Ilana Snyder reviews 'Antisemitism: Here and now' by Deborah Lipstadt

Ilana Snyder reviews 'Antisemitism: Here and now' by Deborah Lipstadt

Antisemitism: Here and now

by Deborah Lipstadt

Scribe, $32.99 pb, 287 pp, 9781925322675

Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt is renowned as the woman who defeated David Irving in court after he sued her for describing him as a Holocaust denier. Her portrayal by Rachel Weisz in the film Denial (2016) ensured that Lipstadt and her landmark victory achieved even wider celebrity.

Thousands of books have been written on the history of anti-Semitism, and Lipstadt has not set out to write another. Alarmed that people continue to demonise Jews and regard them as responsible for evil, she directs her attention to its contemporary resurgence. For Lipstadt, anti-Semitism ‘is not the hatred of people who happen to be Jews. It is hatred of them because they are Jews’. The existence of anti-Semitism, which has never made sense and never will, is a threat not just to Jews but to all those who value an inclusive, democratic, and multicultural society. Indeed, when expressions of contempt for one group become normative, it is virtually inevitable that similar hatred will be directed at other groups.

Antisemitism: Here and now addresses questions that people began asking after the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. Is today’s anti-Semitism different from earlier manifestations? Where is it coming from: the right or the left? Is it all about Israel? Are we seeing anti-Semitism where it’s not, or refusing to see it where it clearly is?

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Published in ABR Online Exclusives
Ilana Snyder

Ilana Snyder

Ilana Snyder is an emeritus professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. With Susan Feldman and Barbara Kamler, she co-edited Something That Happens to Other People: Stories of Women Growing Older (1996).

Comments (1)

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    If you refuse to address the basic needs of any population; if you allow institutional racism to persist; if you presume to regulate debate by targeting individuals as “antisemites” and directing (and thus suppressing) discussion of the very serious issues of collapsing social services, vindictive poor-house “support” for unemployed and sick people and the toleration of policies that presuppose mass underemployment, in this bizarre moralistic direction; if you are concerned with political casuistries rather than social and economic solutions and the protection of freedom of expression, freedom of journalists and the right to know: you are fostering and using antisemitism.
    Monday, 10 June 2019 15:17 posted by David

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