Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred Paperback – 2 Apr 1992
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Introducing the definition of anti-Semitism as the hatred of Jews & Judaism (and not Semites in general), the writer displays a commendable knowledge of the subject while devoting a sizeable section of this book to revealing and analysing the re-emergence & immediacy of the virulent, racial hatred revived by the ongoing situation in the Middle East.
Many readers will find this book both painful and shocking. The writer approaching the many aspects of anti-Semitism through the ages, not least of which being those originating through some aspects of 'Christianity', which were subsequently adopted by Nazism, Bolshevism and Islam. Certain revealed myths shown to provide the seedbed on which Nazi and other racialist doctrines/prejudices could flourish, dehumanising Jews & subsequently removing all/any moral restraints that opposed a persecution or genocide of the Jewish people.
The book examines the erroneous, malignant myths like 'The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion', (of which the Arab world is shown here to now be the largest supplier), and how these have now taken root in the Middle East as another Islamic weapon against the Jewish State.
The writer declaring that, despite being an absolute tissue of malicious lies, wherever there is a 'will' to believe such aberrations, events can always be made to fit the paranoid visions & homicidal hatred of a Jewish 'world conspiracy'.
A whole section of the book is devoted to Jews living in Islamic lands & the question of 'Palestine'. Of particular note here is the revelation that the enforced wearing of the 'Yellow Badge' by Jews actually originated in Baghdad and not Europe. The 'dhimmi' status of Jews under Islamic rule is also studied, together with the post 1948 enforced expulsion of the Jewish populations from these Arab lands, together with the confiscation of all Jewish property.
The author also describes how in recent years a vast anti-Jewish literature has appeared in Islamic/Arab countries, using theological, racial and 'demonological' motifs to vilify the Jews, including the revival of the 'blood libel' and the promotion of an image portraying Israel as a ruthless, oppressive nation . (Aryeh Stav's book "Peace; The Arabian Caricature" admirably covers this subject.). Anti-Jewish ideologies constantly being disseminated through books, newspapers, caricatures, radio and television, subsequently reaching mass audiences with this indoctrination.
The complicity of the Arab world and the Mufti in Hitler's Holocaust is also discussed along with the Palestinian National Covenant. The latter, which has still not been rescinded, containing a basic premise which demands within nearly half of it's 33 articles, that the State of Israel must cease to exist.
The present situation in the Middle East relating to the 'peace process' is also expounded with reference to the anti-Semitic diatribes within the International arena and the UN. In view of the study here, I cannot help but recall the statement of previous UN Secretary General Boutros-Gali which showed the real position of the UN;- "The Jews must give up their status as a nation and Israel as a state, and assimilate as a community in the Arab world."
Indeed, this essential study reveals that there is an underlying, universal precept at work pertaining to the Jews and the Middle East itself. I do not believe it is a desire for peace, but it is the distaste for the Jewish state. No other nation in the World is or has been treated in this way.
The author I believe is trying to convey within his discourse about the Islamic/Arab towards Israel, is that the pivotal issue is not 'land for peace'! It is the very existence of the Jewish state in the land of 'Islam' in the Middle East that is the issue. An existence that will never be accepted by the Moslem world, irrespective of any boundaries.
To elaborate slightly, when the Arab world demands a 'just peace', it is saying in effect that 'peace' can only come when Israel no longer exists and there are 'JUST' Arab nations in the Middle East. Perhaps readers will make up their own minds on this. This is one of the best works on anti-Semitism that I have come across to date and I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Part One examines its pagan roots, its lethal and influential infection of Christianity at an early date and the course it took in Western Europe until the early 1990s. This section includes the medieval legacy when the phenomenon took a particularly ugly turn, Martin Luther, the Holocaust and post-war attitudes in Germany and Austria where it evidently never died. Previously neither the Reformation nor the Enlightenment put an end to it. It instead just mutated along lines acceptable to the Zeitgeist. After World War II the pattern of European guilt-denial has led to increasing anti-Zionism in a process of displacement and projection. Hatred of the Jewish people is being transferred to the Jewish State.
Part Two looks at the history in Britain, France, Hungary, Rumania, Czech, Poland and Russia. Of interest here is how the thing persists even in the absence of Jewish people like in Poland in the late 1980s, and how the US strain has mercifully always been less virulent than the European. I am afraid that things have deteriorated since the publication of this book. The long history of popular and state antisemitism in Russia has been revived, with the country's open support of rogue states and terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. And in Old Europe, the large immigrant communities are in the vanguard.
Part Three deals with the Islamic world and includes chapters on the history which contained ups and downs as in the Christian world, the explosion of antisemitism in the literature and media of the Arab states since 1948, the issue of Palestine with reference to the notorious Haj Amin al-Husseini, and includes a chapter on Arabism, Semitism & Antisemitism. Peace: The Arabian Caricature of Anti-Semitic Imagery by Arieh Stav provides a window on the Arab press, proving that anti-Zionism is not merely a political instrument but an idea with cultural, racial and theological dimensions. Its most visible host on the international stage is the United Nations and its agencies.
Wistrich argues that the Western psyche is permeated by this ancient hatred, a deeply disturbing thought. The agnostic postmodern Westerner is just as susceptible as the medieval Christian because antisemitism was inherited by the new hosts: the religion's secular salvationist offspring like socialism, fascism, Marxism and environmentalism. In this regard, please see The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel and Liberal Opinion by Bernard Harrison and Barry Horner's Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged. Nowadays its Christian hosts include the World Council of Churches and liberal mainstream Protestant denominations. Its spirit is a revived Replacement Theology propagated by Jimmy Carter and Anglican theologians associated with the Sabeel Ecumenical Centre of Naim Ateek.
As to the Why of it, I have found Why The Jews? by Dennis Prager & Joseph Telushkin quite instructive and illuminating. I agree with the French writer Andre Glucksmann 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 those who oppose it and is immune to reason. Phyllis Chesler's The New Anti-Semitism shines a revealing light on its latest mutations. William Nicholls has done sterling work on the painful subject of Christian Antisemitism, whilst Paul Charles Merkley examines the state of Anti-Zionism and Philosemitism in the churches today in Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel. Drawing on ancient wisdom, Yoram Hazony looks at ways of dealing with it in The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther.
Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred contains numerous photographs & illustrations. There are copious notes arranged by chapter, a glossary, extensive bibliography and index. Because the virus mutates so fast the book is a bit outdated by now but it still serves as a valuable reference source.
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