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Antisemitism Reviews

Antisemitism by Julia Neuberger

Antisemitism: What It Is. What It Isn't. Why It Matters

Julia Neuberger

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 30 May 2019
ISBN: 9781474612401

A short, powerful exploration of antisemitism - what it is, and why we urgently need to gain a firmer shared understanding

2 stars out of 5
Dominic Lawson
26 May 2019

"The Senior Rabbi aims to explain precisely what anti-semitism is — and isn’t"

Julia Neuberger announces her intended purpose at the outset of this book: she describes her role, vis-à-vis anti-semitism, as “the canary singing in the mine”. I think she misunderstands her own metaphor... What is clear is that Neuberger’s book gains its traction from the present condition of the British Labour Party, led as it is by a man who has declared openly anti-semitic organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah to be his “friends”, and who defended a mural that depicted Jewish bankers as the exploitative rulers of the world. Neuberger observes of this, and of the anti-semitic abuse directed at Jewish Labour MPs by party members: “My Labour-supporting parents would be turning in their graves.” As someone also of the centre-left, Neuberger is anxious to discern similar prejudice in the Conservative Party... It is odd, in this context, that Neuberger makes no mention of the fact that, in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum result, she applied for a German passport. She was appalled by the vote to leave the EU, and attempts here to link anti-semitism to that event... This really is a stretch. There is no observable connection between Brexit and anti-semitism. That might explain why a number of Jewish politicians, such as the former Conservative leader Michael Howard, and the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, had no qualms about supporting the Leave campaign. The Neuberger canary has hit a false note.