ANTI-SEMITISM: A Disease of the Mind by

ANTI-SEMITISM: A Disease of the Mind

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, Rubin provides insights for historians and theologians by putting humanity on the couch with his thesis--which is that anti-Semitism is a contagious symbol sickness. Rubin is best known for successful books like Compassion and Self-Hate (1975) and Not To Worry. (1984). In this radical departure from the pop-psych/self-help genre, he explains that self-hating people tend to hate symbols of compassion, love, and moral responsibility. It's hard to kick a Bible or curse one's Maker with any real satisfaction, so the Jews make a handy scapegoat. Many Jews and some Christians will also harbor antipathy towards Jews as outsiders who are somehow insiders when it comes to God and the annoying human conscience. Rubin also cites people who are emotionally inhibited, along with those who have submerged animosity for their mothers, as good candidates for transferring their rage onto the emotive, family-oriented people of the ""mother religion."" Crude and vocal anti-Semites tend to be loners who feel wronged, neo-pagans who adore the male macho ideal and hate any softness, weakness, or intellectual qualities--especially in themselves. Aside from some brief discussion about Jews being dehumanized as Christ-killers in the New Testament, Rubin generally plays down Christianity's role in perpetuating Jew-hatred, and makes some interesting points about anti-Judean sentiment and activity in pre-Christian times. Rubin's uniquely psychoanalytical approach contributes much to our understanding of anti-Semitism, and of racism in general.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1990
Publisher: Continuum