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The Judeophobic Virus

Historian Robert S. Wistrich's gargantuan tome on anti-Semitism takes us beyond the present day.

Book Cover Hebrew University of Jerusalem historian Robert S. Wistrich‘s new tome, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (Random House), is a whale of a book, not only because it runs 1200 pages but also because having spent 20 years in its preparation, one could speculate its author might have been possessed by aspects of Melville’s best-known narrative.

The history of anti-Semitism begins just before the Christian era, and as any video-game-playing, texting, tweeting school kid ought to be able to identify, it is still most shamelessly present in the our globalized world.

Wistrich’s diligent and rigorous scholarship presents the repulsive picture—from the Crusades to Czarist Russia (the source of that foul historical slander, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion), through the Third Reich and the residue of the “Judeophobic virus” that remains in the Soviet sphere to the present day.

Professor Wistrich, in what will no doubt stand as the definitive work on anti-Semitism, does not shy away from considering the end game of the current Iranian regime, suggesting that a nuclear “Final Solution” is very much part of its program.

Historian Walter Laqueur (The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism) sums up:
Wistrich’s volume is a monumental, encyclopedic survey of the new wave of anti-Semitism. It is not, as the subtitle may suggest, a history—such works already exist. It covers Western and Eastern Europe in recent decades, the Middle East, the issues of Holocaust denial and of Jewish self-hatred. It would be difficult to think of a more competent author than Wistrich, head of a Jerusalem research institute, who has given decades to the study of the subject and has a good knowledge of recent European history and languages, and particularly of Nazism. At a time when anti-Semitism is again becoming fashionable in European societies, not to mention the threats by certain Muslim leaders such as Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this work needs no special recommendation.
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