Book Review: Why the Jews? by Marek Halter

December 29, 2020

Why the Jews?: The Need to Scapegoat by Marek Halter (translated by Grace McQuillan) is a collection of short essays examining the titled question. Mr. Halter is a French citizen born in Poland, he is the founder of the International Committee for a Negotiated Peace Agreement in the Near East and played a crucial role in the organization of the first official meetings between Palestinians and Israelis.

  • 96 pages
  • Publisher : Arcade
  • ISBN-10 : 1951627431
  • Language : English

Book Review: Why the Jews? by Marek Halter
My rat­ing for Why the Jews? 4
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This book is short, but thought provoking. The question of “why the Jews?” has been asked for centuries without a good answer other than racism, probably because there isn’t one. As is tradition in the Jewish religion the book asks a lot of poignant, hard hitting questions but gives very few answers.
Why the Jews?: The Need to Scapegoat by Marek Halter, might not have many answers, but it does make you think.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise, again, in Europe and the United States (not a surprise for many, including the author I’m sure), and in these essays Mr. Halter tries to deconstruct several preconceived prejudices about the Jews and all the perceived evils they are responsible for. Many of these notions, of course, do not pass the “laugh test” for any person with a drop of critical thinking skills. Throughout his lifelong journey, the author recounts of meetings he had with many famous thinkers including David Ben Gurion and Jean-Paul Sartre, who both had some insight, but – again – no answers.

Mr. Halter tries to understand and investigate where the hatred towards Jews comes from. He goes back very far to do so, even trying to get an explanation by examining the behavior of Moses and the Ten Commandments, an interesting exercise, but a futile one.  I, for one, think that trying to explain hatred and anti-Semitism by delving into, or blaming, religious texts is, frankly, a bit lazy. For generations the haters used religious nonsense to justify their pre-existing, or learned, notions. Deep down, however, even they knew its ridiculous drivel, at best, speaking only to weak minded losers trying to blame their own incompetence and bad decisions on others.

I appreciated the tone of the book, more investigative than preachy, which servers it well. Great job by translator Grace McQuillan who managed to keep the tone throughout on this difficult subject . I thought the author’s conclusion was on point, and probably the best one could hope for.
Ironically it comes from Pope John Paull II: “Do not be afraid!”

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More Books by Marek Halter*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got got this book for free.
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