(inFOCUS Quarterly) – This book is irritating. And important. Irritating because you wanted to think that antisemitism – especially in Europe – isn’t a problem, but in fact you know better. Important because Eric Rozenman, a journalist and columnist for a wide range of newspapers and organizations, [Disclosure: he is a consultant to the Jewish Policy Center] makes you look where you didn’t want to.
He starts with “the dilution of content but intensification of form,” that has resulted in the increasing “delegitimization” of Israel. The heart of the book is the observation by a progressive political thinker that, “In general, truth is a relative thing, and if you state something which is factually untrue, it may, nevertheless, in fact, be considered to be true if it ought to be true.”
In a key theme, it took only a few decades before the Holocaust, a singularly Jewish experience, was appropriated by non-Jews (and some Jews), well-meaning and not, who changed the debasement, dislocation, and horrific torture and murder of Jews into political fodder. Jews as metaphor: Jews are the “new Nazis” and Palestinians the “new Jews.” Or Jews want “too much” compassion for their history and a “dispensation” for “crimes” they commit. “Je suis Charlie” – no one else is really Charlie Hebdo and the French magazine’s staff massacred by jihadists – but appropriating him, or the Holocaust, scores political points.
The conclusion will not surprise you: antisemitism is, indeed, the world’s oldest hatred. And dressing it as anti-Zionism doesn’t change it.