From Occupation to Occupy
Antisemitism and the Contemporary American Left
Published by: Indiana University Press
The recent rise of antisemitism in the United States has been well documented and linked to groups and ideologies associated with the far right. In From Occupation to Occupy, Sina Arnold argues that antisemitism can also be found as an "invisible prejudice" on the left.
Based on participation in left-wing events and demonstrations, interviews with activists, and analysis of left-wing social movement literature, Arnold argues that a pattern for enabling antisemitism exists. Although open antisemitism on the left is very rare, there are recurring instances of "antisemitic trivialization," in which antisemitism is not perceived as a relevant issue in its own right, leading to a lack of empathy for Jewish concerns and grievances. Arnold's research also reveals a pervasive defensiveness against accusations of antisemitism in left-wing politics, with activists fiercely dismissing the possibility of prejudice against Jews within their movements and invariably shifting discussions to critiques of Israel or other forms of racism.
From Occupation to Occupy offers potential remedies for this situation and suggests that a progressive political movement that takes antisemitism seriously can be a powerful force for change in the United States.
1. Antisemitism Old and New
2. A Quick Look Back
3. What's Left of the Left: Recent Movements, Recent Debates
4. Interviews with Activists
5. Conceptualizations of Antisemitism and Jews
7. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
8. Holocaust Remembrance
9. The USA and Its Political Structures
10. Critique of Capitalism: Occupy Wall Street as Case Study
11. "Different Ways of Being Jewish": Jewish-Left Identities
The Invisible Prejudice: Conclusions
Appendix I: Overview of the Interviews
Appendix II: Transcription Rules
Appendix III: Abbreviations
Debates about antisemitism on the left are often focused on the public positions that activists take. In contrast, Sina Arnold's deep ethnographic engagement with US left activists, helps us understand the deeper complexities and nuances of discourse about antisemitism. In doing so, she offers a possible way out of intractable conflicts on and about antisemitism the left that currently generate more heat than light.~Keith Kahn-Harris, Leo Baeck College, and author of Strange Hate: Anti-semitism, racism, and the Limits of Diversity
This is an important study about the antisemitism of the American Left and its relationship to Israel. Arnold succeeds to step back and analyze different sides behind this all-to-familiar and all-too-heated debate. It tackles no less the question of how we find the truth in a world of differing interests, experiences and worldviews and argues for an ethics of responsibility.~Natan Sznaider, The Academic College of Tel-Aviv, Israel
Sina Arnold's work emerges not just in conversation with the political left, but from within it: her own commitment to the values that mark left-wing social movements drives her critiques of failures within the activist world. Her analysis draws on a rich tradition of critical scholarship that pushes the left to fulfill its stated promise of equality and freedom from oppression for all. Few books have the scope, rhetorical precision, and depth of analysis that Arnold brings, and this volume is sure to become one of the essential texts on contemporary antisemitism.~Shane Burley, Author of Why We Fight: Essays on Fascism, Resistance, and Surviving the Apocalypse