Professor Rosenfeld on air at Azeri.Today
With the support of one of the most authoritative and influential public organizations of the world - B'nai B'rith, Azeri.Today information and analytical website launches a new section "Anti-Semitism: a global challenge to all faiths". The section will publish interviews with heads of regional offices of B'nai B'rith, scientists, professors, academicians, internationally recognized experts on history, causes of anti-Semitism, the origins of hatred for Jews, the current aspects of modern anti-Semitism, and the life of Jews in Azerbaijan.
The second guest of Azeri.Today is Alvin Rosenfeld, American scientist, professor of English studies and Judaism of the Indian University in Bloomington, founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Anti-Semitism (ISCA) at the Indian University. Rosenfeld's scientific interests include Holocaust literature, American Jewish literature, exile literature and modern anti-Semitism.
- Mr. Rosenfeld, how relevant is the problem of anti-Semitism in the modern world today?
- Antisemitism is a social pathology that dates back over many centuries. Relatively quiescent following the persecution and mass murder of the jews during the Nazi period, it has been on the upsurge since the year 2000. The result has been attacks, sometimes lethal, against Jews in several countries, the desecration of Jewish synagogues, cemeteries, and Holocaust memorials, the demonization of Israel and persistent attempts to delegitimize it, and more. It is a serious, ongoing problem and needs to be contained lest still greater harm results.
- In which countries are Jews most often faced with insults, discrimination and physical violence?
- The situation I have described just above tends to be global, with manifestations of antisemitism occurring in countries in Europe, South America, North America, Australia, Turkey and several other Muslim-majority countries. As a consequence, Jews in many countries now experience a sense of insecurity that is troublesome to many of them. Some have left the countries of their birth and moved to Israel, America, Canada, and other places. Others are considering doing so.
- Who benefits from inciting anti-Semitic sentiments?
- Antisemitism is a destructive social force wherever and whenever it appears, and in the end, no one benefits from inciting it. Nevertheless, it is part of the political strategies of various groups—those on the far right, the extreme left, Jihadists and other radicalized Muslims, etc. If left unchecked, its violent passions no longer remain confined to hatred of the Jews alone but widen their focus and result in attacks against others as well.
- Are there any modern methods of countering anti-Semitism? And how effective are these methods?
- Most people involved with monitoring and fighting against antisemitism look to legislation and education as their main means to help restrain antisemitic outbursts. Both are crucial, but they do not always work quickly and effectively enough. Both need to be strengthened and, where necessary, be accompanied by police protection. In addition, the mainstream media need to do a better job of reporting on antisemitism and exposing those who perpetuate it and the ideological and political sources that motivate them to turn against the Jews. some efforts have been made in all of these respects, but more needs to be done.
- The roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict go deep into history. A few decades ago, the attitude of the Arabs towards the Jews was extremely aggressive and negative. How has the attitude of the Arab countries to Israel changed over the past decade?
- Peace between Israel and the Arab countries will only come when those countries finally recognize Israel’s right to exist as a jewish-majority country. Most recognize the fact of Israel’s existence—how can they not?—but not the country’s legitimacy and right to continued existence. Egypt and Jordan are an exception, for both have formal peace treaties with Israel, although many people in both countries are against normalizing relations with Israel and sometimes harshly criticize those amond their compatriots who urge better, more normal relations with the Jewish state. Other arab countries, especially in the gulf, have quiet, behind-the-scenes dealings with israel, but while they seek Israel’s assistance in some ways, to date they refrain from open contacts and do not officially recognize Israel’s legitimate place as a soverign state in the Middle East.
- A community of Mountain Jews is functioning in Azerbaijan. What do you know about the state policy of Azerbaijan in relation to the Mountain Jews? What do you know about the Mountain Jews living in Azerbaijan?
- I have never been to your country and never met a Mountain Jew, but I have read a bit about the history of the Mountain Jews of azerbaijan and know that communities of such people, originally from Persia, I believe, have lived in Azerbaijan for many centuries. There are many Muslim-majority countries where Jews once lived in large numbers, but that is no longer the case, so in this regard Azerbaijan stands out as a notable exception. To the degree that your country’s state policy remains one of tolerance and inclusion and enables Jewish life to continue unharmed, it is to be applauded.
Если вы нашли ошибку в тексте, выделите ее мышью и нажмите Ctrl+Enter