What is involved here is the difference, as I wrote in the February 2012 essay for Commentary magazine that is included in this collection, between what I call “bierkeller” and “bistro” antisemitism. The crude, violent antisemitism incubated in the German bierkellers where the Nazis guzzled beer and shouted themselves hoarse was a hallmark of the twentieth century. Polite, modulated, ostensibly reasonable antisemitism, often calling itself “anti-Zionism,” and expressed in the progressive chatter across the tables of fashionable bistros, is a hallmark of the twenty-first.
Ben Cohen is a writer based in New York. A specialist on Jewish and international affairs, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Haaretz, Tablet and many other publications.