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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2004
This very important, well written, work by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League addresses the emergence of a new, present day, hatred of the Jews (anti-Semitism) and discusses it's causes as well as it's implications for the future in relation to the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the International community as a whole.
Described here as the "oldest collective hate obsession in recorded history" the book comments upon many of the alleged causes quoting numerous examples in relation to each issue in order to illustrate how extensive the problem actually is.
Amongst the subjects investigated are Jewish-Catholic relations, what is described as the ‘religious right', Jihad and also the Muslim world. Many readers will find a case to answer in all the issues addressed, but on a personal basis I find myself disagreeing with the comments supportive of ecumenism as well as some of those pertaining to the support of Israel by Evangelical Christians. Readers must make up their own minds on the presentation confronting them on all these issues. I personally feel that the book has not gone far enough on some issues and too far on others. Having said that, the seriousness of the issue here cannot be ignored and the importance of this study cannot be over-emphasised.
The book describes in some detail how the hatred of the Jews is openly endorsed by Arab governments throughout the Middle East, where it is cited as being disseminated by the media, taught in schools & universities and preached from the Mosques. Anti-Semitism is depicted as being well and truly "out of the Arab closet" with no differentiation between Jews and Israelis when radical imams call upon their Islamic followers to kill the Jews.
The reader is shown how this helps to fuel the flames of hatred towards the Jews amongst a billion Muslims across the globe. Muslim communities being described as constituting a rapidly growing force in dozens of countries, eager to influence anti-Jewish policies upon the nations in which they reside. Whilst discussing this issue the book is careful to distinguish between anti-Semitism and fair, contextual opposition of some Israeli leaders or policies.
Pursuing this virulent hatred of the Jews is further illustrated as serving the purpose of distracting attention from the alleged failures, corruption & incompetence of some Arab leaders such as Yasser Arafat, with the Arab populace being convinced that the source of it's troubles is solely the "tyranny of Israel & the Jews". The book further elaborating with the example that when Palestinian suicide bombers embark on their missions, they wrap themselves, not in the banner of the Palestinian Authority, but in the green & white flag of Islam. It being further described that any pre-recorded videos by the bombers talk of "religious martyrdom" and their wish to "kill the Jews".
The book is described as a "wake-up call" to a looming International emergency, declaring that people are not born bigots and must be taught to hate, whilst simultaneously listing a number of honest measures which need to be taken in order to confront an evil where men, women and children are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views. History must not repeat itself. Recommended.
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The foreword by Elie Wiesel raises the question about why antisemitism is still alive in the 21st century after nazism, fascism and communism have all been defeated. He points out that the reasons given by judeopaths disregard truth and logic, combining all possible contradictions. Wiesel mentions some of the signs of the resurgence of the plague and emphasizes the urgency of the current situation, whilst Foxman explains the turbulence of the times in his introduction: the war on terror, an unsteady world economy and the resurgence of antisemitic incidents in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and the USA. He dates its rebirth from 1998 and considers 2000 the year in which it exploded. Concerned about the danger signs, he warns that the phenomenon must be exposed and counteracted now. But in his important work Christian Anti-Semitism published in 1993, William Nicholls already saw the signs and identified anti-Zionism as the typical expression of the new antisemitism.

In chapter one, Foxman observes that elements of the extreme Right and Left are cooperating in this resurgence, often in collaboration with Middle Eastern terrorists. Many examples from Europe and the USA are provided. The historian Victor Davis Hanson has also noticed this, calling it "the worldwide moronic convergence." Here the author also touches on the matters of Anti-Zionism, Islam, the appeasement mode of many European governments, and how times of crisis provide fertile soil for outrageous lies and scapegoating. In the next chapter he attempts to define and distinguish various forms of the mental disease, including the theological, racial, political, social and scientific strains. He reiterates the truism that it is fundamentally irrational and immune to facts.

Looking at its origins, he refers to the biblical book of Esther where all the familiar elements of classic antisemitism are found. In this regard, Yoram Hazony's book The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther is invaluable, especially the instructions on how to counteract it. Although the phenomenon existed in pagan times, it received a huge boost with the birth and growth of Christianity. Thought-provoking sections are devoted to the evolution of Christian Antisemitism, Antisemitism today and its eruption in times of crisis. Further topics discussed include Jewish culture, identity, survival and the State of Israel. In chapter 3, Cradle of Hatred: The Tragedy of Jewish-Catholic Relations, Foxman recounts the poignant history of his childhood in Europe.

The danger on the Right is explored with reference to extremism in the USA, the ever-shifting networks of the white supremacist movement and even certain Conservative organizations. The chapter on the politics of the Religious Right dissects the attitudes and statements of prominent evangelists. I must agree with other reviewers that Foxman overestimates the threat from this side and does not sufficiently recognize the initiatives of Christians that love and support Israel. But this is understandable in view of his childhood experiences in Poland and Lithuania, and the very real history of antisemitism in the church that too few Christians are aware of. In this regard, I refer the interested reader to the brilliant books Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged by Barry Horner and Standing With Israel by David Brog. Nowadays the Religious Left is the greater problem as demonstrated by Paul Charles Merkley in his seminal study Christian Attitudes Towards the State of Israel.

Being a fan of rock music, I found the information on hate rock quite interesting. This poisonous mix of racism, homophobia, antisemitism and xenophobia is peddled to young receptive minds. The lyrics quoted are sickening, as are those in some rap/hip hop music - the band is Public Enemy - as quoted in the chapter on the troubled alliance between American Blacks and Jews. Foxman looks at the issues that divide, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan but also praises those figures in the community with which the ADL maintains cordial relations. Antisemitism in the Muslim World is examined in chapter 7, with consideration of traditional Muslim attitudes, the demonizaton of Israel and Jews and its root causes, the phenomenon in the Arab mass media (examples available in Peace: The Arabian Caricature of Anti-Semitic Imagery), the fact that much of this toxic imagery and propaganda are imported from the West, Holocaust denial, online Jihad, Hezbollah and the search for peace in the Middle East.

The spread of bigotry in popular culture is analyzed next, including different levels of antisemitism - from simple insensitivity to the real malicious thing. Foxman looks at Hollywood, humor and all aspects of the internet, this last being of major and increasing significance these days. In the Epilogue, he warns again of the frightening increase in anti-Jewish sentiment coalescing on a global scale. It is prominent in the United Nations, in worldwide conspiracy theories, the Arab mass media, amongst Left-Liberal European intellectuals (See The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism by Bernard Harrison and What's Left by Nick Cohen) and characterized by the revival of stereotypes and ancient calumnies. Foxman concludes with some helpful advice that concerned individuals can take in combating the plague.

The book has 14 pages of Source Notes and concludes with an index. The philosopher Andre Glucksmann has warned that the concept of a contagion of hatred must be taken literally as a mental disorder that invades minds, bodies and society. Such an outbreak inoculates itself against opposing ideas and is immune to reason. In psychological terms it is a form of psychopathy whilst in spiritual terms it's a type of demonic possession. Despite the repeated lessons of history that demonstrate the unspeakable suffering it brings on the guilty and the innocent, people still become infected. In my opinion, the most valuable book on Antisemitism, exploring all its shape-shifting manifestations down the ages and across the political-religious spectrum, is Why the Jews?: The Reason for Anti-Semitism by Dennis Prager, as it engages with the neglected spiritual dimension of this mental disease. Another valuable work on the new variety is The New Anti-Semitism by Phyllis Chesler.
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