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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant analysis of a sinister global trend, May 23, 2008
This review is from: The Return of Anti Semitism (Hardcover)
Schoenfeld investigates the resurgence of the ancient hatred by surveying its latest sources, carriers and ways of dissemination. Identifying the Islamic world as one of the largest hosts today, he uncovers its ancient roots in that culture, looks at the reasons why a particularly malignant strain is flourishing there and how it is being transmitted to Europe and the Americas. Unfortunately a European native variety is on the rise as well whilst some or other mutation has taken root on college campuses in the USA. A complex pathogen, antisemitism's latest manifestation is composed of many strains, ancient and modern, religious and racialist, rightwing and leftist. Like Phyllis Chesler in The New Anti-Semitism and Bernard Harrison in The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism, the author argues that today the greatest danger comes from the left, from a tradition rooted in the Enlightenment.

In the Middle East where the plague is driven by state-sanctioned media, it is a blend of the indigenous with a variety imported from Europe. And it has spread beyond that region throughout the Islamic sphere to places like Malaysia. Most noteworthy about this type is the blatant lack of distinction between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Schoenfeld provides many examples from countries like Egypt, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority. Further evidence is available in Peace: The Arabian Caricature of Anti-Semitic Imagery by Arieh Stav. Holocaust denial is rife and the infamous forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is popular throughout the region. From there, it is exported by oil-rich states to the Muslim communities in Europe. In both the Islamic and Western worlds the virus is propagated by the intelligentsia, mainly those in government, the media, the academic community and religious structures, but in the Arab world it has captivated all levels of the population.

In the West a significant shift has taken place, so that the phenomenon is now widespread on the Left amongst antiglobalists, environmentalists, anarchists, feminists and churches of that ideology, although it still exists on the far right too. In fact, a three-way diabolical convergence is taking place in an unholy alliance between Leftists and Islamists, and where the Far Left and the Far Right meet. Even more alarming is its prevalence in liberal circles where intellectuals are responsible for saturating media like the New York Times, LA Times, BBC, The New Statesman, The Guardian and The Independent with anti-Israel tropes equating Zionism with racism, colonialism & imperialism. These people of course indignantly deny that they are antisemitic. The liberal Abraham Foxman who in Never Again? underestimates the threat from this side, considers 1998 the year of the plague's rebirth. But William Nicholls recognized the danger long ago, identifying anti-Zionism as the typical expression of the new antisemitism in his 1993 book Christian Antisemitism.

The disease first emerges as enmity to Israel, then the haters start targeting Jewish organizations and individuals with an arsenal of smears and insinuations. These include ascribing vast and sinister influence to them and questioning their allegiance to the country in question. The aforementioned British media are notorious for their bias and dishonest reporting on the ME conflict, as Robin Aitken reveals so well in Can We Trust the BBC? In the UK, some prominent personalities include the author AN Wilson and a clique of Anglican clergy with ties to the Sabeel Ecumenical Centre, whilst the USA is afflicted by the famous Pol Pot fan Noam Chomsky, academics like Walt & Mearsheimer and Jimmy Carter. Most of these enemies of Israel exhibit a peculiar sanctimony and a distorted morality characterized by extreme selectivity, arbitrariness and immunity to facts. Futile as it may seem, on behalf of those not yet infected it is important to reiterate facts like: 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs who are represented by 3 parties in the Knesset, Jewish Israelis are composed of all races including Asians and Africans and that those who flee the horror in Darfur find refuge in Israel.

Mutual hatred serves as a strong attractor. As if the aforementioned foes weren't a strange lot, the obsession is also shared by large numbers of nutcase conspiracy theorists and religious cults that deny the Hebrew descent of the Jewish people, claiming that European nations are the true children of Israel. Genetic and DNA evidence has finally disproved the claim of the descent of Europeans from the so-called lost ten tribes. What bizarre bedfellows these cults make with the liberal protestant denominations that display the same hostility in their divestment drives! And with those theologians trying to revive replacement theology who are so brilliantly exposed by Barry Horner in Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged. The intention is always to undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel as well as Jewish history, especially the Jewish connection to the land and the Temple Mount.

Schoenfeld's book is short compared to the aforementioned works of Chesler, Foxman and Harrison, but he makes the case very well with compelling arguments in words of great impact. The book includes bibliographic notes and concludes with an index. The most illuminating work on the causes of the phenomenon is Why the Jews? by Dennis Prager & Joseph Telushkin which considers all aspects, including the spiritual. Antisemitism never remains just a Jewish problem; it inevitably brings terrible suffering to all societies under its spell. But there are effective ways of counteracting it. Yoram Hazony's book The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther, draws on ancient wisdom which reveals ways of destroying it.
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