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David Hirsh Seminar

Senior Lecturer in Sociology - Goldsmiths College, University of London



Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Candler Library Room 212 , Emory University

The antisemitism of good people: Can an anti-racist, liberal person be an antisemite?

A particular kind of hostility to those who worry about antisemitism is becoming a signifier of identity for the ‘community of the good’.  On the left, antisemitism is sometimes carried and tolerated by people and within movements which consider themselves to be wholly hostile to antisemitism. This antisemitism is insulated by a layer of discourse that casts suspicion against anybody who experiences it, analyses it or opposes it; it casts them out of the community of the oppressed and of the progressive.

This seminar engages with the ‘antisemitism of good people’.  We are used to understanding racism as discursive and institutional phenomena related to norms and practices and to unconscious exclusions.  How is cotemporary antisemitism similar or different?

 This seminar also engages with standard patterns of denial and counter-accusation. The ‘Livingstone formulation’ is a rhetorical device which enables progressives to refuse to consider incidents of antisemitism.  It educates antiracists to recognize allegations of antisemitism, rather than antisemtism itself, as a key marker of reactionary discourse.

**This event is reserved for faculty and graduate students affiliated with the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. Lunch will be provided.**


Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Oxford Road Presentation Room, Emory University

"Contemporary Antisemitism on the Left"

Antisemitism on the left is difficult to recognize because it does not come dressed in a Nazi uniform and it does not openly proclaim its hatred or fear of Jews. This talk looks at the kind of antisemitism which is tolerated in apparently democratic spaces: trade unions, churches, left-wing and liberal politics, social gatherings of the chattering classes and the seminars and journals of radical intellectuals. It analyses how criticism of Israel can mushroom into antisemitism and it looks at struggles over how antisemitism is defined. It focuses on ways in which those who raise the issue of antisemitism are often accused of doing so in bad faith in an attempt to silence or to smear.

This event is free and open to the public. Hirsh will sign copies of his book, Contemporary Left Antisemitism, at a reception following the lecture. Free parking available at the Oxford Parking Deck.

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Last updated: August 9, 2017



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