Studium Generale and Concordantia (study association FASoS) were responsible for another interactive and interesting evening as they organised a lecture, with a debate afterwards, on Anti-Semitism. With the recent events in Paris, the threat of IS and the increasing numbers of Jews immigrating to Israel, anti-Semitism can be called topical to say the least. The lecture was given by many times honoured academic, Michel Wieviorka who is a Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and President of the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH). The panel for the debate consisted: Moderator, Dr. Teun Dekker (vice dean UCM), Prof. Fred Grünfeld (IR), Aaron Vinnik (teacher at History department), Zakaria Bouders ( President Noemidia foundation).
The Professor starts off with clarifying what is discussed when discussing anti-Semitism. The first point is that anti-Semitism is an anachronism as the word Semite can also mean Arabs. Thus, strictly spoken anti-Semitism is not only anti-Judaism. In real life anti-Semitism is seen as synonym to anti-Judaism. However, the professor argues that anti-Judaism is better to use when referring to hatred towards Jews. Second, how is anti-Judaism different than other forms of hatred? Anti-Judaism is different to other forms of hatred as Judaism is not only a religion, moreover, Jews are seen as ‘race’ as history proofs that Jews which converted themselves to Catholicism were still judged to be Jews by society as they had Jewish ‘blood’.
After one hour, the Professor is done with his lecture and it is time for the rest of the panel to shine their light upon the lecture and give their point of view on the topic. In search for sources of anti-Judaism the debate soon changes from anti-Judaism to the Israeli Palestine conflict. I can feel that this topic is very much alive under the audience as Zakaria was applauded for giving an opinion in favour of the Palestine side. Most panel members openly agreed that the only solution to this conflict is a two state solution. As Professor Grünfeld argues, the solution to the conflict is not the question; the complex way in reaching that solution is the dilemma. Only time will tell if his words are ever going to be realised.