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August 22, 2003 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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T

hese new recent titles also
explore anti-Semitism:

1 E WS5'

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.,

and Frederick M.
Schweitzer
(Palgrave
Macmillan; $35).
The authors
analyze and rebut
the resilient and
never-ending reli-
gious, racial, economic and cultural canards used
against the Jewish people and Judaism.
Readable, clear and well organized, the book pro-
vides useful and engaging depth in the understand-
ing of anti-Semitism. (HarperSanFrancisco; $24.95)

Out this summer is a completely
Oevas
l'ethsldep
revised and updated edition of
1983's Why The Jews? The Reason
for Antisemitism, by Dennis Prager and Rabbi .
Joseph Telushkin (Touchstone; $14).
"We wrote the book then because we believed that
anti-Semitism was profoundly misunderstood, but
not because of any particular danger to the Jews,"
the authors explain in a new introduction.
Never Again: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism,
A generation later, Jew-hatred remains misunderstood,
by Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-
but we have rewritten this book because Jews are indeed
Defamation League, is due to be published in
in danger." While Prager and Telushldn don't share
November (sale date is Oct. 21).
Chesler's brand of progressive politics, the two books
The book will chronicle the current rise of anti-
clearly show how Jews across the political spectrum can,
Semitism
in the United States and around the world,
and must, come together on behalf of Jews and Israel.
and Foxman will offer an examination of the steps
that must be taken to prevent this century from wit-
For a more historical approach, pick up the recently
nessing a replay of the horrors of the last.
released Antisernitism: Myth and Hate from
-- Don Cohen
Antiquity to the Present, by historians Marvin Perry

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(Diaspora) mentality. American Jews
want their children to embrace the
joy of being Jewish, not the pain.
Can we see ourselves as victims with-
out weakening ourselves?
PC: Jews in history have always been
victims. Maybe our persecution is the
boilerplate for all the subsequent per-
secutions that are persecutions of the
"other," whether it is racial, cultural or
tribal, or ethnic.
Not all victims remain victims. One
can be persecuted and deal with it in
most honorable ways. If
you are a child, and you
have been abused in child-
hood and are, therefore, a
victim, it does not neces-
sarily mean when you
grow up you will have to
abuse children, or that
everything you do has to
be excused and seen in
that single light and be
forgiven for it.
We have free choice. We
can be victims without
hiding it or without feel-
ing ashamed of it, and we
can also then become strong.

JN: You are passionate about both the
rights and wrongs of Israel. How do
you reconcile the two?
PC: I have very good credentials to
defend Israel. I am on record as suing
the State of Israel on behalf of the
Women of the Wall, in terms of Jewish
women's religious rights, and this latest
decision handed down by the Supreme

If we are going to live, we have to
live in tatters, impoverished, in exile
and begging. We are certainly not
meant to live with advanced military
aircraft.
I'm very proud of this Jewish state
even though I, too, can criticize it ad

nauseum.
Given all the wars against Israel and
this latest horrible intifada — the
Rosh Hashanah intifada I like to call
it, not the Al Aqsa intifada — Israel
has behaved with such restraint, such

"I now find it necessary and sane to
think tribally as well as internationally,
to think as an American and as a Jew
who is concerned not only with justice
for all but also with the survival of
America and of the Jewish people."

— Phyllis Chesler

JN: Today, considering all that Israel
has achieved, and considering "the
new anti-Semitism," does Israel make
Jews more or less secure?
PC: I think it does both. I think that
Israel, because it is a Jewish state, is
used against Jews who are not Zionist
or who don't live in Israel.
I think the fact that the Jews there
defend themselves is the mote in the
eye of the anti-Semite.

civility — the army and the people.
And in some sense, perhaps, have
even passed a very crucial test because
they haven't shut their society down,
they haven't clamped down on civil
liberties because of this incessant ter-
rorism and warlike situation.
They haven't become tyrannical; it is
still a democracy. It should be the
inspiration to every Muslim Arab state
in the region. 111

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Court definitely has me questioning if
there is justice in the freest, most dem-
ocratic country in that region.
I have put my time and resources
and body on the line to try to improve
[Israel]. But I don't live there, I'm not
paying taxes, and I'm not a military
expert. And I hope that others in my
category don't pretend- that they are.
I can't tell Israel or the military gov-
ernor of the West Bank or Gaza what
is going to be safe in their view. I just
don't know enough.

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8/22
2003

65

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