ABSTRACT

The central thesis of this paper is that political antisemitism cannot be understood without taking into account what should be regarded as its Christian foundation proper, the perception and stigmatization of Jews as dangerous aliens. By introducing the differentiation between an ‘chimerical anti-Semitism’, a product of the pre-modern mental set-up, often generated by Christian religious phantasmagoria, and a modern anti-Semitism with concrete references to social relations in industrial and post-industrial societies with a trend to associate exclusively Jews to societal ills, it is argued that the latter can be regarded as an ideological construction which represent the rationalization of deeply inbred preconceptions about Jews as radical aliens and as bearers of a set of negative characteristics. The article presents a reflection on the Christian origins, the development of Jew-hatred during the Middle Ages and the early modern period and discusses the extension of secularized anti-Semitic conceptions in various European societies as well as the main observable topical patterns of judeophobia in modern times. Three forms of exclusion can be identified: the exclusion of Jews from emergent national communities during the nation building process as ‘national aliens’ of an extreme sort; racist anti-Semitism, based on the phantasm of Jews as ‘racial aliens’ and grounded in the idea of the racial division of humanity; and a picture of the Jews as a monstrous – because consciously hidden – other as an reaction to the process Jewish ‘assimilation’. The paper comes to the conclusion that concrete references to social relations and social functions of judeophobia do not suffice to explain it in a satisfactory manner. This cannot be accomplished without reference to the discussed Christian historical foundations.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Victor Karady

ABSTRACT

The paper analyzes the debates in the Romanian Constituent Assembly of 1866 on article 7 of the Constitution that excludes non-Christians (notably Jews) from political rights. By drawing mainly on the parliamentary archives and the press, it also examines governmental regulations, legislation, questions to ministers and parliamentary deliberations on the discriminations and violence against Jews during the years 1867-1869. The legislative and administrative measures following the adoption of article 7 of the Constitution create the ‘Jewish question’, that is anti-Jewishness as expression of anti-alien sentiment and of national preservation, elevate it to an international issue, and account for much of the internal governmental instability of the period. Anti-Semitism in that period is as much about Romanians and how they can consolidate their nation-state, as it is about the Jews and those who hate them. The paper holds that during the 1860s-1870s, anti-Jewish sentiment, not yet coherent and programmatic, tells less about anti-Semitism, and more about the nature of Romanian nationalism, as a modern variant of state-led xenophobia, eager to demonstrate state capacity. Romanian politicians want to build very quickly both the state and a homogenous nation, and the Jews (and other foreigners) are there to show that none is yet ready.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Silvia Marton

ABSTRACT

The Romanian Parliamentary debate around the Congress of Berlin (1878-1879) offers a bird’s eye view of the evolution of antisemitic speech in Romania. Naturalization of the Jews – an issue raised by the Great European Powers during this Congress – came into conflict with the wishes of the Romania political class, which presently exploded into a violent antisemitic campaign in the political debates and public speeches. The “Jewish danger” presented by many intellectuals and politicians will be accompanied by the accusation that the Jews constitute a state within the state, a nation within the nation, both devoted to world conspiracy. Amidst this welter of accusations, antisemitic discourse grew heavy with racial arguments. But by far the main characteristic of the Romanian variant of antisemitic discourse was the rapidity of its adoption in the parliamentary debates.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Iulia Maria Onac

ABSTRACT

With the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/78, the history of Bulgaria entered a new stage. According to the regulations enacted in July 1878 at the Congress of Berlin, summoned by the representatives of the Great Powers, the modern Bulgarian state was founded. Its constitution, proclaimed a year later, provided civic and political equality for the religious and ethnic minorities residing in the country, including the Jews. Although the young state was in many ways relatively backwards compared to other European countries, ideas and demands of the new political antisemitism found their echo here, too. In the 1890s, a series of antisemitic newspapers, magazines, brochures and leaflets were issued in Bulgaria, the authors of which saw the “country’s liberation from the Jewish yoke” as their main task. These antisemitic publications were short lived; their demands, however, found a certain audience and were discussed in the Bulgarian parliament at the turn of the century.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Veselina Kulenska

ABSTRACT

In 1883, a new Polish weekly magazine, ‘Rola’, gathered around itself a group of journalists and writers who tried to overstep the liberal-conservative scheme of the political scene in the Kingdom of Poland. The founder of the periodical, Jan JeleÅ„ski and his colleagues did not hesitate to admit that their goal was to formulate a unified and convincing programme which would include social, economical, cultural and political elements. The journalists viewed these issues through their prejudice against Jews. This article focuses on the role of the weekly as a tool in the formation of the modern political antisemitic movement in the Kingdom of Poland. It shows which stereotypes were used by the authors of ‘Rola’, and particularly to what degree they were influenced by European anti-Jewish thought. This problem will be shown based on the analysis of the Polish self-image and the antisemitic image of the Jews.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Maciej Moszynski

ABSTRACT

In Britain, modern antisemitism, that is, the perception of Jews as a ‘race’ as well as the employment of pictures of the Jew in social and political debates, developed around the same time as did its French and German counterparts, in the second half of the 19th century. Concentrating on the years between the South African War and the conclusion of the Great War, this essay explores the functional character of antisemitism and the discursive context of negative images of the Jew. In Britain, too, Jews were identified as a negative ferment within the nation, and they figured largely as an agent of representative government. In addition, Jews were continuously used as a negative foil for the definition of what was ‘English’ or ‘British’. However, unlike their continental counterparts, British anti-Semites did not question Jewish emancipation and even distanced themselves from ‘antisemitism’ at a time when elsewhere in Europe, being an ‘antisemite’ was a positive social and political stance. Both elements reflected the political culture, within which British antisemitic narratives evolved: while allowing for various forms of manifest and latent antisemitism, late 19th century Liberalism secured the status of the Jews as a religious minority, and contained specific forms of antisemitism that emerged on the Continent during the same period.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Susanne Terwey

ABSTRACT

This article discusses the extent and conditions of Jewish participation in Swedish society c. 1870-1900. Whereas earlier research on Jewish history in Sweden had pictured this period as a time of peaceful integration, recent studies have stressed the continuities of cultural representations of ‘the Jew’ as essentially different from ‘the Swede’. Taking the city of Gothenburg as an example, this article offers a new approach by discussing the role of conflicting national and urban elements within liberal self-identification. With regard to urban identities, attitudes of toleration and religious pluralism went side by side with the liberal representation of Gothenburg as being different – different from its rural hinterland, but also from the capital Stockholm. These images of Gothenburg as being exceptionally progressive and open-minded facilitated Jewish participation in the city’s communal politics and associational life. On a national level, however, the ambiguities of Swedish liberal thinking persisted: An increasingly politicised discussion about national identity from the 1880s onwards reveals that the protagonists of Gothenburg liberalism had far greater difficulties in including Jews into their vision of the Swedish nation than the imagined liberties of Gothenburg city culture would suggest.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Christoph Leiska

ABSTRACT

Relations between Poles and Jews deteriorated significantly in the three decades leading up to World War I. Many reasons for this phenomenon can be given, for example: economic competition, a general atmosphere of acute nationalism, increased migration, perceived threats to traditional forms of life and religion. Exacerbating all of these factors, however, was the fact of Polish statelessness and the extreme sensitivity of Poles to perceived threats to their culture and nation. In particular within the Russian Empire, Poles perceived the very future of their nation at risk. In such circumstances the continued existence of Jewish cultural difference combined with the development of specifically Jewish forms of national awakening (e.g., the Bund and Zionism) were understood by many in Polish society as ingratitude and collaboration with the Russian occupier.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Theodor R. Weeks

“Because words are not deeds”

Antisemitic Practice and Nationality Policies in Upper Hungary around 1900

ABSTRACT

The study deals with the processes of transformation within political antisemitism in Hungary around 1900. It mainly investigates the extent to which the crisis of Hungarian political antisemitism in the early 1890s fostered antisemitic practice, namely, the social and economic boycott of rural Jews in particular through the establishment of cooperatives and credit unions. It is to be assumed that antisemitic practice was not restricted to a strictly antisemitic milieu, but propagated and executed by diverse anti-liberal actors such as political Catholicism, the agrarian lobby and the Slovak nationalists. The study illuminates antisemitic practice in the multi-ethnic Kingdom of Hungary in the context of agrarian and nationality policies. In the rural parts of Upper Hungary this practise was accompanied by propaganda against “usury” as a way of legitimizing cooperatives and credit unions. The study will elaborate to what extent the Hungarian campaigns against the Jewish money-lenders united ethnically diverse, non-Jewish actors, such as Hungarian conservatives and Slovak nationalists.

issue 03 / July 2012 by Miloslav Szabo