Johan Galtung an Anti-Semite? I Don’t Think So!
By: Richard E. Rubenstein May 1, 2012
Is Johan Galtung, a leading figure in peace research and peace practice, an anti-Semite? I have known him for twenty years, and I’m sure that he is not. But he has spoken in such a way as to give apparent credence to this charge, which complicates the issue.
The burden of Galtung’s argument is that there is increasing danger that, as the American Empire continues to decline and Western economies deteriorate further, Jews will be seen as the source of these failures and scapegoated as they were in interwar Germany. Johan is in touch with the growing anger and desperation of working-class and middle-class people in the U.S. and in Europe – a state of frustration which is already producing a resurgence of right-wing nationalism and rise of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, especially in nations in which Jews play a prominent role in the news media, investment banking, and higher education. The cure for this ominous malaise, he thinks, is to solve the structural problems that are impoverishing working people and throwing nations into debt, as well as generating useless foreign wars and interventions. Meanwhile, as an antidote to anti-Semitism, he advocates discussing the Jewish role in society openly instead of maintaining current taboos.