cover image NEVER AGAIN? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism

NEVER AGAIN? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism

Abraham H. Foxman, . . Harper San Francisco, $24.95 (305pp) ISBN 978-0-06-054246-7

"Everybody's afraid to touch anything that's religious because most of the people out there [in Hollywood] are Jewish, and it's a frightening thing for them to promote Christianity," claimed Dolly Parton, unable to develop a TV miniseries about a born-again Christian folk singer. Such a casual reiteration of the myth that Jews control Hollywood is one example Foxman, the longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League, cites in showing what he claims is a new acceptance of global anti-Semitism. Arguing that this new anti-Semitism is not "a handful of incidents... but rather a little-noticed, under-the-radar pattern of repeated attacks, often violent, occurring in country after country," Foxman presents a frightening tally of hate crimes and hate speech in both Europe and the U.S. With examples at once shocking and predictable, such as the Arab press's caricatures of Israelis based on "imagery drawn from Nazi propaganda" and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention stating, "God doesn't hear the prayers of the Jews," Foxman's enumeration of such cases is frightening and important, but his presentation is problematic, in part because of his lack of political nuance. In the opening chapter, he repeatedly speaks of an anti-Semitic coalition of "extreme left-wing and right-wing groups," when what he is describing is similar anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from each separately. Another difficulty is that Foxman details his own experience (and that of the famous people he meets) so often that the book feels self-aggrandizing, like the struggles of one man against an anti-Semitic world rather than a political analysis. These problems don't seriously injure the book's credibility, but make it far less potent than it might be. (Nov.)