Leonard Dinnerstein, an expert on anti-Semitism in America, dies at 84


(JTA) — Leonard Dinnerstein, a historian who specialized in the study of anti-Semitism in the United States, has died.

One of his most authoritative works was “Anti-Semitism in America,” The New York Times wrote. In the 1994 book, Dinnerstein argued that age-old European prejudice against Jews was instilled in the New World by the earliest settlers, reinforced by successive waves of Protestant and Roman Catholic immigrants and ingrained as “an irrevocable part of the American heritage.”

The book has been regarded as the definitive examination of American anti-Semitism and was cited in 2017 by the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing on anti-Semitism on college campuses, The Times also noted.

Dinnerstein died at his home in Tucson, Arizona, on Jan. 22 of natural causes, The Times reported Thursday. He was 84.

His doctoral dissertation in the 1960s was on the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager in Atlanta. Dinnerstein concluded in his scholarly work that anti-Semitism had become “an irrevocable part of the American heritage.”

In 1968, Columbia University Press published the thesis with the title “The Leo Frank Case.” It has never been out of print.

“The book launched my professional academic career in 1968,” Dinnerstein wrote in the preface to a 2008 revised edition.

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