Robert S. Wistrich's A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad is a new study of an old subject. While the author characterizes the massive account as "from antiquity to the global jihad", his emphasis is on post-Holocaust Jew-hatred. This book is a welcome change from other studies of anti-Semitism. For the first time, a mainstream Jewish historian characterizes post-Holocaust anti-Semitism ("the new anti-Semitism") as a Muslim and leftist phenomenon.
Wistrich, a professor of modern European history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem emerges as a fierce critic of both Islam and the Left. Of course, he engages in the standard Politically Correct denunciations of the "Christian roots of anti-Semitism" and of far right European politicians for being "xenophobic". He dwells too much on anti-Semitism in countries like Russia, Poland, and Hungary, where it is really confined to gangs of vodka-sodden skinheads and marginal crackpot priests. In European countries without a significant Muslim or Black population, anti-Semitic violence is nearly non-existent. But chapters with names like "The Red-Green Axis" and "Welcome to Eurabia" make it clear whom Wistrich blames for the current wave of anti-Semitism.
The author shows that Muslim anti-Semitism comes directly from the Koran and from the life and teachings of the warlord Mohammed. Wistrich has no patience for those that blame the Mohammedans' strident hatred of Jews on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question. He uses examples like Pakistan—a country that never had a Jewish community and never had any sort of conflict with Israel. But anti-Semitism is rife and strident in Pakistan and government officials routinely make openly anti-Jewish comments.
There was also pre-20th century Persia, the home of the oldest Diaspora Jewish community that existed for over a thousand years before Mohammed invented Islam. Persian Jews were a very traditional community of merchants and artisans with little connection to European Jewry and no interest in Zionism. This did not prevent the Shiite clergy that held sway before the 20th century from imposing an especially stringent form of dhimmitude on the Jews, whom they considered "the most unclean of the human race" and "the leprosy of creation". This Shiite obsession with ritual purity led to the prohibition of Jews from touching the food and drink of Muslims. Jews were banned from many Persian marketplaces until the early 1900s and had to stay indoor when it snowed or rained to avoid "contaminating" the Muslims. This brutal oppression, which often spilled into bloody pogroms, existed and flourished well before the word "Zionist" was even known.
Wistrich documents the long and bloody history of Muslim anti-Semitism throughout the 20th century. Wistrich describes the Arabs' infatuation with Nazis and then their adoption of Communist anti-Semitism. The hardest hitting passages of the book describe the current wave of Muslim Jew-hatred in Western Europe that is aided and abetted by the Left—including leftist Jews.
France is a prime example of what will happen to the Jews in Eurabia. Various anti-Jewish outrages were perpetrated by Muslims and Blacks in France during the last decade. In 2004, Adel Boumedienne, a French-born Muslim of Algerian descent butchered his childhood friend and neighbor, the Sephardic Jew Sebastien Sellam, a successful Paris disc jockey. Boumedienne attacked Sellam in an underground parking garage with a kitchen knife and fork. The victim was stabbed and slashed so brutally that his face was disfigured beyond recognition. Right after the murder, Boumedienne called his mother: "Maman, I killed my first Jew. I did what God commanded me. I had to do it".
The French media and even the Jewish community quickly swept this outrage under the rug. Boumedienne was declared insane and committed. The French authorities decided that murder in the name of Allah is a mere medical disorder that could be treated.
Two years later, another brutal murder of a young French Jew finally got the country's attention. Ilan Halimi was kidnapped and tortured to death over the period of three weeks by a Black-Muslim gang called "les barbares"—the Barbarians—that extorted money for his release from his family and Jewish community leaders. The Barbarians stabbed, cut, burned and beat Halimi in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris. The Black and Muslim residents of the building knew and even participated in the torture. Not one neighbor called the authorities. Halimi was found tied to a tree terribly burned and died on the way to the hospital.
The gang was led by Youssouf Fofana, a Muslim whose parents came from the Ivory Coast. He fled there soon after the murder but was extradited and sentenced to life. Fofana's lieutenant and the kidnapping mastermind was an immigrant from Martinique. Other members of the gang include an Iranian Muslim girl who lured Halimi to his death and several young Black and Arab men.
The Salem and Halimi murders are only the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of instances of assault, harassment, vandalism, and arson have been perpetrated by Muslims and Blacks against French Jews. Suburbs of Paris with large Black and Muslim populations have been effectively made Judenrein through concerted intimidation campaigns.
Jean-Marie Le Pen aptly described the Halimi murder as "a consequence of forty years of uncontrolled immigration". Intellectuals denied or downplayed the fact that the murder was anti-Semitic. As Wistrich writes:
"Apparently, only Jewish leftist intellectuals in France could be blind enough to believe that the relentless physical cruelty perpetrated against Ilan Halimi was unrelated to his Jewishness".
The French Left has long been a source of virulent anti-Semitism, often hidden behind a veneer of anti-Zionism and solidarity with the "poor Palestinians". The leading Holocaust revisionists in France were products of the Left: Paul Rassinier, the communist godfather of Holocaust revisionism who denied that the Nazis ever planned to exterminate the Jews and Roger Garaudy, an ex-Protestant Trotskyite convert to Islam and the darling of the Mohammedan world.
In contrast, Wistrich's work shows that far Right anti-Semitism in Western Europe is mild at best. It must also be noted that in recent years, the far right has not been implicated in any anti-Jewish violence in Western Europe while Muslim anti-Semitism is violent and is in effect the extension of worldwide jihad. Le Pen's questionable remarks about Israel and the Holocaust, the support of some far Rightists for the Palestinians and their flirtation with Holocaust revisionism, are nothing compared to the pogroms perpetrated by Blacks and Muslims and excused away by their leftist collaborators.
Wistrich shows that many of these leftist collaborators are of Jewish descent. His work serves as an outraged indictment of both leftist anti-Semitism and leftist Jews.
The roots of this secular, leftist anti-Semitism are in the Enlightenment. Famous Enlightenment figures like Voltaire, Blanqui, Baron D'Holbach, and Tridon were virulently anti-Semitic and no traditionalist Catholic Judeophobe could match them in shrillness and violence. Further, for leftist Jew-haters, a Jew's conversion to Catholicism was not an option—the Jews had to either be expelled or exterminated. Anarcho-socialist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon favored the extermination of the Jews in 1847, almost fifty years before Hitler's birth: "The Jew is the enemy of the human race. One must send this race back to Asia or exterminate it".
Nominally or ex-Jewish leftists were not far behind. Karl Marx, the son of a German Jewish convert to Lutheranism denounced the "loan-mongering Jews" and called for "the emancipation of mankind from Judaism". Russian Jewish revolutionaries expressed disgust and embarrassment about their origins and vehemently denied being Jewish or having any sympathy for the Jewish people.
In more recent times, a prime example of a self-hating leftist Jew was Austrian socialist chancellor Bruno Kreisky—"the emblematic Grenzjude (marginal Jew)" according to Wistrich. Kreisky [1911-1990] was compulsively pro-Arab and had a history of genuflecting before ex-SS officers and others whose roles under Hitler were highly questionable. He also decried any notion of Jewish ethnicity as "inverted racism" and acidly remarked: "If the Jews are a people, then they are a repulsive people" in an interview with Der Spiegel. Rightist Gentiles are made to run through a politically-correct gauntlet for comparatively benign comments, but there was no outrage about a Socialist Jew viciously denigrating his own people.
In France, "progressive" Jews like the Trotskyite Michel Warschavski, the communist Dominique Vidal, and the pro-Arab Israeli expatriate Eyal Sivan either deny that Muslims and Blacks could be anti-Semitic (they're the designated oppressed minorities, after all) or blame only Israel with its "neo-colonialism" and the French Jewish leaders with their unenlightened and reactionary "communitarianism" for the Muslims' Jew-hatred.
Needless to say, these same intellectuals denigrate and despise the West as a whole. They view Islam as a progressive force that will liberate Europe from its racism and intolerance, just as they formerly looked to their beloved Soviet Union.
Wistrich's work shows that the biggest threat to the future of European Jewry is Muslim anti-Semitism made possible by uncontrolled immigration and abetted by European leftists, many of them from Jewish backgrounds.
In my view, Jews must draw a lesson from all this: only an alliance with, and support for, hard right anti-immigration parties like the Vlaams Belang, the Front National, and the BNP will ensure their survival in Europe.