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Never Again?

Never Again?

by Abraham Foxman

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The ongoing war on terror, instability in the Middle East, and a faltering world economy are capturing headlines everywhere. But through it all runs a disturbing current of which many people are only dimly aware.

Anti-Semitism, which had been on the decline worldwide since the end of World War II, has over the past few years made a perilous return. How


The ongoing war on terror, instability in the Middle East, and a faltering world economy are capturing headlines everywhere. But through it all runs a disturbing current of which many people are only dimly aware.

Anti-Semitism, which had been on the decline worldwide since the end of World War II, has over the past few years made a perilous return. How could the twenty-first century -- the new millennium launched with such optimism just a few short years ago -- have so quickly been marred by the emergence of age-old hatreds, now armed with the powers of global terrorism?

As national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman fights against the menace of intolerance every day. As a result of the disturbing events of the last few years, he is convinced that we currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as we faced in the 1930s. Foxman writes: "Within living memory, we’ve seen what can happen when a nation or a continent experiences an unrestrained outbreak of anti-Semitism. The Jews of the world -- and all people of goodwill who share their desire for a just and free society -- learned a series of critical lessons from the tragic history of the twentieth century. Today, we understand how important it is to recognize the emergence of new forms of anti-Semitism so that we can warn the world and stave off the worst effects."

Anti-Semitism remains a pernicious form of ethnic and religious intolerance, with consequences for all of humankind. In communities from the United States to the Middle East, Europe to South Africa and Latin America, Jews are being persecuted in old and new ways. Exploring the history of anti-Semitism and providing the first comprehensive examination of the new rampant anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide, Never Again?? offers a crucial discussion of the steps that must be taken to prevent this century from witnessing a replay of the horrors of the last.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Of all the 20th century's social pathologies, the philosopher Hannah Arendt predicted, only anti-Semitism would survive. Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, cites Arendt in his foreword to Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism. Then Abraham H. Foxman proceeds to construct an airtight case, as if driven to prove Arendt sadly correct. — Robert Leiter
Publishers Weekly
"Everybody's afraid to touch anything that's religious because most of the people out there [in Hollywood] are Jewish, and it's a frightening thing for them to promote Christianity," claimed Dolly Parton, unable to develop a TV miniseries about a born-again Christian folk singer. Such a casual reiteration of the myth that Jews control Hollywood is one example Foxman, the longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League, cites in showing what he claims is a new acceptance of global anti-Semitism. Arguing that this new anti-Semitism is not "a handful of incidents... but rather a little-noticed, under-the-radar pattern of repeated attacks, often violent, occurring in country after country," Foxman presents a frightening tally of hate crimes and hate speech in both Europe and the U.S. With examples at once shocking and predictable, such as the Arab press's caricatures of Israelis based on "imagery drawn from Nazi propaganda" and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention stating, "God doesn't hear the prayers of the Jews," Foxman's enumeration of such cases is frightening and important, but his presentation is problematic, in part because of his lack of political nuance. In the opening chapter, he repeatedly speaks of an anti-Semitic coalition of "extreme left-wing and right-wing groups," when what he is describing is similar anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from each separately. Another difficulty is that Foxman details his own experience (and that of the famous people he meets) so often that the book feels self-aggrandizing, like the struggles of one man against an anti-Semitic world rather than a political analysis. These problems don't seriously injure the book's credibility, but make it far less potent than it might be. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Never Again?

Chapter One

As Storm Clouds Gather:
The Rise of the New Anti-Semitism

In some ways today's reemergence of anti-Semitism in a time of turmoil is predictable and unsurprising -- although it's profoundly disappointing to realize how quickly millions of people seem to have forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust. What's most troubling is the way today's new anti-Semitism combines traditional bigotry and hatred with modern resentments in a way that is unprecedented and particularly virulent. The process is furthest advanced and most visible in the Middle East and on the continent of Europe, but it can be observed also in the United States, in Latin America, and in other countries around the world -- even those, like Japan, in which very few Jews can be found.

Strange Bedfellows

In today's new mutant strain of anti-Semitism, traditional elements of the extreme right and the extreme left are working together, often in concert with immigrants of Arab descent and terrorist organizations based in the Middle East. It's a strange alliance, since adherents of the far right in Europe and North America generally espouse nativist policies and abhor foreign, especially non-Christian, influences. Yet hatred of the Jews is proving to be a powerful enough force to unite these disparate groups.

The authoritative Anti-Semitism Worldwide, prepared annually by a team of scholars at the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, provides a wealth of details concerning how fringe groups on the right and the left are uniting on behalf of an anti-Semitic agenda. Here are a few examples from the most recent reports concerning the continent of Europe:

  • In Germany, Hans-Günther Eisenecker, vice chairman of the radical right-wing NPD, has described his vision of an "antisemitic internationale," which would link Islamist movements, North Korea, Cuba, and extreme nationalists in Europe and America in an alliance against Israel and the United States.
  • American white supremacist David Duke recently returned from a two-year tour of Europe, during which he lectured on "the Aryan race's main enemy, world Zionism" in several countries and conferred with Russian leaders ranging from neofascist Vladimir Zhinovsky to Communist Duma member General Albert Makashov.

  • In eastern Europe, the right-wing Greater Romania Party and the Hungarian Justice and Life Party have championed the cause of Iraq and the Palestinians, claiming that American foreign policy is controlled by Israel and the Jews.
  • Extreme left-wing and right-wing groups worked together to mount anti-Israel demonstrations in autumn 2000 in Rome, Copenhagen, and Vienna.
  • Over 250 violent anti-Semitic incidents were perpetrated through Europe in the weeks following the outbreak of the Middle Eastern intifada, aimed not at institutions identified with the state of Israel, but simply at Jews. Evidence shows that some of these attacks were conducted by left-wing groups, others by right-wing groups, and that the two sets of extremists appeared to inspire each other in anti-Jewish attacks.

Similarly, in the United States, white supremacists and other ultra-right-wing groups have taken up the Palestinian cause in an effort to build a new coalition of hatred to battle the Jews:

  • Matt Hale, leader of the white supremacist World Church of the Creator, has called on his supporters to ally themselves with the Palestinians against the common Jewish enemy. In an April 10, 2002, press release, he called suicide bombing "an obviously effective technique that courageous Palestinians in their determination to expel the Jewish invader of their lands have decided to employ."
  • In a similar vein, David Irving, a historian whose stock in trade has been the traditional ultra-right-wing denial of the Holocaust, has written on his Web site of the "suicidal heroism" of the "Arab world" and denounced Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon as a "terrorist."
  • The notorious David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who has tried to import his brand of bigotry into the Republican party, has been giving pro-Palestinian speeches attacking "Jewish Supremacist Chutzpah" and ridiculing "the so-called holocaust."

Meanwhile, left-wing groups in the United States, especially on college campuses, have taken up the anti-Israel cause and pushed it over the line into outright anti-Semitism. The frightening incidents have swiftly mounted in recent months. Here are some examples:

  • At protest marches against the 2003 war in Iraq organized by Action Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), anti- Jewish and pro-terrorist slogans and speeches abounded, from "End the Holocaust" (with a picture of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon) to "First Jesus, Now Arafat -- Stop the Killers." At a San Francisco rally organized by ANSWER on Febru- ary 15, 2003, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the leftist magazine Tikkun, was forbidden to deliver an antiwar speech because of his pro-Israel position.
  • At an anti-Israel rally at the University of Denver, speakers compared Zionism to Nazism, and a member of the Colorado Campaign for Mideast Peace called a Jewish student a kike. On the same day, at another rally at San Francisco State University, posters were displayed bearing pictures of soup cans labeled "Made in Israel. Contents: Palestinian Children Meat."
  • An associate professor of history at Kent State University in Ohio used his column in the campus newspaper, the Kent Stater, to praise a female Palestinian suicide bomber.
  • Muslim student groups at the University of California's Berkeley and San Diego campuses posted flyers featuring bogus anti-Semitic quotations from the Talmud, including statements such as "A Gentile girl who is three years old can be violated" and "When the Messiah comes, every Jew will have 2800 slaves."
  • At Illinois State University, a Jewish student who was asked to sign a petition in support of Palestinian rights asked whether the petition addressed the issue of suicide bombings. In response, a Palestinian graduate student said the petition talked about how to blow the Jewish student's head off.
  • Pro-Palestinian demonstrators at San Francisco State University screamed slogans including "Go back to Russia" and "Hitler did not finish the job" at Jewish students expressing support for Israel.
Never Again?. Copyright © by Abraham Foxman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Abraham H. Foxman is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and one of today's preeminent voices against hatred, discrimination, and violence in the United States and worldwide. Born in Poland in 1940, he survived the Holocaust when his parents entrusted him to their Catholic nursemaid, who baptized him and raised him as her own son. Foxman has been with the ADL for more than thirty-five years, and for nearly half of them has served as the national director.

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