"This is integral to both my moral worldview and my scholarship. Pass it on."
Loyalty Tests and the Construction of a Hostile Environment for Jews in Academic Spaces
October 3, 2021, Noon, Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Antizionism often appears in the complex and inter-linked realities of social life as a worldview or as an ideology. It tends to legitimize or to nurture a hostile environment for Jews. Antizionism has significant continuities and similarities with antisemitic ideologies and movements of earlier eras. Antisemitisms constructed their own caricatures of Jews that functioned as emotionally expressive ways of representing or visualising what was considered evil in a society. Antizionism defines itself in relation to caricatures of Israel that it has itself constructed out of elements of truth, exaggeration and invention, and which it has glued together and made plausible with fragments of antisemitic ideology borrowed from the past. Antizionism presents itself as the only legitimate way of thinking, not only about Israel, or about those with whom Israel directly interacts, but about the world as a whole. Antizionism positions Israel as symbolic of, and central to, global systems of oppression, racism and imperialism. This is revealed most explicitly by the slogan 'Globalize the Intifada!'.
When people on campuses or in social movements set up elements of antizionist thinking as compulsory articles of faith, and when they formally insist that everybody endorses them, then Jews are impacted in specific and hostile ways. Jews can ignore loyalty tests, or they can refuse them, or they can go along with them. But when the tests define the boundaries of the community of the good, they are in significant danger of being excluded by them.
David Hirsh is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is interested in antisemitism, right and left populism, totalitarianism and anti-democratic movements. He is a campaigner against antizionism and its associated antisemitism. His book 'Law against Genocide: Cosmpolitan Trials' won a prize for the best first book in Sociology in 2003. He published 'Contemporary Left Antisemitism' in 2018. He is currently editing a book to be published in 2022 on the anniversary of the 'call for an academic boycott of Israel' in 2002, written by scholars who were active in opposing that call.