August 25, 2010

Guess who's coming to dinner

There's yet another conference, supposedly on antisemitism, at Yale at the mo'. It started a couple of days ago and finishes today. It's called Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity.

Follow the link and have a look at the programme. It includes a "gala dinner" and a star studded cast of right-wing Israel advocates.

Shaul Maggid, blogging at The Forward, is none too happy about its right-wing tilt:
While the title of the Yale conference “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity” implies a broad spectrum, when one peruses the paper titles, antisemitism in the Muslim world predominates. The first plenary session has papers entitled, “Arab and Islamic Antisemitism Today,” “Conspiracy Theories, Antisemitism, an Jews in Turkey Today,” “The Jihad Flotilla to Gaza: Provocative – Antisemitic – Not Humanitarian,” “ and “Nazi Propaganda to the Arab World and its After Effects in Postwar Militant Islam.” While all worthy topics, one gets the idea. Of approximately 91 papers (I exclude keynote addresses), at least 23 are explicitly about Arab or Muslim Antisemitism, 3 are explicitly about Christian Antisemitism, 6 are about the Holocaust, and 3 are about self-hating Jews (all included in a panel called “Self-Hatred and Contemporary Antisemitism” - the title of the panel is itself worthy of a panel). The others are about antisemitism in other parts of the world, are more theoretically oriented, or have titles that are too non-descript to define.
I wonder where Dr.David Hirsh's (yep, that's the one) speech fits into these categories. He is billed thus:
• Dr. David Hirsh, Goldsmiths College, University of London: “Struggles Over the Boundaries of Legitimate Discourse: Antisemitism and Bad-Faith Allegations”
This seems to fit with Dr Hirsh's claim that allegations (I think he means any allegation) of bad faith accusations of antisemitism are themselves antisemitic. It wasn't always the case with him but he's obviously still evolving.

Other speeches at the conference include the following:
Keynote: Itamar Marcus, Director, Palestinian Media Watch: “The Central Role of Palestinian Antisemitism in Creating the Palestinian Identity” and

• Professor Phyllis Chesler, City University of New York: “The History and Psychological Roots of Antisemitism Among Feminists, their Gradual Stalinization and Palestinianization”
Philip Weiss notes that the conference appears to be an attack on "Palestinian identity, ’self-hating’ Jews, and anyone who criticizes Israel". In other words he is doing exactly what Dr Hirsh is going to be speechifying against. He is accusing the conference of bad faith. He is also disturbed that this conference bears the imprimatur and presumably some funding from Yale itself, not the Israel advocacy community.

I don't find that so strange; bang out of order but not strange. What I do find very strange is that Dr Hirsh hasn't mentioned his role in this conference anywhere on the Engage website. He usually announces his attendance at these things and gives a report back afterwards. Perhaps he didn't want to spoil the surprise for when he reports back.


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