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Why Can Academics Study 'Islamophobia' But Not Anti-Semitism?
by Phyllis Chesler and Nathan Bloom
Recently, Yale shut down its Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA). Some claimed that the center was perhaps too "political."
Almost simultaneously, on June 23, 2011, the University of California at Berkeley's Center on Race and Gender issued its first annual "Islamophobia" report. The report is a project of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP), whose mission statement says: "The IRDP focuses on a systematic and empirical approach to the study of Islamophobia and its impact on the American Muslim community. Today, Muslims in the U.S., parts of Europe, and around the world have been transformed into a demonized and feared global 'other,' subjected to legal, social, and political discrimination."
In our view, "Islamophobia" hardly deserves any academic attention compared to the much more serious phenomenon of anti-Semitism. According to the German scholar of anti-Semitism Clemens Heni, "Anti-Semitism, with its irrational, implacably genocidal dimension, is totally different [from Islamophobia]….[T]here are some Islamicists who openly advocate the takeover of Europe, the West and the world….[T]he Jews have never had or claimed such a goal."
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