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Inside the Antisemitic Mind

The Language of Jew-Hatred in Contemporary Germany

Antisemitism never disappeared in Europe. In fact, there is substantial evidence that it is again on the rise, manifest in violent acts against Jews in some quarters, but more commonly noticeable in everyday discourse in mainstream European society. This innovative empirical study examines written examples of antisemitism in contemporary Germany. It demonstrates that hostility against Jews is not just a right-wing phenomenon or a phenomenon among the uneducated, but is manifest among all social classes, including intellectuals. Drawing on 14,000 letters and e-mails sent between 2002 and 2012 to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and to the Israeli embassy in Berlin, as well as communications sent between 2010 and 2011 to Israeli embassies in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain, this volume shows how language plays a crucial role in activating and re-activating antisemitism. In addition, the authors investigate the role of emotions in antisemitic argumentation patterns and analyze “anti-Israelism” as the dominant form of contemporary hatred of Jews.

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Inside the Antisemetic Mind is an absolute groundbreaker in antisemitism research. Such a detailed study based on linguistic analysis has never been done before. It makes a highly significant contribution to the discussion on antisemitism.”

Yehuda Bauer, Professor of Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University, and academic advisor to Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

“A Herculean task: the comprehensive and precise analysis of current anti-Jewish language usage. The authors have mastered an unenviable, yet necessary and crucial enterprise.”

Walter Laqueur, coauthor of The Future of Terrorism: ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Alt-Right

“The first systematic analysis of antisemitic ideas and language in the 21st century, this work breaks new ground. The book is an indispensable contribution to the interdisciplinary study of antisemitism in contemporary society.”

Lars Rensmann, Professor of European Politics and Society, University of Groningen

Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition (2016) • Preface to the German Edition (2013) • Notational Conventions • INTRODUCTION: THE NEED FOR THIS BOOK • HOSTILITY TOWARD JEWS AND LANGUAGE: VERBAL IMPOSITION OF POWER AND VIOLENCE • Language as a Cognitive System and Communicative Instrument for Action • The Power of Language as Violence through Language • The Reconstruction of Antisemitic Conceptualizations: Linguistic Utterances as Traces of Cultural, Cognitive, and Emotional Processes • Conceptual and Verbal Antisemitism • Conclusion • HOSTILE STEREOTYPES OF JEWS AND THEIR HISTORICAL ROOTS • On the Genesis of Resentment toward Jews: Why the Jews? • Survival and Resistance of Judeophobic Stereotypes in Modern Times • Antisemitism as State Doctrine: The “Final Solution” as the Ultimate Consequence of Judeophobia • Hostility toward Jews after 1945: Minimization of the Caesura in Civilization and Withholding of Empathy • Present-Day Hostility toward Jews: The “New” Antisemitism of the Twenty-First Century • Conclusion • PRESENT-DAY VERBALIZATION OF STEREOTYPES • Stereotypes, Mental Models, Prejudices, Clichés, and Stock Phrases: Terminological and Conceptual Clarifications • Current Stereotypes and Their Verbal Manifestations • Conclusion • ECHO OF THE PAST: “THE INSOLENT JEW IS HARASSING GERMANS ONCE AGAIN!” • Components of Nazi Speech in Contemporary Discourse Hostile toward Jews • Lexical Analyses of Insolence/Insolent and Harass/Harassment • Conclusion • ANTI-ISRAELISM AS A MODERN VARIANT OF VERBAL ANTISEMITISM: THE MODERN CONCEPTUALIZATION OF THE COLLECTIVE JEW • Criticism of Israel versus Anti-Israelism: Two Different Speech Acts • Characteristics of Antisemitic Anti-Israelism • Derealization: False Statements, Concealment, Distortion, Biased Perspective • “As I just read in my paper . . .” —Intertextual Allusions and Verbal Convergences: On the Potential Effects of One-Sided Reports on the Middle East Conflict • Conclusion • A COMPARISON WITH OTHER COUNTRIES IN EUROPE: RESULTS OF A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS • Austria • Switzerland • The Netherlands • Spain • Belgium • England • Ireland • Sweden • Conclusion • THE EMOTIONAL BASIS OF MODERN HOSTILITY TOWARD JEWS • On the Relevance of Emotions to the Analysis of Antisemitism • The Emotional Potential of Antisemitic Texts: Expression of Emotions and Description of Feelings • The Obsessive Dimension • Contrary to Reason: On the Dominance of the Irrational Dimension in Antisemitic Texts • Fallacies and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies • Contradictions and Paradoxes: Statements in Collision • Hate without a Real Object: Jew as an Abstract Notion • Conclusion • ACTS OF VERBAL VIOLENCE • Abuse, Insults, Threats, Curses • Hostility toward Jews as a Missionary Urge: Moral Appeals and Advice • Suggestions for Solving the “Jewish Problem”: “Exterminate them for good!” and “Dissolve the state of Israel” • Conclusion • TEXTUAL STRATEGIES AND PATTERNS OF ARGUMENTATION • Communicative Strategies and Argumentative Elaboration • Strategies of Legitimation and Self-Aggrandizement: “I am a humanist through and through!” • Strategies of Avoidance and Self-Defense: “I am no antisemite!” • Strategies of Justification: “You provoke that!” • Relativizing Strategies: “After all, it’s 2007!” • Strategies of Differentiation: “You are one team” • Conclusion • APPENDIX: The Basic Corpus—Letters to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, 2002–2012 • Notes • Bibliography • Index

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