A Call for Retraction: The Recent American Psychologist Article on Antisemitism

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 1 Jul 2024

Roy Eidelson – TRANSCEND Media Service

Source: Roy Eidelson

25 Jun 2024 – It is disappointing and distressing to see that the American Psychologist — the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association (APA) — has published an article[1] titled “The American Psychological Association and Antisemitism: Toward Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” The authors are six board members of the new “Association of Jewish Psychologists” (AJP): Lenore Walker, Ester Cole, Sarah Friedman, Beth Rom-Rymer, Arlene Steinberg, and Susan Warshaw. Regrettably, despite the authors’ distinguished credentials, it is my belief that their essay suffers significantly from a lack of rigorous scholarship, an overreliance on unreliable and biased sources, and a seemingly inadequate editorial and peer review process. In my view, the article should be retracted, and I will explain why. (As a matter of full disclosure, I note here, at the outset, that my personal perspective on several of the issues examined differs substantially from that of the authors.)

To be clear, one can fully acknowledge, as I do, the disturbing history of antisemitism in the United States and within the APA — as well as its worrisome resurgence in certain quarters — and still find the authors’ approach to these topics misguided and misleading. Their call for the APA to devote greater attention and resources to addressing antisemitism is certainly a worthy goal. But throughout the article, they adopt the view that criticism of Israel (sometimes simplified as “anti-Zionism”) — especially its policies and actions in relation to the Palestinian people — should be understood as antisemitism. This is a highly contested issue, but readers would never realize that from the authors’ one-sided presentation.

My analysis focuses, in order, on five important issues: (1) significant flaws in the definition and measurement of antisemitism that the authors rely on, (2) the repeated use of unreliable data and unconfirmed assertions linked to “pro-Israel” advocacy groups, (3) the authors’ unsubstantiated claims associated with their clear hostility toward the Palestinian-led, non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, (4) a range of other undocumented assertions of fact that cast doubt on the authors’ credibility in this arena, and (5) concerns about the authors’ self-promotion of AJP as a vehicle and partner for the APA’s own antisemitism-related efforts.

Before proceeding with this review, it is worth highlighting a glaring error that appears on the very first page of the article. Citing hate crime statistics[2] from the FBI’s 2019 Uniform Crime Report (UCR), the authors assert that Jews in the United States “were victims in over 50% of reported discriminatory acts.” But this is not at all what the UCR data shows. In fact, only approximately 12% (995 out of 8,559) of the recorded hate crime offenses — far fewer than 50% — were designated as reflecting “Anti-Jewish” bias. (Even this 12% figure is, of course, reason for serious concern.) For readers, this dramatic exaggeration, while perhaps inadvertent, serves as a highly distorting frame for everything that follows.

Defining and Measuring Antisemitism

The authors begin their discussion of antisemitism by noting that “Definitions of antisemitism include prejudice,hostility, and/or discrimination toward Jews as a multiracial, religious, and/or ethnic group on an individual, community, institutional, or societal level” (p. 5). This is unproblematic. But in the very same paragraph, they quickly shift to an endorsement of the controversial “working definition[3] of antisemitism offered by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Moreover, in a single sentence they dismissively reject serious reservations that have been raised about the IHRA’s approach to defining antisemitism. A peculiar expression of the authors’ own firm embrace of the IHRA document is their statement that it “has been adopted by most organizations” (p. 5). This is certainly not true, since relatively few organizations have any involvement in issues related to antisemitism.

Although the authors do not share this information, the IHRA working definition includes eleven examples of antisemitism and seven of them specifically reference Israel. Put simply, this conflates criticism of Israel or Zionism with hostility toward Jews in general. A range of scholars (none is cited by the authors) have criticized the IHRA’s approach to defining antisemitism for its misplaced focus on the state of Israel rather than on Jews as Jews (as examples, see here[4]here[5]here[6]here[7], and here[8]).

In my view, this conflation and the controversy surrounding the IHRA definition should not go unmentioned in a scholarly article. Nor should the considerable evidence that the antisemitism examples provided by the IHRA are used to discredit or silence Jews and non-Jews alike who speak out against Israel’s discriminatory policies or in defense of Palestinian rights (as examples, see here[9]here[10], and here[11]). In fact, one of the original drafters of the IHRA definition has expressed[12] alarm at how right-wing Jewish groups have sought to “weaponize” the document in their pursuit of legal sanctions against those who engage in political speech critical of Israel.

The authors choose not to note that there are other important alternative definitions to the IHRA’s. As one example, the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism[13] (JDA) was drafted in 2020 and endorsed by hundreds of scholars of the Holocaust, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies. It offers a definition of antisemitism that does not inordinately target criticism of Israel: “Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).”

The JDA document emphasizes that “hostility to Israel could be an expression of an antisemitic animus, or it could be a reaction to a human rights violation, or it could be the emotion that a Palestinian person feels on account of their experience at the hands of the State.” These guidelines recognize that none of the following is inherently antisemitic: supporting Palestinian demands for equal rights; criticizing or opposing Zionism as a form of nationalism; evidence-based criticism of Israel’s institutions, founding principles, policies, or practices; non-violent forms of political protest against Israel; and extreme political speech.

The authors of this American Psychologist article fail to engage with these issues. Instead, they simply state, “The new antisemitism manifests itself as anti-Zionism” (p. 6). (The fact that the two are not equivalent is demonstrated by the many cases of antisemitic Zionists[14] and by the long history of opposition to Zionism[15] found within Judaism itself.) Shortly thereafter, without documentation, the authors make a related and strangely tautological assertion: that “left-wing antisemites, especially in academia” are among the three groups “known for their overt antisemitism” (p. 6). Contrary to this unsubstantiated claim (and ignoring the vagueness of the phrase “known for”), there is recent research[16] showing that antisemitic attitudes become increasingly more pronounced as one moves from the left to the right in the United States.

In short, the authors’ apparent view that anti-Zionism is antisemitism provides important context and it seems to influence their entire “analysis.” Perhaps they assume that readers will readily agree with their perspective and therefore not question the research findings they rely on or the interpretations they make. This is a serious problem. As one of many such instances, consider this assertion the authors make: “By failing to address antisemitic statements made by groups sponsored or affiliated with the APA, the APA leaders and its members continue to support intended or unintended antisemitism” (p. 2). This is a provocative claim, stated as fact rather than opinion, but readers are never told what these statements are and are never given the opportunity to draw their own conclusions.

Unreliable Data and Unconfirmed Assertions from Biased Sources 

Throughout their article, the American Psychologist authors frequently use as primary sources the analyses offered by various “pro-Israel” advocacy groups. Readers are never informed about this consistent bias and may therefore mistakenly conclude that the information provided reflects scholarly expertise and objectivity when it does not. Consider several examples.

The article repeatedly cites Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports on antisemitism. But the many concerns[17] and questions[18] that have been raised about the ADL’s history[19], its priorities[20], and its approach[21] to measuring antisemitism receive no mention. The organization’s CEO has publicly stated[22]— without reservation or nuance — that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism.” Going further, he has also described[23] progressive Jewish organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace[24] and If Not Now[25] as “hate groups, the photo inverse of white supremacists” — due solely to their criticism of Israel. And he has called[26] upon university presidents to investigate the group Students for Justice in Palestine[27] for “potential violations of the prohibition against materially supporting a foreign terrorist organization.” In recent months, some of the ADL’s own staff members have expressed significant discomfort[28] over the direction the organization has taken in its fight against antisemitism.

Representative of the ADL’s troubling methodology are findings from researchers who conducted a detailed and comprehensive line-by-line reassessment[29] of the organization’s 2023 audit of “antisemitic incidents.” Dramatically different results were obtained when the IHRA definition of antisemitism was replaced by the JDA definition. From the total of 8,873 incidents counted by the ADL, only 56% qualified as “unambiguously antisemitic” under the JDA definition. In particular, 1,472 incidents related to pro-Palestinian advocacy that were deemed antisemitic by the ADL would not have been coded that way if the JDA definition had been used. This study also revealed that for many incidents there was insufficient detail to confidently categorize them at all. Reflecting similar reservations, the widely used online “free encyclopedia” Wikipedia has recentlyidentified[30] the ADL as “generally unreliable” on the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The authors also cite the organization “Honest Reporting” as an antidote to “inaccurate reports in the traditional media” (p. 7). However, they fail to mention that this is an Israel-based advocacy group that describes its mission[31], in part, as an effort to “combat ideological prejudice in journalism and the media, as it impacts Israel.” Among its activities are public pressure campaigns[32] encouraging its readers to inundate news outlets with complaints over coverage critical of Israel. But the organization’s own reporting deserves scrutiny as well. Even a cursory review of its “News Critiques[33] section demonstrates an obvious and consistent spin: dismissing reports from unfavorable sources and treating statements from Israeli government officials as factually true without question.

“StandWithUs” is yet another well-known Israel advocacy group. The authors cite the group appreciatively for filing civil rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Education against faculty members whose criticism of Israel it deems unacceptable. The organization’s website[34] highlights, “We are inspired by our love of Israel, our belief that education is the road to peace, and our commitment to stand up for Israel and the Jewish people.” StandWithUs also calls[35] itself the “Israel Emergency Alliance,” receives funding[36]from the Israeli government, and reportedly[37] maintains a database of secret dossiers on pro-Palestinian speakers and activists.

The authors also reference the “Academic Engagement Network” (AEN), for similar reasons. This organization has as its mission[38] “to mobilize networks of university faculty and administrators to counter antisemitism, oppose the denigration of Jewish and Zionist identities, promote academic freedom, and advance education about Israel.” AEN’s conception of academic freedom, however, is apparently not broadly applied: a particular emphasis of the organization is its strident opposition to campus support for the Palestinian-led, non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Finally, the authors cite the “AMCHA Initiative.”[39] Claiming to “combat antisemitism on U.S. college campuses,” the organization’s activities[40] include efforts to cancel university courses, blacklist professors, and file legal complaints, arguing that criticism of Israel creates a hostile educational environment. A committee of the Middle East Studies Association once wrote[41] that the group’s tactics “stifle the free and open discussion of, and the vigorous exchange of opinions on, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on college and university campuses.”

All of these groups are presented by the authors as though they are reliable sources of accurate information. That view appears to be misinformed at best and disingenuous at worst.

Criticism of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

Without ever describing its origins[42] or mission[43], the authors espouse a highly critical view of the BDS movement. Despite the movement’s predominant focus on Israel rather than Jews, the American Psychologist authors apparently consider it and its supporters inherently antisemitic. In contrast, the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism referenced earlier expresses a contrary view: “Boycott, divestment and sanctions are commonplace, non-violent forms of political protest against states. In the Israeli case they are not, in and of themselves, antisemitic.”

The authors’ BDS criticisms consistently lack the careful documentation one should reasonably expect in a scholarly article. For example, they assert, “Many scholars believe some of the rise of antisemitism has developed because of ‘progressive’ left-leaning Jews’ own criticisms of Israel and the movement on university campuses to punish Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians by withdrawing from Israel’s economic and social support using the boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) movement (Elman, 2020)” (p. 7). But while Elman — the executive director of the anti-BDS “Academic Engagement Network” mentioned above — offers her own critical view of the progressive organization “Jewish Voice for Peace,” she does not support her position with analysis from “many scholars.”

The authors offer the same single source when they complain that “the APA has been silent on the issue of BDS sweeping across high schools and colleges causing psychological harm to students and faculty (Elman, 2020)” (pp. 9-10). But Elman does not discuss psychological harm (she is a political scientist, not a psychologist), she does not maintain that BDS is “sweeping across high schools and colleges,” and she does not demonstrate a causal relationship between the two. This, then, seems instead to be an untested linkage posited by the American Psychologist authors — and it should be presented that way.

In another instance, the authors emphasize that “Schlosser and Ancis found antisemitism was higher when the BDS movement was encouraged” (p. 7). But the authors provide no citation for what they describe as a “meta-analysis,” so readers cannot examine the findings. If the measures used in some or all of these studies coded criticism of Israel or Zionism as antisemitism, then one would obviously expect a positive association. After all, the BDS movement is unabashedly critical of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. As noted above, that does not mean that the movement is antisemitic. Regardless, the authors’ failure to include the relevant citation here is yet another indication of poor scholarship.

The authors similarly offer neither evidence nor citations when they write, “Frequently, the history of the verycomplex conflict and the national aspirations of the two partners to the conflict are lost on many who engage in BDS rhetoric especially those who do not live in Israel or Palestine” (p. 7). Arguably, they are free to speculate and share their impressions but, at the very least, these musings should be identified as such. They should not be presented as research-based conclusions.

Several citations are provided by the authors when they assert, “The condemnation of Israel and increase in the BDS movement on campuses have partly led to the increase in antisemitism in the United States and around the world against all Jews…(ADL, 2021; Ancis et al., 2022; Feinberg, 2021; The Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, 2021)” (p. 11). Aside from concerns about how antisemitism is measured, the claim of a causal relationship is seemingly without documentation. It is not difficult to imagine that this correlation, if valid, might be explained by a third variable. Research[44] has shown, for example, that antisemitic hate crimes in the United States tend to increase following violent Israeli military engagements with Palestinians. It would not be surprising if support for the BDS movement increases as well.

But the authors’ selection of these citations raises other concerns as well. (I will not reiterate the data analysis problems associated with their citation of the ADL.) First, the Ancis et al (2022) citation refers to a pamphlet[45] that appears to be little more than pro-Israel propaganda. It presents an historical account that seemingly holds Israel blameless for any Palestinian suffering. It describes the BDS movement as “the product of a decades-long global disinformation campaign.” And it defines BDS as a “form of antisemitism.”

Second, the Feinberg (2021) citation is a publication[46] of the aforementioned pro-Israel Academic Engagement Network. Feinberg’s analyses apparently rely on a database of “antisemitic incidents” based on the IHRA definition and collected by the AMCHA Initiative, yet another pro-Israel organization also described earlier. But an examination of the database reveals that it includes a variety of BDS-related events. If those were part of Feinberg’s analysis, that would seemingly represent a potentially important confound in any finding that support for BDS “increases” antisemitism.

Finally, the report[47] on worldwide antisemitism from the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry (2021) includes no mention whatsoever of the BDS movement. In fact, where the report focuses specifically on antisemitism in the United States as a case study, it highlights something important and entirely different: the antisemitic narratives of far-right conspiratorial groups.

In short, the authors are entitled to their own views, including their intense opposition to BDS, a movement focused on Israel, not Jews. But it is very concerning — in fact, I believe unacceptable — that they make a range of BDS-related claims without providing the research evidence expected in a scholarly article, while also seeming to misrepresent sources that they do rely on.

Other Scholarly Shortcomings

The authors’ apparent comfort in presenting their own personal views as facts — without documentation — is a serious problem that extends well beyond the BDS issue alone. Throughout their essay, there appears to be an implicit bias: the assumption that criticisms of Israel should be understood as intrinsically antisemitic. Consider several additional examples.

The authors write that “Ill-informed accounts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have also served to increase antisemitic incidents worldwide” (p. 7). This causal claim may or may not be true. But since no evidence is provided, how are we to know? Regardless, although the authors do not mention it, presumably there are “ill-informed accounts” emerging from both sides.

They also assert that “Many [news media] publish events out of context that give negative impressions of Jews” (p. 7). Given the purported prevalence of these distortions, readers deserve evidence — but yet again none is provided. How is a broad, undocumented indictment of this sort appropriate in the American Psychologist?

Without citation, the article claims that “The trauma effects from antisemitism need to be studied and addressed especially given its prevalence in high schools and colleges” (p. 12). Such effects should indeed be studied and addressed, but the authors share neither what they mean by “trauma effects” nor the evidence that they are widespread.

On a related topic, the authors write that “Some [Jews] have supported sanctions against the state of Israel causing great harm to other Jews, especially students” (p. 4). Here too, both the causal relationship and the “great harm” are merely posited, without any clarification or documentation — and with no consideration of why some Jews support sanctions as a morally correct choice.

Finally, the authors assert that “Progressives in the U.S. Democratic political party…have engaged in…antisemitic remarks. Some are couched in anti-Zionism” (p. 6). This type of broad generalization is unwarranted without extensive documentation, but none is provided. And it is yet another instance where the authors blur the important distinction between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

Promotion of the “Association of Jewish Psychologists”

The American Psychologist is disseminated monthly to tens of thousands of APA members as a benefit of membership. The authors use this opportunity to explicitly promote the “Association of Jewish Psychologists” (AJP), where they all serve on the board of directors. Elsewhere, I have expressed[48] in some detail my misgivings about AJP (misgivings that AJP’s leadership has seemingly characterized as “misinformation”). Here I will briefly highlight only two, neither of which is apparent in the information the authors provide to readers of their article.

First, AJP’s mission statement[49] asserts that Jews have “a shared identity as a people, rooted in a common identification with its Jewish homeland, now found in modern day Israel.” To the extent this message conveys an expectation that AJP members should possess a strong and positive sense of rootedness in relation to the State of Israel, the statement is exclusionary, perhaps more so than the organization’s leaders realize. Acknowledgment of AJP’s Zionist ideology does not appear in the American Psychologist essay. Certainly, this perspective can color the authors’ views on antisemitism, their interpretations of events, and the organization’s work. Indeed, despite its seemingly inclusive name, AJP does not represent the values and concerns of a sizeable fraction of the Jewish community — and the authors express some very negative views about these dissenting Jews (I am one of them).

Second, after Hamas’s horrific and deadly attacks in Israel last October 7th and the commencement of Israel’s massive retaliatory assault on Gaza, the APA issued a press release.[50] That statement noted, in part, “There can be no justification for cutting off access to basic necessities, such as electricity, food and medicine.” The official response[51] from AJP’s board of directors described the APA’s condemnation of these acts of collective punishment as “terribly naïve.” It is hard to imagine that any professional group—let alone an organization of health professionals—could actually condone the utter devastation of a people. Perhaps AJP’s response can be excused as an impulsive and emotional overreaction to the carnage of October 7th. But no public apology or retraction has been offered in the many months since.

This background about AJP is relevant both for making judgments about the authors’ claims in their article and for evaluating the agenda they recommend that the APA now undertake in support of their priorities. For example, they hope that AJP “will be granted a seat…on the APA Council ofRepresentatives so a Jewish voice is represented when policy decisions are being made” (p. 10). (Last February, AJP’s initial efforts in this direction were not supported by ethnic minority psychological associations affiliated with the APA.) The authors also hope that the APA will work with AJP “to develop programs around antisemitism, hate, prejudice and its development, impact, and disassembly” (p. 12) and “to recognize the complex nature of Jewish identity, the unfortunate history of antisemitism including silence in not addressing known acts, and its psychological and social harm” (p. 12).

In my view, however, the American Psychologist article demonstrates exactly why it is doubtful that AJP, as currently constituted, can credibly, objectively, and scientifically undertake the kind of antisemitism work the authors recommend. In this regard, one particularly telling example is their seemingly defamatory attack on an APA member with critical views of Israel. In their essay, they accuse this faculty member of “hate-filled posts on social media and…antisemitic behavior toward Jewish students…as well as…retaliation against them when they complained (Burston, 2021; Nelson, 2021)” (p. 11).

However, the authors disturbingly fail to inform the reader that the university conducted a comprehensive investigation[52] of these allegations, engaging the services of an independent, third-party law firm. That review “found no evidence substantiating the allegations of discriminatory and retaliatory conduct alleged in the complaint. Many of the statements the complaint alleges…were, according to those who heard them, either inaccurate or taken out of context and misrepresented.” Crucially, these exonerating findings became public before the authors ever submitted their manuscript to the American Psychologist last fall. (In another indication of an apparent lack of scholarly care, the two citations the authors provide are articles published more than a year before the alleged events had even occurred.)

Personal Reflections and My Call for Retraction

For all of the reasons presented here, I believe the decision to publish this article in the APA’s flagship journal was extremely misguided and I find the seeming lack of adequate peer review hard to understand. (In fact, the final revised version of the manuscript was evidently accepted for publication a mere three days after its submission.) To be clear, I do not question the authors’ credentials or capabilities. But it seems reasonable to ask whether their own strong convictions led to the presentation of personal opinion as substantiated scholarly analysis.

I acknowledge and appreciate the dangers and fears associated with resurgent antisemitism in the United States and beyond. But in choosing to focus so much on Israel, it appears that the authors have neglected to give adequate attention to what is arguably the most dangerous form[53] of virulent antisemitism: the violent ideology of right-wing extremists[54] — white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and others. At the same time, I also recognize that, in some cases, anti-Zionism can be an expression of antisemitism. But I believe any agenda that equates the two in a simplistic manner is unfair and, even worse, is harmful to constructive efforts aimed at advancing the values of freedom, equality, and democracy.

There is also a deeper issue that I cannot ignore. Throughout the article, the authors avoid providing readers with crucial context for understanding much of the criticism of Israel and the ideology of Zionism: namely, the country’s decades-long oppression of the Palestinian people. And while they warn of “the increased threat of annihilation of the state of Israel” (p. 4), the words “Nakba,” “occupation,” and “apartheid” never appear. Moreover, although this essay was initially submitted to the American Psychologist in August 2023 — before the heightened violence that erupted last October in Israel and Gaza — the authors’ final revision was submitted in March 2024, six-months after the Israel Defense Forces’ devastating and continuing assault began.

That assault — which has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Gaza (many of them women and children); the displacement of almost the entire population of two-million Gazans; the destruction of entire neighborhoods, including hospitals and schools; and the looming threat of mass starvation — has been characterized as genocidal by a wide range of leading human rights groups and international law scholars (as examples, see  here[55]here[56]here[57]here[58], and here[59]). Yet the authors offer only a solitary passing reference to this reality, referring to “the Hamas massacre of Jews in Southern Israel” and “Israel’s retaliation causing death and destruction of Palestinians in Gaza” (p. 7). And they do so solely to highlight a post-October 7th spike in “antisemitism” as measured by the ADL — which counted pro-Palestinian protests,[60] including those with Jewish organizers, as “antisemitic.”

In sum, given the many identified shortcomings, it is perplexing to me that the American Psychologist accepted this article in its current form. In my view, its publication in a premier scholarly journal now lends unwarranted credibility to the authors’ questionable analysis of antisemitism — a critically important issue. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that the unsubstantiated discrediting of individuals and groups distressed by the real-world consequences of Israel’s assault on Gaza can further endanger lives and set back the pursuit of a just peace.

I would welcome a clarifying explanation from the journal’s editorial staff regarding their decision to publish this essay. And if I have erred in any part of my review, I would also welcome a response from the authors, one that identifies my specific errors. Otherwise, I firmly believe that a full retraction of the article is the only appropriate course of action.

NOTES:

[1] Walker, L. E. A., Cole, E., Friedman, S. L., Rom-Rymer, B., Steinberg, A., & Warshaw, S. (2024). The American Psychological Association and antisemitism: Toward equity, diversity, and inclusion. American Psychologist. Advance online publication. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Famp0001369

[2] Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2019). Uniform Crime Report Hate Crime Statistics, 2019. U.S. Department of Justice. https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2019/topic-pages/victims

[3] International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. (n.d.). Working definition of antisemitism. https://holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definition-antisemitism

[4] Gould, R. R. (2020). The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism: Defining Antisemitism by Erasing Palestinians. The Political Quarterly, Vol. 91, No. 4, October–December. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1467-923X.12883

[5] Gordon, N. (2024). Antisemitism and Zionism: The Internal Operations of the IHRA Definition. Middle East Critique. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epdf/10.1080/19436149.2024.2330821

[6] European Legal Support Center and Britsh Society for Middle Eastern Studies. (September 2023). The Adverse Impact of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism. https://www.brismes.ac.uk/files/documents/Freedom%20of%20Speech%20and%20Academic%20Freedom%20in%20UK%20Higher%20Education-BRISMES-ELSC.pdf

[7] Deckers, J., & Coulter, J. (2022). What Is Wrong with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Definition of Antisemitism? Res Publica 28:733–752. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9092927/pdf/11158_2022_Article_9553.pdf

[8] Lerman, A. (2022). Whatever Happened to Antisemitism?: Redefinition and the Myth of the ‘Collective Jew.’ (London: Pluto Press). https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745338774/whatever-happened-to-antisemitism/

[9] Friedman, L. (2023). Targeting Free Speech & Redefining Antisemitism: How Pro-Israel Actors Are Using US Laws to Attack Palestinian Activism & Solidarity, 54 U. PAC. L. REV. 612. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1473&context=uoplawreview

[10] Fischer, K. “In an ‘Extraordinarily Unusual’ Letter, Israel’s President Urges College Leaders to Fight Antisemitism.” Chronicle of Higher Education (November 10, 2023). https://www.chronicle.com/article/in-an-extraordinarily-unusual-letter-israels-president-urges-college-leaders-to-fight-antisemitism

[11] Coward, T. “Members of Congress, foreign diplomat, and advocacy orgs pressure UNC to cancel course on Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. (October 19, 2021). https://www.thefire.org/news/members-congress-foreign-diplomat-and-advocacy-orgs-pressure-unc-cancel-course-israeli

[12] Stern, K. “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it.” The Guardian (December 13, 2019). https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect

[13] The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism. (March 25, 2021). https://jerusalemdeclaration.org/

[14] Beinart, P. “Antisemitic Zionists Aren’t a Contradiction in Terms.” Jewish Currents. (January 1, 2023). https://jewishcurrents.org/antisemitic-zionists-arent-a-contradiction-in-terms

[15] Denvir, D. “Zionism’s History Is Also a History of Jewish Anti-Zionism: An Interview with Shaul Magid.” Jacobin. (January 28, 2024). https://jacobin.com/2024/01/shaul-magid-interview-zionism-anti-zionism-judaism-history

[16] Hersh, E., & Royden, L. (2023). Antisemitic Attitudes Across the Ideological Spectrum. Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 76(2), 697-711. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/10659129221111081

[17] Kane, A., & Hutt, J. “How the ADL’s Israel Advocacy Undermines Its Civil Rights Work.” Jewish Currents. (Spring 2021). https://jewishcurrents.org/how-the-adls-israel-advocacy-undermines-its-civil-rights-work

[18] Lee, M. “Anti-Defamation League Maps Jewish Peace Rallies with Antisemitic Attacks.” The Intercept. (November 11, 2023). https://theintercept.com/2023/11/11/palestine-israel-protests-ceasefire-antisemitic/

[19] Gelman, E. “The Anti-Defamation League Is Not What It Seems.” Boston Review. (May 23, 2019). https://www.bostonreview.net/articles/emmaia-gelman-anti-defamation-league/

[20] Tamkin, E. “The Anti-Defamation League Has Abandoned Some of the People It Exists to Protect.” Slate. (April 29, 2024). https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2024/04/antisemitism-adl-defamation-league-greenblatt-jews-israel-encampments-ceasefire.html

[21] Cohen, M. “The ADL’s Antisemitism Findings, Explained.” Jewish Currents. (April 4, 2023). https://jewishcurrents.org/the-adls-antisemitism-findings-explained

[22] Anti-Defamation League. “Remarks by Jonathan Greenblatt to the ADL Virtual National Leadership Summit.” (May 1, 2022). https://www.adl.org/remarks-jonathan-greenblatt-adl-virtual-national-leadership-summit

[23] Greenblatt, J. Post on X/Twitter. (October 18, 2023). https://x.com/JGreenblattADL/status/1714791774869487973

[24] Jewish Voice for Peace. (n.d.). https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/

[25] If Not Now. (n.d.). https://www.ifnotnowmovement.org/

[26] Anti-Defamation League. “Letter from Anti-defamation league and the Brandeis Center to college and university presidents.” (October 25, 2023). https://www.adl.org/resources/letter/adl-and-brandeis-center-letter-presidents-colleges-and-universities

[27] National Students for Justice in Palestine. (n.d.). https://nationalsjp.org/

[28] Guyer, J., & Perkins, T. “Anti-Defamation League staff decry ‘dishonest’ campaign against Israel critics.” The Guardian (January 1, 2024). https://www.theguardian.com/news/2024/jan/05/adl-pro-israel-advocacy-zionism-antisemitism

[29] Burley, S., & ben Avraham, J. “Examining the ADL’s Antisemitism Audit.” Jewish Currents. (June 17, 2024). https://jewishcurrents.org/examining-the-adls-antisemitism-audit

[30] Eshman, R. “Wikipedia called the ADL ‘unreliable.’ It’s a wake-up call the civil rights organization badly needs.” Forward. (June 19, 2024). https://forward.com/opinion/625117/wikipedia-adl-unreliable-jonathan-greenblatt/

[31] Honest Reporting. (n.d.). “About Us.” https://honestreporting.com/about/

[32] Krausz, T. “Watchdogs on the media battlefield.” Jerusalem Post. (February 6, 2013). https://www.jpost.com/arts-and-culture/arts/watchdogs-on-the-media-battlefield

[33] Honest Reporting. (n.d.). “News Critiques https://honestreporting.com/media-critiques/

[34] StandWithUs. (n.d.). “About.” https://www.standwithus.com/about

[35] StandWithUs. (n.d.). “Donate.” https://www.standwithus.com/donate

[36] “Prime Minister’s Office Hires Israel Advocacy Group StandWithUs for 1 Million Shekels.” Haaretz. (January 13, 2015). https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2015-01-13/ty-article/prime-ministers-office-hires-israel-advocacy-group-standwithus-for-1-million-shekels/0000017f-dbef-db5a-a57f-dbef24d10000

[37] Kane, A. “Israel lobby group compiles secret dossiers on pro-Palestinian speakers.” Mondoweiss. (February 25, 2014). https://mondoweiss.net/2014/02/compiles-palestinian-speakers/

[38] Academic Engagement Network. (n.d.). https://academicengagement.org/

[39] AMCHA Initiative. (n.d.). https://amchainitiative.org

[40] Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights. The Palestine Exception to Free Speech. (September 2015). https://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/09/Palestine%20Exception%20Report%20Final.pdf

[41] Middle East Studies Association Committee on Academic Freedom. “Amcha Initiative Report Accusing UCLA’s Center of Sponsoring Public Events Characterized by Antisemitism and ‘anti-Israel bias.’” (October 24, 2014). https://mesana.org/advocacy/committee-on-academic-freedom/2014/10/23/amcha-initiative-report-accusing-uclas-center-of-sponsoring-public-events-characterized-by-antisemitism-and-anti-israel-bias

[42] Boycott, Divest, Sanctions Movement. (n.d.). https://bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds

[43] Boycott, Divest, Sanctions Movement. “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS.” (July 5, 2005). https://bdsmovement.net/call

[44] Feinberg, A. K. (2020). Homeland Violence and Diaspora Insecurity: An Analysis of Israel and American Jewry. Politics and Religion13(1), 1–27. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/politics-and-religion/article/abs/homeland-violence-and-diaspora-insecurity-an-analysis-of-israel-and-american-jewry/2F7D87C36A37A0D0EB9600C7D58B2510

[45] Ancis, J. R., Stein, S., & Balva, D. “BDS: A Guide for Psychologists and Allied Mental Health Professionals.” Psychologists Against Antisemitism. (May 25, 2022). https://www.psychaas.com/_files/ugd/32fee7_192b8a95590948f49a46bee7a05e778c.pdf

[46] Feinberg, A. K. (n.d.). “From Scholarship to Swastikas: Explaining Campus Antisemitic Events.” Academic Engagement Network. https://academicengagement.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/From-Scholarship-to-Swastikas-Explaining-Campus-Antisemitic-Events_AEN_Ayal-Feinberg_2021.pdf

[47] Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry. (2021). Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2021. https://cst.tau.ac.il/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Antisemitism-Worldwide-2021.pdf

[48] Eidelson, R. “My Concerns about the ‘Association of Jewish Psychologists.’” (April 25, 2024). https://royeidelson.com/my-concerns-about-the-association-of-jewish-psychologists/

[49] Association of Jewish Psychologists. (n.d.). “Mission Statement.” https://associationofjewishpsychologists.com/#mission-statement

[50] American Psychological Association. “APA warns of psychological impacts of violence in Middle East.” (October 11, 2023). https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2023/10/middle-east-violence-statement

[51] Association of Jewish Psychologists. “AJP Rebuttal to APA Statement.” (October 16, 2023). https://associationofjewishpsychologists.com/ajp-rebuttal-to-apa-statement/

[52] George Washington University, Office of the President. “Summary of Findings of Independent Investigation by Crowell & Moring LLP.” (March 27, 2023). https://president.gwu.edu/summary-findings-independent-investigation-crowell-moring-llp

[53] Fausset, R., & Feuer, A. “Far Right Groups Surge Into National View in Charlottesville.” New York Times. (August 13, 2017). https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/us/far-right-groups-blaze-into-national-view-in-charlottesville.html

[54] Beirich, H. “Antisemitism Rising Among American Right-Wing Extremists.” Institute for National Security Studies. (January 21, 2021). https://www.inss.org.il/publication/antisemitism-rising-among-american-right-wing-extremists/

[55] International Court of Justice. “Application Instituting Proceedings.” (December 28, 2023). https://www.icj-cij.org/sites/default/files/case-related/192/192-20231228-app-01-00-en.pdf

[56] University Network for Human Rights. Genocide in Gaza: Analysis of International Law and Its Application to Israel’s Military Actions Since October 7, 2023. (May 15, 2024). https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b3538249d5abb21360e858f/t/66475850eceb152a52fd55fe/1715951696844/Genocide+in+Gaza+-+Final+version+051524.pdf

[57] Neier, A. “Is Israel Committing Genocide?” New York Review of Books. (June 6, 2024). https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2024/06/06/is-israel-committing-genocide-aryeh-neier/

[58] Center for Constitutional Rights. “Israel’s Unfolding Crime of Genocide of the Palestinian People & U.S. Failure to Prevent and Complicity in Genocide.” (October 18, 2023). https://ccrjustice.org/israel-s-unfolding-crime-genocide-palestinian-people-us-failure-prevent-and-complicity-genocide

[59] Amnesty International. “Israel/OPT: New evidence of unlawful Israeli attacks in Gaza causing mass civilian casualties amid real risk of genocide.” (February 12, 2024). https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2024/02/israel-opt-new-evidence-of-unlawful-israeli-attacks-in-gaza-causing-mass-civilian-casualties-amid-real-risk-of-genocide/

[60] Varkiani, A. M. “ADL Officially Admits It Counts Pro-Palestine Activism as Antisemitic.” The New Republic. (January 10, 2024). https://newrepublic.com/post/177993/adl-abandons-pretense-tracking-antisemitism-honestly-palestine-rallies

_______________________________________________

Roy Eidelson is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and was a member of the American Psychological Association for over 25 years, prior to his resignation. He is a clinical psychologist and the president of Eidelson Consulting, where he studies, writes about, and consults on the role of psychological issues in political, organizational, and group conflict settings. He is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, former executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, and a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology. Roy is the author of Political Mind Games: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What’s Happening, What’s Right, and What’s Possible and can be reached at reidelson@eidelsonconsulting.com.

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One Response to “A Call for Retraction: The Recent American Psychologist Article on Antisemitism”

  1. I sympathazie with the focus of the article and the need to produce it to complement the focus of the document criticized. That said, the interaction unfortunately takes the form of “he said, she said” with no hope for either reconciliation or transcendence in a post-truth era. My preference is to generalize such discourse through recognition of the extensive pattern of “anti-otherness” arguments — too readily neglected by the focus on the particular instance of atni-semitism. However, given the detailed articulation of concerns so framed, any one articulation can be used as a form of template into which any form of “anti-otherness” can be inserted and suitably deplored as a basis for the recommendations in that regard. The template used was: Elaborating a Declaration on Combating Anti-otherness (https://www.laetusinpraesens.org/musings/antiothe.php). This was presented as relevant to anti-science, anti-spiritual, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-socialism, anti-animal, and anti-negativity. The template used was the remarkable https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Declaration_on_Combating_Antisemitism (2009)

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