There are many different rhetoric strategies that prove to be successful in justification of an author’s point of view. Bergmann, in his Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Europe: A Comparative Perspective, used several ones, which involve a number of researches conducted by credible companies and researchers. He proves that the main causes of anti-Semitic sentiments in Europe are caused by fear of self-identification loss, envy to the high social status and religious selectedness of Jews in many states and conflicts of interests between nations. The main task of this paper is to clarify whether rhetoric instruments, notions and arguments in their support used by Bergmann prove the main findings he concluded during his research on the matter. The Aristotle’s logos is the simplest mean to find out connection among provided arguments and conclusions justified by them. The author’s notions and arguments will be considered and assessed by their appearance in the paper.
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1. Bergmann’s rhetoric strategy justifying main factors arising anti-Semitic sentiments
In Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Europe: A Comparative Perspective, Bergmann used several approaches to defend his notion regarding anti-Semitic sentiments causes. He persuades the reader by depicting the customary attitude to Jews throughout Europe supporting his opinion by surveys or official statistics (Bergmann, 2008, p. 343). He uses a combined descriptive and persuasive rhetorical strategy of argumentation, which, however, sometimes seem to lack empirical or statistic evidence.
2. Justification of the “self-identification” approach.
The first argument concerns Jews’ probable threat to identity of locals. On the one hand, he uses credible researches conducted in Europe at the end of 1990s and provides multiple researches that prove that the fear of self-identification loss is the strongest factor that launches anti-Semitic moods in a society, far greater than economic factors (Bergmann, 2008, p. 347).On the other hand, he wrongly uses the instance of Holocaust in the Nazis Germany (2008, p. 353). The drawback of this notion is in the Nazis ideology that condemned a great number of nations, except Jews, to either demolition or slavery, which is not a substantial explanation of a probable intolerance to the nation in the country.
3. The “social status” approach.
Furthermore, Bergmann asserts that the inimical attitude may be caused by the “social position the Jews” (Bergmann, 2008, p. 346). He uses findings of Bering’s study on prejudices about Zionism, concluding that “Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies … bring disaster into their ‘host cities’ … secretly” (in Bergmann, 2008, p. 346). However, he does not provide substantial evidence confirming or refuting the notion.
In the realm of social position of Jews, Bergmann proves that Jews themselves nourish the fears hidden deeply in unconscious cause the intolerance. He uses a table, according to which the interviewed people believe that Jews “do no care of welfare of the rest of the nation of the host country” (Bergmann, 2008, p. 347). However, according to the Anti-Defamation Group research, only approximately “20 % of questioned people support the notion that Jews don’t care what happens to anyone except for their own kind” (in Bergmann, 2008, p. 348). This means the lack of arguments in support of the assertion. On the contrary, a notion that they are more loyal to Israel than to the host country is supported by almost half of the interviewed people (Bergmann, 2008, p. 348), which provide substantial grounds to the assumption about social fears. Finally, Bergmann’s conclusion that the anti-Semitism is a sort of “scapegoating” (Bergmann, 2008, p. 348) cannot be confirmed solely by the two mentioned findings too.
4. The “envy to welfare and religious selectedness” cause.
Bergmann’s assumption that envy to welfare and especial religious lack substantial basis too. At first, he derives it from the preemptive opinion that all Jews are mainly connected with their home country (Bergmann, 2008, p. 348). Secondly, Bergmann does not explain how the status of Jews is connected with, though in developed European countries many local people influence the business world far greater than the belief of 14 and 20 percent of questioned people accordingly that alleged of Jews’ main influence (Bergmann, 2008, p. 348).
The next Bergmann’s assertion that Jews cause envy and hostile attitude, because hey cause too much influence on society also lacks substantiated proofs. Thus, a table he provides justifying the notion, shows that among the eight groups of influence Jews take the sixth, the seventh or even the last place sharing them with weak trade-unions and intellectuals influence (Bergmann, 2008, p. 350). Thus, the Bergmann’s conclusion is not well-justified.
5. Arguments supporting the “conflicts of interests” notion.
There is some weakness in another argument – a conflict of interests. Bergmann asserts that the factor is not important to influence one’s attitude to Jews, explaining it on the figures of study that does not provide such or a similar question in the table 2 (Bergmann, 2008, p. 352). Besides, he finishes this part of the paper with conclusion that “connection between Israeli politics … and anti-Semitic attitudes has yet to be empirically researched” (Bergmann, 2008, p. 353). Therefore, the author did not touch upon this part of research, which seems to be crucial to appropriate understanding of the conflict.
The following assertion that almost the majority of the questioned people believe that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the host country … may not necessarily indicate a negative attitude … forming cohesive clannish group” (Bergmann, 2008, p. 348) seems to lack understanding that when numerous compatriots feel someone’s probable preparedness to be disloyal to their host state and, probably, to the host nation, it might cause, at the least – suspicions and, at the most – fear of the alienated group of people on a sub-conscious level.
While Bergmann supports some notions on the matter of anti-Semitic sentiments in Europe with substantial arguments, others still lack evidences or are not duly researched. He successfully proves that redundant mentioning of Holocaust along with loyalty to Israel might seem annoying or suspicious to many locals causing certain intolerance. On the other hand, he did not examine such an important factor as the conflict of interests, which might be another significant cause of the inimical attitude. Finally, the author’s notion about intolerance that might be caused by Nazi’s sentiments in Germany and envy to exceptional religious and high social status of Jews in many European countries seem to lack substantial evidence in support of the position.
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