Friday, December 12, 2008

lerman critical of macshane's 'new anti-semitism' book

Antony Lerman's incisive New Statesman review of former Labour Europe Minister Denis MacShane's book 'Globalising Hatred: The New Anti-Semitism' is headlined 'Misdirected Passion'. Lerman [left] dismisses MacShane's arguments and material as "familiar stuff" which will only have added credibility for those who are "swayed by exaggeration and ready to overlook a surfeit of unsubstantiated assertions and errors of fact".

Lerman is director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and, as any regular reader of the Jewish Chronicle will know, his critics are legion. He is a signatory to Independent Jewish Voices, and a contributor to the recently-published volume 'A Time to Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zioinism and Jewish Identity' (Verso). His review of MacShane's book is unlikely to persuade his enemies to revise their view of him.

Lerman argues that, through "elevating" Anti-Semitism and writing that it is "the world's most pernicious ideology and practice", that it is "preventing just and equitable solutions to world problems", and that Islamism is merely a sub-component of it, MacShane betrays a lack of knowledge and understanding of anti-Semitism's modern history. For example, MacShane writes that "Israel is the one state in the world where anti-Semitism cannot exist", when there has been ample evidence of anti-Semitic neo-Nazi groups emerging there in recent years. And MacShane ignores, say, the hatred that led to the Rwandan genocide, or that is curently directed against the Roma.

Lerman adds: "Unsurprisingly, at the heart of MacShane's definition of 'neo anti-Semitism' is the belief that 'anti-Zionsim is Jew-hatred by other linguistic means'". Further, although MacShane wants a Palestinian state, the arguments in his book are a "gift to the israeli right and right-wing Diaspora Jews, who use the mantra 'the world is against us and Palestinians are like Nazis' to stymie any determined moves towards a two-state solution."

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