Debating Antisemitism: Why do Jews Disagree so Much?

Event Date: 26 June 2014
Room B33
Birkbeck Main Building,
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet St
London, WC1E 7HX


The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism presents:

Debating Antisemitism: Why do Jews Disagree so Much?

Speakers:  Diana Pinto, intellectual historian and author; Keith Kahn-Harris, writer and sociologist; David Feldman, Director, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

In this round-table discussion, Diana Pinto, intellectual historian and author who has written widely on Jewish identity in Europe, and Keith Kahn-Harris, writer and sociologist, whose recent book explores the debates over Israel among Jews in Britain, join David Feldman, Director of the Pears Institute, to explore the perennial, perplexing question – why do Jews disagree so much on the issue of antisemitism?
What are the different perspectives Jews hold on antisemitism across Europe? How do these perspectives connect to debates about Israel? How are such debates managed? Can dialogue be conducted with civility or is its descent into conflict inevitable? And how do the internal Jewish debates on antisemitism reflect wider societal debates concerned with antisemitism and racism?

Diana Pinto, who lives in Paris, is highly respected for her writing and lecturing on European Jewry and broader transatlantic issues. Her recent publications include: Israel has moved (Harvard University Press, 2013) and ‘Negotiating Jewish Identity in an Antisemtic Age’, Jewish Culture and History (2013), Vol 14, Issue 2-3. Keith Kahn-Harris, based in London, is a regular contributor toThe Guardian, Independent and  New Statesman. His most recent book, Uncivil War, The Israel Conflict in the Jewish Community (David Paul Books) was published earlier this year; he is also co-author of Turbulent Times, The British Jewish Community Today (Continuum, 2010).

David Feldman is Director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London.

Keith Kahn-Harris explores the relationship between Anglo-Jewry and Israel, the causes of the conflicts and the different methods, including his own innovative efforts, to counter conflict and foster dialogue within Jewish communities.
Keith Kahn-Harris, Uncivil War, The Israel Conflict in the Jewish Community, David Paul Books, 2014

Introduction by Professor David Feldman (Birkbeck):


Keith Kahn-Harris:


Diana Pinto:



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  • Judy Pierson

    As I live in France, I was very interested in Diane Pinto’s lecture which I heard via a podcast sent to me by a friend. I would like to add to what she says about French North African Jews. Those who came to France from Algeria after its independence from France, and their descendents, are often violently anti Arab, like so many of the ‘Pieds Noirs’. A recent article in le Monde interviewed French new immigrants to Israel in which there were comments about leaving France because of having to live near Arabs. These remarks were clearly racist in tone. France is light years behind the UK in terms of its racial tolerance, but I thought that it was worth making this additional comment on the French Sephardic Jewish situation, which is very different from that of Jews in the UK .