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The Socialism of Fools?
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Anti-Semitism, as it has existed historically in Europe, is generally thought of as having been a phenomenon of the political right. To the extent that nineteenth- and early twentieth-century leftist movements have been found to manifest anti-Semitism, their involvement has often been suggested to be a mere fleeting and insignificant phenomenon. As such, this study seeks to examine more fully the role that the historic European left has played in developing and espousing anti-Semitic views. The authors draw upon a range of primary and secondary sources, including the analysis of left- and right-wing newspaper reportage, to trace the relationship between the political left and anti-Semitism in France, Germany, and Great Britain from the French Revolution to World War II, ultimately concluding that the relationship between the left and anti-Semitism has been much more profound than previously believed.


'With a well-documented analysis of anti-Semitic discourse in nineteenth- and twentieth-century political speech, books, pamphlets, manifestos, and right-wing and leftist newspapers, Brustein and Roberts argue that leftist movements contributed to themes and narratives that fueled modern European anti-Semitism. The animosity of the left to Jews stemmed from the conviction that Judaism was anti-modern, Jews were responsible for the evils of capitalism, and Jews were lukewarm nationalists. In France and Germany, these beliefs were not just a minor sideshow to virulent right-wing anti-Semitism but were shared by both adversaries. In the struggle with fascism the socialists did not fully distance themselves from anti-Semitism. In light of this record, the authors raise questions about the contemporary leftist position on Israeli-Palestinian issues. There is much to learn and think about in this well-written book.'

Anthony Oberschall - Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Wistrich, Robert S.Anti-Capitalism or Antisemitism? The Case of Franz Mehring.” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, vol. 22, 1977.
Wistrich, Robert S.Marxism and Jewish Nationalism: The Theoretical Roots of Confrontation.” In Wistrich, Robert S., ed., The Left against Zion: Communism, Israel and the Middle East. London, 1979.
Wistrich, Robert S. Socialism and the Jews: The Dilemmas of Assimilation in Germany and Austria-Hungary. Rutherford, NJ, 1982.
Wistrich, Robert S.Socialism and Judeophobia – Antisemitism in Europe before 1914.” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, vol. 37, 1992.
Wistrich, Robert S.Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: The Case of Bruno Kreisky.” Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, no. 30. Jerusalem, 2007.
Wistrich, Robert S.From Blood Libel to Boycott: Changing Faces of British Antisemitism.” Posen Papers in Contemporary Antisemitism, no. 13, 2011.
Wistrich, Robert S. From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel. Lincoln, NE, and London, 2012.
Wright, D. G. Popular Radicalism: The Working-Class Experience, 1780–1880. London and New York, 1988.


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