This social portrait of Parkin Grant and his group is vividly drawn through excerpts from their writings, speeches, and descriptions of their social world. Permeating the thinking of these circles is “Christian triumphalism and supersession.” By that Mendelson means the pervasive belief that Christianity has triumphed over Judaism and Jews are a “‘fossilized’ remnant condemned to wander the earth and make their lives through the parasitic exploitation of non– Jews” because they did not accept the divinity of Jesus. A corollary belief is that Jews can never be “true patriots” of Canada because their loyalty is solely directed to protecting other Jews. Right up until his death in 1988, Parkin Grant distanced himself from “gutter” anti-Semitism but continued to characterize Jews as a “distinct and dangerous group” who secretly controlled the media.
The degree of detail in the descriptions of the lives and actions of George Parkin Grant and his social circle may be off-putting, but it presents an intriguing tapestry of life among political, intellectual, and social elites. To me this book offers insights that may help clarify the clichéd arguments against Israel proposed by American and European contemporary intellectual and political circles. Often they speak with the same sense of moral rightness, patriotism, and political authority as those made by the “genteel” anti-Semitic elements of the Canadian elite. These pronouncements can lead to similar terrible consequences for Jews, the United States, and the world.
Alan Mendelson, professor emeritus (Religious Studies), McMaster University, has taught and published, mainly in the fields of ancient philosophy and religion, for more than three decades.