Middle East studies in the News
UMass Holding Two Panels Tonight on Anti-Semitism -- One in Response to the Other [incl. Vijay Prashad]
by Diane Lederman
Two forums tonight will look at anti-Semitism through different lenses -- with one held in response to the other.
The Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies is holding a symposium on "Antisemitism and Islamophobia: Historical Perspectives and Civic Engagement Against Hate in 2017."
Panelists include Aleisa Fishman, an historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.; and Susannah Heschel, the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College and author of books "Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus" and "Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany."
The panel is at 7 p.m. in Herter 301.
UMass Students for Justice in Palestine have organized a panel on the topic "Exploiting Anti-Semitism: How the Charge of Anti-Semitism Silences Criticism of Israeli Policy."
The panel is also at 7 p.m. at Integrative Learning Center.
UMass professors Joseph Levine and Sut Jhally, and Vijay Prashad of Trinity College, will discuss the "intentional ways in which anti-Semitism is extracted from its actual definition and dishonestly utilized to shut down criticism of Israeli policy, both on an institutional level and in their own lives," according to a Facebook post advertising the event.
The panel on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia was organized to counter that, said Jonathan Skolnik, who teaches German/Jewish culture and history at UMass.
"I felt something had to be done to shift a negative discussion to a positive one," he said.
He said that instead of organizing a protest or engaging in a debate, "I felt it was best to take a cue from Michelle Obama ("When they go low, we go high") and do what university departments can do best: organize a thoughtful, intellectual panel with expert scholars and accomplished activists with diverse perspectives, to discuss anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim prejudice in a comparative context, with historical perspectives on a real problem today, for the education of students and the community."
A Students for Justice in Palestine Facebook post, meanwhile, said: "More and more often, UMass SJP and other organizers against Israeli practices and policy are seeing a pattern of being falsely and ambiguously labeled anti-Semitic, as collective organizers and advocates, and also as individuals."
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League reported 1,299 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States, including physical assaults, vandalism, and attacks on Jewish institutions from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 a 67 percent increase over the same period in 2016. The number exceeds the 1,266 incidents reported all of last year.
The FBI reported a 19 percent hike in hate crimes against Muslims in 2016 over 2015 in its annual hate crime report.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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