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NEW BOOK EXPLORES ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
New York’s SelectBooks Publishes Stunning Critique of the Bible
New York, NY — As the 21st century dawns with both new problems and new promise, one of the most pervasive and insidious of problems from the previous century and earlier continues to rear its ugly head: anti-Semitism—the cultural, ethnic and religious hatred of the Jewish people. Whether in relation to news about the state of Israel, the long-standing charges of dual loyalties of Jewish citizens, or the many large and small frictions of living in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, institutional and individual anti-Semitism have not faded away with the passage of time.
Now, from SelectBooks, comes a marvel of scholarship and research that takes a cutting look at the history and root causes of anti-Semitism in the Western world. The Causes of Anti-Semitism—A Critique of the Bible is exactly what it says; a minute, meticulous examination of the books central to both Judaism and Christianity. In subjecting the Old and New Testaments to the analytic handling of a historical researcher, author Arthur Blech comes to startling conclusions about the foundations of anti-Semitism and where blame for it lies. In the end, he finds equal fault on each side. Christianity, in its efforts to define itself against the Jewish religion from which it sprung, planted the seeds of Western anti-Semitism that ultimately blossomed during the horrors of 20th century Europe. Judaism, meanwhile, insisted on a religious and social “separateness” that was often perceived—and sometimes manifested itself—as an aloofness that many found and still find offensive.
As unique a book as it is, The Causes of Anti-Semitism is even more noteworthy because of the life story of its author. Arthur Blech was born in Czechoslovakia in 1923 and was sent by his family to study in England as a teenager. That same year, Nazi Germany conquered the country and immediately began the torment that would practically erase the Jewish community from Czechoslovakia and Europe as a whole. Blech’s entire family—mother, father and two sisters—were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered in 1944. He came to the United States in 1947 and has devoted his life since then to researching the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and related topics.
Publisher Kenzi Sugihara says of the book, “It’s guaranteed to provoke a lot of people. The unflinching examinations of both Christian and Jewish scriptures and history force the reader to re-think his or her beliefs and approach to religion, something too few are prepared to do. The fact that this is a worthwhile endeavor, however, is beyond question.
The Causes of Anti-Semitism is available in bookstores now.