The curriculum opens with some basic understandings of what antisemitism is and begins to consider what challenging antisemitism can look like from a framework of collective liberation. What follows is discussion of the racially, ethnically, economically, and culturally diverse Jewish communities that have lived throughout the world for centuries as well as global, historical examples of Jewish experience and antisemitism.
From there–interwoven with broader social, political and economic context and realities–the focus is on antisemitism in the United States, beginning with the historical (e.g., immigration, race and racialization, Christian hegemony). We then look at how antisemitism manifests in the US today (e.g., acts of violence, impact of rise in white nationalism, stereotypes/tropes, philosemitism, and more) and the connections and intersections with other forms of racism and injustice. In order to understand what antisemitism is, it is also important to know what it is not, and here the discussion addresses the ways antisemitism has been misused to serve an anti-liberatory agenda.
This discussion digs deeper into who has the “right” to speak about antisemitism and raises the issues of how data is used/misused, and why that matters. The curriculum moves to an exploration of what solidarities can look like and ways to deepen work to challenge antisemitism as part of our broader struggle for justice.
Antisemitism and the U.S.
What antisemitism is, and what it is not
possibilities and challenges
Credit: Jake Ratner
Credit: Jake Ratner
Art: Sarah Sills
Drawing upon extensive resources, the curriculum sessions include excerpts from articles and books; videos; visuals; poetry and music; handouts; and reflection questions for discussion and analysis.
I. Opening: Understanding antisemitism
The curriculum’s introductory session sets the tone and lays out the philosophical and conceptual frameworks and themes rooted in the curriculum. It begins with a discussion of “understanding antisemitism” and then considers what it means to challenge antisemitism within a framework of collective liberation.
II. A historical framework
In session 2, participants explore the framework that understands antisemitism as historically contextual– situated amidst interrelated social, political, and economic conditions. This session also focuses on the racially, ethnically, economically, and culturally diverse Jewish communities that have lived throughout the world for centuries–reflecting a multiplicity of histories, experiences, and forms of identification.
Also covered is an exploration of key historical moments of antisemitism and experiences of violence and discrimination and the ways antisemitism intersects with other targets and histories of systemic violence and oppression.
III. Antisemitism and the U.S.
Session 3, Part I addresses antisemitism and Jewish experience in the U.S., including framing and historical contexts around Christian hegemony, immigration, and race and racialization. Also included is a snapshot of history: Repression and resistance 1920’s-1950’s.
Session 3, Part 2 includes current examples of how antisemitism manifests–e.g., acts of violence, impact of rise in white nationalism, stereotypes/tropes, philosemitism, conspiracy theories, and more–in the U.S. today and the connections and intersections with other forms of racism and injustice.
IV. What antisemitism is, and what it is not
Section 4 explores what antisemitism is, and what it is not, and how mis-definitions further political goals that are harmful to movements for justice, as well as how (and why) criticism of Israel has been falsely equated with antisemitism. This session also raises the issues of how both data and the “hate crimes” framework are used/misused, and why that matters.
V. Challenging antisemitism from a framework of collective liberation
In Session 5, participants look at antisemitism in relation to state violence, racial construction, and capitalism. We also think about who has the “right” to speak about antisemitism and consider the importance of resisting a framework that “exceptionalizes” antisemitism and isolates it from other systems of oppression.
VI. Moving forward: possibilities and challenges
Session 6 shares examples of a range of foundational principles, solidarities and organizing for justice with a deep commitment to collective liberation. Participants reflect upon questions to help strengthen and deepen our analysis and our work to challenge antisemitism from a framework of collective liberation.
Our facilitators can offer workshops or classes in your schools, institutions, and communities. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.