CST Blog

Antisemitism and Oren Ben-Dor

1 June 2015

Fathom has published an important article by Sarah Brown, analysing the thought of Southampton University Professor Oren Ben-Dor about Jews, Zionism and antisemitism. Sarah writes:

Although it appeared in a scholarly journal and, at least superficially, follows the conventions of academic writing, ‘Occupied Minds: Philosophical Reflections on Zionism, Anti-Zionism and the Jewish Prison’ is heavily dependent on a kind of rhetorical phantasm, built up through a series of mysterious, veiled suggestions. In the abstract Ben-Dor refers to ‘pathologies pertaining to Jewish being and thinking.’ This essentialising formula in itself is problematic, but Ben-Dor transmutes it into something far more sinister over the course of the article: a nameless, shapeless, lurking horror.


On the next page he introduces, via cryptic insinuation, a view which he will develop more openly later in the essay – the idea that Jewish identity is anti-human, and might even be invoked as a key driver of the Holocaust...


One feature of Ben-Dor’s article is that, just when one feels it cannot get any more abhorrent, new depths are plumbed. It is a commonplace of anti-Israel discourse to make taunting comparisons between Jews and Nazis, to draw a parallel, for example, between the Warsaw Ghetto and Gaza. Here, this trope is intensified into a more twisted suggestion that antisemitism is a function of becoming ‘Jewified’. Rather than suggesting that Jews are turning into Nazis, Ben-Dor suggests that Nazis in fact turned into Jews...

Read the article in full here.

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