Photo Credit: Joan L. Roth
Dr. Phyllis Chesler

When Phyllis Chesler first published The New Anti-Semitism more than a decade ago, it was a glowing lamp in the darkening night.

Since that time, The Jewish Press readers know that much has gotten worse. Anti-Semitism is louder, more widely and brazenly espoused, with less shame, than it had been in decades.

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More people can now see what Chesler has seen all along, but far too many remain blind.

The essence of the new Anti-Semitism, Chesler explains, differs from the old in the way in which the center-to-hard left has taken up the cudgels, thereby making anti-Semitism (which includes the unalloyed hatred of the Jewish State) acceptable, even required, for those who hold themselves out as anti-colonialist, anti-racist, anti-imperialists.

The new anti-Semitism is the marriage of the evil far-right to the slavering far-left. It is ugly and it is increasingly ubiquitous.

In this brand new edition of The New Anti-Semitism (Gefen Publishing House 2014), Chesler provides answers to some of the questions her original edition raised. What is particularly welcome is her chapter containing suggestions for action by those who have begun to realize action – decisive action – must be taken before it is too late. Those suggestions won’t be found in this review, because anyone interested should buy the book and support this frontline warrior.

Much of the same ground has begun to be covered elsewhere by the few who saw the light since Chesler’s first edition came out, but here is why this book is different from the other sources now mining this essential topic: this book was written by someone who was immersed in the world that now seethes with hostility to Jews and their nation. The New Anti-Semitism is written by someone with a constellation of qualities that make her uniquely credible.

Chesler’s bona fides as a giant of the left are impeccable. She was one of the founding deans of the modern feminist movement, having served in the trenches with Kate Millet and Andrea Dworkin, among many others. Her longstanding and current commitment to feminism makes her accurate portrayal of the feminist movement’s turning on the Jewish State so important and so poignant.

And then there’s the fact that Chesler was first married to an Afghani Muslim and lived in Kabul in the family’s harem (as described in her fascinating An American Bride in Kabul). And she was later married to an Israeli Jew. Want to discuss western confrontation with the eastern Other with someone who’s really been on the line where they meet? Try to top that. No one can.

An additional reason you should read Chesler’s book is her writing. While much of the book provides historical accounts of the old and the new anti-Semitisms, all of these reflections come in Chesler’s inimitable style: conversational, dramatic, engaging.

The new The New Anti-Semitism provides readers with accounts of events in recent history which have been dramatically and dangerously misreported in the mainstream media.

Chesler as our guide through the earliest instances of (the “old”) anti-Semitism: blaming Jews for the murder of Jesus, through to Dreyfus, Herzl and Hitler takes us on a familiar path, but she combines a lens of clarity with a compelling voice.

This book also shares some of the less well-known modern-day detours, descriptions of which should be required reading for anyone who purports to care about what is happening in the Middle East.

Chesler is particularly insightful regarding the highjacking of various national as well as global conferences, hosted by the United Nations, by feminists and others, which were transformed into festivals for trashing Jews, Judaism and the Modern State.. This author had a front row seat at many of these events, and she provides an unmatched vantage point and voice of anguish. The disinvitations to even leftist, anti-Israel Jews should have been a warning; it wasn’t, other than to Chesler and very few others.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

6 COMMENTS

  1. The New Anti Semitism is the same as the Old Anti Semitism, which stems from the Christ killer charge. Just as anti-Black racism stems from the notion that one is suited to be a slave if coated with Black skin, so Jew baiting stems from the notion that one is suited to be slaughtered if Jewish. Here's St. John Chrysostom:

    “Just so the Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: ‘Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer’. And still another called the Jews ‘an untamed calf’. Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: ‘But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them’.”

    Muslims developed their own variations. The main point is that people should not act as though nothing has changed after 1,000 years have passed.

  2. There is no new Anti-Semitism. There are two two philosophies that exist in the world: a materialist view in which might makes right and a spiritualist view which embraces truth and justice. The former cannot exist unchecked as long as the latter exists in the world and it thus feels compelled to destroy it and those who believe in it. Because the Jews represent truth and justice, the materialists have always sought to destroy us, whether they be Esav, Egyptians, Babylonians, Hellenists, Romans, Christians, Nazis, Commmunists or Jihadists. Anti-Semitism is the way of Esav.

  3. I agree. I would add, that the Nation of Israel, in order to survive and maintain its covenantal mission of carrying the spiritualist view…must…MUST…live simultaneously in both realities. "Bli kemach ain Torah"–honor the physical/material so as to support the spiritual.

    We are a nation of warriors and scholars. Not aggressors; not conquerors or invaders; but warriors in defense of what is good, true, and right. These twin foundations are equally necessary.

  4. Alexis Worlock – Thank You for Your Comment.
    How often I stand and gawk in wondrous silence when tiny, beleaguered Eretz Israel yet again pulls through another calamity.
    Am Israel Chai … so is my prayer and my cry, daily, to The Lord God Of Israel.
    You – the people of the Book – The Apple of His Eye – MUST succeed and survive … or we all – in the nations – can pack it in.

  5. People, can't you at least read the article, if not the book, before announcing that "there is no new anti-Semitism?" From your comments it is obvious that you did not read anything other than the headline and rushed in to have your say, thereby revealing your impetuousness and depriving yourself of a really important insight.

  6. (edited)
    Whether "New" or "Old" , Anti-Semitism has been ever present in one form or other since the authors and promoters of the New Testament had to distinguish themselves and destroy the people who founded the foundations of their new religion. they felt compelled to do this in order to spread their "new" theology.. Christ was an Orthodox Jew.__ a believer. His teachings were Old testament__ as were many of the precepts of islam. Read Einstein's essay on why they all hate us., written in the 30's even before Hitler's madness was fully expressed. The root of this wide-spread virulent hatred is jealousy and envy. Chessler's voice is powerful and pertinent and should be heard world wide, in every media outlet, especially the NY Times, where many of our Jewish brethren, who are so mis-guided ( and suicidal), must heed her words.

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