J’accuse! The Link Between the Dreyfus Affair and Today

Imagine a trial rocking a nation: accusations of collusion with a hated enemy, wealthy and influential elites taking sides, an entire country riveted by headlines. The trial would fundamentally alter the country; both changing how citizens viewed each other, the military and other national institutions.

No, this is not related to the current investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties. While the Dreyfus Affair, as it would become known, happened more than a century ago, there are more than a few passing similarities between the events of today and those from the 1890’s.

In 1894, a young army officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was accused of selling military plans to France’s mortal enemy, Germany. In a highly publicized trial, Dreyfus was convicted of treason and sentenced to life on Devil’s Island, France’s military prison island in the Caribbean. Soon after Dreyfus’ family began appealing the decision. The case split the country; conservative pro-army factions clashed openly with intellectual pro-republican leaders. In January 1898, Émile Zola published J’accuse…!, a rallying cry of support exonerating Dreyfus. Eventually cleared of his treason conviction, Dreyfus was instead sentenced to a 10 years hard labor, although that too was commuted. It wasn’t until 1906 that Dreyfus was officially cleared of his conviction.

ask-dreyfus-affair-Alfred_Dreyfus-E.jpeg

Continue reading “J’accuse! The Link Between the Dreyfus Affair and Today”

“Left-Wing Antisemitism is Dangerous Because it Denies its Own Existence”: Interview with Historian Philip Spencer

philipspencer2.jpg
Philip Spencer

Philip Spencer gave a keynote introductory address at CHGS’ International Symposium on April, 2017 entitled Comparative Genocide Studies and the Holocaust: Conflict and Convergence. Following the symposium, he and Bruno Chaouat (UMN, French and Italian) gave a book talk (recorded in full here), where Spencer introduced the book he co-authored with sociologist Robert Fine, Antisemitism and the Left. On the return of the Jewish question. After his talk, Spencer sat with Wahutu Siguru (UMN PhD Candidate, Sociology), Alexandra Tiger (UMN undergrad in Sociology), and Demetrios Vital (CHGS Outreach Coordinator), and offered thoughtful, warm, and inspiring answers to a range of questions on topics in his book and talks. What follows are three of those questions and answers.

Continue reading ““Left-Wing Antisemitism is Dangerous Because it Denies its Own Existence”: Interview with Historian Philip Spencer”

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Below is an open letter sent to President-elect Donald Trump by Generations of the Shoah International.


2016-12-06_1002

November 30, 2016

Donald J. Trump
President-elect of the United States
Trump Tower
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Dear President-elect Trump:

In your election night speech, you said, “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. It is time for us to come together as one united people.” Instead, those divisions are escalating. When members of the alt-right meet in Washington, DC and question if Jews are really people, it is time for moral leadership to put a stop to hate speech, to anti-Semitism, to racism.

Continue reading “An Open Letter to Donald Trump”

Political Uses of Spain’s Blood Libel Myth: Dr. Weissberger Shares Her Research at NYC Conference

Dr. Barbara Weissberger is an emerita professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies. Next month, she will be presenting her work at the Blood Libel Then & Now: The Enduring Impact of an Imaginary Event conference in New York City.  

The Edict of Expulsion of all unconverted Jews that Queen Isabel and King Fernando issued in April of 1492 ended more than a millennium of co-existence between Christians and Jews in the Spanish kingdoms. Between 1391 and 1413 that often fragile co-existence began to unravel when real and threatened violence against Jews caused a massive wave of conversion to Christianity, creating a diverse group known as conversos. Prior to the conversions, blood libel accusations against Jews in Spain, unlike in the rest of Europe, had been exceedingly rare.

Continue reading “Political Uses of Spain’s Blood Libel Myth: Dr. Weissberger Shares Her Research at NYC Conference”

Book of the Month: European Muslim Antisemitism: Why Young Urban Males Say They Don’t Like Jews

European Muslim Antisemitism: Why Young Urban Males Say They Don’t Like Jews

By Günther Jikeli

202Antisemitism from Muslims has become a serious issue in Western Europe, although not often acknowledged as such. Looking for insights into the views and rationales of young Muslims toward Jews, Günther Jikeli and his colleagues interviewed 117 ordinary Muslim men in London (chiefly of South Asian background), Paris (chiefly North African), and Berlin (chiefly Turkish).

The researchers sought information about stereotypes of Jews, arguments used to support hostility toward Jews, the role played by the Middle East conflict and Islamist ideology in perceptions of Jews, the possible sources of anti-Semitic views, and, by contrast, what would motivate Muslims to actively oppose antisemitism. They also learned how the men perceive discrimination and exclusion as well as their own national identification.

This study is rich in qualitative data that will mark a significant step along the path toward a better understanding of contemporary antisemitism in Europe

“There is no political will to combat antisemitism.” CHGS Interview with Günther Jikeli

203Dr. Günther Jikeli is a research fellow at the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies at Potsdam University. He is the co-director of the International Institute for Education and Research on Antisemitism (IIBSA). He earned his Ph.D.at the Center for Research on Antisemitism in Berlin and has served as an advisor to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on combating antisemitism. In 2013, he was awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Prize in Human Rights and Holocaust Studies by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and Tel Aviv University.  Continue reading ““There is no political will to combat antisemitism.” CHGS Interview with Günther Jikeli”

Deadly Antisemitism: A Wake-Up Call from Brussels

“The Jews are our misfortune!” (Die Juden sind unser Unglück!). This was always the tag line on the cover page of Der Stürmer, a Nazi weekly tabloid published between 1923 and 1945. The editor of this incendiary paper, Julius Streicher, was tried and sentenced to death on October 1st 1946 at the Nuremberg Tribunal. The judgment against him read, in part:

“… In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism and incited the German people to active persecution…”

Continue reading “Deadly Antisemitism: A Wake-Up Call from Brussels”

Antisemitism in Europe: not only a phantom of the past

Last month, the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released a comprehensive study on the experiences of antisemitism among Jews in 8 European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom)-whose Jews comprise 90% of the EU’s total Jewish population.

Continue reading “Antisemitism in Europe: not only a phantom of the past”

Book of the Month: Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives

Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives

Edited by Alvin H. Rosenfeld

86Dating back millennia, antisemitism has been called “the longest hatred.” Thought to be vanquished after the horrors of the Holocaust, in recent decades it has once again become a disturbing presence in many parts of the world. Resurgent Antisemitism presents original research that elucidates the social, intellectual, and ideological roots of the “new” antisemitism and the place it has come to occupy in the public sphere. By exploring the sources, goals, and consequences of today’s antisemitism and its relationship to the past, the book contributes to an understanding of this phenomenon that may help diminish its appeal and mitigate its more harmful effects.