A Convenient Hatred

Welcome to this online workshop! For more than 35 years, Facing History and Ourselves has been connecting the past to the moral and ethical issues of our own time by exploring histories that raise profound questions about the nature of evil, the power of stereotypes and myths, and the importance of prevention. Our newest resource, A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism, evolved in large part from those questions and from the need for educators using our foundational resource book, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, to know more about this history. A Convenient Hatred provides an introduction to the way antisemitism has evolved over centuries and how it continues to shape attitudes and beliefs in the world today. The book aims to help readers understand how this pernicious hatred began and, most importantly, why it persists despite heroic efforts to overcome it. It is our hope that A Convenient Hatred will inspire deep conversations about hatreds in general, as well as this particular hatred, and encourage positive action. Those conversations are central to the mission of Facing History and Ourselves and this workshop.

Short description: A Convenient Hatred Workshop intro video from Program Associate Dustin Tenreiro.

About the Book

From FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES, a nonprofit organization that helps citizens of all ages confront the lessons of history, comes an approachable, well-researched narrative of one of the world’s oldest consistent hatreds and its implications for the moral choices we make.

A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism is an accessible history of antisemitism. Phyllis Goldstein, Facing History’s senior writer on the Holocaust and issues of race, spent more than five years researching this book. She masterfully communicates the magnitude of this hatred over the centuries and reveals why so many people in so many places have found antisemitism a most “convenient hatred.”

The book chronicles the evolution of antisemitism through powerful stories that allow readers to see themselves in the tarnished mirror of history. It also provides insights into universal aspects of human behavior, particularly the power of ideas—even mistaken ideas—to shape thought, judgment, and ultimately behavior. The first chapter opens in Egypt more than 2,500 years ago and explores the antisemitic stereotypes and myths that arose there under Persian and, later, Roman rule. The book closes with an important chapter on antisemitism today. That chapter considers the newest justifications for antisemitism—including Holocaust denial and the use of traditional antisemitic libels to demonize both the state of Israel and Jews in general. In addition, the chapter confronts the challenges of learning from this uncomfortable history.

 

Other highlights include:

  • The events that eventually led to the separation of Christianity from Judaism
  • The impact of early Islam on attitudes toward Jews in the Middle East and beyond
  • The consequences of the Crusades for Jews in Europe and the Middle East
  • The effects of the Protestant Reformation and Catholic responses to the Reformation on antisemitism
  • The results of the Enlightenment on both the growth of political rights for Jews and other minorities in Europe and on new justifications for antisemitism and racism
  • The impact of the Industrial Revolution and other modernizing forces on the treatment of Jews
  • The prevalence of antisemitic conspiracy theories during and immediately following World War I
  • The Holocaust and the role antisemitism played not only in shaping Nazi policies but also in the way the world responded to the genocide
  • The ways antisemitism became a convenient “tool” in the Cold War and the Arab-Israeli conflict

 

A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism is an authoritative new resource that will help readers of all backgrounds explore the roots of this ancient hatred, better understand the present, and help change the future.

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