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Strange Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and the Limits of Diversity

How did antisemitism get so strange? How did hate become so clouded in controversy? And what does the strange hate of antisemitism tell us about racism and the politics of diversity today?

Life-long anti-racists accused of antisemitism, life-long Jew haters declaring their love of Israel… Today, antisemitism has become selective. Non-Jews celebrate the ”good Jews” and reject the ”bad Jews”. And its not just antisemitism that s becoming selective, racists and anti-racists alike are starting to choose the minorities they love and hate.

In this passionate yet closely-argued polemic from a writer with an intimate knowledge of the antisemitism controversy, Keith Kahn-Harris argues that the emergence of strange hatreds shows how far we are from understanding what living in diverse societies really means.

Strange Hate calls for us to abandon selective anti-racism and rethink how we view not just Jews and antisemitism, but the challenge of living with diversity.

  • Shortly after publication, I noticed a minor error in the final chapter. I discussed its significance in this post.
  • At the launch event, my friend Dan Jacobs roasted me with these parody bad reviews. 
  • I gave the following talk about the book at the RSA, which serves as a good introduction to the themes I explore in it (video also available):

Book cover of Strange Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and the Limits of Diversity

Formats available: Paperback, ebook

First Published: June 11, 2019

Publisher: Repeater Books

Reviews for Strange Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and the Limits of Diversity

"I can't be alone in feeling immense gratitude for this provocative, judicious and ultimately generous book. I wish everyone currently trapped inside an echo chamber would come offline and read it. Strange Hate reveals how we're all too often selective anti-racists, loving some members of a group only to hate the rest in the name of politics rather than prejudice. But Kahn-Harris not only identifies the persistent problems and blind spots to have bedevilled anti-racism, he dares to imagine practical solutions to them as well. Could there be a more timely intervention? Even if you don't agree with every move he makes, you'll surely want to applaud him for writing it."

Dr Devorah Baum, author of Feeling Jewish (A Book For Just About Anyone)

"Kahn-Harris performs the essential task of providing an entire glossary of terms of reference for the latest evolution of the most ancient hatred. This is a concise and elegantly written guide to antisemitism in the 21st century which excels in being both humorous and deadly serious at the same time. Essential to understanding how Western society must confront racism in the age of Trump and Corbyn."

Anshel Pfeffer, author of Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu

"I try and read everything Keith Kahn-Harris writes on British Jews and this intelligent book, on how anti-racists have lost their way, and how they can find their way back, is no exception."

Ben Judah, author This Is London

Few issues have been more vexing for today’s left than the question of antisemitism. Jews have many different definitions and approaches to the issue, and non-Jews pick and chose which Jews to follow on it. Unlike other books, Strange Hate offers no clearcut definition of antisemitism, but instead shows how this question unsettles the Left’s own notions of liberation, oppression, hatred, and tolerance.

Dr Spencer Sunshine, Associate Fellow at Political Research Associates

Very easy to consume, with a casual touch to the narration that brings warmth to such a complicated subject, Kahn-Harris achieves something special with Strange Hate.

As a sociologist versed in the politics of diversity, and sceptical as to whether hatred can ever disappear from the human heart, Kahn-Harris is prepared to ask some hard and provocative questions.