Weitzmann’s vivid, probing analysis rocks back and forth between the more obvious strands and the culturally complex. He explains why the explosion of antisemitism in France should have been predictable and why it nonetheless, over decades, continued to surprise. It has been a phenomenon understood in a variety of ways according to one’s social, political, religious, or cultural orientation. He suggests that antisemitism has been ripping this nation apart, and it is likely to be transplanted across Europe and beyond. The basic premise includes the disappearance of the French colonial empire; the migration of populations from the former empire’s colonies (Algeria in particular) to France; and the conditions of life for these immigrants.
The story of the Maghreb (North or Northwest African) region of Muslim Arab populations and their interaction with western culture — and to some extent Soviet/Russian culture — feature prominently. As does the story of governmental mistakes; cynical political manipulation; scapegoating; and the rapid-fire acceleration of perceived insults into murderous revenge in which nobody wins for long and blame, quite improbably in most cases, finds its way to the Jews time and time again. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears on the Jewish Book Council website, click here: Hate: The Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism in France