Table of Contents and Chapter Overview
Foreword by Sir Harold Evans
Dedication to Victims of Prejudice by Leonard Stern
1. Beginnings (586 BCE–135 CE) considers very early signs of antisemitism by examining how Jews were viewed on the island of Elephantine, an Egyptian military outpost under Persian rule, in 600 BCE and the Egyptian city of Alexandria under Roman rule in 38 CE. The chapter also examines the impact of the Jewish revolt against Roman rule on the perception of Jews in the ancient world.
2. Separation: Synagogue and Church, Jew and Christian (29–414 CE) traces several of the events that eventually led to the separation of Christianity from Judaism. In that process of separation lie the roots of a religious antagonism that still shapes some aspects of modern antisemitism.
3. Conquests and Consequences (395–750 CE) compares and contrasts the status of Jews and other minorities in the Byzantine and Islamic Empires. In both, Jews were increasingly seen as outsiders—a view that had serious consequences at a time when politics and religion were tightly linked.
4. Holy Wars and Antisemitism (700s–1300) examines the impact of the Crusades on Jews in Europe and the Middle East; the effects of a growing belief among Christians that the Jews who lived among them were personally responsible for the death of Jesus; and the beginnings of a new economic role for Jews in Europe, money lending.
5. The Power of a Lie (1144–1300) traces three antisemitic slanders—the notion that Jews kill Christian children for their blood, accusations of ritual murder, and charges of desecrating the host. Each reveals the power of myth and the difficulties in halting the spread of a lie.
6. Refugees from Intolerance (1347–1492) explores the impact of two new antisemitic myths. The first is the notion that “the Jews” were engaged in a conspiracy to poison wells throughout Europe and were therefore responsible for the bubonic plague. The second is the idea that Jews were not simply followers of a particular religion but a people linked to one another by “blood.” That myth marked the beginnings of modern racism.
7. In Search of Toleration (1500–1635) traces the effects of the Protestant Reformation and Catholic responses to the Reformation on antisemitism. It also explores the heroic efforts of Jewish leaders to prevent violence and secure justice at a time when the idea of toleration was just beginning to take shape.
8. Safe Havens?: Poland and the Ottoman Empire (1200s-1666) compares and contrasts two places that provided Jews with a refuge from persecution in Western Europe. It also examines the forces that limited toleration and eventually undermined it.
9. The Age of Enlightenment and the Reaction (1600s–1848) explores the effects of the Enlightenment on both the growth of political rights for Jews in Germany, Austria, England, and France and new justifications for antisemitism.
10. Antisemitism in an Age of Nationalism (1840–1878) examines the effects of nationalism and imperialism on attitudes toward Jews and other minorities. Key events include the Damascus blood libel, the Mortara affair, the Congress of Berlin, and the beginnings of racial antisemitism in Germany.
11. Antisemitism in France and Russia: “The Snake…Crept out of the Marshes” (1880–1905) traces the impact of the Industrial Revolution and other modernizing forces on the treatment of Jews by examining the causes and the effects of the Dreyfus Affair in France and the pogroms that rocked Russia at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century.
12. Lies, Stereotypes, and Antisemitism in an Age of War and Revolution (1914–1920s) explores antisemitism during and immediately after World War I. Key events include the Russians’ expulsion of Jews from the Eastern Front, the pogroms in the Ukraine immediately after the war, and the incredible history of a known forgery—The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
13. In the Face of Genocide (1918–1945) focuses on the events that led to the Holocaust. It reveals the part antisemitism played not only in shaping Nazi policies but also in the way the world responded to the genocide.
14. Antisemitism after the Holocaust (1945–1979) examines the persistence of antisemitism after World War II and the ways it shaped the efforts of Holocaust survivors to rebuild their lives.
15. Antisemitism and the Cold War (1945–2000) traces the way antisemitism became a useful “tool” in both the Cold War and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The chapter also considers how antisemitism affected the perception of Jews after Israel’s victory in the 1967 War.
16. Antisemitism Today: a Convenient Hatred considers the newest forms of antisemitism—including Holocaust denial and the use of traditional antisemitic stereotypes and myths to demonize the State of Israel.
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