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Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Jocelyn Bowie
College of Arts and Sciences

Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011

International conference to examine 'new antisemitism'

March 22, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Leading experts on what has been called "the new antisemitism" will meet at Indiana University next month for a scholarly examination of anti-Jewish bias and hatred that has arisen across much of the world in the past decade.

"Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives" will take place April 3-5 at the Indiana Memorial Union. It is the inaugural conference of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, which was established in 2009 at Indiana University Bloomington.

Alvin Rosenfeld

Alvin Rosenfeld

Print-Quality Photo

"There is widespread awareness that we are living in a time of heightened antisemitism, and that this is something that needs to be understood and addressed," said Alvin Rosenfeld, director of the institute and the Irving M. Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies at IU Bloomington. "The best way to do this is to bring the best minds together to discuss the matter."

The conference is an ambitious, pioneering effort to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to focus, country by country and topic by topic, on recent trends. Thirty scholars from 12 countries will address antisemitism in America, Europe and the Middle East, along with such issues as antisemitism on college campuses, Holocaust denial and attempts to delegitimize Israel.

"Acts of antisemitic hatred -- here or anywhere in the world -- must be a matter of deep concern to all people," said Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie, "because criminal acts of hatred against any group threaten the freedom of all people. In a diverse and increasingly global society, we absolutely depend on tolerance and respect for all people. We cannot afford to ignore the lessons drawn from the serious and informed study of present-day antisemitism and its deep connections with centuries-old traditions of suspicion and hatred.

"Professor Rosenfeld and the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism are performing an invaluable service through their international leadership in this timely study," McRobbie said.

McRobbie will welcome participants at a pre-conference dinner, which will also include a talk by Hannah Rosenthal, special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism with the U.S. State Department.

Bernard Harrison

Bernard Harrison

Most of the conference is by invitation only. However, the following two presentations will be open to the public as part of the Simona and Hart Hasten Visiting Scholars program:

  • Bernard Harrison will speak on "Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, and the Rhetorical Manipulation of Reality" at 8 p.m. on April 3 in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. Harrison, an emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Utah and the University of Sussex in England, is the author of The Resurgence of Antisemitism: Jews, Israel and Liberal Opinion.
  • Rosenfeld will speak on "The End of the Holocaust and the Beginning of the New Antisemitism" at 8 p.m. on April 4 in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. Rosenfeld, also a professor of English at IU Bloomington, has published widely on Holocaust literature, Jewish literature and antisemitism.

Scholars and experts taking part in the working sessions of the conference include the American writer Paul Berman, author of The Flight of the Intellectuals and Terror and Liberalism; the Israeli scholar Elhanan Yakira, who is the first visiting scholar at the Institute for Contemporary Antisemitism; and authorities on antisemitism in many regions of the world.

Participants Robert Wistrich and Matthias Küntzel were recently honored for their work. Wistrich, director of Hebrew University's Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the author of A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, received a lifetime achievement award from the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism. Küntzel, a German political scientist and the author of Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, received the Anti-Defamation League's Paul Ehrlich-Gunther K. Schwerin Human Rights Award.

Papers presented at the conference will be published in a volume of conference proceedings.

The Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism was established in 2009 under the auspices of the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. It will sponsor lectures, colloquia, symposia, conferences and research.

For more about the institute, see The fall 2010 issue of The College magazine includes a feature article on the institute; it can be read online at

News media: To request interviews with conference participants, including State Department official Hannah Rosenthal, please contact Steve Hinnefeld at the Office of University Communications, 812-856-3488 or, or Jocelyn Bowie at the College of Arts and Sciences, 812-855-5265 or