Robert Wistrich, 70, one of the world’s leading experts on anti-Semitism, died of a heart attack in Rome late Tuesday.
According to daily La Stampa, Wistrich had been due to address the Italian Senate on the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.
Wistrich, the Neuburger Professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote dozens of books and essays on anti-Semitism.
His most renowned works are Socialism and the Jews (1985), The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph (1991), and Anti-Semitism; and The Longest Hatred (1992).
The Longest Hatred was also the basis for a PBS documentary, which Wistrich wrote and co-edited. His most recent works include Hitler and the Holocaust (2001), and Nietzsche – Godfather of Fascism? (2002), which he co-edited.
A recent article by Wistrich in Commentary magazine was called “Judeaophobia and Marxism,” and analyzed the attitudes of Marxists toward anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism over the decades. “Contemporary Marxists and Islamists share a curiously similar apocalyptic agenda of earthly redemption that aspires to the installment of absolute 'social justice' through violent means,” he wrote.
“For both parties, Palestinian martyrdom has become a glowing symbol of 'resistance' not only to Israel but also to globalization and the 'corrupt' West. At the heart of such radical utopianism, there is the quasi-religious belief that the world will only be 'liberated' by the downfall of America and the defeat of the Jews.”
“This chiliastic fantasy has today emerged as a notable point of fusion between the radical anti-Zionist left in the West and the global jihad. Meanwhile, in the real world, the transnational jihadi warriors are in the process of conquering large swathes of northern Syria and Iraq and establishing a new base for their Islamic caliphate. In dealing with these and related challenges involving the porous borders of an imploding Arab Middle East, a bankrupt Marxism has nothing to offer. Indeed, its de facto alliance with the Islamists is perhaps the final stage of its slow death.”