Monday, November 18, 2013

"The Devil That Never Dies" book review

David Nirenberg reviews Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s book, "The Devil That Never Dies" in the Washington Post.  In which he claims that either Israel is really the world's biggest threat to peace and the Jewish lobby rules the world, or we have a serious problem of antisemitism on our hands.  Both options are possible.
To hold on to fantastic beliefs about Jews despite the best evidence of reality: This is more or less Goldhagen’s definition of anti-Semitism. If we accept that definition and his view of reality, then there is certainly a great deal of anti-Semitism to be found in the world. But what if we have a different view of reality? Many people obviously do. For example, in numerous recent surveys Europeans have ranked Israel as the world’s biggest threat to peace. In their work on the power of the Jewish lobby in the United States, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (two of Goldhagen’s villains) invoke these surveys to argue that Europeans — free of the distorting influence that the Jewish lobby wields here — have a more accurate sense of reality than Americans do. Goldhagen sees exactly the opposite in the same data: evidence of an anti-Semitic worldview resistant to reality checks.

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