Globalising Hatred – Review

9780297844730 Denis MacShane  China.png

Phoenix (2010), 208 pages

Book Value Liffey St. – €3

Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism is a polemic against contemporary antisemitism.  MacShane accurately portrays a rise in antisemitism across the globe but, at times, implies that those opposed to Israeli policies are simply another side of antisemitism.  All anti-semites are anti-Israeli but all those opposed to certain Israeli policies (especially in the Occupied Territories) are not antisemitic.  MacShane is at his strongest when condemning Western governments duplicity when dealing with antisemitic governments.  The Iranian government is rightly condemned for its appalling antisemitism (although there are some Jews in Iran) whereas the virulent antisemitism of the Saudi Arabian government (where public practice of non-Muslim religions is banned) is rarely mentioned by Western leaders. MacShane also accurately notes that, “The denial or trivilisation of the Holocaust remains a key object for anti-semites.” (p.xvii)  While hardcore anti-semites might secretly revel in the murder of millions of Jews they recognise that such incomprehensible suffering undermines their insidious aim of spreading antisemitism in the modern world.  David Irving is a classic example of the attempt to place a respectable face on deadly ideology.  However I would disagree with MacShane when he criticises British universities for allowing people like Irving or the British National Party leader Nick Griffin to speak at debates on their campuses.  The views of Irving and Griffin might be repulsive but it is up to saner people to challenge their discredited views.  Censoring speech, especially in the internet age, does not work and risks eliciting sympathy for the censored. There is a risk of increased anti-semitism in Europe and it comes from the increased popularity of far-right parties in Europe.  Parties such as the National Front in France have become more centrist and moved away from overt extremism but their simplistic ideology seeks to dehumanise those who do not fit into their monochrome and fearful worldview.  It is no coincidence that European antisemitic groups are also racist, homophobic, Islamophobic,and favour traditional roles for women. The greatest physical threat to the lives of Jewish people (and also the lives of many Muslims and non-Muslim minorities) comes from Islamic extremists.  They are a threat to the lives of Jews living in Israel (although some of this violence is more political than antisemitic in nature just as Israeli violence in the Occupied Territories is anti-Palestinian not anti-Muslim) and across the world.  Violent attacks by Islamic extremists have killed numerous Jewish people in, amongst other places, Argentina, France, Morocco India, and Turkey.  The only reason these individual Jews were killed was simply because of the religion they believed in.  The scapegoating of Jews for other people’s issues must be challenged at every opportunity.  The Holocaust is a grim reminder of what can happen when poisonous ideologies flourish.

7/10

Related Links

The Telegraph review (positive review)

The Guardian review (positive review)

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs review (mixed review)

New Statesman review (negative review)

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