Wednesday, August 31st, 2011...1:32 pm

Michigan professor to discuss ‘latest thing’ in anti-Semitism

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New criticisms imply that Jews and Israel are manipulating the Holocaust for political advantage

By ERIN ELLIOTT BRYAN / Community News Editor

Dr. Gabriel Noah Brahm, Jr. was raised in the 1970s, in a Zionist household outside of Boston, Mass. He grew up hearing firsthand accounts of the Holocaust from his father, who fled Nazi Germany as a young boy, and from aunts and uncles who showed him the numbers tattooed on their arms.

But Brahm said he has noticed a recent upsurge in renewed anti-Semitism or “new anti-Semitism,” especially following the events of 9/11.

“It’s not the old Nazi anti-Semitism that I’m concerned about now,” Brahm said in a recent phone interview.

Brahm, an assistant professor of English at Northern Michigan University and a research fellow in Israel studies at Brandeis University, will present “Holocaust Envy and ‘Enjoyment’ of the Holocaust: The ‘Latest Thing’ in anti-Semitism” on Thursday, Sept. 15 at the University of Minnesota. The lecture is presented by the U of M’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Brahm defined the new anti-Semitism as “prejudice against Jews insofar as we’re associated with the Jewish state.” He said this type of prejudice has become evident during the last decade in France and Britain, and, in a milder form, on U.S. college campuses.

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In simplified terms, Brahm says that critics see Jews as hoarding stockpiles of suffering, thus leaving insufficient funds of pity in circulation for others. According to Brahm, Israel is seen as having a special responsibility to remember the Holocaust, but it then becomes vulnerable to critics that say it is creating new victims of the Palestinians, an idea Brahm emphatically rejects.

Brahm argues that Israel has become vulnerable to an unfair and false criticism that can’t be put to any other country in the world — that of “mismanaging the memory of the Holocaust and using it for purposes of self-interest.”

Among the examples of such criticisms, Brahm claims, are statements such as “I’m not anti-Semitic, but the Jews make too much of their suffering” or “I’m not anti-Semitic, but Israel gets away with beating up the Palestinians because they overdo it with the Holocaust.”

“Wherever that’s the language that’s used to express antipathy toward Israel, I think it goes beyond legitimate criticism of a country and becomes a form of anti-Semitism, the new anti-Semitism,” Brahm said.

To combat such criticism, Brahm urges American Jews to be aware and informed of this trend.

“Don’t be intimidated, don’t ever be ashamed to stand up for the Jewish state,” he said. “And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not politically correct to support Israel and Jewish self-determination.”

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Dr. Gabriel Noah Brahm, Jr. will speak 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 in room 1114 of the Social Sciences Building on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota, 267 19th Ave. S.,Ӭ Minneapolis.

For information, e-mail: chgs@umn.edu or call 612-624-0256.

Brahm blogs at: gnoahblog.blogspot.com.

(American Jewish World, 9.2.11)

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