On Ignoring Anti-Semitism
“HITLER IS dead.” In April 1945, a headline containing those three words might have heralded the collapse of Nazi Germany and the be- ginning of the end of World War II. This past May, appearing on the cover of the New Republic, the same words ridiculed the “ethnic panic of the Jews.” In the lead essay, Leon Wieseltier, the mag- azine’s literary editor, charged that American Jews, spooked by the history of Jewish persecution, were stoking unwarranted and apocalyptic fears by com- paring the Arab war against Israel with Hitler’s ear- lier war against the Jews. The first requirement of security, he advised his readers, was not to imagine the worst on the basis of historical precedent but to “see clearly” the situation of the present.
About the Author
Ruth R. Wisse is the Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish and professor of comparative literature at Harvard. She is the author most recently of Jews and Power (Nextbook/Schocken).