1st Edition

The Rebirth of Antisemitism in the 21st Century From the Academic Boycott Campaign into the Mainstream

Edited By David Hirsh Copyright 2024
    292 Pages 2 Color & 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    292 Pages 2 Color & 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    292 Pages 2 Color & 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Rebirth of Antisemitism in the 21st Century is about the rise of antizionism and antisemitism in the first two decades of the 21st century, with a focus on the UK.

    It is written by the activist-intellectuals, both Jewish and not, who led the opposition to the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel. Their experiences convinced them that the boycott movement, and the antizionism upon which it was based, was fuelled by, and in turn fuelled, antisemitism. The book shows how the level of hostility towards Israel exceeded the hostility which is levelled against other states. And it shows how the quality of that hostility tended to resonate with antisemitic tropes, images and emotions. Antizionism positioned Israel as symbolic of everything that good people oppose, it made Palestinians into an abstract symbol of the oppressed, and it positioned most Jews as saboteurs of social ‘progress’. The book shows how antisemitism broke into mainstream politics and how it contaminated the Labour Party as it made a bid for Downing Street.

    This book will be of interest to scholars and students researching antizionism, antisemitism and the Labour Party in the UK.

    David Hirsh

    1 Demonisation blueprints: Soviet conspiracist antizionism in contemporary left-wing discourse
    Izabella Tabarovsky

    2 Turning full circle: From the Anti-Nazi League to Corbynism: how so much of the radical left in the UK abandoned Jews and embraced antisemitism
    Philip Spencer

    3 Durban antizionism
    David Hirsh and Hilary Miller

    4 Demystifying antisemitism: A return to critical theory
    David Seymour

    5 Is Palestine a feminist issue?: Intersectionality and its discontents
    Karin Stögner

    6 Cancelling Israel and displacing Palestine: Narratives of a boycott
    John Strawson

    7 The legal construction of Jewish identity as a ‘protected characteristic’ through an examination of Fraser v UCU (2013), Parker v Sheffield Hallam University (2016) and the Report of the EHRC into Antisemitism in the Labour Party (2020)
    Lesley Klaff

    8 Seven Jewish Children and definitions of antisemitism
    Sarah Annes Brown

    9 Learning and teaching about antisemitism
    Mira Vogel

    10 Climate catastrophe, the ‘Zionist Entity’ and ‘The German guy’: An anatomy of the Malm–Jappe dispute
    Matthew Bolton

    11 Whither liberal Zionism?
    Anthony Julius


    David Hirsh is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Academic Director of the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism. His previous books include Contemporary Left Antisemitism (Routledge, 2017) and Law against Genocide: Cosmopolitan Trials (2003).

    "The contributors to this book, in their political beliefs, their lived experiences and their academic rigour, give key intellectual insights into the antisemitic impacts, heritage and resonances of so-called ‘antizionism’."
    Mark Gardner MBE, Chief Executive, Community Security Trust (CST), UK

    "Far from being a fringe phenomenon, antisemitism is today an increasingly troubling presence in mainstream British society, especially in its often stri- dent anti-Zionist manifestations. In this timely and insightful book, David Hirsch and his colleagues address the pertinent issues head-on and offer valuable explanations for the nature of this hostility and the threats it poses. The latter are serious and warrant the detailed scrutiny readers will find in this clarifying volume."
    Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Professor of English and Jewish Studies, Director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University, USA

    "Tracking Jew-hatred through its labyrinths of lies is not thought to make easy reading, but this unmasking of anti-Zionism’s falsity and dishonour is so exhilaratingly assured and eagle-eyed you cannot put it down. An indispensable work."
    Howard Jacobson, novelist and essayist

    "Few relationships are as bitterly contested on the left as that between antizionism and antisemitism. No one has done more to clarify that relationship, and what is at stake in seeing it plain, than David Hirsh and the writers, mostly from the democratic and ‘two-state’ left, whose work is collected in this volume. It should be required reading for anyone seeking to enter the debate in the future."
    Alan Johnson, Founder and Editor of Fathom

    "These are thoughtful essays by scholars, Jewish and non-Jewish, who were first connected by their opposition to the academic boycott of Israeli academics. They are connected anew in this publication by a bold central argument – that hostility towards the state of Israel exceeds that towards other states and does so in ways that bristle with tropes and feelings that are familiar from older forms of antisemitic hate and violence. Many will disagree, but the real freshness of this book is the connection it proposes between certain political construals of Israel and the real and awful reality of antisemitism, as it is increasingly lived every day. In this it is an important book, the very writing of which is an act of courage – and potentially, of hope."
    Frances Corner, Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

    "This compelling book shows definitively how an ancient, abiding and often murderous hatred, antisemitism, has found, in recent decades, a new and politically-acceptable, even fashionable, way to attack Jews--antizionism."
    Walter Reich, Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor of International Affairs, Ethics and Human Behavior, The George Washington University, USA

    "David Hirsh, a leading sociologist of contemporary antisemitism, and eleven other authors at the forefront of the struggle against it show how Jews pay the price for redemption when Israel becomes the symbol of ultimate evil. Their book is indispensable for understanding the startling revival of antisemitism in our time."
    Chad Alan Goldberg, Martindale-Bascom Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA; award-winning author of Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, Race, from the Freedmen’s Bureau to Workfare (2008) and Modernity and the Jews in Western Social Thought (2017)