An academic from Goldsmiths, University of London has published a book analysing the struggle to define modern antisemitism.
‘Contemporary Left Antisemitism’ by David Hirsh, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology, combines theoretical discussion with case study evidence to discuss how criticism of Israel can ‘mushroom into antisemitism’.
Hirsh aims to develop a sociological understanding of antisemitism as an objective social phenomenon, rather than as subjective feelings of individual hatred.
He argues those who oppose antisemitism are ‘widely dismissed as agents of the oppressors and are often accused of trying to enhance Jewish victim status’.
The book also features two chapters on the rise of antizionist and antisemitic politics in the British Labour movement and a critique of antizionism.
Hirsh has written extensively on this issue, and is one of the world’s foremost academics researching antisemitism. He also submitted a paper to the Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party in May 2016.
Hirsh said: “Antisemitism is emotional but it often dresses in the clothes of reason. It is something which we feel we should be able to sniff out and to know, in an unmediated way; yet this is largely a book about people who are unable to do so. This book is an attempt to understand a complex issue, in which people’s self-consciousness comes in to conflict with the ways in which other people interpret them and their actions.”