What is Antisemitism?
This startling exploration of the past and present of antisemitism starts with the surprisingly complex basics: what is a Jew? what is antisemitism? why does it happen?
Author Philip Slayton looks at the very different experiences of Jews in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and America, and the longstanding tensions between Jews and Muslims, and Jews and Christians. He examines the Holocaust, which brought the fight against antisemitism to new heights, and Zionism, which has set the fight back immeasurably. The role of media and particularly social media in spreading antisemitism is scrutinized. Identity Politics is found to have sidelined Jews in favor of other historically oppressed populations.
All of which leads to a provocative conclusion: we need to quit worrying so much about antisemitism in the form of incivility, conspiracy theories, and Holocaust denial, and concentrate on expressions that are organized, institutionalized, and violent.
About the author
Born in England and raised in Manitoba, PHILIP SLAYTON is a Canadian lawyer and the former dean of law at the University of Western Ontario. He is the best-selling author of Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada’s Legal Profession, and Mighty Judgment: How the Supreme Court of Canada Runs Your Life, among other books. A Rhodes Scholar, he has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and President of PEN Canada. Married to the writer Cynthia Wine, he lives in Toronto and Nova Scotia.
"Philip Slayton has succeeded in writing a book on an explosive subject which is fair to everyone - traditionalists, Zionists, assimilationists and Palestinians. Only the anti-semites are not redeemed and even there, the different definitions of anti-semitism are treated dispassionately. Weaving together family history, the history of the Jews, politics and sociology, Slayton has made a novel and welcome contribution to this topic." - Julius Grey, author of Capitalism and The Alternatives
"Philip Slayton is one of Canada's boldest and most adventurous thinkers. In Antisemitism, he turns his talents to the subject of this ancient hatred, teasing out its many complex historical, political, cultural, religious, and regional threads, probing the current context of identitarianism —and proposing a path forward that's both pragmatic and empathetic. Thought-provoking, nuanced, and fearless." - Tara Henley, author of Lean Out: A Meditation on the Madness of Modern Life
"Philip Slayton didn’t plan to write a book on antisemitism -- but we should all be glad that he did. He has bravely gone where few have gone before. On the one hand, he accepts the premise that the Holocaust carried out by the Nazis was a supreme act of antisemitism. On the other hand, he argues that overzealous Zionism is the single biggest contributor to ‘Jew-hatred’ today. It is not necessarily antisemitic, he contends, to boycott Israel or Israeli products as a non-violent political protest against Israeli policies toward Palestinians. In today’s age of identity politics, we need to think differently about antisemitism, Slayton concludes. ‘To give equal weight to all expressions of Jew-hatred is to deny serious weight to any.'" - Patrick Martin, former Middle East correspondent for The Globe and Mail
“A personal and penetrating look at the many forms of antisemitism through the ages and in our own age of identity politics, and how to think about and react to this ancient hatred." - Anna Porter, author of Kasztner's Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust
Other titles by Philip Slayton
Nothing Left to Lose
An Impolite Report on the State of Freedom in Canada
The Future of Tennis
A Photographic Celebration of the Men’s Tour
Mayors Gone Bad
How The Supreme Court Of Canada Runs Your Life
Lawyers Gone Bad
Money Sex And Madness In Canadas Legal Profession