Between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Some thoughts on the new Europe
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2008
Volume 32, Issue 4, pages 499–508, November 2005
How to Cite
Bunzl, M. (2005), Between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Some thoughts on the new Europe. American Ethnologist, 32: 499–508. doi: 10.1525/ae.2005.32.4.499
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2008
The apparent resurgence of hostility against Jews has been a prominent theme in recent discussions of Europe. At the same time, the adversities of the Muslim populations on the continent have received increasing attention as well. In this article, I attempt a historical and cultural clarification of the key terms in this debate. I argue against the common impulse to analogize anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Instead, I offer an analytic framework that locates the two phenomena in different projects of exclusion. Anti-Semitism was invented in the late 19th century to police the ethnically pure nation-state; Islamophobia, by contrast, is a formation of the present, marshaled to safeguard a supranational Europe. Whereas traditional anti-Semitism has run its historical course with the supersession of the nation-state, Islamophobia threatens to become the defining condition of the new Europe.