Special Issue "The Return of Religious Antisemitism?"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Gunther Jikeli
Website
Guest Editor
College of Arts & Sciences, Indiana University, 107 S Indiana Ave, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
Interests: antisemitism; prejudices; perceptions of the Holocaust
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Antisemitism has risen again in many countries since the beginning of the 21st century. Jew-hatred and discrimination against Jews have a long tradition both in Christianity and Islam. In the 19th century, animosity against Judaism gave way to nationalistic and racist motives. People like Wilhelm Marr called themselves antisemites to distinguish themselves from those who despised Jews for religious reasons. Today, Jews are often attacked in the name of human rights. They are accused of supporting crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Jewish State. However, many religious motifs of Jew-hatred, such as the accusation of killing Christ or the accusation of falsifying Islamic scripture, are still relevant today, and perhaps increasingly so in some denominations. Other religious tropes have been secularized, such as the accusation of ritual murder of Christian children that has been transformed into the accusation of purposeful killings of Palestinian children. What role do religious motifs play in the resurgence of antisemitism in the 21st century, be it directly in religious forms, or indirectly in secularized ways?

Papers on case studies on antisemitism within certain denominations or on certain religious motifs will be welcome, as are comparative essays.

Prof. Dr. Gunther Jikeli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • antisemitism
  • Jew-hatred
  • Judeophobia
  • religious motifs
  • ritual murder
  • deicide
  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Islamism

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Is Religion Coming Back as a Source for Antisemitic Views?
Religions 2020, 11(5), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050255 - 20 May 2020
Abstract
The most violent American and European antisemites in the 21st century, including not only Jihadists but also white (and black) supremacist terrorist, made some reference to religion in their hatred of Jews. This is surprising. Religious antisemitism is often seen as a relic [...] Read more.
The most violent American and European antisemites in the 21st century, including not only Jihadists but also white (and black) supremacist terrorist, made some reference to religion in their hatred of Jews. This is surprising. Religious antisemitism is often seen as a relic of the past. It is more associated with pre-modern societies where the role of religion was central to the social and political order. However, at the end of the 19th century, animosity against Judaism gave way to nationalistic and racist motives. People such as Wilhelm Marr called themselves antisemites to distinguish themselves from those who despised Jews for religious reasons. Since then, antisemitism has gone through many mutations. However, today, it is not only the actions of extremely violent antisemites who might be an indication that religious antisemitism has come back in new forms. Some churches have been accused of disseminating antisemitic arguments related to ideas of replacement theology in modernized forms and applied to the Jewish State. Others, from the populist nationalist right, seem to use Christianity as an identity marker and thus exclude Jews (and Muslims) from the nation. Do religious motifs play a significant role in the resurgence of antisemitism in the 21st century? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
“One Knows the Tree by the Fruit That It Bears:” Mircea Eliade’s Influence on Current Far-Right Ideology
Religions 2020, 11(5), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050250 - 19 May 2020
Abstract
Since the notorious Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, the alt-right has surged into prominence as the most visible expression of right-wing extremism. While most analysts have focused on the political aspect of the movement, my article will explore the spiritual [...] Read more.
Since the notorious Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, the alt-right has surged into prominence as the most visible expression of right-wing extremism. While most analysts have focused on the political aspect of the movement, my article will explore the spiritual and religious roots and connections of the movement. In particular, I will focus on how Mircea Eliade, one of the most prominent figures in the academic study of the history of religion in the late 20th century, is viewed by many current extreme right thinkers. Drawing on the writings of some of the leading theoreticians and inspirations of the alt-right such as Julius Evola, Alain de Benoist, Aleksandr Dugin and Richard Spencer, as well as the prominent extreme right publishing houses, Arktos and Counter-Currents, I will show how Eliade’s extremely controversial and problematic past is seen as an intellectual and even spiritual source for these leading figures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Religiosity, Religious Practice, and Antisemitism in Present-Day Hungary
Religions 2019, 10(9), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090527 - 13 Sep 2019
Abstract
Since 1995, Surveys on antisemitism using national representative samples have been regularly carried out in Hungary. In this article, we used data from the 2011 and 2017 surveys to explore the relationship between three types of antisemitism, namely religious, secular, and emotional. Moreover, [...] Read more.
Since 1995, Surveys on antisemitism using national representative samples have been regularly carried out in Hungary. In this article, we used data from the 2011 and 2017 surveys to explore the relationship between three types of antisemitism, namely religious, secular, and emotional. Moreover, we scrutinized how different religiosity indicators can be used as explanatory variables for the different types of antisemitism. We found a slight increase in religious and secular antisemitism between 2011 and 2017, while emotional antisemitism remained almost the same. Religious anti-Judaism significantly correlated with both secular and emotional antisemitism, however, its relationship was much stronger with the former. When analyzing the relationship between different types of antisemitism and religiosity indicators, we found that while in 2011, all the indicators were connected to religious, and most of them to secular and emotional antisemitism, in 2017, only the variables measuring subjective self-classification remained significant. The results show that the relationship between religion and antisemitism underwent some substantial changes between 2011 and 2017. While in 2011, personal religiosity was a significant predictor of the strength of antisemitism, in 2017, religion serving as a cultural identity marker took over this function. The hypothetical explanatory factor for the change is the rebirth of the “Christian-national” idea appearing as the foundational element of the new Hungarian constitution, according to which Christian culture is the ultimate unifying force of the nation, giving the inner essence and meaning of the state. In this discourse, being Christian is equated with being Hungarian. Self-declared and self-defined Christian religiosity plays the role of a symbolic marker for accepting the national-conservative identity discourse and belonging to the “Christian-national” cultural-political camp where antisemitic prejudices occur more frequently than in other segments of the society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Israel and Zionism in the Eyes of Palestinian Christian Theologians
Religions 2019, 10(8), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080487 - 19 Aug 2019
Abstract
Christian activism in the Arab–Israeli conflict and theological reflections on the Middle East have evolved around Palestinian liberation theology as a theological–political doctrine that scrutinizes Zionism, the existence of Israel and its policies, developing a biblical hermeneutics that reverses the biblical narrative, in [...] Read more.
Christian activism in the Arab–Israeli conflict and theological reflections on the Middle East have evolved around Palestinian liberation theology as a theological–political doctrine that scrutinizes Zionism, the existence of Israel and its policies, developing a biblical hermeneutics that reverses the biblical narrative, in order to portray Israel as a wicked regime that operates in the name of a fallacious primitive god and that uses false interpretations of the scriptures. This article analyzes the theological political–theological views applied to the Arab–Israeli conflict developed by Geries Khoury, Naim Ateek, and Mitri Raheb—three influential authors and activists in different Christians denominations. Besides opposing Zionism and providing arguments for the boycott of Israel, such conceptualizations go far beyond the conflict, providing theological grounds for the denial of Jewish statehood echoing old anti-Jewish accusations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
The Centrality of Anti-Semitism in the Islamic State’s Ideology and Its Connection to Anti-Shiism
Religions 2019, 10(8), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080483 - 16 Aug 2019
Abstract
The Islamic State (ISIS) has repeatedly targeted Jews in terrorist attacks and incited against Jews in its propaganda. Anti-Semitism and the belief that Jews are engaged in a war against Islam has been central to Islamist thought since its inception. Islamist anti-Semitism exposes [...] Read more.
The Islamic State (ISIS) has repeatedly targeted Jews in terrorist attacks and incited against Jews in its propaganda. Anti-Semitism and the belief that Jews are engaged in a war against Islam has been central to Islamist thought since its inception. Islamist anti-Semitism exposes the influence of both Western conspiracy theories and Islamic traditions. This article studies the anti-Semitic themes propagated by ISIS and investigates their ideological foundations. It bases itself on an analysis of articles published in Dabiq, ISIS’ English language online magazine in the period 2014–2016. This study shows that ISIS’ relationship with Western-inspired anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is inconsistent, vacillating between rejection and acceptance. ISIS holds an apocalyptic, anti-Semitic worldview, which claims that the Shia denomination is a Jewish invention to sow disunity among Muslims and that Shia and Jews are working together to destroy Islam. ISIS’ anti-Semitism and anti-Shiism are thus inherently connected. It is vital to correctly assess the anti-Semitic ideological foundations of contemporary Islamism and Jihadism to best understand the movement. Learning about this will help lawmakers, scholars and practitioners develop strategies to deal with these movements and counter their message. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Antisemitism in the Muslim Intellectual Discourse in South Asia
Religions 2019, 10(7), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070442 - 19 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
South Asia (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) has produced some of the greatest Islamic thinkers, such as Shah Wali Allah (sometimes also spelled Waliullah; 1702–1763) who is considered one of the originators of pan-Islamism, Rahmatullah Kairanwi (1818–1892), Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), Syed Abul A’la Mawdudi [...] Read more.
South Asia (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) has produced some of the greatest Islamic thinkers, such as Shah Wali Allah (sometimes also spelled Waliullah; 1702–1763) who is considered one of the originators of pan-Islamism, Rahmatullah Kairanwi (1818–1892), Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), Syed Abul A’la Mawdudi (also spelled Maududi; 1903–1979), and Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi (1914–1999), who have all played a pivotal role in shaping political Islam and have all had global impact. Islamism is intertwined with Muslim antisemitism. Some of the greatest Islamist movements have their bases in South Asia, such as Tablīghi Jamā’at—the largest Sunni Muslim revivalist (daw’a) movement in the world—and Jamā’at-i-Islāmi—a prototype of political Islam in South Asia. The region is home to some of the most important institutions of Islamic theological studies: Darul Ulūm Deoband, the alleged source of ideological inspiration to the Taliban, and Nadwātu’l-’Ulamā and Firangi Mahal, whose curricula are followed by seminaries across the world attended by South Asian Muslims in their diaspora. Some of the most popular Muslim televangelists have come from South Asia, such as Israr Ahmed (1932–2010) and Zakir Naik (b. 1965). This paper gives an introductory overview of antisemitism in the Muslim intellectual discourse in South Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Rethinking the Role of Religion in Arab Antisemitic Discourses
Religions 2019, 10(7), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070415 - 01 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
“The Palestinian cause is not about land and soil, but it is about faith and belief,” insist Islamists in their attempts to Islamize the Arab–Israeli conflict. This paper examines the instrumentalization of religion in the conflict since its early stages, and its impact [...] Read more.
“The Palestinian cause is not about land and soil, but it is about faith and belief,” insist Islamists in their attempts to Islamize the Arab–Israeli conflict. This paper examines the instrumentalization of religion in the conflict since its early stages, and its impact on Arab antisemitic discourses. It is based on an ongoing research project exploring references to the Jews in Arab, particularly the Palestinian and Egyptian, Islamist as well as nationalist media, during major landmarks in the conflict’s history, from the Arab Wailing Wall riots in 1929 up to US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017. It contends that despite the intensified exploitation of Islam in the incitement against Israel, Zionism, and the Jews, and despite the traditional enmity towards the Jews as a group deriving from Islam, preliminary findings show that the most common themes in the Arab antisemitic discourse originate from a more modern, exogenous vocabulary and perceptions. Classical Christian–Western tropes, such as conspiracy theories epitomized in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Nazi terminology, and Holocaust denial, are extensively used and are much more pervasive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
The Presbyterian Church and Zionism Unsettled: Its Antecedents, and Its Antisemitic Legacy
Religions 2019, 10(6), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060396 - 22 Jun 2019
Abstract
The new millennium has seen increased hostility to Israel among many progressive constituencies, including several mainline Protestant churches. The evangelical community in the US remains steadfastly Zionist, so overall support for financial aid to Israel remain secure. But the cultural impact of accusations [...] Read more.
The new millennium has seen increased hostility to Israel among many progressive constituencies, including several mainline Protestant churches. The evangelical community in the US remains steadfastly Zionist, so overall support for financial aid to Israel remain secure. But the cultural impact of accusations that Israel is a settler colonialist or apartheid regime are nonetheless serious; they are proving sufficient to make support for the Jewish state a political issue for the first time in many decades. Despite a general movement in emphasis from theology to politics in church debate, there remain theological issues at the center of church discussion. The Protestant church with the longest running and most well-funded anti-Zionist constituency is the Presbyterian church in the US. In the last decade, its Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) has produced several increasingly anti-Zionist books designed to propel divestment resolutions in the church’s annual meeting. The most widely debated of these was 2014’s Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide. This essay mounts a detailed analysis and critique of the book which documents the IPMN’s steady movement toward antisemitic positions. Among the theological issues underlying debate in Protestant denominations are the status of the divine covenant with the Jewish people, the role that the gift of land has as part of that covenant, and the nature of the characterization of the Jews as a “chosen people”. These, and other issues underlying Protestant anti-Zionism, have led to the formation of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMP), a group, unlike IPMN, that supports a two-state solution. The competing positions these groups have taken are of interest to all who want to track the role that Christian denominations have played in debates about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
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