Dialogues Across Differences: Pamela Nadell hosts panel on understanding antisemitism

Nadell testified before the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce on Dec. 5 alongside MIT President Sally Kornbluth

On Feb. 12, Pamella Nadell, director of the Jewish Studies Program at American University, held a lecture on understanding antisemitism at the Schwarzman College of Computing. Nadell testified before the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce on Dec. 5 alongside MIT President Sally Kornbluth and the former presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.

Nadell’s panel was titled “Understanding Antisemitism: Enduring Hatred,” and is the first in a series of panels organized by the Institute titled Dialogues Across Differences. The panel consisted of her talk followed by a fireside chat with Vice Provost Richard Lester and a question and answer session with the audience. President Kornbluth also attended the panel and facilitated the symposium.

Nadell acknowledged that there are many debates on how to define antisemitism. She mentioned that a definition that she believes is accurate comes from the Michigan State University’s guide for understanding antisemitism on campus. 

Nadell said that the ongoing conflict has only contributed to surging antisemitism in recent years. She cited acts of antisemitic chants, hateful symbols, and in some cases, assault and murder, all within the past decade.

Nadell also spoke about the shortcomings of Holocaust education in the US. Although many schools in the country have integrated Holocaust education into their curricula, Nadell believes that the requirement does not solve the issue of antisemitism. She stated that there need to be more avenues through which young people can be educated about the discrimination Jewish people have faced.

Nadell added that antisemitism has been magnified by social media, calling it the “most disruptive dissemination” of antisemitism possible. She said that historically, antisemitic rhetoric has spread via radio and print media including newspapers and books.

More Dialogues across Differences events will be held in the upcoming months. 

On Feb. 26, the Institute will host Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of University of California Berkeley School of Law and scholar in constitutional law and criminal procedure. Chemerinsky’s panel is titled: “Campus Freedom of Expression: Antisemitism and Current Controversies.”

On Mar. 18, Dalia Mogahed, former director of research at the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding and scholar in muslim studies, will headline the panel, “Islamophobia: A Threat to All.”

Murad Idris, associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan, will speak on Apr. 18. His panel is titled: “What Hinges on Anti-Palestinian Racism.” 

More information about these coming events can be found here.