Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Islamic and Nazi Antisemitism

Robert Wistrich is an archetypal professor. He knows a lot about his subject, by which I mean a lot. He speaks many languages, fluently (I've heard him sounding like a native in Hebrew, English, German, Russian and French, but there are more). He reads all the time, except when he's writing; he has published many books. He's the kind of fellow who encourages me not to be a full-time historian, since there's no way I could compete; better to dabble in many things and not have to be measured by success in one.

One of his more important books is to be published in America in January: A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad. Amazon offers, among others, this review:
"A message of this remarkable work is that the Holocaust did not only discredit anti-Semitism. In a sinister way, the murder of six million Jews has also inspired fantasies of completing what the Third Reich had begun, and has led to widespread defamation of Israel by equating its policies with Nazism. The grim case that Robert Wistrich advances in A Lethal Obsession is overwhelming. In the awesome scale of its research, in its moral and literary force, and in its compelling political urgency, there is no book quite like it."—Stephen J. Whitfield, Professor of American Civilization, Brandeis University.

Yesterday Wistrich published an op-ed in Haaretz about the similarities between Nazi antisemitic propaganda and what's going on these days in the Muslim world, and the lack of recognition of the problem in the West. The column has the advantage of being about 1198 pages shorter than the book.

No comments: