Wistrich takes an expansive view of what belongs in a book about Jew-hatred. He complains, for example, that Carter has "systematically abused the term 'apartheid' in the context of Israel and Palestine," and shows concern about "Carter's visceral dislike for Israelis (secular and religious)" and his "rancor" toward American Jews. But he does not try to make the case that Carter is an anti-Semite according to any definition that would apply to Hitler and Stalin, Idi Amin and Osama bin Laden.
Indeed, some readers will come away from "A Lethal Obsession" with a sense of frustration over the author's refusal to distinguish between criticism of Israel on specific points of policy and the kind of violence, both verbal and physical, that characterizes anti-Semitism. Wistrich himself refuses to engage in any such debate -- "The focus of this book is not . . . to examine the rights and wrongs of Israeli government policies" -- and he argues that the anti-Semites in both Muslim and Western circles have made it meaningless to do so.
"My research reveals that paranoid and hysterical anti-Semitism has provided perhaps the deepest substratum underlying the ongoing Middle East crisis, yet it is barely evoked in the mainstream media and simply ignored in most scholarship that relates to the Middle East conflict," he writes. "The miserable failure to resolve the Palestinian problem is less surprising when one considers the implications of such blindness."