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Hating Jews: A Global Study
by Bruce Bawer
"The study of antisemitism," admits Bruno Chaouat, a professor of French in Minnesota, "can be tedious." This admirably candid confession appears relatively early in the pages of Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives, a collection of nineteen new essays edited by Alvin H. Rosenfeld, the distinguished director of Indiana University's Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and author of several major books about the Holocaust. Chaouat is right, of course: while a single anecdote about irrational hate can breed sorrow, anger, and/or shock, a thick book consisting entirely of such material is more likely to be, quite simply, numbing. It is Rosenfeld's accomplishment to have assembled a volume that, rather than seeming to repeat the same points over and over again, feels consistently fresh as it moves from region to region, approaches its topic from one angle after another, and serves up new historical information and cultural insights at every turn.
Most of the essays illuminate the current situation for Jews in a specific corner of the world: Alejandro Baer sums up antisemitism in today's Spain; Zvi Gitelman does the same for the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe; Szilvia Peremiczky focuses on Hungary and Romania; Rifat N. Bali, on Turkey. And Paul Bogdanor proffers an account of antisemitism in modern Britain, as expressed in a thoroughly ugly-sounding play, "Seven Jewish Children," by Caryl Churchill, and an equally horrid little poem about "the Zionist SS," written by the well-known poet (and Oxford professor) Tom Paulin and published a few months before 9/11 in The Observer.
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