The question of anti-Semitism has been at the forefront of much political discussion and debate in recent years. We are seeing the rise of a new wave of anti-Semitism - not only driven by the street fighting far right, but in close proximity to the Trump presidency and part of the arsenal of those in power in Hungary. An outspoken anti-Semitic right has again become more visible across Western societies as part of the rise of racism and the far right across the board. It is virulent and dangerous.
This paper explores contemporary Jewish identity-formation and the centrality of official Holocaust memory and Zionism – understood as the ongoing settler-colonial project aiming at the formation and maintenance of a Jewish-exclusivist state in Palestine – to this process. It argues that identity politics within the Jewish community are based on an understanding of identity, which assumes it to be static and individual. In doing so, this political approach reproduces the essentialisation of Jewish communities under the banner of Zionism and official state history. The paper aims to show how this process of identification between Judaism, official Holocaust memory and Zionism has been a state-led process, rooted in the historical development of antisemitism and European colonialism. In order to do so, it builds on a critique of classical Marxist analyses of the Jewish question. It finally proposes a more fluid approach to identity, which understands it as socially constructed, contested, and subject to political contestation.