Antisemitism - The Generic Hatred:Essays in Memory of Simon Wiesenthal
by Michael Feineberg, Shimon Samuels, and Mark Weitzman.
Dedicated to the memory of the 'conscience of the Holocaust', Simon Wiesenthal - to whom it offers a number of personal tributes - this book brings together essays by a wide variety of authors on antisemitism and related forms of intolerance, racism, and xenophobia.
Starting from the idea that antisemitism constitutes a paradigm case of collective and individual hatred, the book examines some of the reasons why it has prospered over the ages and persists in our time, even after well-nigh universal condemnation of the Holocaust. Some authors see it as a virus, always ready to develop and spread wherever Jewish difference is resented. Others emphasize that the antisemitic myths are not grounded in reality but depend rather on a fabrication, an imagined being to whom every kind of vice and perversion can be attributed. Jews, Gypsies, Kurds, Armenians, Tutsis ó they can all be made to fit the bill.
Simon Wiesenthal believed not in vengeance but in justice for the victims and played a pre-eminent and, at times, lonely role in tracking down individual criminals and bringing them to trial. But he knew that was not enough.
The contributors to this memorial volume, representing a range of cultural, religious, and disciplinary perspectives, share that view. They know that so long as the Jewish stereotype is vested with legitimacy, the fight against antisemitism can never be won. Nor can it be defeated so long as it is fuelled by crisis in the Middle East, which has allowed some people to give expression to their antisemitism while denying it, by treating the State of Israel not as a state with its own particular problems and shortcomings, but as a kind of reified Jew.
These are some of the issues addressed by the authors and essays presented, along with others, such as antisemitism as a determinant of Jewish identity and the possibility of forgiveness for the perpetrators of genocide. The book thus seeks to understand and learn from this particular paradigm of hatred and to suggest ways of countering it, in the name of the core values of a common humanity.