Anti-Semitism: A Disease of the Mind: A Psychiatrist Explores the Psychodynamics of a Symbol Sickness

Theodore Isaac Rubin, Author
Theodore Isaac Rubin, Author Continuum $14.95 (146p) ISBN 978-0-8264-0461-9
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
With a surgeon's precision, psychiatrist Rubin explores the dark crannies of the anti-Semite's mind. He finds, among Christian Jew-haters, ambivalence over the fact that Jesus was a Jew and a ``conscience-giver.'' Jews, according to Rubin ( Compassion and Self-Hate ), are turned into objects of the bigot's projected guilt and self-hate. He sees anti-Semitism as a ``symbol sickness'' that involves envy, low self-esteem and projection of one's inner conflicts onto a stereotyped other. Violent ``acting out,'' in the case of anti-Semites, often results from gender confusion, homophobia and an identification with macho toughness, claims Rubin. To medicalize anti-Jewish prejudice by interpreting it as a psychiatric disorder, one runs the risk of letting bigots off the hook too easily, but Rubin for the most part overcomes this pitfall in an eloquent, valuable book that pinpoints the dynamics of anti-Semitism from its milder to its more virulent forms. (May)
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