Review. A Lethal Obsession
A Lethal Obsession
Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad
By Robert S. Wistrich
Random House 2010, 1200 pp.
Those who had hoped that the lethal Obsession of anti-Semitism would end with Hitler’s Third Reich have to admit that the image of the ‘Jew secretly pulling the strings‘ is still a potent symbol for diffuse anxieties about the global economy. Pogroms and prejudice continued in Soviet-controlled territories and in the Arab-Muslim world, ensuring decades of distrust, malice, and violence.
Fortunately for his readers, the historian Wistrich does not limit his scope to the past and offers a chilling picture of contemporary Anti-Semitism, an invaluable tool for anyone combating neo-Anti-Semitism in its many and various manifestations. The sheer quantity of facts compiled in the 1185 pages of this solidly documented book is overwhelming. Wistrich is scrupulously fair and generous, but outspoken where others dither cautiously.
Today not only the extreme right blames Israel for all global ills. Jihadi terrorists and a big part of the radical left aggressively join the chorus.
While criticism of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic in itself, all anti-Semites tend to hate the existence of a Jewish and democratic state. Wistrich documents superbly how code words like “anti-Zionism” mask vicious old stereotypes.
As Irwin Cotler, MP and former Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General states, this book is “a must for scholars of hate and anti-Semitism”. Anybody who’s interested in furthering the good of society, rationalistic criticism and universalistic humanism can profit from this fascinating study which captures the wide range of a persisting obsession in an absolutely convincing and compelling way.
Karl Pfeifer is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist