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Jack R. Fischel

Jack R. Fischel is the author of The Holocaust (Greenwood, 1998) and Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999) and coauthor of The Holocaust and Its Religious Impact (Praeger, 2004). He is professor emeritus of history at Millersville University in Pennsylvania where he taught for thirty-seven years.


Questioning the Good War

Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization, by Nicholson Baker. Simon & Schuster, March 2008. $30 Compared to the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq, World War II was a conflict of great moral clarity. Few question that the [...]

The Crimes of My Enemy

The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940–1945, by Joerg Friedrich. Columbia University Press, October 2006. $34.95 Approximately 36.5 million Europeans died during World War II. Included in this figure were the casualties from the strategic Al [...]

The War in Iraq

Spring 2006 | Criticism

  The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, by George Packer. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, October 2005. $26 Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq, by Larry Diamond. Times Books, June 2005. [...]

Genocide In Rwanda

Winter 2006 | Criticism

It is more than sixty years since the end of World War II, when the world became aware of the Holocaust, the Third Reich’s conscious decision to murder every Jewish man, woman, and child in German-occupied Europe. The Nazi state-sponsored murder of six million Jews was subsequently labeled genocide, a term unknown before the war, but first used by Raphael Lemkin in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, Laws of Occupation-Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress, published in the United States in 1944. A Jewish refugee who fled Warsaw when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Lemkin eventually made his way to the United States, where he taught law at Yale University, and subsequently contributed to the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in December 1948. Lemkin had faith that the implementation of the genocide convention would “never again” allow a state to murder a people as was the case with Hitler’s “Final Solution.” In time, the Holocaust emerged as the paradigm case of genocide, whereby all future instances of state-directed mass murder would be measured against the Nazi annihilation of the Jews.

The New Anti-Semitism

Summer 2005 | Criticism

What is new about the “new” anti-Semitism, according to a spate of recent books, including Dershowitz’s, is that the hatred of Jews has been cloaked behind a virulent anti-Zionism which holds the Jewish people everywhere responsible for the policies of the Israeli government in its conflict with the Palestinians. Phyllis Chesler, in her book The New Anti-Semitism, finds this especially prominent on the left, especially among her comrades in the feminist movement, where the new anti-Semitism masquerades as antiracism and anticolonialism. She concludes that inasmuch as anti-Jewish violence is justified by opposition to Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, it has become politically and psychologically acceptable to be anti-Semitic, despite increasing reports of the burning of synagogues and the vandalizing of cemeteries in Europe. Added to this situation is the silence of leftist intellectuals in response to suicide bombings in Israel, which reached endemic proportions during the past decade.

Face-to-Face with Terror: Jessica Stern’s Terror in the Name of God

Fall 2004 | Criticism

The American people came face-to-face with the realities of worldwide terrorism following September 11. Although the United States only a few years before had been shocked by our own homegrown terrorists who perpetrated the Oklahoma City bombing, we never realized the extent to which religious militancy has come to replace Communism as the primary threat to our security

Reds and Radicals In Hollywood

Radical Hollywood, by Paul Buhle and David Wagner. The New Press. $29.95. Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s, by Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley. Prima. $25.00. Neil Gabler's book An Empire of Thei [...]

The Road to September 11

Spring 2002 | Essays

Historians looking back at the tragic events of September 11 will discover the roots of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon originating in three episodes that occurred in 1979. The first event was the Iranian Revolution which overthrew the Shah and created an Islamic Republic under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The second occurrence was the successful conclusion of the Camp David meetings between Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin, wherein Israel and Egypt concluded a peace treaty which not only ended the state of war between both countries, which commenced with the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, but also witnessed the first Arab state to make peace with Israel. The third incident was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The United States during the Carter presidency responded to Soviet aggression by aiding the Afghanistan opposition against the invasion of their country. Despairing, however, of being able to form a unified coalition, because of the intense ethnic divisions among the country's clans, the United States covertly sent financial aid and arms (including stinger missiles) through the Pakistani Interservices Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's counterpart of our CIA, to unite the Afghani opposition under the banner of Islam.


Cloak-And-Dagger Days

The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—The Stalin Era, by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev. Random House. $30.00. There are probably those who still believe in the innocence of Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs or feel strongly that [...]

“A Definable Jewish Character”

Jews: The Essence and Character of a People, by Arthur Hertzberg and Aron Hirt-Manheimer. HarperCollins. $25.00. One way to explain the survival of the Jews over the past 2,000 years is to understand the primary role religion has played in maint [...]

The Dilemmas of Diversity

Migrations and Cultures: A World View. By Thomas Sowell. Basic Books. $30. 00. A recent visit to the Berkshires to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform at the Tanglewood festival produced a program of unusual interest. The all Mozart prog [...]

Political Correctness and All That

The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked By Cultural Wars. By Todd Gitlin. Metropolitan Books.$25.00. In recent years there has been a plethora of books that have addressed the issue of multiculturalism and political correctness on co [...]

An All-American Iconoclast

The Ail-American Skin Game, or The Decay of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990–1994, by Stanley Crouch. Pantheon. $24.00. The Million Man March in Washington D. C. propelled Louis Farrakhan into the front ranks of the leadership of the Afr [...]

The Rise of Neoconservatism

The Rise of Neoconservatism: Intellectual and Foreign Affairs 1945–1994, by John Ehrman. Yale. $27.50. Norman Podhoretz's recent retirement as editor of Commentary marked the passing of more than an important voice in the intellectual community. [...]