Open Letter: Anti-Semitism! What to do?

April 5th 2012, Vienna

Appreciated friends and collegues,
Aileen Derieg, Lina Dokuzović, Marcelo Expósito, Therese Kaufmann, Raimund Minichbauer, Radostina Patulova and Gerald Raunig as well as Jens Kastner and Tom Waibel!
I am a person who butts into a conversation when stupid things are said about Jews at the greengrocery. And I disrupt anti-Semites – wherever I can and by all means available. Anti-Semites are not concerned with discussions, but with agitation and this with demagogic purpose. Every debate with them is futile, because their hatred is passionate and devoid of all reason; their claims are absurd and immune to arguments. And even though I am convinced that these people are not to be the
problem of Jews, but that of many others, I do not tolerate any form of anti-Semitism. Period. For means of self-protection and because I want to contribute to letting anti-Semites feel that they have enemies, strong and clever, who come with many friends, just as strong and clever. And if they still don't feel saturated by fabulating their endless conspiracy-theories, at least i want to be one of those that gently but firmly tucks them into their comfy little self-made beds, to let them feel the pleasure of their delusional constructions: shall they be haunted in their dreams by us, the conspirators of a resistance, that fight any kind of hostility towards Jews without compromise.
These days quite a bit of nonsense is produced in the wake of the struggle against anti-Semitism which many a time trespasses the border of endurability. For instance when political opponents are defamed as "self-hating Jews" to undermine their positions or when philo-Semitic children and grandchildren of perpetrators in their self-righteous over identification think they have to deny Jews their critical word on Israel. Without doubt there is plenty of appropriate critique concerning Israeli politics and even some legitimate anti-Zionism – not only but mainly in inner-jewish discourses. However, we have to get straight that anti-Semitism appears in all sorts of shapes and that criticism on Israel as well as anti-Zionism have grown to become political fields, in its diverse jumble anti-Semitic lamentation is threatening to drown out the reasonable voices. Additionally you find the lumbering protagonists, the sleepy dreamers, who have overslept the change from modern to new anti-Semitism. They have no sense of shame nor reluctance to crudely and bluntly share their delusionalconstructions. All these different types of anti-Semites can be found not only in right extremist parliamentary parties, Christian orders and Islamic brotherhoods, but also in the left and in some of its related theoretical discourses. I consider myself as one of the many parts of that diverse left, thus it concerns me. Therefore I do not want to leave the field clear for anti-Semites and their apologists nor for those who insinuate being reflective and progressive while seeing no necessity in positioning themselves towards the former.
Concrete occasion for the publication of this open letter was the ignorance and belittlement of the anti-Semitic constructions by the post-colonial theoretician Walter D. Mignolo in recent publications of some friends and colleagues. To comment his absurdities in detail is not the purpose of this letter, since his text "Dispensable and Bare Lives" is just as easy to find in the internet as is the anti-Semitism within it, especially when read from back to front. I rather want to pose a few questions to you – the ones publishing Mignolo’s texts, while merely footnoting his anti-Semitism (as in the introduction to Mignolo’s recently published book at "Turia und Kant" with the title "Epistemischer Ungehorsam") or concealing it altogether (as in the latest issue of the transversal web journal of the European Institute For Progressive Cultural Policies). Since you were aware of the anti-Semitic viewpoints of the author prior to your publications, as well as of the conflicts that have taken place regarding that issue in your vicinity, I assume that you have discussed extensively about the implications that this will have for your work.
What were the reasons for your decision to disregard Walter Mignolo’s anti-Semitism respectively reduce it to a footnote? Aren't you afraid to do more harm to the Postcolonial Theories and Critiques than to be of their benefit?
You seem to not take anti-Semitism as a political categorie seriously. How come? Are you of the opinion that the theory production of anti-Semites has to be regarded detached from their anti-Semitism?
In the light of the historical space in which you publish, the question arises in how far you have dealt with the history and meaning of belittling and ignoring anti-Semitism. Did you consider to which local concepts and figures you relate to with your politics of active concealment and belittlement?
I am aware of the difference between half a footnote and NO footnote at all. However, I do not consider either of those as an appropriate form to deal with anti-Semitism. Accordingly I await in curious expectation your answers.
Best regards,
Edi Freudmann

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