REVIEWSrnAgainst thernRacketeersrnby Paul GottfriedrnEsau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitismrnand the Rise of the Jewsrnby Albert S. LindemannrnCambridge: Cambridge University Press;rn568 pp., $34.95rnA^. Ibert S. Lindemann has touchedrnaw nerves with Esau’s Tears. Playingrnon the rabbinic legend that the Messiahrnwill come only when Jacob’s elderrnbrother ceases to lament being cheatedrnof his birthright—i.e., when the gentilernnations no longer feel hatred for Jacob’srndescendants — Lindemann offers a vuernd’ensemble of modern anti-Semitism as arnresponse to Jewish social and politicalrnemancipation in Europe and the UnitedrnStates which emphatically rejects thernnotion that Jews have been merely “passivernobjects of venomous prejudice.”rnThe latter view, which Lindemann properlyrnattributes to Ruth Wisse, RobertrnWistrich, and other contributors to Commentary,rnhas earned him the effusivernhostility of those with whom he disagrees,rnhi January and April, Wistrich —rna highly polemical writer with fewrnscholarly accomplishments—castigatedrnLindemann in Commentary as an apolo-rnT OrnS U B S C R I B Ernplease callrn1-800-877-5459rngist for anti-Semites and CambridgernUniversity for putting “its imprint on sornbiased and ignominious a work.”rnYet the controversial passages ofrnEsau’s Tears are restricted almost entirelyrnto the opening and closing sections ofrnthe book. There Lindemann goes afterrnspecial pleaders associated with Commentaryrnand pokes fun at the equationrnmade by Alan Dershowitz and OrthodoxrnJewish leaders between the Nazi “rape”rnof the Jews and the “poisonous seduction”rnpracticed on them by friendlyrnChristians. He argues that Jews in Centralrnand Eastern Europe shaped to somernextent the conditions of their existencernby their relations with their host nations.rnThus, while Hungarian Jews made effortsrnat Magyarizahon, those in Rumaniarnand Poland were, on the whole, lessrnopen to assimilation and to social contactrnwith the broader culture. Lindemannrnquestions the truth of the argument that,rnfor Jews in countries like Germanyrnwhich were infected by “eliminationist”rnanti-Semihsm, Jewish achons and attitudesrnwere necessarily unavailing. Torturedrnarguments by Daniel Goldhagenrnto the contrary, he finds no evidence suggestingrnthat murderous anti-Semitismrnwas widespread among the Cerman peoplernbefore Hitler’s coming to power andrnnotes that, in areas where Jews werernlargely assimilated, they were able to obtainrngentile assistance and, in some cases,rneven to blend into the surroundingrnpopulation during the Nazi occupation.rnIn Poland, where Jews suffered mostrngrievously, the majority of them hadrnlived in social and cultural isolation.rnDespite its provocative tone in places,rnEsau’s Tears for the most part simplyrnreprises long-accepted views regardingrnJewish populations resident in variousrncountries. Lindemann’s discussion ofrnthe condition of the Jews in England isrnglowingly Anglophile, while what he hasrnto say about Jews in the United States—rnAmerica has been kinder to Jews thanrnmost European countries owing to itsrnpositive view of commerce and gettingrnahead, and because the AmericanrnProtestant ascendancy consisted of OldrnTestament Christians who took a generousrnview of the nation of Moses andrnlesus —is identical with what used tornbe taught in Reform Jewish SundayrnSchools in the days before the upsurge ofrnJewish victimology.rnI, for one, am dubious about Lindemann’srnclaim (which he later qualifies)rnthat anti-Semitism was disappearing inrnVictorian England but raging in 19thcentur}’rnGermany. As a scholar of Europeanrnsocial and intellectiial history, I believernthat the English shared with thernGermans a social and cultural anti-rnSemitism, though neither people was asrnsteeped in this prejudice as were thernFrench, the Austrians, or the Russians. Arntendency exists to exaggerate Germanrnhostility to Jews —and to minimize, inrncontrast, corresponding English attitudesrn—as a result of events that occurredrnin interwar Europe. Moreover, Lindemannrnmakes a point that helps explainrnthe less frenzied reaction in England tornthe socioeconomic rise of the Jews: unlikernGerman Jews who tried to assimilaternand even intermarry, English Jews werernmore parochial, strongly resisting (asrnArthur Balfour noted) invitations to minglernwith English society. And this wasrndoubly true of Eastern European Jewsrnwho, coming to England in the late 19thrncentury, were far more ghetto-boundrnthan the Anglo-Sephardim who hadrncrossed the Channel two centuries earlier.rnIt may have been this stand-offishnessrnand even genetic exclusivity, approvedrnby English philo-Semites, that madernJews appear less threatening to the Englishrnsocial establishment than theyrnseemed to its German counterpart.rnRobert Wistrich accuses Lindemannrnof believing that “Jews are largely responsiblernfor the hatreds they encounter” andrnthat “Gentile tears will not stop flowingrnuntil the Jews reform themselves . . . orrnpossibly disappear as a distinct entit)’.”rnNowhere does Lindemann say anythingrnso unequivocal, much of his text seemingrnto incorporate the work of GeorgernMosse, Lucy Dawidowicz, and other historiansrnidentified with the “blamelessrnvictim” school of thought. Lindemann’srnbook, indeed, has two besetting problems.rnThe first is the voluminousrnretelling of what others have already written;rnthe second and more bothersome isrnthe compulsion to cover all interpretivernbases at the same time. Lindemann bothrn.30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn