New York, NY, December 6, 2010 … Stereotypes about Jews and money – the notions that Jews are cheap and miserly, or that they horde money, or control the banks and levers of international finance – have endured through the centuries and thrive even today.
The pernicious stereotype about an alleged connection of Jews to money is one of the main pillars of anti-Semitism, and one of the reasons that hatred of Jews has endured through the centuries and into modern times, according to a new book from Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
"Jews & Money: The Story of a Stereotype" (Palgrave Macmillan, November 2010) examines the alleged connection between Jews and money and shows how the stereotype has been used from the Middle Ages into modern times to scapegoat and stigmatize the Jewish people.
In the book, Mr. Foxman debunks the idea of cheap and miserly Jews, showing that philanthropy and social justice are at the core of Jewish values, tradition and practice.
"Jews & Money" also looks at how recent events in the news, including the Bernie Madoff scandal and the recession, have unleashed a flood of anti-Semitic invective on the Internet, and how a conspiracy theory suggesting that "400 billion in funds were secretly transferred to Israeli banks" just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008 spread like wildfire across the Internet and was reported as fact across much of the Middle East.
"One of the core anti-Semitic stereotypes is one that I delineate in my book -- the alleged connection of Jews to money," said Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor who as head of ADL has spent much of his adult life battling anti-Semitism. "Sometimes we hear that, 'Jews are greedy' or 'Jews run the banks' or 'Jews only care about money.' For a long time we thought that these ideas were no longer part of the mainstream, but when the recession struck America two years ago there was this surge of conspiracy theories claiming that Jews were behind it. And again we heard those stereotypes slipping into the mainstream."
With a Foreword by Paul Volcker, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, "Jews & Money" looks at some the modern-day purveyors of anti-Semitic stereotypes, including Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and former presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche. It also looks at more mainstream public figures, journalists, radio talk-show pundits and others who have dabbled in notions about Jews and money, oftentimes without ill-intent.
"Foxman is forceful and convincing in stetting the record straight, reaching back in history to identify the sources of anti-Semitic instincts, the twisting and manipulation of Jewish history and traditions," Mr. Volcker writes.
In a chapter on the stereotype today, Mr. Foxman writes, "While it is a hopeful sign that relatively few Americans openly and deliberately embrace anti-Semitic stereotypes today, it's disturbing that so many people have absorbed biased beliefs about Jews and money to the point where they don't even realize that these beliefs are false, bigoted and offensive."
Mr. Foxman is also the author of "The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control" (2008) and "Never Again: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism" (2003).