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?