The money libel: Confronting a dangerous stereotype

The money libel: Confronting a dangerous stereotype

Foxman surprised by response to his book

Readers of Abraham Foxman’s new book, “Jews and Money,” have told him that it’s lively and informative. But some readers have registered an objection.

To the title.

“The only debate out there is about the title,” said Foxman in a recent phone interview. “Paul Volcker,” a former secretary of the treasury who wrote the book’s introduction, “called me and said, ‘Listen, Abe, while I was reading an advance copy I had it on my desk, and every Jewish person who walked in and saw it was horrified. Maybe you want to change the title.’

“And I said to him, ‘You know, Paul, I wanted the title to be ‘Jews, Money, and Anti-Semitism.’ And the publisher said to me, ‘You worry about the content and we’ll worry about the title. With your title, we might wind up with three copies in a library somewhere.’

“So, I’ve been doing a poll, asking people wherever I go, ‘How do you feel about the title?’ And I’ve learned something, which is sort of sad, but it confirmed an assessment I had that American Jews are less secure than they would like to pretend that they are. Jewish people told me that they removed the cover when they were reading the book on a plane or a train. Some even said that it was much easier to read as an e-book.

“That response sort of surprised me because, while I knew there’s a great deal of insecurity among American Jews, I thought it was much less than I’m finding.”

Warren Boroson

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