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A French Jewish-Muslim Panorama: Initiatives, Euphemisms, and Elisions

Thursday, February 27
6 – 8 p.m.
Law 1-01
Fordham Law School, 150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
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Le ‘Nouvel’ antisémitisme, antisémitisme V2, le retour.

These are all examples of vernacular French terms for naming, while eschewing, the accusation of a specifically Islamic anti-Semitism that is purportedly prevalent amongst Muslims, both in and from the Middle East and North Africa.

French language sociology has, at least since Pierre-André Taguieff’s La nouvelle judéophobie (2002), been working to demonstrate this causality. Less developed in the social sciences, however, is the correlation between these theses of a purported ‘new’ anti-Semitism and a rise in ethno-nationalist, anti-Muslim identification. Few balanced comparative studies of these forms of discrimination exist.

Such work would, from an ethnographic standpoint, have to take account of both the predominantly intellectual Jewish contexts in which these terms have at times been coined (and have grown), as well as those intellectual Muslim contexts in which, at times, ambiguous forms of Judeophobic discourse have been produced, without neglecting the French societal context into which these are embedded.

In order to have a better understanding of such a process, Sami Everett, Ph.D., in his talk, will draw from a year-long participant observation of civil society initiatives and cultural producers in favor of, or indirectly addressing, the vast field of ‘Muslim-Jewish dialogue’ across the larger French regions.

His interviews and experiences help to sketch-out a contemporary picture of how this discourse is produced and disseminated. Examples of this production are the debates around Albert Bensoussan’s court hearing, which ended in 2019, and the reception of Houria Bouteldja’s book Les blancs, les juifs, et nous (2017). While these highlight polarization, the post-Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Kasher context may have also allowed for a more open discussion, beyond community-bounds, around Muslim North African cultural-linguistic legacies, while maintaining honesty as to some of the geopolitical reasons for constructing a Muslim-predicated anti-Semitism.

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This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.