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Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate

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ISBN-13: 978-0805210477
ISBN-10: 0805210474
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A fervent and brilliant challenge to ant-Semitism."
The New York Times

"A review . . . can merely indicate the humanity, the compassion, and the suggestive brilliance of Sartre's writing. His essay is a genuine contribution to contemporary thought; it will be read and reread in years to come."
—Harvey Swados

"Still a monument of postwar writing on anti-Semitism . . . Michael Walzer's fine introduction will help current readers sift out what remains relevant from Sartre's work for considering the variants of anti-Semitism haunting the world today."
—Elisabeth Young Bruehl

"Sartre's account of anti-Semitism is an acknowledged classic, based in large measure on assimilated Jews whom he personally knew. Michael Walzer's essay provides significant balance to Sartre's brilliant analysis."
—Arthur Hertzberg

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 153 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken (April 25, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805210474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805210477
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Novelist, playwright, and biographer Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-80) is widely considered one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. His major works include "No Exit," "Nausea," "The Wall," "The Age of Reason," "Critique of Dialectical Reason," "Being and Nothingness," and "Roads to Freedom," an allegory of man's search for commitment, and not, as the man at the off-licence says, an everyday story of French country folk.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Wronka on November 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent study on some of the origins of hate. Although Sartre may have wished to examine more the role of socialization as the fundamental root of prejudice, he does a good job in exposing the numerous "sins of omission" in religion and the media in causing hate, in this instance, the horrors of the Holocaust. He does so also with extreme rhetorical skill when he asks, for example: "Why were the concentration camps not in the news"?, or when he speaks of "Christian propaganda that the Jews killled Jesus." (It was the Romans.) Certainly, the world has advanced since then, (or so it seems) as evidenced in part by the late Pope John Paul II's apology for the role of Christianity in the Holocaust. And certainly that propaganda had nothing to do with what Christ taught, to do things for the "least of these" and to "love Thy neighbor." We can still see I think some of these forces at work today, especially in regard to extreme poverty throughout the world. It is as if "class" has become a new "blind spot". Why do we rarely hear about the one billion (referred often to as the "bottom billion") who go to bed starving each night, making each day merely a struggle to survive? What is it about our educational system and the media, that seem to block out such atrocities? We need to change all that, so that our minds (and hearts) are more open to the struggles of so many in the world.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on December 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
There is an Anti- Semitic review in this page in which the following mistakes and errors are made. The writer of the review says that Sartre is Jewish. He is not and so far as I know none of his ancestors were Jewish. The Anti- Semitic reviewer says that the 'Torah teaches hatred of Gentiles' This is outrageous, and stupid. The Torah teaches that every human being is created in the image of God, and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. The Torah teaches that every human being is of infinite value.

As for the Sartre book Sartre does understand a great deal about the attitude of assimilated Jews. However he does not know or understand Jews whose Jewish identity is not formed by ' the other' but rather formed positively through belief in their own heritage.

I too think that Anti- Semitism takes different forms at different times, and it is difficult to understand the present kind of radical fundamentalist Islamic anti- Semitism in the same terms as one understands the Anti-Semitism of the extreme left.

But with all this there is the point that Sartre was fundamentally sympathetic to the Jewish people and to the sufferings caused by the evil of anti- Semitism.
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33 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lieder on November 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
90% of this book is great in examining the mindset of the anti-semite and the Jew that wants to assimilate but can't because of the anti-semite. Sartre is brilliant when he talks about the anti-semite's passion for the Jew (which explains why many anti-semites from Farrakhan to Christian Identity movements call themselves "the real Jews"), the assimilated Jew's overcompensation, the historical roots of anti-semitism, and the liberal democrat's damaging and weak defense of Jews on the basis of their common humanity at the expense of their Judaism (As the Napoleaonic position stated = "To the Jew as a man everything, to the Jew as a nation nothing").
Where the book fails is when Sartre tries to gauge the mindset of the Jew that doesn't want to assimilate and the mindset of the Jewish people as a whole. He claims that society makes Jews Jewish and that there is neither a national nor a religious identity holding them together. This was before Israel was a fact of life and when many Jews wanted to assimilate without a trace of guilt over the fact. Most of the Jews that he knows aren't particularly fond of the religious dimension of their lives and he reflects that. He is also erroneous when he characterizes an "authentic" Jew as someone who has thrown off universalism. Judaism believes in universalism but not at the expense of Chosen People status. Of course, what Sartre sees as a problem - Jews trying to assimilate but being pushed into being Jewish, Judaism sees as evidence of being a Chosen People.
Sartre's ignorance about religious Judaism aside, this is still an excellent book in the cause of multiculturalism and pluralism. He argue that ultimately anti-semitism is not a Jewish problem but a problem in his native France and that as long as anti-Semitism exists, no one is secure. He takes 150 pages to make the argument and some of the roads he takes to get there are questionable but it's still an excellent book in that respect.
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36 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read this book at least three times and I believe it provides some of the greatest insight into the jewish condition that has ever been committed to print. Sartre's understanding of the position of the jew in modern society is unparalled,as are his observations of the mind of the anti-semite. This book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the true nature of the phenomenon of psychological anti-semitism within the context of modern society.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Imagine the value of a book on anti-Semitism composed by a non-Jew, a deep-thinker, a philosopher, a man living in France in 1944 during a period of fierce Jew hatred; imagine what ideas this book could impart. This is the value of Jean-Paul Sartre's short, but information-filled volume, his indictment of society.

Characteristics of an anti-Semite
An anti-Semite, Sartre explains in perhaps his most insightful insight, is an individual who hates Jews because he refuses to think. He is afraid of and threatened by thinking. Thinking requires the recognition that ideas change and grow. A thinking person never knows exactly what is true because he recognizes that ideas vanish like vapor; they develop and change as he gains new knowledge. But the anti-Semite needs to have an ossified never-changing world, a world set in stone, a stone that he can lean on, a stone that supports him, that holds him up. He cannot deal with knowing that what he understands today will change tomorrow.

It is easier for him to blame the Jew for evil, and speak of ridding the world of Jews to remove the evil, than seeing the true problems of society, thinking how to resolve them, and working to do so. Vaguely, without real thought, for he is unable to define "evil" or "good," he argues that the harmony of his life will be reestablished once the Jew is removed. His thoughts are vague and totally negative and destructive.

His notion of Jews is not based on ideas; "it is...a passion." Not only Jews, but even his conception of the world is based on passion. He has no real understanding of history and no real experience with Jews. His hatred is similar to irrational faith because he is "impervious to reason and to experience."

His passion disallows him to see anything good in the Jew.
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