A Convenient Hatred chronicles a very particular hatred through powerful stories that allow readers to see themselves in the tarnished mirror of history. It raises important questions about the consequences of our assumptions and beliefs and the ways we, as individuals and as members of a society, make distinctions between us and them, right and wrong, good and evil. These questions are both universal and particular.
After a thoughtful foreword by Sir Harold Evans, staff writer and researcher Goldstein (Holocaust and Human Behavior) follows a chronological trajectory, opening each chapter with a detailed snapshot of the time period under discussion, and often including a map to help locate readers unfamiliar with the terrain and shifting national boundaries. She begins with the first recorded incidence of antisemitism in 586 BCE, when the Babylonians destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, and tracks its development across the ages, ending with a chapter on "Antisemitism Today," in which she warns that it is "still a force in the world." Thoroughly researched and meticulous in its treatment of a bleak topic, Goldstein's study does not rest on a recitation of the atrocities of WWII; rather, hers is a work that seeks to dismantle a complex prejudice in order to more swiftly do away with it. As president of Human Rights First Elisa Massimino points out, "The branding of Jews as scapegoats for ancient and modern ills remains a powerful underlying factor" in its continuation.