cover image Antisemitism: Here and Now

Antisemitism: Here and Now

Deborah E. Lipstadt. Schocken, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4337-6

Lipstadt (Beyond Belief), a professor of Jewish history at Emory, gives a thoughtful overview of and response to anti-Semitism in the West. In a series of letters addressed to an imaginary Jewish student and non-Jewish colleague, Lipstadt taxonomizes the contemporary sources of anti-Semitism (white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, “anti-Semitism enablers,” and even certain parts of the left, in which hoary stereotypes of Jews as a global, cosmopolitan class circulate). Though she gives a short list of violent Islamist incidents that have caused some Jews to disguise their identities in Europe, Lipstadt spends more time reflecting on the threats to academic freedom in American universities, where critiques of Israeli policy have led to boycotts, protests, and bans of Israeli speakers. It concludes with a gentle celebration of Jewish culture and history that should hearten scholars, Jews, and anyone interested in a democratic, multicultural society. Keeping her tone measured, unaccusing, and carefully noninflammatory, Lipstadt presents an intelligent, evenhanded explanation of how Jews come under attack today for appearing white and privileged, and the book’s civil conversation might well sway more readers than a ringing denunciation. Informed, historically sound, and deeply rational, Lipstadt’s book offers both convincing reasons for the recent rise of anti-Semitism and apt advice to “call out and combat” it. (Feb.)