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Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken (March 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805210148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805210149
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

The companion volume to a three-part TV series shown this spring on PBS. Wistrich (Modern European History/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem; Hitler's Apocalypse, 1986, etc.) provides a history of anti-Semitism from pre-Christian times through the Holocaust and goes on to survey contemporary anti-Semitism in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. In his relatively brief text, Wistrich can give his subject only a once-over-lightly. The result is practically an almanac of names, dates, and places, though it makes a useful introduction to deeper reading and reveals lines of continuity--for example, between Catholic and Reformation demonizing of Jews as Christ- killers and the Nazis' depersonalizing campaign. But there are gaps and mistaken emphases. The British response to the Holocaust gets half a sentence. The German left of today is called anti-Semitic for voicing criticism of Israeli West Bank behavior milder than that of some Israeli observers themselves. The illustrations--anti- Jewish propaganda from the Middle Ages to the present--while necessary, are so offensive that they make one cringe. In fact, this is a dispiriting book in both subject matter and treatment. In subject matter, because Wistrich--whether necessarily or not- -emphasizes the role of intellectuals in fomenting murderous hatred of Jews: St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Thomas Aquinas even, and on to Voltaire, Renan, Marx (only Nietzsche comes out well); and where anti-Semitism is in abeyance, it's often because other minorities are also targets of race hatred. As for treatment, though, Wistrich concentrates on how, not why. He gives us lots of facts and summary historical analyses, but he doesn't begin to try to explain why hatred of Jews has persisted for millennia, or--the book's biggest failure--why, after all the pogroms, massacres, and expulsions he lists, Jews survive and even flourish as individuals and in communities. A few heroes, a little good news to leaven the bad, would have made this a more edifying work. (B&w illustrations--24 pages--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Published in 1991, this book predicted the resurgence of the ancient hatred; it was unfortunately correct. In the introduction Wistrich discusses the problematic term Antisemitism then briefly explores its continuity and development down the ages. He does not believe that history provides definitive answers to the Why? of the phenomenon but emphasizes the importance of understanding the How? of it. The most enduring conspiracy theory of all times, it's a shape shifter and nothing seems able to stop it.

Part One examines its pagan roots, its lethal and influential infection of Christianity at an early date and the course it took in Western Europe until the early 1990s. This section includes the medieval legacy when the phenomenon took a particularly ugly turn, Martin Luther, the Holocaust and post-war attitudes in Germany and Austria where it evidently never died. Previously neither the Reformation nor the Enlightenment put an end to it. It instead just mutated along lines acceptable to the Zeitgeist. After World War II the pattern of European guilt-denial has led to increasing anti-Zionism in a process of displacement and projection. Hatred of the Jewish people is being transferred to the Jewish State.

Part Two looks at the history in Britain, France, Hungary, Rumania, Czech, Poland and Russia. Of interest here is how the thing persists even in the absence of Jewish people like in Poland in the late 1980s, and how the US strain has mercifully always been less virulent than the European. I am afraid that things have deteriorated since the publication of this book. The long history of popular and state antisemitism in Russia has been revived, with the country's open support of rogue states and terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Severin Olson on October 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Wistrich is certainly correct in calling Antisemitism the longest hatred. Almost every culture, from ancient times to the present, has been infected with this philosophy. His book covers its history from Biblical times to the late 20th Century. The first two thirds look at Europan and western attitudes, and how they contributed to the holocaust and have changed since World War II. The final third examines the Islamic world and the present conflict over Israel. This last section is in many ways the most interesting, as it covers material many in the West may be less familiar with.

The greatest weakness here is that while the author gives us many facts, he offers very little in the way of explanation. We learn almost nothing about why antisemitism has been so prevelant or so intense, or why, like a natural disaster, it flares up in cycles every so often. No one expects Wistrich to have the final answer here, but he should have made at least some attempt to discover the reasons for the 'longest hatred'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane Plotkin on March 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is well researched and well written, and provides an Interesting history for those who have wondered about the causes of anti-Semitism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By goldstof orna on November 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
for my Masters degree, a must have book about Antisemitism , as it was a used book, i paid only 1 cent instead of 150 dollars
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. D Roberts on January 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent study based on extensive, thorough research of both ancient and modern-day anti-Semitism that destroys any myth that anti-Semitism is now on the decline.
Introducing the definition of anti-Semitism as the hatred of Jews & Judaism (and not Semites in general), the writer displays a commendable knowledge of the subject while devoting a sizeable section of this book to revealing and analysing the re-emergence & immediacy of the virulent, racial hatred revived by the ongoing situation in the Middle East.
Many readers will find this book both painful and shocking. The writer approaching the many aspects of anti-Semitism through the ages, not least of which being those originating through some aspects of 'Christianity', which were subsequently adopted by Nazism, Bolshevism and Islam. Certain revealed myths shown to provide the seedbed on which Nazi and other racialist doctrines/prejudices could flourish, dehumanising Jews & subsequently removing all/any moral restraints that opposed a persecution or genocide of the Jewish people.
The book examines the erroneous, malignant myths like 'The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion', (of which the Arab world is now the largest supplier), and how these have now taken root in the Middle East as another Islamic weapon against the Jewish State.
The writer declaring that, despite being an absolute tissue of malicious lies, wherever there is a 'will' to believe such aberrations, events can always be made to fit the paranoid visions & homicidal hatred of a Jewish 'world conspiracy'.
A whole section of the book is devoted to Jews living in Islamic lands & the question of 'Palestine'. Of particular note here is the revelation that the enforced wearing of the 'Yellow Badge' by Jews actually originated in Baghdad and not Europe.
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