Antisemitism expert Kenneth Stern speaks at UNC Asheville Oct. 3

Kenneth Stern

Press release from UNC Asheville:

Nationally noted author and attorney Kenneth S. Stern, who for 25 years was the American Jewish Committee’s expert on antisemitism, will give a free public lecture, “Antisemitism through a Hate Studies Lens,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Student Union, Blue Ridge Room.

This event is presented by UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies, and co-sponsored by the University’s Department of Religious Studies and the Belk Distinguished Professorship, Carolina Jews for Justice, the Asheville Jewish Community Center, Congregation Beth Ha Tephila and Congregation Beth Israel.

Stern is the director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, a program of Bard University’s Human Rights Project, and he was the lead drafter of the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia’s “Working Definition of Antisemitism.”

As an attorney, he has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, and in England, he was part of the team that successfully defended author Deborah Lipstadt against libel claims stemming from her book about Holocaust deniers.

Stern provides this preview of his Oct. 3 talk:

“Antisemitism is one of the world’s most persistent forms of hatred, and comes in a variety of forms – religious, racial and political. It exists on the right and on the left, and sometimes, as we’ve seen recently in Pittsburgh and Southern California, people think they are doing noble deeds of self-defense when they murder Jews.

We tend to think of antisemitism in isolation, and there are reasons for insisting on its uniqueness, among them so that the targeting of Jews is not somehow made to disappear under a generalized lament of racism.

But more significantly, antisemitism – what it is, how it functions, and what might be done about it – cannot be understood without seeing it as a subset of the human capacity to hate. For as long as human beings have existed, we have defined an ‘us’ and a ‘them.’ We’re hardwired that way, sometimes with deadly consequences. What does looking at antisemitism through this wider framework tell us?”

As part of his commitment to a wider framework of human rights, Stern served as co-counsel for American Indian Movement co-founder Dennis Banks, and authored Loud Hawk: The United States vs. The American Indian Movement. His other books are A Force Upon the Plain: The American Militia Movement and the Politics of Hate; Antisemitism Today: How It Is the Same, How It Is Different and How to Fight It; and Holocaust Denial.

Stern also is a founding member of the Alliance for Academic Freedom and is currently writing a book titled The Conflict Over the Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate. Stern’s op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Forward, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and elsewhere. He has appeared on the CBS Evening News, Dateline, Good Morning America, Face the Nation, the History Channel, PBS, and on NPR’s Fresh Air and All Things Considered.

For more information, contact the Center for Jewish Studies at 828.232.5027.

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