Alberto Spektorowski

Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Anti-Zionism: Discrimination and Political Construction

  • Religious studies

This article argues that from the end of the 19thcentury, the debate about anti-Semitism became a marker for a wider dispute focusing on the meaning of national identity. Integrating the Jews into the polity was part, and even a justification, of the Enlightenment political project and of the democratic state. However, while the Jewish question was fundamental for politics and philosophy in the Enlightenment, in our time, as the Enlightenment fades, the Muslim question takes its place. This article argues that the goal of integrating Muslims into the Western democratic polity under a culturally blind, egalitarian and secular type of non-discrimination has proven to be unsuccessful. Moreover, rather than pitting racist nationalists against liberal democrats, it has triggered a “civic confrontation” in liberal political thought, between liberal multiculturalists and supporters of religious freedom who understand, on the one hand, and secular democratic integrationists, on the other.

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