Against the Racketeers

Albert S. Lindemann has touched raw nerves with Esau's Tears. Playing on the rabbinic legend that the Messiah will come only when Jacob's elder brother ceases to lament being cheated of his birthright—i.e., when the gentile nations no longer feel hatred for Jacob's descendants — Lindemann offers a vue d'ensemble of modern anti-Semitism as a response to Jewish social and political emancipation in Europe and the United States which emphatically rejects the notion that Jews have been merely "passive objects of venomous prejudice." The latter view, which Lindemann properly attributes to Ruth Wisse, Robert Wistrich, and other contributors to Commentary, has earned him the effusive hostility of those with whom he disagrees. In January and April, Wistrich—a highly polemical writer with few scholarly accomplishments—castigated Lindemann in Commentary as an apologist for anti-Semites and Cambridge University for putting "its imprint on so biased and ignominious a work."

Yet the controversial passages of Esau's Tears are restricted almost entirely to the opening and closing sections of the book. There Lindemann goes after special pleaders associated with Commentary and pokes fun at the equation made by Alan Dershowitz and Orthodox Jewish leaders between the Nazi "rape" of the Jews and the "poisonous seduction"...

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