Antisemitism, Islamophobia and European Identities
History Royal Holloway University of London Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom
In this paper, the comparability of Antisemitism and Islamophobia will be explored.
While Antisemitism in Europe often appears in extremist fringes, there is also a quantitative rise of anti-Jewish resentment in liberal and intellectual circles that is mainly articulated through hostility against Israel. At the same time, anti-Muslim attitudes appear relatively open in mainstream European discourses and Muslims face individual and institutional discrimination. The appearance of Antisemitism and Islamophobia beyond extremist circles makes it necessary to analyse to what extent these phenomena are possibly part of deeply culturally entrenched and traditionalised social patterns. How do they relate to racism? How are they similar and different to each other? To what extent do they act in combination with each other or in competition with each other?
Drawing on preliminary findings using an interdisciplinary methodological approach, this paper will look at the roles anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim resentments play within national or European identity formation, if and how these roles differ and how they vary between different European nations, specifically between Britain and Germany. For this purpose, the history and appearance of Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Britain and Germany will be compared, general national and European discourse trends regarding these forms of social hostility will be explored and specific representations of Jews and Muslims in both countries will be analysed and contrasted.