Sceptical readers of Shindler’s book might wonder what his history of left-wing anti-Semitism has to do with them. By “the Left” he means the far Left. In Stalin and Mao’s day it was one of the most horrifying forces humanity has witnessed. Now it is nothing. The Soviet Union is gone. China is a state capitalist power. Who cares about Communism? It is as dead as the Albigensian heresy or the Stuart claim to the English throne. Even Marxists don’t believe in Marxist-Leninism any more.
But in a strange manner few discuss, the death of Communism has freed far-Left ideas from the cage of the Cold War. When the far Left was a global force, the mainstream liberal Left had to draw dividing lines and defend itself from its attacks. Now that the far Left threatens no one, the borders have gone. The media would hound from public life any conservative who shared platforms with members of a neo-Nazi group. But respectable leftists can now associate with those who would once have been regarded as poisonous extremists — and no one notices. What applies to personal alliances applies equally to ideology. Foul ideas flood past the unmanned border posts, with disastrous consequences for Jews and Arabs.