“Anti-Semitism: Here and Now” by Deborah Lipstadt— An Analysis of Hate

Lipstadt, Deborah. “Anti-Semitism: Here and Now”, Schocken, 2019

An Analysis of Hate

Amos Lassen

Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt brings us “Anti-Semitism : Here and Now”, an in depth, penetrating and provocative analysis of anti-Semitism, the hate that will not die. Her focus is on  the current, virulent incarnations on both the political right and left including white supremacist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, to mainstream enablers of antisemitism such as Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn, to a gay pride march in Chicago that expelled a group of women for carrying a Star of David banner.

It is impossible not to notice the upsurge in anti-Semitic acts over the last decade and these include rhetoric and incidents by left-wing groups targeting Jewish students and Jewish organizations on American college campuses. We have seen the reemergence of the white nationalist movement in America, complete with Nazi slogans and that are reminders of the terrible fascist displays of the 1930s. Throughout Europe, Jews have been attacked by terrorists, and some have been murdered.

We are not sure where this hate is coming from and we cannot see clearly  any significant difference between left-wing and right-wing antisemitism? The anti-Zionist movement has surely had a role here. We do not know  what can be done to combat the latest manifestations of an ancient hatred. Deborah Lipstadt gives us her own superbly reasoned, smartly argued and certain controversial responses to these troubling questions.

Lipstadt has had her own experience with an anti-Semite so she can certainly explain  anti-Semitism to us making this quite a valuable book. There are many Jews who have not experience outright hatred so the issue might be far from them or so they think. I have experienced it at the hands of a white and racist New Orleans upper class and I can tell you that it hurt badly. Lipstadt explores just about every manifestation of contemporary antisemitism and backs what she finds historically. She gives us an intelligent explanation of why Jews come under attack today and she offers convincing reasons for the rise of antisemitism  now and shows that it is our duty to “call out and combat” it.

“Using a form of Socratic dialogue allows Lipstadt to give us several enlightening essays on a wide range of historical aspects and current manifestations of antisemitism. It is difficult to talk about the hatred if the calm, lucid, intelligent, and have a faultless moral compass so that we can get the real feel for racial justice. Anti-Semitism is always ugly especially when those who regard themselves as champions of liberation use it.


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