After years of studying antisemitism and prejudice in general, I’ve finally tackled the topic head on. The result is The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism.
The worldwide growth of antisemitism in recent years has shaken individual Jews and Jewish communities everywhere. Old antisemitic images have been given new life. New antisemitic images and accusations abound. In much of the world Jewish communities hunker down fortress-like, and individual Jews hide all visible signs of their Jewishness lest they be assaulted. In Europe, antisemitism has returned seemingly with a vengeance. In the Arab and Islamic worlds, Israel and Jews (not only Israelis) alike are treated as a demonic entity and people, and an eliminationist orientation abounds—from the Imam in the local mosque to the leaders of countries, including nuclear-weapon aspiring Iran. Thankfully the United States—where antisemitism, which bubbles beneath the surface, certainly never dissipated—remains a partial exception to this worldwide antisemitic tide, although the beginnings of the same developments can be discerned.
The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism makes sense of these developments and more, by showing that antisemitism has metamorphosed (again) into something new: global antisemitism. Global antisemitism, the third major historical type of antisemitism (the first two being religious, and modern or racist), has been emerging over the last two decades, to replace the modern racist antisemitism that marked European and world civilization in the twentieth century. Global antisemitism is at once grounded in long-existing antisemitic notions and incorporates new ones. It would not exist but for the long history of the demonization of Jews. Yet is not merely a continuation of the past. It is political—and not just social and cultural—as never before, and is strategically deployed and spread by governments around the world. It relentlessly focuses on Israel, although, as the book demonstrates, it is not engendered by Israel’s actions.
The Devil That Never Dies presents a fundamentally new perspective on antisemitism in the world today, enormously sobering and voluminous data about the extent of antisemitism around the world, and a systematic analysis of the causes and consequences of antisemitism, including and especially the game changing role of the internet and digital technologies on the spread and character of antisemitism.
You may know my earlier book Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. I like to think that The Devil That Never Dies is as original as that book was, and will transform the understanding of antisemitism as much as that book transformed the understanding of the Holocaust. The Devil That Never Dies demonstrates, with overwhelming evidence, that the attacks on Israel that go under the name of anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism are incontrovertibly antisemitic. In fact, the evidence and analysis of this issue is so clear-cut that I think that after reading it, no person of goodwill will be able to hear such attacks as anything but antisemitic, and no person undertaking them will be able to any longer hide under the dodge that they are being falsely accused of antisemitism in order to silence them. But this book is decidedly not just about Israel. In a forceful and highly nuanced way, it analyzes the broader phenomenon of antisemitism and how it is afflicting Jews and their communities around the world.
Among the many things that I have learned about antisemitism over the years is that Jews and non-Jews find its endurance and uniqueness among prejudices continuously puzzling and are passionate about understanding it. I wrote The Devil That Never Dies for many reasons, though chief among them was to help people get the answers to the questions that they have asked themselves and one another for generations, and that they have particularly asked themselves today about why so many people think ill of or hate Jews, especially now in our globalized world.
Praise for The Devil That Never Dies:
“The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism doubtlessly will shatter the way people think about anti-Semitism—both in its past incarnations and present day existence.” —Huffington Post
“Former Harvard professor Goldhagen comes out swinging in this frontal assault on anti-Semitism and its practitioners and does not pause for breath until the final page…. A frightening photograph of a mutable demon so many fail to recognize and continue to embrace.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A frightening exposition of how [antisemitism] has become a global phenomenon and ‘an integral and accepted feature of our time’…. Devil is bursting with information and insight…. Secretary of State John Kerry should read this book.” —American Jewish World
“An important investigation of an undeniably dangerous phenomenon.” —Booklist