International Workshop: Perceptions of the Middle East Between Antisemitism and Islamophobia Hebrew University in Jerusalem May 29-30, 2005

This workshop attempts to give scholarly answers to questions raised by fierce international polemics on the issue of “New Antisemitism”, esp. in Europe. Our point of departure is the “controversial” report by the EUMC (European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia) on the years 2002 and 2003. We consider this report a serious attempt to introduce social sciences and empirical evidence into the debate. As these years also constituted culminating points in the Second Intifada (e.g. Operation “Defensive Shield”, “Jenin”), perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict permeated manifestations of Antisemitism. The same years also stood in the shadow of 9/11. Therefore, issues of international terrorism, Islam and Islamophobia entered the equation as well. The workshop offers an opportunity to examine these complicated relationships with an input of scholars from Israel/Palestine, Europe and the US.

Consequently the procedure starts with an analysis of the EUMC report itself, its methodology, perception, reception and the recommendations drawn from it. In a second step we try to examine country-specific perceptions of the “New Antisemitism” and their relationship to attitudes toward the Middle East. In this section Israeli, British, French and German perspectives will be dealt with. Taking into consideration that anti-Jewish attitudes and activities in Europe in many cases could be traced to youth of North African backgrounds or to Islamist rhetoric, the next section deals with Antisemitism in Arab and Muslim discourse(s) as seen by scholars from Europe and the Middle East. Finally, although distinctly different from traditional Antisemitism, Islamophobia has to be examined in a similar context. Esp. in the world after 9/11 and the “Clash of Civilizations” that has been conjured up, it is impossible to avoid this sensitive subject.


The organizers of the conference are:

  • Koebner Centre for German History, Hebrew University.
  • Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP), Vienna.


  • IPP (Israel-Palestine-Project), Vienna.
  • Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture, Leipzig, Germany.
  • Walter Leibach Institute for Jewish-Arab Co-Existence through Education, Tel Aviv University.
  • Center for Islamic Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Austrian Embassy, Tel Aviv.
  • Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture.

The Workshop

Jerusalem, May 29 and 30, 2005 
Beit Meyersdorf, Hebrew University Jerusalem

May 29th


Welcome addresses

Otmar Hoell, Director, Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP), Vienna (
Moshe Zimmermann, Director, Koebner Centre for German History (


John Bunzl, OIIP, Vienna (

Session 1 - Report on Anti-Semitism in Europe (EUMC)


Alexander Pollak, Researcher for the EUMC report, Vienna; Austria
Problems of Definitions and Methodology


Elisabeth Keubler, MA, Political Science and Jewish Studies, University of Vienna, Austria (
Strategies against Anti-Semitism in the context of European Integration - the measures of the EUMC and the OSCE in comparative perspectives

12:30 - 13:30

Lunch break

Session 2 - Perceptions of Anti-Semitism in Europe


Moshe Zimmermann, Director, Richard Koebner Minerva Centre for German History, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
On Israeli Perceptions of Anti-Semitism in Europe


Brian Klug, Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford, UK (
Seeing Israel as the “Jew of the world”

15:30 - 15:45

Coffee break


Paul Silverstein, Department of Anthropology, Reed College, Portland, Oregon (
The Context of Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in France


Detlev Claussen, Prof., Sociology, University of Hanover, Germany
Between old and new Anti-Semitism. A view from Germany


Concluding Reflections of the Day



May 30th

Session 3 - Anti-Semitism in Arab and Muslim Discourse(s)


Omar Kamil, Egyptian scholar, Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture, Leipzig University (
Perceptions of the Holocaust in the Arab World


Alexander Flores, Prof., Economy, Society and Language of the Arab World, University of Bremen, Germany (
Western perceptions of Anti-Semitism in Arab discourse


Daniel Bar-Tal, Prof. School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Arab representation in Israeli-Jewish Society

12:30 - 13:30

Lunch break

Session 4 - Reflections on Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia


Avi Primor, Political Scientist, Director, Center for European Studies at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel; former Israeli ambassador to Germany (
Reflections on experience(s) in Germany


Herbert Kelman, Prof. (emeritus) of Social Ethics, Harvard University, USA (
Antisemitism and Zionism in the Debate on the Palestinian Issue: Personal Reflections

15:30 - 15:45

Coffee break


Sasson Somekh, Prof., Arabic Literature, Tel Aviv University (
On the Living Together of Jews and Arabs - Some Personal Recollections


Concluding remarks