Antisemitism Studies Fall Issue 2021

Catherine Chatterley's picture
Fall 2021

Volume 5, Issue 2

Editor's Introduction 
            Catherine Chatterley


The Making of a Holocaust Denier: Ingrid Rimland, Mennonites, and Gender in White Supremacy, 1945-2000
           Benjamin W. Goossen
Houria Bouteldja and the Indigènes de la République:
On Jews, Zionism, the Holocaust, and Antisemitism 
           Samuel Ghiles-Meilhac
Robert Fine, 1945-2018: Antisemitism on the Left 
            Philip Spencer

Scholars Forum

A Discussion of Magda Teter’s Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2020)

Elissa Bemporad
Hillel Kieval
Miri Rubin
Paola Tartakoff
Robert Weinberg
Magda Teter

Book Reviews 
Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader 
         Derek Penslar
         Steven Beller
Bauman: A Biography
         Izabela Wagner 
         Andrei S. Markovits
Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity
         M. Lindsay Kaplan
         Irven M. Resnick
The Accusation: Blood Libel in an American Town
         Edward Berenson
         Lauren B. Strauss
Antisemitism in Film Comedy in Nazi Germany 
         Valerie Weinstein
         Ofer Ashkenazi
Catholic Doctrines on the Jewish People after Vatican II
         Gavin D’Costa
         Kevin P. Spicer
Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: The Dynamics of Delegitimization
          Alvin H. Rosenfeld
          Manfred Gerstenfeld
Yellow Star, Red Star: Holocaust Remembrance after Communism
          Jelena Subotić
          Matthew Kott

Editor’s Introduction

In this issue, we launch our first Scholars Forum. The Forum will be a section of an issue that brings together a group of leading experts in a sub-field of antisemitism research to discuss an important new book, a controversy, or a specific question. The subject of our first Forum is Madga Teter’s new book, Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (Harvard, 2020), a historical study based on printed and archival sources in 10 languages from eight countries over a period of eight centuries. The participants are leading experts on the subject of ritual murder accusations across Europe from the Middle Ages to the modern period: Elissa Bemporad, Hillel Kieval, Miri Rubin, Paola Tartakoff, Magda Teter, and Robert Weinberg.

Our first article is a fascinating new study of Ingrid Rimland by Ben Goossen. Rimland was the wife of Ernst Zündel and the founder of his Holocaust denial website in California (zundelsite). Goossen explores her life and work as a writer of popular Mennonite historical fiction, including her childhood in Nazi-occupied Ukraine and her working relationship with several leading Mennonite intellectuals, before explaining her embrace of neo-Nazism and turn toward Holocaust denial and antisemitism. 

Samuel Ghiles-Meilhac’s article on Houria Bouteldja and the Indigènes de la République provides readers with an intelligent appraisal of the Algerian-born French activist and the political group she founded in 2005. The article traces the history of this activist group and analyzes their public interventions and commentary on subjects concerning Jews including antisemitism, the Holocaust, Zionism, Israel and Palestine, and terrorist attacks against Jews in France. Of particular interest is the Indigènes’ concept of “state philosemitism,” a term they coined to describe the French government’s supposed privileged treatment of Jews resulting in the supposed special attention given to antisemitism above other forms of racism in French public life. Likewise, Jews are accused by the Indigènes of being instruments of the French state and of European racist imperialism in general, and are told to reject their “false whiteness,” which includes both Zionism and their assimilated French identity.

Finally, Philip Spencer provides readers with his reflections on the work of Robert Fine, who passed away in 2018. The focus of the article is on the problem of antisemitism on the Left and how Robert understood its development and persistence. Having worked closely with Fine for many years, Spencer is the perfect interpreter of Fine’s work and the major intellectual influences on his thinking (Marx, Arendt, and Habermas). Robert Fine was dedicated to the concept of universalism and worked within the intellectual universe of the Left to try to provide a critique of, and an alternative to, its “self-inflicted failures.”

This issue’s wide-ranging book reviews include a study of antisemitism in the comedy films of Nazi Germany, of the early roots of racism (including its antisemitic variant) in medieval society, an analysis of post-Vatican II Catholic doctrines on the Jewish people, a critical examination of Holocaust memorialization in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, a history of an American blood libel story in 1928 Massena, New York, and new biographies of Zygmunt Bauman and Theodor Herzl.  

Sadly, antisemitism research has lost another two important senior scholars: Richard Levy (1940-June 23, 2021) and Manfred Gerstenfeld (1937-February 25, 2021). Richard will be missed by this editor as he was a very generous and helpful member of our advisory board.

As always, I thank our authors, book reviewers, and expert readers for sharing their talent, expertise, and generosity with this publication. 
Catherine Chatterley, Founding Editor-in-Chief     

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