Anti-Judaism, Anti­semitism, and Dele­git­imiz­ing Israel

Robert S. Wistrich, ed.

  • Review
By – April 4, 2017

The essays con­tained in this vol­ume edit­ed by the late Robert S. Wistrich, are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the dis­cus­sions that were part of an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence on anti­semitism held at the Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty of Jerusalem in May 2014. They focus pri­mar­i­ly on the resur­gence of anti-Jew­ish and anti-Israel rhetoric and vio­lence in Europe, the Unit­ed States and the Mid­dle East. Con­trib­u­tors include promi­nent aca­d­e­mics, jour­nal­ists, inde­pen­dent researchers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions. They all express deep con­cern that, less than a cen­tu­ry after the Holo­caust, Jews should once again be fac­ing vio­lence and wide­spread rhetor­i­cal attacks rem­i­nis­cent of those Jews expe­ri­enced pri­or to 1945. They doc­u­ment and ana­lyze the cur­rent surge of anti­semitism as an inter­na­tion­al phe­nom­e­non, appear­ing in coun­tries as cul­tur­al­ly diverse as the Unit­ed States, Venezuela and Iran, yet incor­po­rat­ing sim­i­lar the­mat­ic obses­sions wher­ev­er it manifests.

The authors, includ­ing notable experts on the sub­ject such as Ben Cohen, Robert Wistrich, Melanie Phillips, Alvin Rosen­feld, Bat Ye’or, Les­ley Klaff and Stephen Nor­wood, exam­ine the phe­nom­e­non from the per­spec­tives of his­to­ry, reli­gion, pol­i­tics, iden­ti­ty and gen­der. Offer­ing a vari­ety of view­points and insights into this dis­turb­ing trend world­wide, the read­er is pro­vid­ed with a frame­work to eval­u­ate what is actu­al­ly occur­ring and why this longest hatred” is once again becom­ing increas­ing­ly vocal and vio­lent. They all agree that anti­semitism exists, it is back with a vengeance, mak­ing new con­nec­tions and has begun to strike and to kill — to grow­ing indif­fer­ence — in many parts of the world.

The authors iden­ti­fy six con­tem­po­rary sources for today’s anti­semitism; the per­sis­tence of this ancient prej­u­dice that nev­er real­ly went away; glob­al­iza­tion and world eco­nom­ic pres­sures; anti-Zion­ism that has led to a demo­niza­tion of Israel and vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Israeli lead­ers; Holo­caust denial; the spread of rad­i­cal Islamism with its anti-Jew­ish and anti-Israel agen­das; and State spon­sored anti­semitism ema­nat­ing from Iran, Hezbal­lah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

This is a valu­able book that pro­vides much use­ful infor­ma­tion and per­spec­tives on a prob­lem that is not like­ly to dis­ap­pear soon and some valu­able sug­ges­tions on how to counter it.

Michael N. Dobkows­ki is a pro­fes­sor of reli­gious stud­ies at Hobart and William Smith Col­leges. He is co-edi­tor of Geno­cide and the Mod­ern Age and On the Edge of Scarci­ty (Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty Press); author of The Tar­nished Dream: The Basis of Amer­i­can Anti-Semi­tism; and co-author of The Nuclear Predicament.

Discussion Questions