St. Martin’s Press. 256 pages. Hardcover $25.99.
Review by Philip K. Jason
The heat of Weisman’s outrage, tempered by the precision of his arguments, elevates this book to a must-read examination of the contemporary renaissance of anti-Semitism.
It is a call for action, part warning and part how-to manual, addressing individual American Jews, Jewish communities, and, especially, Jewish institutions. The ugly head of
anti-Semitism has returned to “the land of the free,” most notably in the messages and methods of the alt-right movement. According to Weisman, it is time to cut it off.Partly rooted in Timothy Snyder’s writings, Weisman’s study provides a compact history of the rise of the alt-right, its canny exploitation of social media, its odd success at resurrecting ancient European clichés about Jews, and the affinity that seems to exist between the group’s rise and that of Donald Trump.
Weisman’s first chapter begins: “The Jew flourishes when borders come down, when boundaries blur, when walls are destroyed, not erected.” Weisman considers the Age of Trump to be an Age of Walls, at least in its aspirations. He identifies the success of the man he calls “the first Jewish citizen of the world,” Maimonides, as an outgrowth of the
tolerance of the twelfth-century Islamic Empire, a time and place of fewer boundaries. Weisman goes on to address other exceptional “international” Jews in the context of their times, including Moses Mendelssohn. . . .
To see the rest of this Jewish Book Council review, click here: Semitism