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Review of Reflections on Anti-Semitism by review31

Hélène Barthélemy22 November 2013

Eugene Brennan wrote a review of Alain Badiou, Eric Hazan and Ivan Segré's Reflections on Anti-Semitism in review31. In their work, the three authors highlight a current custom of French political discourse, which silences any criticism of France's racist and Islamophobic policies by branding it as anti-semitic. Similarly criticism of Israel becomes dangerously but conveniently equated to anti-semitism, a practice upholded by France's most prominent Zionist pundit philosophers, Alain Finkielkraut and Bernard Henri-Lévy. These attacks predominantly affect France's Arab population by justifying discriminatory measures against them, in addition to their demonization by many feminist and gay liberation groups. Brennan writes:

While these complex variants of anti-Semitism persist in fragmented forms, the authors denounce the prevalent thesis which claims that there has been a ‘surge of anti-semitism’ since the early years of the War on Terror. This is not a description of an actual situation but an ideological smokescreen for stigmatising one portion of the population, conveniently one of the most disadvantaged: black and Arab youth. 

Brennan mentions the paradoxical fact that equating Judaism to pro-Zionism is in itself an anti-semitic move, and notes the most crucial element of the book, the exploitation of Jewish identity to silence dissent:

They are not criticising Jewish influence on political decisions, but rather the cynical exploitation of Jewish identity, by various individuals in the public sphere, in order to assert Western geo-political hegemony and support the latest manifestation of the reactionary tradition in France.

Visit review31 to read the review in full.