on 19 June 2012
Overall this is a very informative read and answered most of the questions I had on the subject. Whilst not a long read at 200 main text pages, it covers an awful lot of ground on the subject. It is well written and easy to digest. The book is written by a Jew about the Jews so it is bias to their arguments / views. Nevertheless, you have to start somewhere and I think this is a very reasonable starting point if you want to learn more about this particular subject. This book is concise and to the point in the main. Whilst I couldn't see some of their solutions working, I did find the read very interesting. It was constructed and presented in a very professional and thoughtful way.
After reading this book you could be forgiven for thinking the Jews are a `pacifist' race who has been unjustly persecuted throughout their history? In some cases of course that's certainly true.
The other side of the coin is their conflict with Palestine in the Gaza & West Bank? They are certainly not as blameless as this book would lead you to believe and are more than capable, as a nation, of looking after themselves.
This Anti-Semitism subject is very complex. Even then I think it unlikely that the reader will get to the real truth as both sides - that of that of the Arab and Jew, both seem stuck in hatred, denial, claim and counter claim. Deciphering the two is very problematical!
On a personal note some of the theories / myths put forward are somewhat unconvincing from a `Westerner's' point of view, for example, the killing of non-Jews and the use of their blood in Jewish food for ceremonies? Who could possibly believe that in today's modern society?
The Western world's waning of religion and the falling support for the church puts a question mark against some of these religious theories for me but I say that as a person who is not in the slightest way religious! For someone with a `devout' belief - a Jew or an Arab, then yes, of course, they would have unbending views /opinions on this subject.
on 4 February 2007
In the last six years in particular, since Arafat launched a war of terror against Israel's people, I have often wondered what the reasons are for the intense hatred and violent rage, especially by Moslems and the Left, of Israel and her people.
The country where I live, is periodically rocked by nationwide paroxysms of vicious rage and murderous hate of the tiny nation of Israel,encouraged by the ruling party and it's allies, civil society, universities and the media.
This is the world's latest incantation of Jew-hatred, the world's longest and most intense hatred, as Dennis Prager explains in this fascinating and illuminating work.
Prager begins by outlining some of the violent attacks on Jews and Israel in Europe and elsewhere, which has become the disease permeating the world as we begin the 21st century.
Prager mentions the United Nations-sponsored World Conference on Racism, in Durban, South Africa in August 2001, which, while failing to mention human rights abuses and genocide in China, Rwanda or anyplace in the Arab world, turned into a violent fest of hate and rage against Israel.
While anti-Semitism was traditionally associated with rightwing populists, vicious anti-Israelism is becoming the culture and raison d etre of 'progressive' intellectual communities.
Prager illustrates that:
* Thousands of academics around the world, have called for an end to support for Israeli researchers, though not an end to support for researchers from any other nation.
* Israeli scholars in Spring 2003 were forced off the board of an international literary journal.
* And many at universities across the world, including North America, have called for their universities to single out Israel among all nations as the lone country where it is inappropriate for any part of the university's endowment to be invested.
Prager marvels how in a world filled with enormous evils-such as totalitarian states that make their countries into large prison camps (Iran and North Korea); that massacre and enslave millions of citizens (Sudan) , that wage deadly war against their own populations (Zimbabwe and Myanmar) that destroy entire cultures (As China is doing in Tibet), it would seem a puzzle as to why the Jewish State and America are the two most villified countries in the world.
Prager points this out as being a violent rejection of the American and Jewish values of Judeo-Christian civilization, justice, freedom, democracy and humanity as a source of light to the world. He explains the reason why the USA supports Israel as being because of the USA's Judeo-Christian values and her realization that Israel is a tiny island of democracy and human rights in a sea of totalitarianism.
It is against this background that Prager delves into the roots of Jew-hatred to attempt an explanation of this phenomenon.
The basic source of ancient Jewish history, the Bible, depicts two attempts at anihilation of the Jewish people: that of Pharaoh and the Egyptians (Exodus 1:15-22) and that of Haman and the Persians.
On three occasions in the last 350 years, anihilation campaigns have been waged against the Jews, the Chmelnitzky massacres in Eastern Europe in 1648-1649, the Nazi destruction of Europe's Jews between 1939 and 1945 , and the current decades long campaign to anihilate the Jewish State by it's enemies.
Prager holds out four basic reasons for Jew hatred (and it's latest incantaion, Israel-hatred)
* The hatred of Judaism and ethical monotheism
* The chosen people idea as a cause of Jew-hatred
* The moral challenge posed by the Jews for a better world.
* The higher quality of Jewish life as a cause of Jew-hatred
Chapter 5 deals with the topic of Non-Jewish Jews and anti-Semitism. This is particularly interesting to me, because leftwing diaspora Jews who hate Israel, are a major source of anger and disgust for me.
Prager is also vexed by the question of explaining Jews who devote their lives to hurting Jews. He points out that "Among no group in the world are there so many individuals who so single-mindedly attempt to damage the group into which they were born".
He gives as examples the loathsome Noam Chomsky who has dedicated much of his life tro defending those who wish to destroy Israel, and to demonize Israel and her people, frequently comparing Israelis to the Nazis; and Norman Finkelstein who lectures throughout the world , calling Israel a Nazi State and demanding it's destruction.
Indeed many Jewish ultra-Leftists lead the "burn Israel" movement, sponsoring pro-Palestinian hate rallies, leading campaigns for divestment from Israel, and demoinzing Israel and her people in the media and universities.
The author expalins this phenomenon as being that Jewish radicals, like other radicals, lack roots, and hate Jews (such as the Jews of Israel) who do have roots and a national identity.
"The Ubermensch, which is how they see themselves, rises above such parochial indentities."
Also they likely believe that if they side with those who hate Jews, they will not be hated by them.
Prager refutes the Marxist view of anti-Semitism that it is caused by Capitalism, pointing out that in Communist societies anti-Semitism has often been at it's worst.
He also easily refutes the myth that anti-Semitism is purely a rightwing phenomenon, pointing to Soviet persecution of Jewry , and the new anti-Semitism of today, which eminates mainly from the Left.
Prager go's on to examine the historical evidence of anti-Semitism with histories of ancient anti-Semitism, Christian anti-Semitism, Islamic anti-Semitism, Secular Enlightenment anti-Semitism, Leftist anti-Semitism, Nazi anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist anti-Semitism.
He continually draws parralels between historic anti-Semitism and today's new anti-Zionist version, for example discussing the mediaeval libel that Jews poisoned wells, and deliberately spread disease , to lies by the Palestinian Authority and Leftist NGO's that the Israelis have poisoned Palestinian water supplies and deliberately infected Palestinian children with the HIV virus.
In the section on Islamic anti-Semitism, he outlines bloody pogroms carried out against Jews in Arab countries, in the 20th century. He also explains the real reason behind Arab hatred of Israel. The idea of Jews as free people in their own state cannot be tolerated, they can only be tolerated as subordinate or degraded. The basis of Arab hatred of Israel is the hatred of Jews refusing to accept an unequal, inferior status, that they lived under for centuries of Arab rule.
He also deals with the Arab-Nazi connection of World War II, and beyond.
In the chapter on Leftist anti-Semitism he observes how the further left one goes the greater the Jew-hatred. The propaganda peddled by far-left ideologues, academics and journalists today is a reproduction of the propaganda manufactured in the old Soviet Union, during the Cold War, when the USSR was persecuting Jews and working for the destruction of Israel.
Letwing anti-Semitism revolves around the denial of Jewish nationhood, and therefore of Israel's right to exist, leading to a hatred of all Jews who affirm Jewish nationhood and particularly of all Jews who live in the Jewish homeland. It also involves a gross Orwellianism whereby Israel is accused of genocide, when the truth is that the Arabs and their allies are the ones pushing for the destruction of Israel and thereby a second holocaust against Jews.
Because anti-Zionism's goal would lead to a second holocaust against five million Jews, it cannot be distinguished from anti-Semitism.
Furthermore there is only one posible reason why people isolate Israel of all the countries of the world to deny it's right to existence. Because Israel is a Jewish State. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
Finally Prager deals with the 8 most common lies about Israel, and the truth behind them, examines what the solutions are to Jew-hatred, and his epilogue ends with a warning that anti-Semitism/anti-Israelism is the problem not only of Jews, but of all decent human beings because what begins with the Jews seldom ends with the Jews. Jew-hatred and Israel-hatred is the moral litmus test of nations, regimes and individuals.
on 22 March 2004
Historically, Judaism itself has been regarded the root cause for antisemitism. The four components of Judaism, God (ethical monotheism), Torah (laws and teachings), Israel (nationhood) and Chosenness have always challenged and threatened the Jews' neighboring cultures wherever they have settled.
The authors support this view, and oppose general views of antisemitism caused by socio-economic, political or psychological factors. Initially, the book was interesting and caught my attention, but unfortunately, the authors give a far too shallow analysis of explanations for antisemitism. The historical account of antisemitism in part two of the book gives few answers to the question of "Why the Jews?".
An important question that is poorly treated by religious- conservative Americans far out on the political right wing. In their world, everything is either black or white, so finding a balanced, unbiased account of the Israeli-Palestinean conflict or antisemitism in general in this book is quite useless.
However, it gives insight to pro-Israeli/conservative American thoughts and arguments. Their agenda is as follows: "Israel and America offer contemporary Jews unique opportunities to reduce antisemitism and to "repair the world under the rule of God"" (p. 192). Israel and the United States are chosen nations, and should influcence the world with their superior values.