Admittedly, there is something uncanny about anti-Semitism. Regardless of the most meticulous historical representation, and in spite of its deep inscription on modernity, even when it is rubbed against one’s nose – anti-Semitism keeps claiming the place of a phantom, or a metaphor, in the mind; as if shielded from consciousness by a stubborn disturbance of memory. Its reality is usually accompanied by doubt or is recognised briefly, preferably in retrospect, as a relic from the past, something one learnt about in school. The words of Sigmund Freud doubting the sensory impressions of the acropolis come to mind: “So all this really does exist, just as we learnt at school!’ (Freud, 1936).
Paper read at the conference “Why Anti-Semitism” organised by the Hellenic Psychoanalytic Society, Goethe Institute, Athens, Greece, March 14 2014>>