Western society would rather live in a world without Jews. That is the startling conclusion of David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The History of a Way of Thinking. In his 600-page chronology of Western culture, Nirenberg shows with undeniable proof that anti-Judaism is at the heart of Western civilization. Anti-Jewish sentiment is so ingrained into the culture of Western society that we are not even aware of its presence – until it raises it’s ugly face time and time again.
The title of Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism is a term used to describe what we usually think of as antisemitism, only with a difference. Antisemitism needs actual Jews to persecute. Anti-Judaism spreads even where no Jews exist. Antisemitism focuses on the Jewish people, anti-Judaism on Jewish ideas. With extensive research quoting original sources, Nirenberg shows that the idea of Judaism prevalent in Western thought bears only a slight resemblance to the actual Judaism practiced by Jews.
“Anti-Judaism should not be understood as some archaic or irrational closet in the vast edifices of Western thought,” summarizes Nirenberg. “It was...
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