RACE.ED Event Series - Antisemitism and the proxification of antiracism - 17 February 2021
From Clare de Mowbray
Alana Lentin, Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University
Event extract from Alana Lentin:
"The political utility of antisemitism today is not to illuminate the operations of race, but rather to obscure them. Expression of opposition to antisemitism functions as a ballast against denouncements of racism. Publicly performing opposition to antisemitism and support for Israel—the two having been made equivalent—has also become a proxy for politicians and public figures’ commitment to antiracism. Leaning on antisemitism as the sine qua non of racism and associating it singularly with the Nazi Holocaust, reinterpreted as a unique and aberrant event rather than the manifestation of a 500 year process (Slabodsky 2015), silences any questioning of this professed antiracism. To shed light on what is deliberately obfuscated, the question of antisemitism and its intense politicisation must be explored to answer the question, why race still matters. What is antisemitism and who is antisemitic, and why and to what ends antisemitism is named are questions that have come to dominate political discussions on both sides of the Atlantic against a backdrop of white supremacist violence and accompanying apologetics.