“You, Zionist” UofM Event Tackles the Z-Word

This is a guest post by Jodi Elowitz, Outreach Coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.

On Tuesday, March 29, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) at the University of Minnesota is hosting Meïr Waintrater, French journalist and editor-in-chief of L’Arche, the premier magazine of the Jewish community in France.

Waintrater will present “‘You, Zionist!’ Uses and Misuses of the Z-Word in Current Political Discourse.” For several years, within circles hostile to Israel, there has been a systematic use of the words “Zionism” and “Zionist” where the words “Israel” and “Israelis” would be expected. Waintrater will contrast the use of the word “Zionist” in France, Great Britain and the United States. He will suggest that while criticism of Israel should not be reduced to Jew-hatred, the “anti-Zionist” argument is often used to legitimize genuine anti-Semitism. “The topic that he will tackle is crucial, especially in a time when Jews don’t know how to react to the Middle East conflict,” said Bruno Chaouat, CHGS director.

Meïr Waintrater was born in 1947 in Paris, and lived and worked as an economist and journalist at various institutions in Israel between 1973 and 1988. As editor-in-chief of L’Arche, he is a major commentator on questions of Jewish importance in Europe and France. France is home to one of the largest Jewish communities, while at the same time being home to one of the largest Muslim populations in Western Europe. Waintrater’s perspective is essential to understanding the tensions between the two communities, as well as the recent increase in French Jewish immigration to Israel which can be seen as a consequence of a new trend in anti-Semitism.

“You, Zionist!” Uses and Misuses of the Z-Word in Current Political Discourse with Meïr Waintrater.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

St. Paul Jewish Community Center (1375 St. Paul Avenue).

This event is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsors: Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), St. Paul JCC, Center for Jewish Studies University of MN, School of Journalism and Mass Communication University of MN.