delivery, recording of the conference. It is a remarkable achievement in itself that such a conference will be help [sic] in UK academia.”

Indeed, it is remarkable that, almost seven decades after Israel’s establishment, the University of Southampton is holding a three-day conference devoted to searching for ways to use international law to deny the world’s only Jewish state the right to exist. But arguably, Professor Ben Dor’s record of “academic” activism against Israel is hardly less remarkable: it seems that roughly half of the publications listed on his official university page are either reviews of the writings of anti-Israel propagandists (e.g. Ali Abunimah, Jonathan Cook), or contributions to various “One State” conferences and other supposedly “pro-Palestinian” events focused on the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. On his official page outlining his research, Ben Dor emphasizes that his academic work “relates” to his “political activity regarding Palestine, the gist of which is a call for justice and peace in Palestine (in that order).” Ben Dor’s writings leave little doubt that as far as he is concerned, “justice” requires the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state; indeed, Ben Dor has even asserted that it was time to “legitimate” the “voice” of Hamas, because “understanding this voice as an ethical cry to the world to not allow Israel the right to persist in its racist self-definition is a much better way of articulating the moral message.”

This brazen attempt to not only ignore but even whitewash the genocidal antisemitism and fascism of the Hamas Charter is unfortunately not the only indication that Ben Dor has no hesitation to embrace open anti-Jewish bigotry. The “numerous articles in Counterpunch” that he highlights on his official university page also include a passionate protest against what Ben Dor calls “the constant attempts to silence Gilad Atzmon.” According to Ben Dor,

“It would be an understatement to say that debating Gilad’s voice is supremely important. No thinking person could fail to be stimulated by the deep connections Gilad makes.”

In case you haven’t heard of Gilad Atzmon, you could find out more about him on the neo-Nazi Internet forum Stormfront, where members broadly agree with Ben Dor’s view that his “voice is supremely important” – indeed, Atzmon’s writings are regarded as so important there that they are often shared and posted on the site.

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Alternatively, you could have Ben Dor’s view about the importance of Atzmon’s voice confirmed by former Klan leader and avowed white supremacist David Duke, who has praised him as “perhaps the bravest and clearest thinking person of Jewish descent in the world.”

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The admiration is mutual – this is what Atzmon said in an interview last year:

“The left is devastated by David Duke for instance. He was in the KKK when he was young. But here is something quite amazing: I read him and I was shocked to find out that this guy knows more about Jewish identity than I do! How could a supposedly ‘racist’ Gentile who probably never entered a synagogue knows [sic] more than I do about Judaism? The reason is in fact very simple: he is a proud white man.”

One could fill pages upon pages to document Atzmon’s well-deserved popularity among Jew-haters, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. So Ben Dor was wrong to complain that Atzmon is being silenced: he gets plenty of publicity at all the sites frequented by bigots looking for their daily dose of stories about Jewish cunning and evil. And Ben Dor himself has repeatedly done his part to promote Atzmon and his odious views, including even hosting him at Southampton University. Why not also invite Duke if the “supremely important” Atzmon recommends him so enthusiastically as an expert on “Jewish identity”?

To what extent Ben Dor actually agrees with Atzmon’s “gutter anti-Semitism” is hard to ascertain given that he likes to write in a style that reflects his fascination with the now utterly disgraced German philosopher Martin Heidegger; but there can be little doubt that Ben Dor shares Atzmon’s conviction that Israel is an absolute evil that cannot be allowed to exist. While Atzmon has expressed the view that even Nazi Germany was less evil than Israel, Ben Dor has repeatedly described Israel as utterly immoral and has denounced the Jewish state as “a terrorist state like no other” and demanded that “the herrenvolk (master race) nature of its democracy” must be openly debated.

Ben Dor certainly knows that it is generally regarded as antisemitic to equate Israel with Nazi Germany and to argue that the world’s only Jewish state is too evil to exist. Yet, it seems that this is what Ben Dor is arguing in his political writings, and given his own emphasis on the connection between his academic work and his “political activity regarding Palestine,” the planned publication of the proceedings of his conference at the University of Southampton may turn out to be of interest not only for anti-Israel activists in and out of the Ivory Tower, but also for researchers studying 21st-century antisemitism and the ‘elite hostility to Israel’ that provides ostensibly new justifications for the oldest hatred.

14 replies »

  1. What’s really needed in Academia is an in-depth study of the remarkable and age-old phenomenum of Jewish antisemitism. No matter how rabid non-Jewish antisemites are (and there’s a lot of competition) it appears that renegade Jews can always do it better. We need to discover why. Perhaps Southampton University could delve into it?

  2. One comfort in all this antisemitism is that new student fees in the UK keep some people out of universities. At least the tax payer is not financing this hate for even more people.
    In the long term I think these antisemites are digging their own graves. Hate is unsustainable. You can only hate so much until people get tired of it. Jon Snow calls it media fatigue.

  3. An European university in 2015 gives forum to a conference inciting genocide against Jews. What is the problem? This is natural, logical and should have been expected. And good to see the indignation of the European leaders about Netanyahu’s call for aliyah…

  4. This reminds me of the term: “Self Hating Jews” which tries to explain the prevalence of Jewish intellectuals inciting anti-Semitism with their extremely hateful view toward Judaism. Jewish self-hate has been described as a neurotic reaction to the impact of anti-Semitism by Jews accepting, expressing, and even exaggerating the basic assumptions of the anti-Semite.

    Jacobson when referring to the term “self-hating Jews”, describes them as Jews who demonize and delegitimize Israel.

    He relates to “the need for Jews to be, one way or another, anti-Jewish. The need for so many Jews, particularly intellectual Jews, to express their hatred with embarrassment with Jewishness, and hating Israel is just the latest version of it. Jews were doing that long before there was a modern State of Israel… I suppose that if you belong to a minority that has been hated for so long, then you begin to sort of absorb some of that. It would be very surprising if you didn’t. In psychology they would tell you that an abused child will in the end come to take the view of himself that the abuser has. I don’t doubt that some Jews do that.”

    Over the ages, anti-Semitism has inflicted such devastating suffering on the Jewish people that it inevitably spawned a small but highly vocal number of Jews obsessed with dissociating themselves.

    If one analyzes the behavior of Jewish apostates during the Middle Ages, notorious for accusing their kinsmen of satanic rites and churning out the vilest anti- Semitic tracts, there is little doubt that they were motivated by self-hatred and opportunism.

    The era of Emancipation also witnessed Jewish Universalists engaged in campaigns defaming their fellow Jews. In the 19th-century socialist revolutionary arena, self-hatred led to justifying pogroms as a lubricant to generate revolutions.

    Jewish Anti-Semites choose to make a great deal of their Jewish origins, the better to collaborate in enterprises hostile to Jews. These renegade Jews or former Jews, give false testimony about Jews or Judaism to the enemies of the Jews. A renegade Jew thus remains engaged with Jewry or Judaism but in hatred. “I’m a Jew who has been brought to the point where he so loaths his people that he thinks in term of their destruction,” wrote Samuel Roth. This kind of Jewish Anti-Semite trades on his Jewish affiliation to give an air of authority and impartiality to his slanders.

    Karl Marx was a prime example of this. Although converted to Christianity, he was a descendant of a long line of rabbis. His noxious self-hatred was the basis for his vile anti-Semitic tract Zur Judenfrage, in which he stated that “money is a jealous God of Israel… The social emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of society from Judaism.”

    The tradition of self-hatred was sustained by Jewish communists. In the Soviet Union, the members of the Yevsektsia, the Jewish section of the Bolsheviks, were notorious for behaving more harshly and displaying a greater determination to destroy synagogues and Jewish cultural institutions than their non-Jewish counterparts.

    Western Jewish communists applauded Stalin’s murder of Jews and crimes against the Jewish people and were among the staunchest defenders of the Evil Empire.

    Marranos were originally Jews living in the Iberian Peninsula who more than 500 years ago converted or were forced to convert to Christianity, some of whom may have continued to observe rabbinic Judaism in secret. The term came into later use in 1492 with the Castilian Alhambra Decree, reversing protections originally in the Treaty of Granada (1491). Till today they are still considered Jews by their neighbors.

    Bryan Mark Rigg wrote about Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers – The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military. Over 150,000 Jews, half Jews and quarter Jews joined the Wehrmacht together with their Nazi counterparts to protect the “Fatherland”. Almost all of them were later sent by Hitler to the death camps only because their blood was contaminated by Jewish blood.

    Don’t think that by joining the pack of global Jew haters, you can cleanse yourself from your origins. Ignoring the genocidal invective is tantamount to abetting the bigotry.

    Jews should learn from historical experience not to become so obsessively focused on internal feuds that they forget what they have in common and fall prey to far more substantial external dangers that they have been too blinkered to notice.

    • “Don’t think that by joining the pack of global Jew haters, you can cleanse yourself from your origins. Ignoring the genocidal invective is tantamount to abetting the bigotry.”

      Quite so, and I hope that will apply to Miriam Gargoyles (oops, meant Margoyles) whose stinky blog article on the DT recently got a thorough pasting below the line and was subsequently closed

  5. I approve of this conference .
    Let the evil and the banal gather together in one building . Let their racist comments be disseminated and their identities revealed . Please provide videos of the event.
    Just fed up of the KKK wearing pillow cases and hiding their identities or anti Semites using false identities .

  6. Antisemitism was and is a quite commonly used and accepted tool for linking and uniting low life and high life in otherwise quite socially, economically and mentally segregated and stratified societies and states, no wonder that Antisemitism is now spreading from Muslim/Arab countries with their backwardness and great social and educational rifts

    retour to the West, when the EU is faltering by the fallout of the world economic crisis, the debt crisis, the weak Euro, the social consequences of these crisis and the reawakening of the far left and far right as anti-Eu movements, supported by Russia, f.e. far-left Syriza or far right, Front National, and under pressure by the Putin gamble of the archipelago strategy, from Georgia /Abkhazia) to Poland (Danzig) and Transnistria, now Crimea and Eastern Ukrain, accompanied by RT for the useful idiots and antisemities in the west.
    The former East has de facto never abrogated Antisemitism, just renamed it to Antizionism, now it`s open Antsemitism again.

  7. Anyone know how much funding Southampton receives from Muslim countries? My guess is quite a bit, which explains why they’ve sold what passes for their souls

    • Our expenditure includes the operations of our new campus
      in Johor, Malaysia where teaching commenced for a first year
      cohort in October 2012. The operation is planned to make
      deficits in the initial years as student numbers build up and
      new programmes come on stream. In 2013/14 the deficit was
      £1.5 million (2012/13 deficit of £1 million).

      The University has charitable status as one of the exempt
      charities listed in Schedule 3 to the Charities Act 2011.

    • What appears a little bit strange is this Institute with its foucaultian self definition
      The Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations is a unique centre of study across the ages.
      Professor Tony Kushner – Marcus Sieff Professor of the History of Jewish/non Jewish Relations
      Born in Manchester in 1960, I studied economic and social history at the University of Sheffield, focusing on minority history and urban history. My interest in ethnicity, racism and migration was further strengthened by undertaking an MA at the University of Connecticut and from there I completed a doctorate at Sheffield, researching British antisemitism. From 1985 to 1986 I was a historian and educator at the Manchester Jewish Museum before being appointed the Parkes Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. For most of the past quarter century I have been director of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations at Southampton. My teaching, research and publishing interests are in the fields of modern Jewish history, migration history, the history of racism and antisemitism, and issues of history, heritage and memory.

      Dr Helen Spurling – Ian Karten Lecturer in Jewish Studies and Outreach Fellow

      Dr Spurling’s research focuses on the interpretation of Midrashic literature, with particular reference to Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish history from Biblical times to late antiquity, and eschatology and Messianism. Dr Spurling is responsible for developing the outreach work of the Parkes Institute. The programme of events and activities centres on developing adult education initiatives in conjunction with members of the Parkes Institute, and working with schools and colleges to develop aspiration raising activities and curriculum initiatives. The aims of the programme are to raise awareness of issues in Jewish/non-Jewish relations to the public regardless of background, to encourage progression to higher education in general, and the University of Southampton and the Parkes Institute in particular, and finally to raise awareness of the work of the Parkes Institute and Jewish studies as a subject in itself.
      The Rise of Islam
      Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. The 2001 census recorded 1,591,000 Muslims in the UK, around 2.7% of the population.
      History, Religion, Literature

      The seventh century CE is a crucial period of both religious and world history due to the rise of Islam. This century saw the leadership of Muhammad, the writing of the Qur’an, and the beginning of the Arab conquests of the Near East. By looking at a variety of primary sources, this session will examine the events surrounding the rise of Islam and the relationships between Jews, Christians and Muslims at this time.
      Helen Spurling
      Helen is the Academic Lead on Lifelong Learning in the Humanties, which provides a range of evening classes, study days and public events. See

      She is also in the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/nonJewish Relations, which has an active programme of engagement with schools and colleges. See

      Nothing peculiar suspicious, but a tendency towards postism.

      Partnerships or cooperations of the University of Southampton
      Six in Malysia,, five in Indonesia, five in Pakistan, two in Saudi-Arabia, two in Jordan, one in egypt, two in Libya, two in Iraq, twelve in Turkey.
      One in Israel

  8. Fritz , am confused here .

    Are you saying that the Parkes Institute of Jewish studies at Southampton University gets funding from Egypt, Jordan, KSA, Pakistan , Libya , Iraq, turkey .Indonesia, Malaysia ….

    Bugger it , you would be hard pressed to find some Jews to study in most of the countries above.

    hey ho academics gotta make money like rest of the world . Its pretty clear where they lean to for their funding . I betcha it doesn’t influence the politics there !

    • And these are partnerships of the University of Southampton, not of the Parkes Institute, as I have written above.