Dissecting anti-Semitism

A monumental resource for building a much-needed strategic assessment of the threat of the blind hatred of Jews.

November 30, 2010 10:31

wistrich. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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REVIEWING A BOOK THE size and depth of Robert Wistrich’s monumental “A Lethal Obsession” brings with it a unique set of challenges. As if the 941 pages of text, the 174 pages of footnotes, and a bibliography with which one could start a university department were not enough, there is the depth of the author’s half-century engagement with the field. Any attempt at comprehensiveness would either lead to a review of intimidating length or run the risk of superficiality.

There is also anti-Semitism itself. Currently there are endless analyses, essays, blogs, surveys, opinions, debates and attendant controversies as to what does – and doesn’t – constitute anti-Semitism. Regrettably in the last decade the public attitude to the subject has been too frequently debated along the lines of the old cassette-tape commercial: ‘Is it real – or is it Memorex?’ In other words, is this something new, or is it the same age-old hatred in different guises, amplified by the post- Holocaust trauma-induced hypersensitivities of a certain ethnic minority with allegiances to a country caught up in a geopolitical struggle?


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