1st Edition

Mapping the New Left Antisemitism The Fathom Essays

Edited By Alan Johnson Copyright 2024
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    Mapping the New Left Antisemitism: The Fathom Essays provides a comprehensive guide to contemporary Left antisemitism.

    The rise of a new and largely left-wing form of antisemitism in the era of the Jewish state and the distinction between it and legitimate criticism of Israel are now roiling progressive politics in the West and causing alarming spikes in antisemitic incitement and incidents. Fathom journal has examined these questions relentlessly in the first decade of its existence, earning a reputation for careful textual analysis and cogent advocacy. In this book, the Fathom essays are contextualised by three new contributions: Lesley Klaff provides a map of contemporary antisemitic forms of antizionism, Dave Rich writes on the oft-neglected lived experience of the Jewish victims of contemporary antisemitism and David Hirsh assesses the intellectual history of the left from which both Fathom and his own London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, as well as this book series, have emerged. Topics covered by the contributors include antisemitic antizionism and its underappreciated Soviet roots; the impact of analogies with the Nazis; the rise of antisemitism on the European continent, exploring the hybrid forms emerging from a cross-fertilisation between new left, Christian and Islamist antisemitism; the impact of antizionist activism on higher education; and the bitter debates over the adoption of the oft-misrepresented International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

    This work will be of considerable appeal to scholars and activists with an interest in antisemitism, Jewish studies and the politics of Israel.

    Preface: The Critique of the Critique by David Hirsh, Series Editor  

    Part 1: Introduction and Contexts  

    1. Introduction to Mapping the New Left Antisemitism: The Fathom Essays  

     Alan Johnson

    2. A New Form of the Oldest Hatred: Mapping Antisemitism Today  

    Lesley Klaff  

    3. The Jewish Experience of Antisemitism  

    Dave Rich  

    4. The Left and the Jews: Time for a Rethink  

    Alan Johnson   

    Part 2: Contemporary Left Antisemitism  

    5. What is Left Antisemitism?  

    Sean Matgamna  

    6. Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism  

    Michael Walzer  

    7. Alibi Antisemitism  

    Norman Geras  

    8. Like a Cloud Contains a Storm: Jean Améry’s Critique of Anti-Zionism  

    Marlene Gallner  

    9. What Corbyn’s Favourite Sociologists Greg Philo and Mike Berry Get Wrong about Contemporary Antisemitism  

    Matthew Bolton  

    10. Antisemitism and the Left: A Memoir  

    Kathleen Hayes  

    11. Denial: Norman Finkelstein and the New Antisemitism  

    Alan Johnson  

    12. ‘Toxic Gifts’: Israel and the Anti-Zionist Left. An interview With Susie Linfield  

    Susie Linfield  

    Part 3: The Soviet Roots of Contemporary Left Antisemitism  

    13. Soviet Anti-Zionism and Contemporary Left Antisemitism  

    Izabella Tabarovsky  

    14. Communists Against Jews: The Anti-Zionist Campaign in Poland in 1968  

    Simon Gansinger  

    15. The German Left’s Undeclared Wars on Israel. An Interview with Jeffrey Herf  

    Jeffrey Herf  

    Part 4: Left Antisemitism and the Holocaust  

    16. Holocaust Inversion and Contemporary Antisemitism  

    Lesley Klaff  

    17. Hitler and the Nazis’ Anti-Zionism  

    Jeffrey Herf  

    18. Holocaust Falsifiers: Blaming ‘Zionists’ for the Crimes of the Nazis  

    Paul Bogdanor  

    Part 5: Left Antisemitism in Europe and the United States  

    19. Reflections on Contemporary Antisemitism in Europe  

    Kenneth Waltzer  

    20. The Unwelcome Arrival of the Quenelle  

    Dave Rich  

    21. A Modern Orthodox-Christian Ritual Murder Libel: St. Philoumenos of Jacob’s Well  

    David Gurevich   

    22. We Shall Be as a City on a Hill: Trump, ‘Progressive’ Antisemitism, and the Loss of American Jewish Exceptionalism  

    Shalom Lappin  

    Part 6: Left Antisemitism and Academia  

    23. The Meaning of David Miller  

    David Hirsh  

    24. From Scholarship to Polemic? A Case Study of the Emerging Crisis in Academic Publishing on Israel  

    Cary Nelson  

    25. Pathologising ‘Jewish Being and Thinking’: Oren Ben-Dor and Academic Antisemitism  

    Sarah Annes Brown  

    Part 7: The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance  

    26. On Misrepresentations of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism  

    Dave Rich  

    27. Political Antisemitism: A Defence of the IHRA Definition  

    Bernard Harrison and Lesley Klaff  

    Part 8: Theory and Left Antisemitism  

    28. Misreading Hannah Arendt: Judith Butler’s Anti-Zionism and the Eichmann Trial  

    Russell A. Berman  

    29. The Pleasures of Antisemitism  

    Eve Garrard  

    30. Intersectionality and Antisemitism: A New Approach  

    Karin Stögner  

    31. Left Alternatives to Left Antisemitism: A Conversation Between Alan Johnson and Philip Spencer  

    Alan Johnson and Philip Spencer  


    Alan Johnson is the founder and editor of Fathom journal. A professor of democratic theory and practice, he has served on the editorial boards of Socialist Organiser, Historical Materialism and the US socialist journals New Politics and Dissent. His writings on the left, and on antisemitism, include ‘Aurum de Stercore: anti-totalitarianism in the thought of Primo Levi’, in Thinking Towards Humanity. Themes From Norman Geras, edited by Stephen De Wijze and Eve Garrard (2012), and the report Institutionally Antisemitic: Contemporary Left Antisemitism and the Crisis in the British Labour Party (2019).

    ‘Antisemitism has often presented itself as a satisfactory explanation for what is wrong with the world, and repeatedly offered tragic recipes for how to improve that world. Do our moral and political ideals today reproduce past prejudice and projection? We cannot know without reflection, and it is difficult to imagine a better stimulus to reflection than the essays gathered in this informative, wide-ranging, and important volume’.

    David Nirenbergauthor of Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition

    ‘This is an indispensable volume on an unignorable subject’.

    Anthony Juliusauthor of Trials of the Diaspora: The History of Anti-Semitism in England

    ‘Written by many of this generation’s leading scholars, Mapping the New Left Antisemitism: The Fathom Essays is a valuable compilation of learned, deeply insightful analyses of contemporary anti-Jewish hostility prevalent in significant strains of western political thought. An eye-opening, much-needed collection, it offers critically important reflections on a phenomenon too often overlooked or denied: the pernicious links between “anti-Zionism” and antisemitism within the political left’.

    Alvin RosenfeldProfessor of English and Jewish Studies and Irving M. Glazer Chair, Jewish Studies Director, Center for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University at Bloomington, USA 

    Fathom has played an invaluable role challenging some dangerous myths concerning Jews and Zionism that have corrupted parts of the left. This wide-ranging collection will compel anyone concerned with a future left to worry about intellectually and historically simplistic formulas’.

    Mitchell Cohen, Professor of Political Science at Baruch College of the City University of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center. 1991-2009 co-editor of Dissent, one of the United States' leading intellectual quarterlies, now an Editor Emeritus

    Mapping the New Left Antisemitism is essential reading for anyone interested in one of the most destructive ideologies of the 21st century. It includes essays by some of the most pertinent scholars on antisemitism from the political left and makes the case for the urgency of combating antisemitism in its most modern forms’.

    Gunther Jikeli, Erna B. Rosenfeld Professor in Jewish Studies and Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University Bloomington, USA

    ‘This collection of essays on contemporary left antisemitism showcases the best qualities of Alan Johnson’s Fathom, which focuses relentlessly on the heart of the problem of how people relate to Israel. People who consider themselves to be well-informed and anti-racist are too often confused about the facts and prone to stumbling into antisemitic ways of thinking. Johnson is attentive to the temptation to use an invented notion of Jews or Zionism to make sense of a frightening world. He educates about the situation and provides a platform (through Fathom) for smart people writing from diverse viewpoints’.

    Rosa Freedman, inaugural Professor of Law, Conflict and Global Development at the University of Reading, and a Research Fellow at The London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, UK

    ‘In 10 years Fathom has already published half a century's worth of critically important essays and reviews’.

    Michael WalzerProfessor (Emeritus) of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ; author of Just and Unjust Wars (1977), among other books; former co-editor of Dissent magazine for twenty years