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3.0 out of 5 stars Marred by moral relativism, 6 Dec 2008
This review is from: Anti-Semitism (Paperback)
Until the last chapter this is a fairly good account of anti-Semitism through the ages, although the first chapter although the first chapter does a provide insufficient information about ancient anti-Semitism until we get to the Greek period.
Certain Greek historians, such as Cheremona, Lysimachus of Alexandria, Appolonius Molon and Pompeius of Trogus proffered the view that the Jewish people were initially a diseased population that were married slaves, and had been forced out by the Egyptians because they were lepers.
This discredited early piece of anti-Semitic revisionist history has been rescutitated by certain modern anti-Semitic historians who seek to weaken the Jewish claim the the Land of Israel.
The author covers very well instances of anti-Semitism in the New Testament, anti-Semitism in the early Church and Medieval anti-Semitism in Europe.

Concerning his fairly detailed study of Church anti-Semitism, the author points out that while it is clear that the Church certainly used the scriptures as a framework for whipping up hate against the Jewish people, in recent decades "Both the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches have issued decrees condemning anti-Semitism, and Christians have been encouraged to understand Jesus in a Jewish Context, G-d's continuing covenant with the Jewish people has been recognized and Christian mission has largely been curtailed. Further Judaism has been affirmed as a valid tradition and many Christians have come to accept a measure of responsibility for the Holocaust, given the church's teaching about the Jews from New Testament times to the modern age".
There are tow extra dimensions, however, to this development.
On the one hand, the official representative bodies of of quite a few mainline Protestant denominations, such as Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Anglican, have inexcusably taken a position of overt prejudice against Israel and supported economic warfare against the Israeli people i.e sanctions and boycotts, an old weapon of anti-Semites throughout the ages, and among the first measures instituted by the Nazis in Germany when they took power in 1933.
On the other hand the Christian Zionist movement, is in my book, the most positive development ever in the relations between Christians and Jews and although Cohn-Sherbok has not written about it in this volume, he has been inexcusably malevolent about Christian Zionists in some of his other books- shame on him!
The author covers in revealing and interesting detail the blood libels, the pogroms in Western Europe in the wake of the Crusades, the role of converted Jews in goading the Church and authorities in taking steps against Jews and Judaism, including mass Talmud burnings.

Most revealingly the author deals with how massive hate speech and demonization of Jews led to pogroms and massacres of Jews, wherever it occurred.
Her covers the horrors of the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648 in which over a 100 000 Jews were slaughtered and in which "Estates and manor houses were destroyed, and victims were flayed, burned alive and mutilated, infants were murdered and cast into wells, women were cut open and sewn back again with live cats thrust into their wounds... some children were roasted on the fire and then brought to their mothers toi be eaten."
I certainly believe that should the State of Israel be dismembered and be replaced by a 'unitary one-state' Arab dominated 'Palestine', these things will again be done to Jews in Isreal in the millions.
Further studying the development of Christian anti-Semitism Cohn Sherbok outlines how Martin Luther's original benevolent attitude towards Jews led to a savage hatred when the mass conversion of Jews to a Christianity that he anticipated failed to materialize. On the contrary John Calvin maintained a relatively tolerant attitude towards the Jews.

A history of the Enlightenment and Emancipation foll wed by Jew-hatred in Eastern Europe and in the 19th century to the early Twentieth Century leads to horrifying chapters on the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust.
He also touches on the anti-Semitism of Karl Marx, quoting from one of Marx's anti-Semitic screeds.

I found Cohn-Sherbok's chapter on anti-Semitism in the Postwar period most revealing and informative, about the anti-Semitism in the Soviet Bloc by the authorities there leading to persecution of the remaining Jews in these countries and from the 60's the poisonous and evil lies that equates Zionism with 'racism' and 'Fascism'.
This venomous propaganda incubated in the Soviet Union was taken up from the late 60's by the New Left, who embarked on their own anti-Israel hate crusade which has mushroomed over the years into a world wide epidemic of malice and blood lust.
The author illuminates the vicious anti-Semitism of Malcolm X and Louis Farrakahn accusing Jews and Israel, of being responsible for the ills of the world, with Farrakhan having praised Hitler.
The last chapter on Modern Ara Jew-hatred touches on some relevant issues but falls short. The author tries too hard to be strictly neutral. But neutrality is not an issue when it comes to the Arab/Islamic Jihad to destroy the homeland created by those who peacefully returned to their Ancient Land.
Cohn-Sherbok gives a cursory history of the conflict but fails to paint a real picture of the amount of massacres and terror killing by Arabs of Jews in the Land of Israel, in the last 9 decades.
He refers to the West Bank as the 'Occupied Territories' when the correct term is the 'Disputed Territories'. He describes the 1982 Lebanon War as an Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon based on fear of 'the growing threat of Palestinian influence on terrorism'. This was more than a threat- the PLO had been launching terror attacks into Israel for years before Israel responded in 1982 with Operation Peace in Galilee.
Furthermore he refers to Barak's generous offer of almost the entire West Bank and half of Jerusalem to the Arabs only fleetingly, given more attention to Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in 2000, which did NOT in fact spark the conflict. Arafat had planned a war of terror after rejecting Barak's generous offer and Sharon's visit to the most ancient Jewish Holy site had little to do with it.
Also he talks of 'an Israeli onslaught in "Palestinian territories" while hardly mentioning the intensive terror war against Israel civilian population during the 2000 'Intifada' or 'Five Year War. in which 2 thousand Israelis, mainly women and children were massacred.
This is like referring to an allied onslaught into Nazi Germany without referring to Nazi invasions of Europe and the Holocaust.
However he does remind us of the chilling fact that "In a world now faced with a real threat of mass destruction, the flames of such hostility continue to burn bright, with the threat of Jewish extermination as great as ever"
One must stand firmly with Israel in her fight for survival against unquestionable Arab-Islamic aggression backed by the intellectual terrorism of their allies on the international left.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Important subject but poor writing, 26 Dec 2009
G. Bache (Göteborg, Sweden) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Anti-semitism (Hardcover)
This book attempts to study anti-Semitism from pre-Christian times up until the present day. The author is himself a Jewish rabbi and this is therefore not a dispassionate account of the subject.

That could be forgiven, but the author repeatedly confuses anti-Semitism with criticism of Zionism or criticism of Judaism as a religion, when in a book like this I felt it was essential to keep these strands separate. The latter two may be distasteful to many Jews but are not the same thing as hatred of Jews as people.

Worse still is the fact that the book is not a good piece of writing and seriously needed a good editor. It repeats itself endlessly, some passages felt like the author had simply forgotten he'd already made the same point six pages earlier. While the subject matter meant this was always likely to read as a catalogue of woe, I'd rather have had more of a view into e.g. how Jews fared in the Muslim world than read a thirteenth account of a medieval Christian pogrom.

On the plus side, the book is an eye-opener to the all-pervasive nature of anti-Semitism in Europe over the centuries. But there are probably other books that can provide that.
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Anti-Semitism by Dan Cohn-Sherbok (Paperback - 29 May 2009)
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