Books by Phyllis Chesler
The New Anti-Semitism
The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It
by Phyllis Chesler
Jossey-Bass, 2003. 320 pp. $24.95
July 24, 2003
"In this passionate and powerful book, Chesler shows how the international struggle for human rights was hijacked by Jew and Israel haters. She exposes how politically correct western intellectuals and many human rights activists have betrayed both the truth and the Jews. The book is sensitive and authoritative and constitutes essential reading. Anyone who wants to understand the connection between anti-Semitism, Islamic terrorism, the role of propaganda and appeasement must read this book."
"A passionate and beautifully written book by a card-carrying radical feminist who is also a religious Jew and a committed Zionist. She demonstrates, by equal portions of hot emotion and cool logic, that she is not one guilty of inconsistency with her radical principles. It is the new "politically correct" anti-Semites, including many feminists, who have some explaining to do. This book will make you weep. It will also make you angry and frightened."
--Alan Dershowitz, professor, Harvard Law School; author, The Case for Israel
"Absolutely amazing, troubling, fierce. An indispensable guide to apocalyptic sandstorms our world now faces. A new and virulent anti-Semitism, blessed by western intellectuals, is changing global assumptions about history and justice and threatening all hopes for peace on our troubled planet. I am stunned by the book; it's brilliant, and must be read and debated. Our lives may depend on it."
--Erica Jong, poet and novelist, Fear of Flying and Sappho's Leap
"There is no trend more shocking or disturbing than the new rise of international anti-Semitism. Phyllis Chesler's book is a stirring call to action for a still slumbering world."
--Joseph Farah, founder, editor and CEO, WorldNetDaily.com; columnist, the Jerusalem Post; and author Taking Back America
"I just wanted to thank Phyllis Chesler for writing this book -- it is passionate, lucid, courageous and desperately needed."
--Yossi Klein Halevi, Author, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God With Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land
I wanted to congratulate you on your book THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM. It is an exceptionally powerful work, and I pray that it has a significant impact...in great admiration of the courage of your vision and the power of your writing.
--Dr. Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of England, author of The Politics of Hope, and The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations
"This is an angry book, and a forceful book, and it is useful precisely because it is angry and forceful. Are you on the political left? You should study Phyllis Chesler's arguments. The future of the left depends on it."
--Paul Berman, author, Terror and Liberalism
"Some books are highly readable, some are very important. This one is both. Chesler displays a clear analytic mind, the ability to steadily build a mountain of facts, a passionate Jewish heart, and the sensibilities of a just and ethical human being. Add to all that her wise and practical agenda, and you have a must-read book, one that can save progressives from hatred, right-wingers from extremism, and Jews from apathy."
--Blu Greenberg, author, How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household and On Women and Judaism: A View From Tradition
"Written in white heat, The New Anti-Semitism exposes the lies and myths, the envy, corruption and raw hatred that fuels the epidemic of anti-Semitism flaring up around the world."
--Ruth Gruber, author, Inside of Time: My Journey from Alaska to Israel and Exodus 1947: The Ship that Launched a Nation
"I couldn't put it down. The personal stories make this bleak narrative human, engaging, and urgent. I hope this book is widely disseminated and read by people of good will and by people who can be persuaded to become people of good will."
--Carol Ochs, author, Our Lives as Torah: Finding God in Our Own Stories
"This is wonderful! I just couldn't put it down. I was so 'hungry' for it. It's a really great work and I hope it wakes up the Lefties and the misguided feminists (whom Chesler describes with such horrifying accuracy). I love the term "alrightniks" as well as Chesler's observations about how to tell an antisemite and that pacifists seem so angry."
--Judith Antonelli, author, In the Image of God: A Feminist Commentary on the Torah
Selected Reviews of Phyllis Chesler's The New Anti-Semitism
THE TELEGRAPH (UK)
An impassioned, highly readable and often painful book...showing how closely connected is hatred of Jews to its psychological twin, anti-Americanism. (It) is short and must be read. Anti-Semitism is now striking roots in the campus again, in the guise of political correctness--and ironically--anti-racism. (This) book reminds us how hard civilized people need to fight against it. --Paul Johnson
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The prominent feminist Phyllis Chesler has recently written The New Anti-Semitism (Jossey-Bass). [She] offers statistics, examples, personal anecdotes and a long list of perpetrators. [She] presents her arguments with clarity and force. Dr. Chesler responsibly calls to task liberal academics. --Jay Lefkowitz
Chesler is a leftist who embraces Israel. She is, therefore, difficult to classify as an Israeli apologist. Her book is a passionate polemic that . . . chart[s] the rise of anti-Semitism and its acceptance by many in Europe and the United States. In addition to providing numerous examples, Chesler offers insightful analysis into the psychology of the phenomenon. She concludes with a manifesto calling for a return to civility and a genuine exchange of ideas. Chesler's argument is nuanced and her understanding of the difference between legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and an attack on the very legitimacy of the Jewish state is well done. Recommended for all libraries. --Frederic Krome
"(An) energetic book. Chesler's good spirit bursts through on every page and there is much of value in this well-written book, especially her telescopic rendering of the history of anti-Zionism." --Jerome A. Chanes
[Chesler] backs up what she says with a wealth of factual material. What is more, she has impeccable credentials for now defending Israel, for she has criticized the nation in the past. The New Anti-Semitism is a genuinely useful and even noble book–first of all because it is a compendium of material relevant to the case for Israel. It contains a summary of Arab attacks against Israel, the details of Islamic terrorism against the United States from the 1970s on, the sorry record of European anti-Semitism in our time–and lots more. If one wants "the goods" on media bias against Israel, this is the place one can turn to as an introduction. If one wants to find out what really happened at Jenin, one can find out here.
This book is bound to impress impartial readers by its author's courage. True courage does not so much consist in taking a stand against the majority as in taking a stand against one's peers; it is a willingness to forsake the cozy warmth of one's intimate group when integrity demands it. This proud radical feminist has done just that. It behooves those of us who are neither feminists nor radicals to welcome her to the good fight. --Werner J. Dannhauser
For those who endured the biased reporting on the Middle East from papers such as the British Guardian, Chesler's accurate accounts of Israel Defense Force (IDF) activities in the territories and especially the Jenin "Massacre," or the story of "Little Mohammed," are a welcome relief. Chesler has carefully put together chronologies of events and, using information gathered from a variety of sources, debunked many of the myths surrounding alleged IDF atrocities during the recent Intifada. She presents a range of statistics to prove her case. Chesler is not afraid of finding cause and effect between Palestinian suicide bombings and the IDF's response. The usual technique of "blaming both sides equally," she argues, is a way of avoiding holding those responsible for originating violence accountable.
Chesler does not write only of the situation in the Middle East. Jews in Europe and North America, she declares, are also experiencing an Intifada. Chesler, as is the case throughout her book, documents her claims thoroughly. Chesler's most important argument, however, is aimed at western intellectuals. The New Anti-Semitism, she claims, is being perpetrated in the name of anti-racism and anti-colonialism. Western intellectuals are leading the "Islamic Mob." Chesler's response is one of defiance. The western intellectual has failed to distinguish between the voice of violence and the voice protesting violence. --Nathan Alexander
JEWISH JOURNAL OF SOUTH FLORIDA
Phyllis Chesler, a leading feminist, has penned an impassioned outcry against what she calls The New Anti-Semitism. Chesler presses for fighting against the Big Lies about Jewish power and Jewish deicide before concluding with an appeal for peace. This book is a "cri de coeur," a heartfelt plea for facing the harsh reality of our contemporary scene as Jews and the State of Israel are exposed to mortal risk. She has written a powerful wake-up call, a piercing alarm that should resonate not only among Jews but also among all who care for human dignity and human decency. --Morton I. Teicher
Not since the infamous United Nations "Zionism-equals-racism" resolution of November 1975 has the world witnessed such an outpouring of anti-Jewish vitriol. In The New Anti-Semitism, Phyllis Chesler, a radical feminist and a committed Zionist with strong left leanings on sociopolitical issues, has written a passionate book on the problem. Her coverage is impressive: She digs deep into the wells of hate, into the geographical areas of its outpouring and into the religious and social class origins. Most of all, she strips away malicious cover-ups of anti-Semitism from the genteel, if false, exterior of evenhandedness and objectivity. She exposes how justified or discounted are horrendously brutal suicide bombings. What makes the rationalization especially disturbing is that the action is perpetrated in the name of antiracism, anticolonialism and pacifism--the distinguishing features of the new anti-Semitism. Chesler points out that among the areas that have seen an escalation of anti-Semitism in the form of "diabolical distortions" is "the European intifada"--with academics offering a disturbing rationale, most often through the European media. Hate has also been extended into American academia.
Chesler urges exposure of "the Big Lie." Her book concludes with 20 pages of how to answer charges or innocent questions with truths. She may be doubtful about anti-Semitism diminishing, but she refuses to quit. If nothing else, her potent critique is stimulating and exciting. --William Korey
The New Anti-Semitism, by Phyllis Chesler, is a vital contribution to understanding the resurgence of the virulent new strain of anti-Semitism in our time, which Chesler aptly describes as "more threatening and dangerous to Jews than anything that has occurred since World War II." Chesler thoroughly documents not only the potent rise of neo-Nazi hatred against Jews in [Europe], but also the religious and racial anti-Semitism that is daily fare in Arab and Muslim nations. The crucial contribution of Chesler's book is her detailed presentation of the confluence of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism–the complex hybrid of bigotry that is emerging today.
Those of us who haven't spoken up on listservs, at demonstrations, in academic or feminist forums for fear that raising the issue of anti-Semitism will mark them for attack or shunning, will be grateful to Chesler for this brave book. So will anyone who genuinely wants to understand how and why the new anti-Semitism is taking hold on North American campuses, European streets, Muslim schoolrooms, and in the West Bank and Gaza. Chesler is eloquent in her plea for informed free-thinking, and she is to be commended for her contribution in this vein. As an activist for decades, Chesler ends her book with a chapter entitled what "What We Must Do." Her suggestions are clear and sound. Chesler's wisdom in the ways of peace is one of her most valuable contributions to this anguishing subject. --Miriam Greenspan
This superb book could not have been more timely. In fact, it was written before the unprecedented rise in violence against Jewish targets in Turkey and across the world, making it something of a prophecy. One could venture so far as to call it 'The Book Of Phyllis.' Chesler's volume provides a thorough history of anti-Semitism, including a vivid account of the Dreyfus affair.
Chesler, a distinguished feminist and scholar never known for right-wing or Zionist tracts, has been as deeply affected as this reviewer over the past three years by the rise of anti-Semitism across the globe. Chesler urges Jews to unite against the rising tide of Jew-hatred and Israel-loathing that is permeating every dinner party and academic gathering around the world. She is unequivocal in declaring that those who accuse Israel of genocide and apartheid -- protesting that they are not Jew-haters -- are anti-Semites. Her admonitions to readers about recognising Jew-hatred in its many forms are manifold and make the chapter 'Questions and Answers' a brilliant lexicon for Jews trying to cope in a world full of screamers bellowing at us about our 'grotesque' little homeland. Her book is a meticulously -researched volume with prodigious resource material and should be required reading in schools. It should be in every home; sadly it will not find its way into the homes who need to read it most. That is what is so scary. --Carol Gould
This passionate, highly personal jeremiad by noted feminist Chesler (Women and Madness) addresses what she sees as a re-emergence of virulent anti-Jewish hatred cloaked in "political correctness," closely linked to anti-American attitudes, sustained by many liberal feminists, intellectuals and Jewish leftists, acted upon by Islamic terrorists and jihadists, and fueled by a "demonization of Jews" in the media. One of the main thrusts of Chesler's argument is that in our contemporary world anti-Zionism is nearly inseparable from anti-Semitism, and that while there are valid criticisms to be made of Israeli policies–for instance, she sees the West Bank settlements as an impediment to peace–many of these critiques are, she contends, rooted in a profound and socially accepted anti-Semitism. Chesler's topic is a hot one, and her views will resonate with many.
Chesler's contribution may be that her book has drawn considerable attention to a growing problem. She correctly identifies an alarming trend, and for that she deserves credit. --Carl Schrag
[The New Anti-Semitism] is personal and provocative. . . . [Chesler] is factually accurate and morally justified. --Frank H. Wu
KANSAS CITY JEWISH CHRONICLE
A cry from the heart as well as the intellect. --Rick Hellman
Guaranteed to get your juices flowing . . . a must-read for those concerned with morality and ethics. --Eleanor J. Bader
THE JEWISH WEEK OF NEW YORK
Chesler takes up the theme with conviction and passion. What's new about today's anti-Semitism also, she shows, is that in its anti-Israel guise it has become "politically correct," justified in the name of "anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, and pacifism." An outspoken feminist herself, she does not hesitate to chastise her feminist colleagues who vilify Israel but never condemn Palestinian terror. She doesn't argue that all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic or that everything Israel does is above reproach. But she argues for fairness in judging Israel, and honesty in recognizing how often anti-Zionist attacks from the left as well as the right are really new incarnations of old anti-Semitic sentiments. --Francine Klagsbrun
One can well understand the forces that drove Phyllis Chesler to produce The New Anti-Semitism, her combination cri de coeur and J'accuse. Chesler's outrage is especially genuine and credible because she is not one of the Jewish community's professional watchdogs, paid to howl about bias anywhere and everywhere. Married to an Afghan in the 1960s, she experienced "enormous kindness, humor, good-naturedness among Muslims." The new anti-Semite inflicts the language of the Holocaust on its targets. The Irish poet Tom Paulin, she points out, termed the Israeli military the "Zionist SS." Nobel laureate Jose Saramago declared that "the Jews endlessly scratch their own wound to keep it bleeding, to make it incurable, and they show it to the world as if it were a banner." Neither author's career, it might be added, has notably suffered as a result.
The New Anti-Semitism is a book with important things to say. --Samuel G. Freedman
An impassioned response [which] correctly defines the essence of "The New Anti-Semitism." --Jack Fischel
NEW YORK POST
With the kind of methodical research and airtight reasoning Chesler used in her best-selling feminist tract, Women and Madness, she has penned a new book, The New Anti-Semitism. It documents the ugly spate of anti-Semitism currently festering in the West, breeding under the guise of "anti-Zionism." --Andrea Peyser
Anti-Semitism is no longer the exclusive preserve of the Ku Klux Klan, the uneducated, the outcasts and sheeted bigots of the night. The bigotries at home are nurtured now on the left . . . "Israel has fast become the Jew of the world: scorned, scapegoated, demonized and attacked," [Chesler writes]. Angry words, but amply documented. She gets to the point of why Israel's enemies abroad, with no appreciation of the pluralism on which democracy thrives, hate America, too. As a feminist, she's particularly outraged that many feminists have muted their criticism of Islamist misogyny. What has emerged in the past decade is how the new anti-Semitism has become politically and psychologically respectable among Western intellectual elites. The new anti-Semitism passes unnoticed among those who should know better. Writes Ms. Chesler: "In a politically correct, multicultural world, anti-Semitism is the last acceptable prejudice." Even in America, the land of the free and the home of the bravest. --Suzanne Fields
Chesler is passionate and this is what makes the book hard to put down; I read it in a day. As author Blu Greenberg says, "Some books are highly readable, some are very important. This one is both." --Sharon Jarvis
Chesler's book offers a convincing case that a great deal of the present anti-Israeli sentiment can be read as a new version of anti-Semitism. Chesler has the right credentials as a spokesperson for the Israeli cause. She is familiar with the Islamic world, having been married to a Muslim in Afghanistan, and she has lived in Israel for long periods of time and never hesitated to criticize those aspects of Israeli society in particular the inequality of its treatment of its Arab citizens. She marshals a solid group of arguments against the current misleading stigmatization of the Jewish state.
The closing chapter is particularly good in taking on the accusations of racism and colonialism in dialogue form. Chesler reminds her readers that Israel is the most democratic country in the Middle East; that it has absorbed millions of refugees (of all colors), in the course of its short history–including thousands thrown out of other Arab countries–and that the Zionist pioneers were not imperialists on a mission for "gold, cheap labor or oil," but were escaping from "ceaseless persecution." Because Chesler sees the present situation as an emergency, "a virulent epidemic of violence, hatred and lies that are being touted as politically correct," her book is a metaphoric call to arms. It is not intended as an even-handed discussion, but a heartfelt polemic against the spate of poisonous propaganda that she documents with care and precision. --Monica Strauss
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, compelled Chesler to speak out against the rise of a new "virulent epidemic of violence, hatred, and lies' perpetrated against Israel and Jews by an unlikely coalition of 'Islamic reactionaries . . . western intellectuals and progressives.' The long history of Arab-Jewish violence is news to no one, but Chesler is equally disturbed by what she perceives to be a global trend in journalism, government policy, political activism and academia to demonize Jews and their state. The resurgence of European anti-Semitism, the rise of global terrorist networks and the crucial juncture at which the Middle East peace process now finds itself all confirm the urgency of considering Chesler's subject. --Timothy Brown
THE WESTERN JEWISH BULLETIN OF VANCOUVER
A book that is alarming and necessary. In The New Anti-Semitism, Chesler offers an encyclopedic compendium of anti-Semitic incidents around the world over the past millennia, but particularly in the past three years. Informed Jewish readers do not need to be reminded of these incidents here, but it is important and valuable to have this documented in a single source. What is new about the "new" anti-Semitism, Chesler concludes, is that it is being purveyed in the name of anti-racism and anti-colonialism. Chesler offers a section of questions and answers to what she calls the Big Lies. Quoting Winston Churchill, Chesler notes that "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." The New Anti-Semitism is a monumental step to illuminating the horrible bias and bigotry occurring almost everywhere. It should be read by anyone who participates in this debate. --Pat Johnson
'The New Anti Semitism" dispels the left's arguments that Israel is an "apartheid" state. . . . There is no clearer or more vibrant account of events leading to the current war on terror than the one Ms. Chesler has compiled in "The New Anti-Semitism." There is no clearer picture of the danger. The book rivets the attention of the reader from cover to cover. This book is highly recommended. --W. J. Rayment
WASHINGTON JEWISH WEEK
A hard-hitting book. --Aaron Liebel
THE JEWISH PRESS
There's not much more that we can add to the plaudits of such as Professor Alan Dershowitz, Erica Jong, Joseph Farah, Blu Greenberg and Herbert Gold, who have praised this book. They all agree that it is important to read Dr. Chesler's message and take heed. Dr. Chesler urges us to fight the big lies promulgated not only by our enemies but by the uninformed. Phyllis Chesler has written an intensely fervent and informed plea for sanity, fairness and concerned communication that deserves to be studied by all in our community.