Featuring Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin, ISGAP Research Fellow, Associate Professor, Bar-Ilan University; Andrey Kazantsev-Vaisman, PSCR Program, The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University.
Can antisemitism, including one of its most widespread stereotypes, the accusation of double loyalty (i.e., disloyalty to the country of residence) be no longer considered a factor in the post-Soviet Jewish life? Or, as it was shown by recent developments, including the first Jewish pogrom in Russia after the USSR fall in October 2023, prove that a personal and communal security of Jewish live in Russia and some other USSR successor states again in danger? The course will try address to these as well as other related issues.
Session 1: Antisemitism, Tolerance and Historical Memory in the Post-Soviet Space: An Overview, Ze’ev Khanin
The long economic crisis and social and political instability can poorly affect the tolerant (after the Soviet state antisemitism has faded into the past) attitude of the authorities and societies of the post-Soviet countries towards the Jewish minority.
Facts and assessments offered in the introduction to this book reflect the duality of the process. On the one hand, the situation in the former USSR is somewhat more favorable than in many Western countries, the EU, or the USA. However, we should not underestimate latent anti-Semitic tendencies in the post-Soviet space, as well as open manifestations of political antisemitism, incitement, and provocations with xenophobic overtones, attempts to defame Jews and Israel, denial of the Holocaust, and Judeophobia disguised as “anti-Zionism”. Not to mention direct hate crimes against the Jews or acts of vandalism against Jewish religious and community institutions. The lecture will focus pn reasons, content and possible implications of these trends.
Will be held on Tuesday, 28 November 2023 at 12:00 PM EST | 5:00 PM GMT | 7:00 PM IST
Session 2: Antisemitism as a Tool of Post-Soviet War, Ze’ev Khanin
The new round of the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict and the war in Ukraine both exhibit noticeable anti-Jewish aspects. The Russians are playing the “Jewish card” to ideologically justify their invasion of Ukraine, explaining it as a “fight against the radical nationalist, fascist, and antisemitic regime in Kyiv”. Ukraine, meanwhile, many of whose leaders are of Jewish origin, puts forward a narrative of “the Russian aggression as a new Holocaust,” widely using that language in order to influence international public opinion and bring Israel into the conflict. Both Kyiv and Moscow view the Jewish world as an asset for the achievement of immediate strategic goals.
However, “classical” antisemitism still exists in the fighting post-Soviet countries, especially in Russia and Armenia, occasionally bursting out in rare cases of hate crime. More often, it emerges as hate speech, particularly on social media.
Will be held on Tuesday, 5 December 2023 at 12:00 PM EST | 5:00 PM GMT | 7:00 PM IST
Session 3: Antisemitism in Post-Soviet countries: Focus on Islamic Regions and South Caucasus, Andrey Kazantsev-Vaisman
In Turkic countries, remnants of Soviet-era Antisemitism coexist with anti-Semitic stereotypes characteristic of Islamic world. Within the representatives of local elites, vestiges of Soviet-style global conspiracy theories can still be observed. However, generally, these states exhibit much more favorable attitude towards Jews and Israel compared to the majority of Islamic nations because of Turkic Jadid and later Soviet modernization and specific (Hanafi and Sufi) character of local version of Islam. In Uzbekistan, there traditionally lived a community of Bukharian Jews, well integrated into the local culture. An issue arises with the so-called “Wahhabism,” where young Islamic clerics, while undergoing training in the Middle Eastern countries, import various behavioral stereotypes, including Antisemitism.
Will be held on Tuesday, 12 December 2023 at 12:00 PM EST | 5:00 PM GMT | 7:00 PM IST
Session 4: Is Russia Shifting Towards State-Sanctioned Antisemitism?, Andrey Kazantsev-Vaisman
Currently, a matter of significant practical importance is whether post-Soviet Russia, under Putin’s leadership and following a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, is moving towards the establishment of a new state-sponsored Antisemitism. In this context, statements made by Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova, and various other official figures will be analyzed. The lecture will explore the Russian Foreign Ministry’s use of Soviet-style Holocaust denial concepts, Putin and Lavrov’s covert application of the Soviet concept equating Zionism with fascism, and the anti-Semitic potential within Putin’s theory of anti-colonialism, particularly if this theory is applied to Russia’s interaction with Iran.
The lecture will also delve into elements of ultra-right-wing anti-Semitic eschatological concepts utilized by Putin, the Russian Orthodox Church, and representatives of Russian law-enforcing agencies to justify the invasion of Ukraine and the onset of a New Cold War with the West. The evolving discourse of state-sponsored Antisemitism (from the Tsars through Stalin and Brezhnev to Putin) and its potential impact on Russia’s domestic and foreign policy will be analyzed as well.
Will be held on Tuesday, 19 December 2023 at 12:00 PM EST | 5:00 PM GMT | 7:00 PM IST
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