Photographer:Fotograaf: archive Studium Generale
Studium Generale lecture by French sociologist Michel Wieviorka
MAASTRICHT. Michel Wieviorka, sociologist and Parisian, is one of the most famous French anti-Semitism researchers. A descendant of a Jewish family, with grandparents who were killed in Auschwitz, he is well known for his balanced and nuanced tone. Even after the brutal attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket. He will give a lecture at Studium Generale next Monday.
Classic anti-Semitism, which described Jews as the people who had murdered Christ and who were out for money and power, almost completely disappeared in the nineteen-fifties, says Michel Wieviorka, who regularly engages in public debates. He works at the renowned French research school EHESS and is director of the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. A lot has changed since the Second World War: the state of Israel was created in 1948, anti-Semitism is a penal offence, and the Shoah has been acknowledged worldwide.
Anti-Semitism is not as strong these days as it was in the past, Wieviorka argues, but it is emerging now in other parts of our society. Where hatred of Jews used to come from the Christian corner, the new anti-Semitism comes from the Islamic corner. Adding that he would be the last person to put all Muslims in the dock. “Can you hold a tree responsible for the fruit on the ground rotting away, because it had fallen some time ago?” he said recently in an interview with Dutch weekly magazine Vrij Nederland. The extremists who are responsible for the attacks in Paris “were not people who had grown up from birth in an Islamic environment. It is not their faith, their families, or their upbringing that incited them to kill. Often they are people who know very little about Islam. Many were converted later on in life. But we should not deny that within the Muslim community, there is a lot of sympathy and understanding for terrorism. That is what makes it so complicated. That is why it is too easy to cast quick judgements. All religions have their violent sides. Have you ever read the bible or just the Old Testament? Christianity, Judaism, they are filled to the brim with violence.” Or as he says in his book L’antisémitisme expliqué aux jeunes (recently translated into Dutch as Het antisemitisme uitgelegd aan jongeren): “You only have to read the Old Testament to realise that Jews as a people did not always behave like angels. When you look at Israel, you can see that they are capable of using violence and being unjust.”
Lecture Anti-Semitism Today, by Michel Wieviorka, Monday 2 February, 20:00hrs • Auditorium Minderbroedersberg 4-6