On the History of Antisemitism
Antisemitism Lecture Series
Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at 1:00 PM PT
USC Shoah Foundation Global Headquarters
Leavey Library 4th Floor
650 West McCarthy Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089
In this lecture, Dr. Robert J. Williams, Mark Weitzman, and Dr. James Wald will present on their recently-published edited volume, the Routledge History of Antisemitism. Antisemitism is a topic on which there is a wide gap between scholarly and popular understanding, and as concern over antisemitism has grown, so too have the debates over how to understand and combat it. This book explores its history and manifestations, ranging from its origins to the internet.
Joanna Mendelson is the Senior Vice President, Community Engagement of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. She supports the Federation in its effort to enhance the Los Angeles community by building a strong Jewish future and a safe and vibrant Israel through civic leadership, partnerships, and education both in and outside of the Jewish community.
Ms. Mendelson helps convene statewide and national coalitions, expand interfaith and multi-faith community relationships and lead local, state, and federal advocacy efforts.
Prior to this, she worked for more than two decades for the ADL, most recently serving on the national team as Associate Director for the Center on Extremism, which combats extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate in the real world and online. She trained more than 12,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, judges and public officials nationwide on extremism and domestic terrorism related issues. Ms. Mendelson is a certified subject matter expert and has provided testimony in numerous criminal cases involving extremism. In partnership with law enforcement partners, she has helped thwart potential extremist attacks against Jews and other vulnerable communities. Additionally, Ms. Mendelson authored, then testified and successfully lobbied in favor of legislation addressing paper terrorism tactics used by sovereign citizens. She frequently speaks to national and international media outlets, including CNN, the BBC and CBS.
Dr. Robert Williams is the Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. In addition, he is an Advisor to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education, and on the steering committee of the German and US government-funded Global Task Force Against Holocaust Distortion. Previously, he was deputy director for international affairs at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, deputy head of scholarly initiatives at the museum, a member of the US delegation to the IHRA, and the long-time chair of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial.
He has played several leadership roles in international initiatives focused on Holocaust, antisemitism, and extremism issues. Robert regularly advises international organizations and governments on these and related topics, has led major initiatives on access to archives, and helped establish the US-German government dialogue on Holocaust issues. His research specialties include German history, US and Russian foreign policy, propaganda and disinformation, and contemporary antisemitism. He recently completed a co-edited, 40-chapter volume for Routledge on the history of antisemitism and is preparing a separate monograph on the political and cultural rehabilitation of perpetrators of the Holocaust and other mass atrocity crimes.
Mark Weitzman is Chief Operating Officer for the World Jewish Restitution Organization where he plays a leading role in organization’s advocacy and negotiations efforts to recover Jewish properties in Europe in pursuit of a measure of justice for Holocaust survivors, their families, and Jewish communities.
Previously he was Director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and is also Chief Representative of the Center to the United Nations in New York. He is a member of the official US delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Authority(IHRA) where he chaired the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial and is currently chairing the Working Group on Holocaust Museums and Memorials. Described by the London Jewish Chronicle as “the architect” of IHRA’s 2016 adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism (which is the first definition of antisemitism with any formal status) he was also the lead author of IHRA’s Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion which was adopted by the 34 member countries of IHRA in 2013. Mr. Weitzman is a participant in the program on Religion and Foreign Policy of the Council on Foreign Relations, served as a member of the advisory panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and co-chaired the Working Group on International Affairs of the Global Forum on Antisemitism. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Association of Holocaust Organizations and was a member of the advisory board of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy at Yale University as well as a longtime member of the official Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group of New York. In 2019 he was invited to be one of the founding board members of the International Organization of Antisemitism Research, the first academic society for the interdisciplinary study of antisemitism.
Dr. James Wald is Associate Professor of History at Hampshire College. His teaching and research interests include modern European history with an emphasis on cultural history from the 18th through the 20th centuries; the French Revolution; Central Europe; fascism and Nazism; and early modern Europe.
Learn more about upcoming events in the Antisemitism Lecture Series.