After almost a decade in the Holocaust/antisemitism business, I stumbled upon a new term last week: allosemitism. For some inexplicable reason, there still isn’t an entry on Wikipedia for this concept, but I Googled it, and found an article in the Jewish Journal by Ruth Ellen Gruber, which contains a brief explanation:
Coined by a Polish-Jewish literary critic named Artur Sandauer, the term describes a concept with which I am quite familiar—the idea of Jews as the perpetual “other.”
Allosemitism can embrace both positive and negative feelings toward Jews—everything, as the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman put it, “from love and respect to outright condemnation and genocidal hatred.”
At root is the idea that, good or bad, Jews are different from the non-Jewish mainstream and thus unable to be dealt with in the same way or measured by the same yardstick.
Ms. Gruber then goes on to prove how problematic this approach is by quoting her brother, Frank: “People who think Jews are smarter than everyone else don’t have Jewish relatives”.
The whole article can be found here.
I’m so excited. I’ll start using this term all the time from now on.
Entry filed under: Allosemitism.