Letters on Liberty: Rethinking Anti-Semitism

Battle of Ideas festival 2022, Saturday 15 October, Church House, London


Open debate has been suffocated by today’s censorious climate and there is little cultural support for freedom as a foundational value. What we need is rowdy, good-natured disagreement and people prepared to experiment with what freedom might mean today. Faced with this challenge, the Academy of Ideas decided to launch Letters on Liberty – a radical public pamphleteering campaign aimed at reimagining arguments for freedom in the 21st century.

In his Letter – Rethinking Anti-Semitism – author and commentator Daniel Ben-Ami argues that a misunderstanding of the causes of modern anti-Semitism is stopping us from waging a serious battle to defeat it. He argues that a future free from Jew-hatred can only be achieved through a commitment to free and open debate.

Join Daniel and respondents to try to untangle the different forms of anti-Semitism today, and understand their origins. How much of a role does the far-right play, when contemporary problems of anti-Semitism have often come from the far-left and from Islamist groups? Why is the knee-jerk response to anti-Semitism always linked to bans and censorship, instead of discussion? And why has something colloquially known as the ‘oldest hatred’ seemed to have made such a comeback – if indeed it ever went away?

Daniel Ben-Ami
journalist; creator, Radicalism of Fools; author, Ferraris for All: in defence of economic progress and Cowardly Capitalism

Nathalie Rothschild
freelance journalist; producer and reporter for Sweden’s public service radio; producer, Antisemitism Today

Wasiq Wasiq
counter terrorism analyst; founding trustee, Muslims Against Antisemitism

Jacob Furedi
deputy editor, UnHerd; former associate features editor, Daily Mail