Panel Presentation (continued):
Antisemitism as Jew-Hatred: A Psychohistorical Enigma – Part 1
• Robert M. Prince / Ian Miller (discussant): The Perfect Crime: The Murder of Reality (60 min)

Abstract: The title of this presentation is intended to convey that antisemitism can be described as a perfect crime. First guilt is precluded because its salient psychological and social characteristic is self-righteousness. Each act of persecution is justified as virtuous. Paradigmatically the Nazis saw themselves as improving and protecting the human race. The criminals were those who interfered with the antisemitic project. Antisemitic acts were exempt from civil laws that would otherwise prosecute them; the failure to persecute Jews was the crime. The antisemite always constructs evidence justifying the crime; no examination is permitted, the “evidence” is incontrovertible. In other words, the perfect crime is also the perfect frame up, the victim is the perpetrator.  Antisemitism operates despite and counter to reality as a basic state of mind involving projections, contradictions, dissociations, and enduring psychic polarities. Attributions to Jews over millennia are embedded in religion and philosophy, but going deeper, are essential fantasy constructed out of psychic material and disordered thought processes. Beyond a way of understanding the world and a way of understanding the self, antisemitism expresses the basic concerns of a given culture, it also provides a way of belonging and the most bizarre constructions serve to confirm group membership. Ultimately, antisemitism does not even require the existence of Jews.

Bio: Robert M. Prince, Ph.D., ABPP, is Clinical Associate Professor, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis where he is also past co-chair of the Interpersonal Track. He is Past-President of Psychologist-Psychoanalyst Clinicians and an Associate Editor of The American Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is the author of over 45 articles and chapters. His books include The Legacy of the Holocaust and The Death of Psychoanalysis.

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