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Journal of Historical Review
Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism
Softcover book. 441 pages.
Stock Number: 0620
This important work focuses on the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, and explains why hostility toward Jews has persisted over the centuries in a wide range of cultures and societies. This scholar book – with source notes, bibliography, and index – is the second in an important trilogy by Kevin MacDonald, a professor of psychology at California State University at Long Beach, that was originally issued by Praeger, a leading US academic publisher.
In a review that appeared in the IHR’s
Journal of Historical Review
, Peter Harrison wrote that
Separation and Its Discontents
“tackles head-on what may be the most diligently suppressed question of our time: Why do people hate Jews? In contrast to the generally available treatments of this issue, MacDonald has produced a study of rare, even shocking forthrightness and scope. One would have to go back at least 50 years to find anything comparable to this extraordinary work. It is serious, exhaustively researched, and relentlessly factual.”
Harrison goes on:
“Of all the taboos in American society, none is more powerful than that which limits public discussion about Jews. Though they are only three percent of the population, Jews play a disproportionately powerful – and sometimes decisive – role in the cultural and political affairs of the United States. Jews are so powerful, in fact, that they have been largely successful in suppressing public discussion of their power ...
“The causes of anti-Semitism, MacDonald shows, are easily discovered and understood. Jews rarely acknowledge them because they do not want to understand their own history. MacDonald's brilliant, well-referenced study, with its bounty of eye-opening facts and insights, is the most important work on the perpetually troubling `Jewish question’ to appear in many years.
“But it is much more than that. Given the extraordinary reach of Jewish influence,
Separation and its Discontents
is also an invaluable guide to understanding ourselves and our world. As MacDonald's analysis implicitly makes clear, non-Jews, especially in the United States, have largely come to accept Jewish `deception and self-deception’ as normal. So many of our most widely held beliefs and assumptions about the past and the present ...
“Implicit in MacDonald's book is a stern warning that the pattern of 'deception and self-deception' he reveals has corrupted our culture, not least in grossly distorting how we look at the past, particularly 20th-century American and European history. Without an understanding of the real Jewish role in history, we remain dangerously ignorant of how the world actually works.”
The basic thesis of this book is that Judaism and the Jewish role in history can only be fully understood as a group strategy characterized by cultural and genetic segregation from non-Jewish societies combined with resource competition and conflicts of interest with segments of those non-Jewish societies. This cultural and genetic separatism combined with resource competition and other conflicts of interest tend to result in division and hatred within the society.
The author intends no personal or ethnic attacks with this book. Nevertheless, the charge that this is an “anti-Semitic” work is entirely predictable, and completely in keeping with the thesis of his scholarly analysis. A major theme of this volume is that intellectual defenses of Judaism and of Jewish theories of anti-Semitism have throughout history played a critical role in maintaining Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. Parts of the book read as a sort of extended discourse on the role of Jewish self-interest, deception, and self-deception in the areas of Jewish historiography, Jewish personal identity, and Jewish conceptualizations of their ingroup and its relations with outgroups.
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