Those Who Forget the Past
The Question of Anti-Semitism
Publication Date: May 11, 2004
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Something has changed.
After the horrors of World War II, people everywhere believed that it could never happen again, but today the evidence is unmistakable that anti-Semitism is dramatically on the rise once more. The torching of European synagogues, suicide terror in Israel, the relentless comparison of the Israelis to Nazis, the paranoid post–September 11 Internet-bred conspiracy theories, the Holocaust-denial literature spreading throughout the Arab world, the calumny and violence erupting on American college campuses: Suddenly, a new anti-Semitism has become widespread, even acceptable to some.
In this chilling and important new book, Ron Rosenbaum, author of the highly praised Explaining Hitler, brings together a collection of powerful essays about the origin and nature of the new anti-Semitism. Paul Berman, Marie Brenner, David Brooks, Harold Evans, Todd Gitlin, Jeffrey Goldberg, Bernard Lewis, David Mamet, Amos Oz, Cynthia Ozick, Frank Rich, Jonathan Rosen, Edward Said, Judith Shulevitz, Lawrence Summers, Jeffrey Toobin, and Robert Wistrich are among the distinguished writers and intellectuals who grapple with painful questions: Why now? What is—or isn’t—new? Is a second Holocaust possible, this time in the Middle East? How does anti-Semitism differ from anti-Zionism?
These are issues too dangerous to ignore, too pressing to deny. Those Who Forget the Past is an essential volume for understanding the new bigotry of the twenty-first century.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and historian Thomas Powers called him "one of the few distinctive voices of modern American literary journalism." His work has been characterized by the essayist Phillip Lopate as combining "the skills of a terrific investigative reporter and an accomplished literary stylist with an idiosyncratic streak all his own."
More than ten years ago, he began investigating certain unresolved controversies among Hitler biographers, and ultimately embarked on an odyssey that took him from Vienna and Munich to London, Paris, and Jerusalem. The book that emerged combines original research and dramatic face-to-face encounters with historians, philosophers, psychologists, and theologians as they attempt to account for the elusive figure of Adolf Hitler and the meanings projected upon him by his explainers.
Currently Ron Rosenbaum writes for the New York Times Magazine, and The New York Observer, and teaches a course on literary journalism at the Columbia Graduate School of journalism.
CYNTHIA OZICK is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have won four O. Henry first prizes.