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Friday, July 30, 2010
Never Again?:The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism by Abraham H. Foxman
Powerful, important but not perfect. Also - test yourself!
Summary of the book:
Foxman uses the common comment that the world has learned its lesson during World War II and will "never again" let hate do what it did to the Jews in World War II. He uses a question mark because he points to some rather depressing trends in this well-researched book that mark a rise of anti-semitism throughout the world, even in Japan. (reviewers note: How many Jews actually live in Japan? How many Japanese actually know what the Jewish religion is? I'm assuming this is just a nutball group that hates just about everybody and just threw the Jews in too).
Foxman is the head of the Anti-Defamation League, a group based in New York City that monitors Anti-Semitic activity throughout the world.
Foxman is a bit too sensitive (something that he admits he is trying to avoid), but he's right,there are terribly disturbing anti-Semitic trends, especially in his chapter 7 concerning very popular Muslim beliefs concerning Jews (he quotes opinion polls and continuing attacks that come from mainstream Muslim newspapers. Unfortunately, from an editing standpoint, he ends up with Chapter 8 - a chapter about anti-Semitism in Hollywood and popular entertainment. It is by far his weakest chapter, a point he virtually concedes because this is where he makes his comments about not wanting to appear too sensitive.
Foxman has an anti-Semitism quiz developed by the Anti-Defamation League. He says you qualify as "most" Anti-Semitic if you agree with six or more of the following:
1) Jews stick together more than other Americans.
2) Jews always like to be at the head of things.
3) Jews are more loyal to Israel than America.
4) Jews have too much power in the U.S. today.
5) Jews have too much control and influence on Wall Street.
6) Jews have too much power in the business world.
7) Jews have a lot of irritating faults.
8) Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want.
9) Jewish businesspeople are so shrewd that others don't have a fair chance at competition.
10) Jews don't care what happens to anyone but their own kind.
11) Jews are not just as honest as other businesspeople.
I scored a zero out of 11 on this test. However, Foxman would still consider me an anti-Semite. He has 2 long chapters on Jewish-Christian relations (one for Catholics worldwide and one for American Protestants) and since I am a Christian that believes that Christ is the only way to heaven, I am an anti-Semite.
Oh, well. No matter Foxman's opinion, I will continue to consider myself not anti-Semitic, especially in light of some of the absolutely ignorant comments coming from some of my rural Indiana students. I do believe that I am the only one that has ever confronted some of them. Here's what they were doing: they were using the word Jew and Jewish as an insult term - meaning stupid. So, when someone would say something stupid some others would say, "That's so Jewish!" or "You're such a Jew!". So, anyway, I'd boot their asses out to the hall so fast that their heads would spin and we would have a lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ong talk. I can tolerate a lot of ignorant things but racism is not one of them. I've had this conversation about 5 times in the last two years, but not for the last 5 or 6 months. Maybe it has stopped or maybe it has just stopped around me.
To sum up: This book receives a "4 stars". It would have received a higher grade except for the relatively weak chapter at the end that takes away a lot of its punch. Still, it is an important book.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.
This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Never Again?
Reviewed on July 18, 2004.