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Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice Paperback – Large Print, May 17, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0393318395 ISBN-10: 0393318397

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393318397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393318395
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,518,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to Lewis, the first Arab protests against Zionist settlement in what is now Israel were not anti-Semitic in nature. The Princeton professor and author (The Arabs in History insists here that opposition to Israel is not necessarily an expression of anti-Jewish sentiment. Yet he describesand is alarmed bya virulent strain of anti-Semitism that presently pervades the Arab states and traces this prejudice back to the early 1930s when racist Nazi tracts surfaced in the literature of such groups as Young Egypt. Current Arab demonization of the Jew, Lewis points out, makes no distinction between Jews, Israelis and Zionists. This clearsighted, dispassionate analysis of anti-Semitism includes a chapter debunking the notion that both Jews and Arabs are "Semites" (Semitic refers to a linguistic group) and an illuminating comparative history of Jewish existence under Christian and Muslim rule. First serial to New York Review of Books.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Lewis, the Cleveland E. Dodge Profes sor of Near Eastern Studies at Prince ton, is a noted historian of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. His erudi tion encompasses the many cultures, languages, and histories of the people in this vast region. Here, he looks at the three main kinds of hostility within the Arab world toward Jews and Israel: normal conflict between states, "nor mal prejudice," and the ascription of cosmic evil to the Jews (anti-Semitism). Examining the Islamic past and the present situation, Lewis argues that un til recently anti-Semitism was absent from the Islamic world. Lewis's analy sis is penetrating and sophisticated, well documented and written. Essential for both scholars and informed layper sons. Jehuda Reinharz, Near Eastern & Judaic Studies Dept., Brandeis Univ., Waltham, Mass.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Lewis is criticized thorughout the Muslim/Arab worlds for telling it like it is.
Dav Lev
This horrendous process is documented in quite intolerable detail in this excellent book, and God knows there is enough to be said about it.
F. P. Barbieri
If anyone reads two books by Bernard Lewis, it must become clear that the man understands his subject.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 101 people found the following review helpful By sid1gen on January 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I call this book "A must-read" because if you are even considering the subject of anti-Semitism, or the Arab-Israeli conflict, or just plain prejudice regardless of what kind of prejudice is analyzed, its 285 pages are the perfect place to start. Bernard Lewis writes about anti-Semitism in his areas of expertise (the Arab world, the Moslem world, the Middle East) as one would write about an illness, a particularly ugly kind of illness. He is like a compassionate physician called to observe and diagnose a patient who has been infected with a horrible disease that is consuming his (or her) body and soul. As a non-Jew and an immigrant in the United States, I have often encountered Arabs who mistake me for someone who will share their hatred of Jews, simply because we share the immigrant experience in the US. This has happened in far too many occasions to be considered unimportant. The vast majority of Arabs that I've met in eleven years in this country, have assumed (correctly) that I have a Christian education, and (incorrectly) that I have been infected by the anti-Jewish syndrome that has, tragically, been most evident in Christian societies for two thousand years. Bernard Lewis' book has helped me understand this bothersome fact of life in my dealings with Arabs for the last eleven years. It was in part this book what provoked Edward Said's reaction against, and verbal abuse of, Bernard Lewis, and this, in turn, made me interested in the work of Edward Said.Read more ›
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53 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Veil on November 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
In the wake of September 11, a lot of Americans are only starting to wake up to something known to anyone who has read this book: the Arab world has succeeded Nazi Germany as the global epicenter of annihilationist anti-Semitism.
Bernard Lewis' book was written well in advance of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and it makes essential background reading into the bizarre theorizing that is so replete in the Arab world.
Lewis writes carefully and with sympathy for his subjects, and he is careful to draw a line between criticism of Israel and outright bigotry. Still, his inquiry finds that far too many newspapers and intellectuals in this region are willing to embrace medieval libels and Nazi tracts in their efforts to explain away the perseverance of Israel.
Anyone who holds universal tolerance as a cardinal value - regardless of their stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict - should read this book carefully. Unless the world shines the light of truth on the recesses of paranoia and hatred lurking in the Arab world, we will be certain of seeing many more Osama bin Ladens
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on July 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
The most important thing I learned about this book is that Arab anti-Semitism, although not eternal, precedes the current war. Before the Holocuast, the mufti of Jerusalem urged the Nazis to engage in a "Holy War" against world Jewry, to accomplish the "final solution" to the Jewish problem everywhere. (p. 147, 1986 edition). In 1945, 130 Jews were massacred in Libya and 82 more in Aden (p. 205). In 1964, the state-controlled Egyptian press claimed that John Wilkes Booth was Jewish and "armed by the Zionist organization" (p. 214). In the 1970s, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia claimed that Jews practice the ritual murder of Christian and Muslim children (p. 194)
These facts disprove the claim of another reviewer that "Far from being intent on annihilating the Jews, the Arab world is hostile towards Israel's brutal occupation of the Palestinians." Before I read Lewis's book, I too thought Arab anti-Semitism must have arisen from the recent Israel-Palestinian wars. But as the above-quoted examples (and many others cited by Lewis) show, Arabs were massacring Jews, supporting Nazis and fomenting Jew hatred before Israel even was formed in 1948, let alone before Israel took over the "occupied terrorities" in 1967.
Another reviewer complained about the "racist" Israeli Law of Return. The Law of Return has nothing to do with race: it allows Jews from around the world to live in Israel -- not just white European Jews, but Jews from the Arab countries (who, according to Lewis at least, comprised a majority of Israelis as of 1986) and black Jews from Ethiopia.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have studied European anti-semitism for years and recently began following the Arab media, with its plentiful dose of Muslim anti-semitism. The parallels between the two were so striking that I knew there had to be some sort of connection. A lot of Muslim anti-semitism is literally a carbon copy of medieval Christian polemics, even when it produces absurd results. (For example, a Palestinian sermon recently declared that "The Talmud blasphemes about Muhammed." Medieval Christian anti-semites often claimed that the Talmud blasphemed against Jesus, but that was at least plausible; Muhammed, on the other hand, was born several hundred years after the Talmud was written.) I knew there had to be an explanation, but I didn't know what it was until I read this book. The historical connection that Lewis provides (backed up with lots of evidence) seems obvious to me now that I have read it.
As for the reviewer who claims that Lewis is a bigot... he heaps praise on all Lewis's criticism of Western anti-semitism and on his accurate depiction of the relatively better life Jews used to have in the East, but everything Lewis says about current Arab anti-semitism and Israel is rejected. I hardly know where to start in addressing his points.
Lewis does not downplay the Sabra and Shatilla massacres; he merely points out that it wasn't the Israelis who commited the massacres, that similar massacres were happening every couple of months during that era in Lebanese history, and that the news coverage basically ignored those facts. (Even today, Palestinians attempted to sue Sharon for not foreseeing and preventing the massacres, but haven't bothered to sue the Lebanese Christians who actually planned and committed them.
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