Book review: Holocaust scholar surveys rising tide of anti-Semitism | AspenTimes.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Book review: Holocaust scholar surveys rising tide of anti-Semitism

Ann Levin
Associated Press
This cover image released by Schocken Books shows "Antisemitism: Here and Now," by Deborah E. Lipstadt. (Schocken Books via AP)
AP | Schocken Books

Deborah E. Lipstadt was surprised at how hard it was to write her latest book. A leading authority on the Holocaust, she was used to “skulking in the sewers of antisemitism and genocide.” But that was history.

What made her latest work so challenging — documenting the recent resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and America, on the right and the left — was that it was happening now.

The end result was well worth it.

“Antisemitism: Here and Now” is an indispensable guide to contextualizing activities as diverse as the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign, also known as BDS.

Support Local Journalism

And it’s about as even-handed as it could be, given the disturbing subject matter and the fact that Lipstadt’s strong self-identification as a Jew made the topic intensely personal for her.

The book is structured as a series of letters between a Jewish student of hers named Abigail and a colleague named Joe at the law school at Emory University, where Lipstadt is on the faculty.

They are fictional characters who are composites of many people she’s had discussions with over the past few years.

The letter format gives the book an urgency that might otherwise be lacking in a scholarly work, although at times, it can seem a little contrived.

Lipstadt is best known for being sued for libel by David Irving after calling him a Holocaust denier. She won the case, which was later made into the 2016 film “Denial” starring Rachel Weisz.

At the outset Lipstadt expresses her hope that both sides of the political divide will be discomfited by her analysis and conclusions, and they probably will.

Lipstadt wrapped up the manuscript in August 2018 after noting that pace of anti-Jewish incidents and rhetoric had made it almost impossible to finish. Sadly, she was right.

Just weeks after penning her note to readers, a man gunned down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. The suspect had a history of posting anti-Semitic vitriol online.


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User