The Muddy Waters of Multicultural Acceptance: A Qualitative Case Study on Antisemitism and the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Daniel Ian Rubin


The Jewish peoples have endured thousands of years of discrimination and subjugation, yet during this new millennium, Jews and antisemitism are conspicuously absent from university ethnic studies classroom discourse in the United States. Those scholars, determined to penetrate the walls of the multicultural education stronghold, are met with an ebb and flow of silence and vociferous resistance. A primary rationale for multiculturalists ignoring antisemitism appears to be the Zionist question and how they, themselves, perceive Israel’s relationship with Palestine. This qualitative case study analyzed interviews of six prominent scholars in the areas of multiculturalism, history, and Judaism through a critical pedagogical lens. Throughout this paper, the author explores his personal experiences in regard to educational multiculturalists and the dismissal of Jews as a persecuted group. From discourse analysis of themes and recurrent meanings in the data, it is evident that the majority of study participants believe that Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians is unacceptable, yet that does not justify the large-scale generalizations of the Jewish people in the United States. As a result, this paper argues for the inclusion of the Jewish experience into university multicultural discourse.


antisemitism, diversity, multicultural education, Israeli/Palestinian conflict

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