A French journalist and writer proposes that recent small-scale and large-scale acts of violence against Jews have their roots in not one, but two very specific forms of populism: an extreme and violent ethos of hate spread among extremism in France's nationalist wing and in its post-colonial Muslim community.
... [an] excellent and chilling report-cum-memoir about one of the most unsettling phenomena in contemporary Europe ... Weitzmann is at his most brilliant when illuminating their [French nationalists and Islamic extremists] ideological cross-pollination. In chapters that read like a guidebook to a perverse intellectual milieu ... Mr. Weitzmann provides a fascinating look into the dark history of the French Nouvelle Droite ('New Right') and its Islamist allies, and shows how the Muslim variety of French anti-Semitism has been heavily flavored with extreme right-wing ingredients dating back to the early 19th century.
Weitzmann, in this impassioned book that swirls sometimes chaotically from personal to historical reflections, sets out to understand the reasons for the scourge and to cut through what he sees as persistent French obfuscation of it ... In moving passages, he describes the deaths of his father, who worked for a theater company, and his great-uncle, a Resistance war hero. Both men, at the ends of their lives, had to endure signs of France’s anti-Semitic reawakening ... Hate is at times a sloppy, frustrating and repetitive book. It aspires to reportage without much of the hard-won, on-the-ground reporting needed to undergird that ambition. It often reads as awkwardly translated French ... It can veer close to psychobabble ... But it is redeemed by often illuminating intensity as it grapples with an unresolved French and European quandary ... [Weitzmann] is cleareyed about what the banal anti-Semitism coursing through blighted projects has wrought. What Weitzmann does not do is propose solutions, even if one is implicit in his unflinching account: France needs an honest confrontation with the untamed demons in its midst.
Weitzmann’s excellent book is a stellar focus upon the major influences producing an increase in anti-Semitism in France during the past 30 years. Thanks to the author’s careful research, Hate is more than an analysis of recent anti-Semitic attacks. It has become a signpost, signaling where terrorists might strike next ... The author attempts to leverage his family’s experiences related to fighting anti-Semitism, with his general political and social research and useful interviews with key players. While a noble effort, it falls a little flat due to inadequate relevancy. The influence of the author’s family just did not appear highly germane. In terms of editing, this book would be enhanced with the addition of visual aids, including diagrams and links to relevant videos of anti-Semitic acts. Otherwise, the translation and editing appear quite solid ... The author’s research is spot on and relevant. His writing is swift, vital and enlightening. Jews are not safe in France and elsewhere today. Marc Weitzmann has given us a blueprint of dangerous religious hatred that harkens to the Holocaust, with a promise of terror yet to come.