In this provocative book, Benjamin Ginsberg examines the cycle of Jewish success and anti-Semitic attack throughout the history of the Diaspora, with a concentrated focus on the "special case" of America. For Ginsberg, the essential issue is not anti-Jewish feeling, but the conditions under which such sentiment is likely to be used in the political arena. The Fatal Embrace identifies the political dynamics that, historically, have set the stage for the persecution of Jews.
Ginsberg's inquiry into the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States is sensitive, unflinching and lucid. He predicts that the ``unthinkable'' could happen--a political alliance of radical populists and respected conservatives who make vigorous use of virulent anti-Semitic themes to attack liberal Democrats. A Johns Hopkins political science professor, Ginsberg bases this conclusion on a broad analysis of Jews' shifting relationship to state power, from the Civil War through the New Deal to the collapse of the Jewish/Republican alliance as the Bush administration downgraded the importance of the state of Israel in U.S. foreign policy. The opening chapter shows how Jews have played key roles throughout history in building liberal, absolutist, monarchist and socialist regimes, offering their services and skills in exchange for protection and opportunity--a sometimes ``fatal embrace'' that, in Ginsberg's analysis, often provokes organized anti-Semitism. (Sept.)