Jewish Review of Books

Reviews

The Devil You Know


Die Sprache der Judenfeinschaft im 21. Jahrhundert  (The Language of Hostility Toward Jews in the 21st Century)
by Monika Schwarz-Friesel and Jehuda Reinharz
De Gruyter, 444 pp., $112


Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives
edited by Alvin H. Rosenfeld
Indiana University Press, 576 pp., $35


The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism
by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Little, Brown and Company, 496 pp., $30

Anti-Semitism had to go underground in many of its previous haunts after 1945, but it never disappeared, and in recent years has been on the upswing. It’s hard to tell how much of a menace it now constitutes because so much of it remains submerged and so much of it is disguised. From the vantage point of the United States, where anti-Semitism is but a weak force, the danger may not appear very great at all—especially now that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vanished from the international scene and his successor is tweeting Rosh Hashanah greetings to the Jewish people. It would be a mistake, however, to make light of the very substantial evidence that anti-Semitism is on the rise. We need to know who our enemies are and to think about how to deal with them.

Anti-Semitism manifests itself in words and deeds. Some of the words come unsolicited from the mouths and pens of Jew-haters, and others appear on questionnaires designed to elicit and sort the expression of sentiments people may otherwise have kept to themselves or shared only with their like-minded friends. Actions range from violent attacks on individuals to political scheming against the Jewish people. Analysts of contemporary anti-Semitism monitor and examine some or all of these things and situate them against the backdrop of history in an effort to assess the dimensions of the problems we now face.

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About the Author

Allan Arkush is a professor of Judaic studies and history at Binghamton University and the senior contributing editor of the Jewish Review of Books.

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