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Jewish Perceptions of Antisemitism in the European Union, 2018: A New Structural Look. 2

Jewish Perceptions of Antisemitism in the European Union, 2018: A New Structural Look. 2


Documenting and Conceptualizing Contemporary Antisemitism


Historiographic Debates and Social Scientific Theory


Antisemitism in the most simplified caption is a negative perception of Jews. Perceptions of antisemitism imply that some kind of phenomenology exists exterior to those who report about it. Clearly, any person or group of persons tend to report their perceptions of that phenomenology through the lens of their own characteristics, experiences, and – admittedly – biases.

Before I turn to the analysis of contemporary Jewish perceptions of antisemitism in the EU, three cardinal questions deserve mention. The first concerns the paradox of definitions. The term antisemitism constitutes an oblique euphemism, rendered even more anachronistic in the form of the hyphenated anti-Semitism. Wilhelm Marr’s (1879) new lemma was directed with explicitly negative intentions against the target group. Paradoxically, a term that should have been disqualified because of its actively “against-them” meaning and purpose came to be used as a legitimate neutral term – no matter how worrying – in Jewish discourse. Regardless of the semantic, religious, or historical intentions of proposers and users, the actual concern was about an intentionally negative attitude against Jews. Especially in long-term perspective, Judeophobia would be more appropriate as the overarching term of reference (Judaken 2018). Keeping in mind that intention – and despite my own reservations about the word – in the present paper for simplicity, I shall regularly use the conventional unhyphenated form of antisemitism.

A second issue concerns whether or not Jewish historical and sociological experience possesses a fundamental coherence. The central analytic question here is whether or not Jewish history or Jewish sociology can be traced back to a set of shared principles and experiences. There admittedly existed significant cultural and structural variability across Jewish populations in various historical epochs, on different continents, and in varied regions. The Jews’ prevalent status as a minority in society as a whole typically generated parallel positions of Jews versus the hegemonic others in different places. The theory that Jewish history and society were essentially explained by different local circumstances and did not share some fundamental commonality could lead to the conclusion there was not and there could not be one antisemitic syndrome. According to this point of view, each local antisemitic manifestation should be judged separately on the merits of the particular civilization within which it occurred. Taking this argument to the extreme logically leads to the conclusion that there could not be one Jewish Shoah; there had to be several according to places, each with different premises and outcomes. A better assessment should consider how interaction between certain historically transmitted and broadly shared Jewish norms, behaviors, and social-structural features, and the variable and non-shared patterns of societal environment could determine the final Jewish historical outcomes in each particular situation. This applies to the level of antisemitism and its perceptions.

A third question concerns the uniqueness or broader generalizability of antisemitism and its perceptions. Such debate in part reflects the different implications of a fundamentally deductive vs. inductive approach chosen by an investigator to implement a research plan. The deductive, epistemological stance posits the existence of a general concept of evil, or of hate, which can then be articulated into several threads, one of them being hostility against Jews and its ultimate outcome – the Shoah. In this context, quite obviously, the Jewish case is no more than a particular manifestation of a much wider phenomenology relating racism, xenophobia, and all other possible forms of anti-group prejudice to the ultimate outcome of genocide. The explanatory onus is then transferred to the broader issue of the nature of evil or hatred. The attempt to explain world and human society in universalistic terms quite unavoidably leads toward normative theological exegesis or other immanent and apodictic types of explanation about the nature of humankind. The broader the explanatory approach, the more comprehensive but also the more unachievable the explanation without recurring to theological categories.

The symmetric stance – moving the analysis from below to above, from the particular to the general, from hypothesis formulation to its validation – is the one adopted in this paper, as usually practiced in the empirical social sciences. It involves accumulating knowledge from partial and imperfect pieces of evidence, whose summation may eventually lead to a clearer and more general picture. Hence, dealing with the particularistic aspects of a given topic not only does not represent a limit but actually constitutes a crucial component in the process of gaining a more comprehensive perception of that topic and assessing its extensive implications.

Facing the endeavor to improve the conceptualization of perceptions of antisemitism, several serious methodological problems emerge from the existing literature. I shortly review here four aspects of the broader connection between antisemitism and its perceptions among Jews.


Universalism vs. Jewish particularism. Numerous thinkers – some of them Jewish – emphasized the universalistic character of the antisemitic phenomenology rather than its particularistic anti-Jewish orientation. Critical statements pertaining to historiographic discourse or social scientific theory maintained that antisemitism is not an analytical category (Engel 2009); understanding antisemitism is not specifically about the Jews (Finkelstein 2005); assessing genocide is not primarily about the Shoah (Meierhenrich 2014). These views advocated that detecting universal human behavior patterns and formulating ulterior research agendas was preferable over the assumedly parochial research horizons and policy-oriented goals of a more specific Jewish focus.


Intentionalism vs. alternative explanations. A second issue was whether vilifying, damaging, or destroying the Jewish people, namely, during the years of World War II, required an intentional ideological design or rather was a manifestation of a more general causal thread. Influential contributions to the broader theoretical perspective were Hannah Arendt’s attention to the banality of people and circumstances that could epitomize the historical event (Arendt 1963); Zygmunt Bauman’s emphasis on modernity and the role of societal modernization (Bauman 1989); Christopher Browning’s attention to bureaucracy and the role of an efficient body of civil servants (Browning 2004); and Timothy Snyder’s bloodlands, stressing the inherently violence-prone nature of certain geocultural areas (Snyder 2010). Negative attitudes toward Jews were also explained as related to the broader need to define one’s own collective identity in relation to denying some other’s identity. Negative otherness attributed to the Jew might then be understood as a dialectic tool within broader national or meta-national discourse (Rein and Weisz 2011; Pinto 1996).


Jews as proxy. Another research thread (noted by Bokser Liwerant 2017) addressed Jews as the archetypal paradigm for developing general social or historiographic theories. In such cases, the Jewish collective was considered as a proxy for broader generalizations rather than as a real social phenomenon. Examples refer to the conceptualization of diasporas (Cohen 1997; Brubaker 2005), international migration, and transnationalism (Schiller Glick et al. 1992; Levitt and Waters 2002; Feldt 2016), human capital creation (Coleman 1988), or the origins of totalitarianism (Arendt 1951). In this endeavor, little or no weight was given to whether the perceptions of Jews – the studied group – confirm and conform to the theoretical paradigm and why.


Jews as co-responsible. Some scholars stressed negative or problematic collective Jewish mental and behavioral patterns, thus partially blaming the Jews themselves for the incidence of antisemitism. Examples are Arnold Toynbee’s characterization of the Jews as a fossil remnant of the Syriac society (Toynbee 1947); Benedetto Croce’s critique of the Jewish pretension of chosenness and his blaming their refusal to assimilate into the Greco-Roman Christian mainstream as a cause for new potential persecutions (Finzi 2006, quoted in DellaPergola and Staetsky 2015); Sergio Romano’s unfading memory, charging the Jews’ refusal to forget the Shoah for slowing down Europe’s progress and integration (Romano 1997); Enzo Traverso’s end of modernity, lamenting the Jews’ nationalist twist and the loss of their alleged leading role in modern Western intellectual progress (Traverso 2016); Ian Lustick’s holocaustia, complaining that a narrow and obsessive focus on Shoah in Israel’s Jewish society was the cause for the failure of peace negotiations with the Palestinians (Lustick 2017); or Shlomo Sand’s invention of the Jewish people, arguing that the Jews’ construction of a non-existent corporate past canceled the claim for Jewish national sovereignty (Sand 2009).

Attempts to interpret the problematic relationship between society and the Jews, and often also to interpret society at large through the Jewish collective, alluded to perceived contradictions such as Karl Marx’s assertion about the Jews’ cultural existence: “the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism“ (Marx 1844), as against Jean-Paul Sartre’s opposite contention: “the Jew is a man regarded as Jewish by non-Jews: it is the gaze of others that makes the Jew, a Jew“ (Sartre 1946). Many Jews perceived historiographic and sociological interpretations such as those just reviewed, if not as justifications, at least as rationales for understanding (if not minimizing) antisemitism. Primo Levi once wrote: “understanding [explaining Shoah] is nearly like justifying“ (Levi 1976, p. 347). Jewish perceptions (as outlined later in this paper) may significantly contribute to elucidating theory and to generating a better assessment of the antisemitic phenomenology.


A Summary of Antisemitic Outlooks: Locked Modernizations


As noted, this study of Jewish perceptions of antisemitism in Europe relied on the socio-scientific paradigm of inductive analysis and probation and was based on information collected at the grass level from people representative of the broader Jewish population of the European Union. The methodology chosen was data collection from a large number of informants, selected as randomly as possible and queried about a fixed number of pre-coded questions of interest. Evidently, a survey based on mostly pre-established questions and answer options required a preliminary reflection about the nature of antisemitism and its perceptions by Jews, namely, what type of discursive or behavioral contents could be pertinent for inclusion in the survey instrument. The identification and selection of antisemitic terms of reference was not always self-evident, and one of the objectives of the research was to make it explicit and recognizable. Toward the 2012 FRA study, a preliminary review, classification, and selection of items was undertaken by a team of experts, and the same operation was repeated in advance of the 2018 FRA study, upon which the present paper is based (Staetsky et al. 2013; FRA 2013 and 2018a; Staetsky 2019a).

What, then, should be included in an enquiry about perceptions of antisemitism? There is no agreement about what the different possible conceptual facets of antisemitic offense are and whether they constitute one integrated complex or cluster – as maintained by some authors (e.g., Wistrich 2010; Feldman 2018) – or constitute separate topics each with its own logics and implications – as maintained by others (e.g. Engel 2009). As a preliminary answer, I would note that one nearly invariable perception of the antisemitic syndrome is the attribution of certain characteristics to the Jew as a collective ideotype and the incorporation of all the Jews within that ideotype. I would argue that a perception of antisemitism immediately arises once the words you or they/them are uttered in relation to a Jewish individual, population or community. Such uncritical attribution of collective characteristics prominently appears also among writers whose original intention was to advocate the case of greater justice for and incorporation of Jews into modern society (Grégoire 1788; Cattaneo 1837). More recent and systematic sociological investigation clearly shows how Jewish communities – though under a panoply of civilizational commonalities (Eisenstadt 1992) – feature intense individual variation nationally and locally. On the other hand, along with widespread double standards applied to Jews and others, the bank of anti-Jewish concepts and symmetrically their perception as antisemitic by the Jews themselves ceaselessly grew throughout historical, religious, political, and cultural change.

In historical perspective, the situation of the Jews was not comparable when they operated as minorities within an ancient, absolutist empire or theocracy, within a proto-national society, within an institutionalized national context, or as the majority of the population within a modern state – Israel – which also comprises non-Jewish minorities. Anti-Jewish attitudes often developed from characterizing specific Jewish individuals, then extending the characterization to an entire Jewish community, then (if applicable) toward broader national or transnational frameworks expressed by Jews. The emerging of ever new antisemitic conceptual foci and the existence of supporters of each of these foci across multiple and diverse Jewish existential contexts elicit a short review of societal transformations and their relationship to antisemitism. It is imperative, in this context, to distinguish between Jewish and non-Jewish perceptions.

Chronologically, the earliest reported notions of negative attitudes toward Jews came from ancient Jewish scriptures and therefore constituted Jewish perceptions of non-Jewish perceptions of Jews. Admittedly, anti-Jewish notions reported as coming from outside the group could be real or construed through the filter of Jewish imagination. Jewish sources did not provide the evidence whether or not the negative concepts and facts really existed. It is also immaterial whether or not the situation portrayed and its timing or societal context corresponded to historical reality. The notions reported in the Jewish narrative about negative non-Jewish perceptions of Jews are relevant because they single out those hostile judgments or sanctions that affected Jewish sensitivity in the past.

Whereas antisemitism may be considered a factor exogenous to the Jewish collective, its precondition and raison d’être from the beginning was the existence of some kind of corporate Jewish entity. This required consciousness of the existence of such an entity on both sides – the perpetrators and those who were the target of hostility. For the antisemitic act or expression to cause offense, damage, or uneasiness to Jews, the Jews themselves had to be aware of that offensive intention. This implied the existence of a corporate identification among the individuals targeted by the offense. Jewish perceptions of negative attitudes by others were therefore integrally intertwined with collective Jewish identity formation and awareness.

The first reference in ancient Jewish sources to a concept of people specifically addressing the sons of Israel – who much later would be known as the Hebrews and/or the Jews – was attributed to an external observer, Pharaoh (Exodus, 1: 9 [Hertz 1956]): a large number of individuals holding some shared property were said to constitute an entity defined as a people. The large size and quick pace of growth of such people aroused strategic concern. No particular values or behavioral characteristics were mentioned for the sons of Israel to constitute a people. Their common properties, therefore, amounted to shared ancestral origin, in addition, probably, to shared language and population size. Thus, the Jewish perception of a non-Jewish perception of too many Jews was synchronic and inherent in the onset of awareness of a Jewish peoplehood – as reported by Jewish sources.

Another relevant Jewish source is the Book of Esther, which portrayed the Jews in the Kingdom of Persia in the fifth century BCE. Here again, a Jewish narrator reported the already familiar syndrome of a political ruler who wanted to destroy the Jewish population (Esther 3:2-8). This followed a perceived intolerance of the Jews’ alleged pride and contempt of the established order. Two additional significant elements for conceptualizing antisemitism included a perception of the Jewish people as a dispersed transnational entity – hence a foreign element within the constituted body of the dominant population and culture – and the purported Jewish refusal to reject their (religious) customs and adjust (assimilate) to the locally prevailing norms. Moreover, there was an explicit allusion to the Jews’ unlimited intelligence and power (Esther 6:13).

More direct information about negative perceptions of Jews by non-Jews came from non-Jewish sources not mediated by the target group’s own perceptions. New anti-Jewish motifs emerged throughout history in correlation with crucial breaking points in the endless flow of development and modernization. In Greco-Roman antiquity, one enlightening text was Cicero’s “Pro Flacco,” delivered in Rome in the year 59 BCE (Stern 1976), which included comments about Jews such as: what a big crowd, how they stick together, how influential they are, they adhere to barbaric superstition but also send gold to Jerusalem, which was stopped for the welfare of the state. More than a century later, a text by the Roman historian Tacitus (Stern 1980) addressed the Jews’ different customs, at once perverse and disgusting, the augmented wealth of the Jews, their internal honesty and compassion, as against hatred toward the rest of mankind, and their dwelling apart. I do not contend that Cicero or Tacitus, both leading members of the pagan pre-Christian intellectual elites, were antisemites in the modern sense. I would stress, however, the long-term historical resilience of certain leitmotifs of anti-Jewish polemics. Jewish monotheism and its elaborated legal code, but also the Jews’ immigrant status had attracted Roman pagan attention and hostility, with particular emphasis on the Jews’ separateness and cohesiveness, primitive customs, unreliability, and allegiance to Jerusalem.

A crucial factor in determining non-Jewish perceptions of Jews was the subsequent evolution of world religions. Christianity, especially after the fourth century, became the hegemonic faith of the Roman Empire and introduced the new and vitally important deicide paradigm – Jewish responsibility for the killing of Jesus – along with the blood libel and accusations of ritual murder and the myth of the wandering Jew (Yuval 2006). These premises, and their later elaborations in the different Catholic, Lutheran, other Protestant, and Russian and Greek Orthodox matrices, served as justifications for harsh anti-Jewish canonic doctrines and societal marginalization. Islam further simplified and diffused monotheism and introduced a dual anti-Jewish paradigm: on the one hand, respect for the Jews but condemnation for their non-compliance with their duties as the chosen people (The Qur’an, 2:62-64, 5:68-69); on the other hand, stigma for their intrinsic unfaithfulness and bestiality (The Qur’an, 8:55-60).

The modern rise of the paradigm of the Nation resulted in the formation of nation-states – either as the manifestation of God’s will or as secular and antithetic to God. The bestowing of citizenship on the people brought about a quest for national homogeneity and allegiance. Most revealing in this transition was the attitude of the Catholic Church toward Jewish Conversos. The quest for blood purity implied the Jews’ non-eligibility as members of the nation on grounds of foreignness and physical and intellectual pollution (Poliakov 2003, vol. 3). Acceptance of the converted could not be adjudicated only on theological, intellectual, or spiritual grounds but also involved a patently unattainable anthropological transformation (Poliakov 2003, vol. 2).

Cutting across national identities, the fight against national hegemonies dominated by powerful and exploitative economic elites brought about the new notion of social class homogeneity and solidarity. A new brand of anti-Jewish accusations focused on the Jews’ alleged responsibility for economic exploitation and disruption and their selfishness (Poliakov 2003, vol. 3). The Protocols of the Elders of Zion brought about a new synthesis of theories of Jewish conspiracy and world dominance (Segel and Levy 1995; De Michelis 2004; Ben-Itto 2005).

More recent variations of the anti-Jewish syndrome included post-colonial and third-world anti-global hostility on grounds of whiteness (Mignolo 2009), and a neo-pagan mode of piety for the human body, related to opposition to male circumcision and advocacy of animal integrity in opposition to ritual animal slaughtering, which ultimately focused on Jews but not on other groups as deviant from enlightened social norms (Dencik and Marosi 2018).

Israel’s independence in 1948 as a declaredly Jewish state – conceptually a filiation of nineteenth-century idealist nationalism but also an expression of long-held sentiments and dreams by diaspora Jews– engendered a new, hostile argumentative layer. Even more significantly than the independence of Israel, the June 1967 war with the occupation of Palestinian territories commenced a new anti-Israeli outlook, which also abundantly drew on several pre-existing anti-Jewish concepts. Two different camps advocated anti-Israeli discourse centered on contentions of illegitimacy as well as demonization on political grounds: anarchists and post-colonials rose against Jewish national sovereignty as a matter of principle theoretically applicable to other nationalisms as well, while Arab nationalists supported an alternative sovereignty instead of Israel’s over the same territory. On the Jewish side, a new dilemma emerged facing the growingly visible discursive combination of philo-semitism with anti-Zionism, and of pro-Zionism with antisemitism (Consonni 2015).

In the historical sequence of anti-Jewish outlooks, the Shoah was paradoxically not innovative. The Shoah was not the fruit of a new anti-Jewish paradigm; it rather represented the attempt to bring pre-existing paradigms to final fruition. In contemporary antisemitic phenomenology, praising the genocidal fact as such and lamenting that not enough Jews had been killed, merely reproduced already mentioned themes. Shoah denial is not innovative either and echoes several of the previously mentioned antisemitic slogans, such as Jewish myth creation and economic exploitation.

Summing up, the multiple ideological foundations of antisemitism did and do include numerous potential strands but also contradictions. These, in turn, profoundly shaped Jewish perceptions of antisemitism. Capital elements of the perceived antisemitic repertoire included ancient Middle-Eastern views of Jews as too numerous, not subservient, dispersed, separate, keeping to their customs, intelligent, and strategically powerful; the pagans’ outlook – a large crowd, barbarian customs, sticking together, foreignness, and allegiance to Jerusalem; the Christian deicide and ritual murder; the Islamic infidelity and bestiality; the originally Catholic and later nationalist and fascist Right’s view of the nation’s contamination; the Marxist and anarchist Left’s social-class exploitation; the Protocols’ conspiracy; the physical and cultural Nazi anthropologists and philosophers’ racial inferiority, stressing the Jew as a physical and moral degenerate, entailing a component of non-whiteness; and the Liberals’ – their unwillingness to assimilate – basically come back full circle to the early pagan contention. Christians and Muslims viewed the Jew as the enemy, but also as possible neophyte, hence a subjugated subject. Political antisemitisms from the Right and from the Left stigmatized the Jew for opposed, singularly specular reasons. For ancient pagans and modern Liberals, the main concern was and remains assimilation of the Jews. Opposition – primarily Islamic but not only – to the modern State of Israel brought about a synthesis of two different paradigms: against the Jews, and against a Jewish state.

Why is this repetition of essentially known concepts and circumstances relevant here? First, it is important to realize the continuous and cumulative build-up and growing complexity of the antisemitic syndrome. Secondly, one may posit that each turning point and steep change on the uninterrupted historical-societal itinerary generated a new perspective on Jews, hence a new format of antisemitism, in addition to the existing ones. Turning to the contemporary scene, different groups of people – in our optics here, different types of perpetrators – seemingly stopped and fixed their negative perceptions of Jews at one or another junction of the long-term historical continuum. In a singular division of labor, each type of perpetrator picked up and adopted one or another of the once innovative, later societally embedded concepts as their own chosen term of reference. As history proceeded, new strata of antisemitic prejudice continuously built upon the pre-existing ones (Bokser Liwerant 2019). The contemporary antisemitism typology thus comprises a coalescence of several modes of locked modernizations. Each brand of antisemitic outlook is anchored in history and – alone or in combination with others – represents the elective, self-sufficient, and self-perpetuating source of inspiration for different contemporary perpetrators.

Ultimately, relatively few resilient, aggressive, and self-perpetuating concepts populated the antisemitic repertoire, each element being self-sufficient, but also recombining with others to create a lethal blend. The hostile Jewish stereotypes just listed offered a solid blueprint for formulating a contemporary survey questionnaire about perceptions of antisemitism. Such a complex repository of antisemitic slogans and of their perceptions by Jews calls for cogent classification, data collection, processing, and analysis of empirical data. Some of the results will be reviewed below.


European Jewish Perceptions of Antisemitism in Perspective


Today, Europe comprises an estimated core Jewish population above 1.3 million – larger than four EU member countries: Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus, and Estonia. European Jews are part of a large, transnational network, much of which is located on other continents such as North America and Israel. Jews born in Europe or the descendants of Jews born in Europe are aware and even proud of their cultural origins, but only a minority of all contemporary Jews of European origin actually live on the European continent (DellaPergola 2019). In the modern era, the pendulum of demographic growth or decline repeatedly oscillated. After the Shoah and World War II, one important factor was the liquidation of European colonialism and the ensuing “repatriation“ of Jews to the European homelands of former colonies – primarily to France but also to several other countries. Large numbers of Jewish immigrants came from North Africa and the Middle East, areas that previously had functioned as protected or self-sufficient niches although relatively less socioeconomically developed. Many more arrived from Eastern Europe before, during, and after the Soviet era. Europe was perceived among the world’s more developed areas. But Europe also was the source of significant Jewish emigration, prompted among other determinants by perceptions of growing antisemitism and fears of terrorism.

Contemporary perceptions of antisemitism in the European Union, in fact, reflected the European way to antisemitism and could not be assessed without recalling earlier stages and experiences related to the longue dureé of antisemitism on the European continent. Jews have been present in Europe since antiquity, but the ineludible fact is that from the beginning, they had arrived from some extra-European location. Jews were immediately perceived as strangers when they entered societies that pre-existed and functioned based on already established systems of mores and institutions. The foundational ideotypes and beliefs and the essential components of Jewish corporate life were imported from the Middle East, with Jerusalem at its ideal center. Large sectors of the ancestors of contemporary European populations, indeed, came from other continents, and such inflow, intermingling, conflict, and assimilation of populations and cultures was a constant feature in European social and intellectual history.

Jews’ extended exposure to European civilizations enabled long periods of pacific and successful integration. Absorption by Jews of European mores and ideas generated deeply embedded national and transnational modes of Jewish ritual, thought, and institutional formation. Such forms of adaptation, change, and growth crucially influenced other branches of world Jewry, primarily through circulation of greatly diverse Jewish cultural patterns, political ideas, and personal skills within the European continent, then in the Americas, and in other countries overseas, and also – through the boomerang of European colonization – rejoining the older Jewish presence in the Middle East.

Judeophobia and antisemitism were not a European invention but thrived and diversified in Europe. In Europe, a long tradition of ethnic cleansing was applied to Jews on many occasions in the form of massive expulsions, ghettoization, attempted mass conversion, and mass murder. The European colonization of extra-European continents often brought about the ethnic cleansing of civilizations that pre-existed there. The sequence of expulsions of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula was intended to be the final act of the Jewish presence in Spain and Portugal and occurred simultaneously with the initial stages of Europe’s expansion and subsequent colonization of the geocultural and geopolitical space that was to become the Caribbean and Latin America. An all-encompassing concept of hegemonic purity and homogeneity rooted in Europe was exported overseas and coherently applied to local civilizations, after it had been abundantly tested on the skin of European Jews. Europe was the source and prime exporter of many leading ingredients of hatred and discrimination – as well as of the tools needed for their implementation. These ranged from the wooden and rusty metal torture devices now hosted in Cordoba’s Museum of the Inquisition – to more sophisticated, symbolic, subliminal, and subversive mechanisms of social inclusion and exclusion.

Each of the component nations of the European palimpsest contributed certain original turning points in the course of the history of antisemitism. Some of the most valued tenets of the alleged superiority of the European over other civilizations included the quality of its (Roman inspired) juridical system, time punctuality, efficient allocation of power to achieve targets, postponed gratification, and putative rationality (Weber 1904-5; Szakolczai 2016). The Shoah provided a glaring demonstration of how the implementation of those supposedly positive traits, when put in the service of unrestrained ideology could generate a civilizational regression of planetary significance.

For sure, in the assessment of antisemitic perceptions, the question of European continental and national particularism should be given adequate attention. Jewish perceptional differences that still cut across European societies are worth of consideration and study. The ensuing analysis will elucidate unique national patterns of Jewish perceptions of antisemitism in the framework of broader transnational patterns. The particular, however, should eventually be placed within a holistic approach to antisemitism and its meanings.



Sergio Della Pergola, demografo



(da  Jewish Perceptions of Antisemitism in the European Union, 2018: A New Structural LookAnalysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism. Berlin: De Gruyter, and Jerusalem: SICSA, ACTA, 40, 2, 2020)