The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day

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Walter Laqueur

Publisher: Oxford University Press

For thirty years the director of the Wiener Library in London, the leading institute for the study of anti-Semitism, Walter Laqueur here offers both a comprehensive history of anti-Semitism as well as an illuminating look at the newest wave of this phenomenon.

Laqueur begins with an invaluable historical account of this pernicious problem, tracing the evolution from a predominantly religious anti-Semitism-stretching back to the middle ages-to a racial anti-Semitism that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The author then uses this historical account as backdrop to a brilliant analysis of the newest species of anti-Semitism, explaining its origins and rationale, how it manifests itself, in what ways and why it is different from anti-Semitism in past ages, and what forms it may take in the future. The book reveals that what was historically a preoccupation of Christian and right-wing movements has become in our time even more frequent among Muslims and left-wing groups. Moreover, Laqueur argues that we can’t simply equate this new anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and write it off as merely anti-Israel sentiments. National and religious minority groups have been systematically persecuted from Indonesia, to Bangladesh, Rwanda, and beyond, but their fate has not generated much indignation in Europe and America. If Israel alone is singled out for heated condemnation, is the root of this reaction simply anti-Zionism or is it anti-Semitism?

Here is both a summing up of the entire trajectory of anti-Semitism-the first comprehensive history of its kind-and an exploration of the new wave of anti-Semitism that will be of interest to all concerned about the future of Jews, Judaism, and Israel.

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Posted by Marshall on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010. Filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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