CST Antisemitic Discourse Report 2008

22 Jul 2009 by CST

CST has long been known for recording and analysing antisemitic hate crimes: the physical assaults, desecrations, racist abuse and hate mail that make up a quantifiable measure of antisemitism. But just as, in recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that antisemitism is not restricted to the activities of street thugs and bar room racists, so it has become necessary to chart that other sort of antisemitism: the ideas, images and language that occasionally pollutes public discourse. Last year, CST published its first Antisemitic Discourse Report, which attempted to identify, catalogue and analyse examples of this kind of antisemitism from 2007. Now CST has published its second such report, covering 2008.

Often, the antisemitic discourse covered in this report reveals unthinking stereotypes and prejudice, rather than something more considered. Lazy journalism can lead to what David Hirsh called “ready-made ways of thinking about Jews”. Some of the UK media coverage of the American presidential election, which is included in the report, falls into this category. Other examples in the report, such as Press TV’s promotion of Holocaust Denial, are more sinister; still others, such as Alan Hart claiming that Jews live in communities so that they can form voting blocs (rather than, for example, wanting to live within walking distance of their synagogue), are bizarre. Often, it is only by revisiting what antisemites used to say openly - such as in the 1960s British Nazi poster at the bottom of this post - that the antisemitic resonance of contemporary discourse can be fully understood.

One continuing problem is the way that extremist and racist ideas find easy platforms on mainstream media websites, blogs and forums. There is no simple answer to this, but one needs to be found. The first step is to identify and map the problem, and we hope that CST’s report adds to this effort.

discourse image

Subscribe to Blog Feed

Blog Archive

Future Updates

“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

Michael Georg Link
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights