CST Blog

Antisemitism: in the eye of the beholder

18 February 2013

The essay page in Friday's Jewish Chronicle features an article by CST's Mark Gardner on the importance of perception in discussions about antisemitism.  

The full article may be read here on the JC website. It begins by noting:

Most weeks, a quick read of the JC will show the extent to which perceptions dominate the debate about contemporary antisemitism...Arguments about defining what is and is not analytically antisemitic, will (and should) persist, but ultimately it is emotive perceptions of equality and belonging that will decide the futures of Jewish communities across Europe.

...Antisemitism, including its denial, is in the eye of the beholder. Or, to adapt another cliché — “one man’s antisemite is another man’s freedom-fighting critic of Israel.”

It concludes:

...by all means let us debate what is and is not antisemitic, but do not underestimate the power of perception. How should we perceive antisemitism, or associated feelings of vulnerability? Is it according to a cartoon in the Sunday Times — or how nice the table is at which we are reading the paper? Perception: it’s your choice.

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