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From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel (Studies in Antisemitism) [Hardcover]

Robert S. Wistrich
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 35.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Jun 2012 Studies in Antisemitism
From Ambivalence to Betrayal is the first study to explore the transformation in attitudes on the Left toward the Jews, Zionism, and Israel since the origins of European socialism in the 1840s until the present. This path breaking synthesis reveals a striking continuity in negative stereotypes of Jews, contempt for Judaism, and negation of Jewish national self-determination from the days of Karl Marx to the current left-wing intellectual assault on Israel. World-renowned expert on the history of anti-Semitism Robert S. Wistrich provides not only a powerful analysis of how and why the Left emerged as a spearhead of anti-Israel sentiment but also new insights into the wider involvement of Jews in radical movements. There are fascinating portraits of Marx, Moses Hess, Bernard Lazare, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and other Jewish intellectuals, alongside analyses of the darker face of socialist and Communist anti-Semitism. The closing section eloquently exposes the degeneration of leftist anti-Zionist critiques into a novel form of anti-racist racism.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 648 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (25 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803240767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803240766
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"One of Wistrich's most startling discoveries was what he thought was a Soviet anti-Semitic trope turns out to have originated from the British Labour movement at the turn of the last century. "What struck me quite forcefully when researching this book was how much Great Britain is responsible for its own indigenous - and contemporary - anti-Semitic traditions." Among them are the widespread theories of Jewish world conspiracy manipulated by the British Left during the Boer War of 1899-1902. Wistrich argues that that war - as contentious and polarising as any in the modern period - saw the emergence of a radical anti-war movement which coined conspiracy terminology such as "Imperialist Judaism" to describe how prominent Jewish financiers in South Africa allegedly plunged the British Empire into a disastrous conflict. These ideas would resurface with the emergence of Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, who accused Jews of dragging Britain into war with Germany, and again with the radical anti-Iraq War movement and its accusations of "Jewish cabels", neo-conservative conspiracies and claims of "Zionist imperialism"." - Winston Pickett, Jewish Chronicle, June 29th, 2012 "Professor Robert Wistrich is the world's foremost scholar on the ideological pathology of anti-Semitism... From Ambivalence to Betrayal is a warning we can nolonger afford to ignore. Anti-Semitism, driven underground by Kristallnacht and Auschwitz, has returned to the mainstream of Western politics. Our generation will be judged by the speed and mettle of our response, just as our fathers' and grandfathers' generations were damned by their failure to act until after the gas chambers had done their worst." - Stephen Daisley, Standpoint, September 2012 "A new, substantial contribution to material examining the hardening of the political left, notably in relation to Israel and the Jews, comes from Robert S. Wistrich. Entitled From Ambivalence to Betrayal, it is analytical and wide-ranging and written by an expert in anti-Semitism studies."-Jewish Chronicle, November 2012 "A new, substantial contribution to material examining the hardening of the political left, notably in relation to Israel and the Jews, comes from Robert S. Wistrich. Entitled From Ambivalence to Betrayal, it is analytical and wide-ranging and written by an expert in anti-Semitism studies."-Jewish Chronicle, November 2012

About the Author

Robert S. Wistrich is the Neuburger Professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. He is the author of numerous books, including, most recently, "A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad" (2010) and "Laboratory for World Destruction: Germans and Jews in Central Europe" (Nebraska, 2007).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposing the Left. 30 Aug 2012
By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This is a superb addition to Professor Wistrich's previous 30 or so books on Jewish History.
It exposes the existence of virulent anti-semitism in this country as well as in many other countries. The book's chapter on the UK is illuminating and deeply disturbing-Wistrich studied in London and Cambridge. He reminds readers of the appalling cartoon in the Independent and the even worse New Statesman's revolting 'Kosher' cover. These and many other examples remind us that it is not only the far Right that want to destroy the Jews.
Jew haters are unable to accept that Israel has turned a desert into an economic power house,given legal equality to its Arab citizens and defeated in three wars those who sought to destroy her.
The hypocrisy of the Left towards the Jews in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin is well documented. The hatred was on a par with that in Nazi Germany. It is still there today
Marx despite being the grandson of a rabbi is shown to have been an anti-semitic as indeed were Voltaire and Proudhon.
This book is a very comprehensive account of Jewish history, arguably even better than his:'Antisemitism:The Longest Hatred'. It is a timely warning that anti-semitism is alive and very much kicking.It is in the mainstream of Western Politics. We ignore it at our peril.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful New Research 14 July 2012
By Werner Cohn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once again Professor Wistrich has given us the fruits of his great erudition and deep learning. Again his subject is contemporary anti-Semitism. This time he focuses on the following paradox: the protagonists of the political Left in the West -- who never cease to proclaim their attachment to the Enlightenment and human values -- have joined the Islamists of the Middle East in a war of malice and defamation against Israel and the Jews.

In telling his story, Professor Wistrich goes deeply into the history of European movements and ideas of the 19th and 20th centuries. The details often make painful reading. I am happy to have this new volume on my book shelves, where it shares space with a number of Wistrich's earlier books, and also with the books of other scholars (for instance Anthony Julius's "The Trials of the Diaspora"). This body of work is our first line of defense against the premier malice of our time, the doctrine that calls itself "anti-Zionism" but is in fact anti-Judaism writ large.

I do have a small proviso: The story as a whole depends on its treatment of detail. And in its function as a work of reference, easy access to the details is essential. Yet the index, which should be a key to this detail, is woefully inadequate. Many of the phenomena that are described in the book (for example the British let-wing movements Respect and the Socialist Workers Party, among many others) cannot be found in the index.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vitally important political / historical document 4 Nov 2012
By JSJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This 600 page tome thoroughly documents the rarely-mentioned antisemitism that was (and continues to be) a major problem for the political left. The progressive socialist utopian theories promoted by the secular leftist intellectuals of 19th century - hostility towards religion, class-hate, anti-capitalism - fueled hatred of Jewish society and made a political science out of medieval classic antisemitism. It's fascinating that so many of the leaders of this movement - including Marx - were secular Jews, who were hostile to Judaism and Zionism.

This book couldn't come at a more critical time. Hostility towards religion (except Islam), class-hate (the one percent vs. the 99%), anti-capitalism (Occupy Wall Street & Obamunism), and Israel's political isolation are alive and well in Left-wing circles today. If the Socialist Left consolidates even more power in the coming years, pray that history does not repeat itself!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical Study. 31 Mar 2013
By Mark S. Saka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book provides a critical intellectual history of antisemitism as it journeyed through the political left in 19th-century European thought through the 20th-century's totalitarian tragedies of Fascism, Communism, the New Left, and radicalized Islam. It is meticulously researched and provides a balanced view for someone like myself who always interpreted antisemitism as a "right-wing" or ultra-conservative ideology. The book illuminates the destructive thread of antisemitism in leftist ideological movements and thought. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Worth Reading 18 Feb 2013
By Joseph Mamelak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This subject, the transfer of antisemitic attitudes from the Right to the Left needs exposure.This is the only book I noticed that addressed this subject squarely
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible history 26 April 2013
By Steven B. Weinberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you want to know the history and evolution of Marxist thought into today's "progressive" liberalism, and why so many on the left are die in the wool anti-Semites, hiding behind the guise of merely being "anti-Zionists," then this book is a must read.
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