Publishing Left Activists

Resisting Left Antisemitism

Outcast: How Jews Were Banished From the Anti-Racist Imagination.

With Camila Bassi 

About The Event

Outcast is an exploration – and explanation – of how the very possibility of recognising anti-Jewish racism has been displaced by a commonplace left wing belief that when Jewish people cry ‘antisemitism!’ their true intent is to cover up the racism propagated by Israel against the Palestinians.

This is related to the notion that racism is exclusively a colonial phenomenon of ‘white over black’ domination and it tends to reconstruct the old antisemitic form of ‘the Jewish question’, which asks what should be done about the harm that Jews pose to humanity.

Outcast shows that these notions, in the context of an orthodox contemporary understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, constructs Zionism and the Jews who are associated with it, into representations of racism incarnate, demanding the unprecedented aspiration to wipe out Israel.

As a route forward, Camila Bassi offers an analysis of the conflict through the wider historical context of European antisemitism, colonialism and nationalism, and she breaks from template of ‘the Jewish question’.

Escaping the confines of identity politics, including one that tends, de facto, to re-naturalize ‘race’, Outcast makes the case for a genuinely universal politics of human liberation.

Camila Bassi : “Outcast is the product of my search for the reasons why sections of the Left are so singularly obsessed by Israel and are disposed to cast out those who identify as Jewish as unworthy of solidarity. This book elucidates how Jews have been banished as victims of racism by their demotion as the Left’s racist pariahs, while offering a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to the study of racism and to emancipatory politics.”

Camila Bassi is a human geography academic. Her principal research interests are the geographies of ‘race’, ethnicity and sexuality, and Marxist geographies. Camila’s doctoral research in Birmingham (UK) and later research in Shanghai concern the navigation of sexual and ethnic minority existence in urban political economy. She has also published academic critiques of the revolutionary left vanguard of England’s anti-war movement and the historical U-turns in the Marxist politics of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. More recently, Camila has explored the political deadlock between radical feminists and transgender activists on the question of trans rights, and has written about the mental health crisis in the neoliberal university.

Camila has been a political activist on the British Left since 1996. Her blog, Academic on a Bike, contains a range of posts which synthesize her academic ideas with wider political currents.