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The Serpent and the Red Thread

From humanity’s first encounter with evil up until our present time, author Diane Weber Bederman lays out the unparalleled, irrational hate of the Jewish people. With often chilling prose, she takes us down the historical paths of nations, religions and ideologies to uncover the webs that trapped and devoured the people who gifted the world with compassion and ethics. Citing often unfamiliar sources, the author unravels the thread of hate that ran through primitive times yet also through the likes of the Enlightenment. It was the progression birthed in the Enlightenment that promised to better society, It was the same progression that set the stage for the unparalleled and unprecedented pinnacle of enmity -the Holocaust.

Passionate, personal, and presenting the facts, this is much more than a book. It is an indictment on a world that has forgotten that the mass industrial murder of 6 million Jews on Europe’s soil was done in the name of culture and progression. It is a cry from the heart, a warning. The serpent of antisemitism has never been apprehended. It is on the loose again and it’s ravenous for Jews. Today it leashes it's venom at the Jewish homeland. The author burdens us with the freedom of choice. Whoever we are, we have a moral duty to combat this hate that in living memory saw to the annihilation of millions of human beings in the name of progression.

Kay Wilson, author of The Rage Less Traveled.

Several days ago, pro-sharia Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour appeared at the annual conference of American Muslims for Palestine in Chicago and demanded that the audience ask “those who call themselves progressive Zionists” how they can claim to oppose white supremacy in America, but then “support a state like Israel that is based on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else.”

The notion that Israel was built on purported Jewish supremacism is pretty rich coming from Islamic supremacist Sarsour, particularly in light of the fact that the alarming spike in Jew-hatred throughout the West today stems largely not from a politically impotent and socially marginalized minority of white supremacists (as the mainstream media would have us believe), but from mass migration from Muslim countries, from the anti-Israel BDS movement driven by Muslim student organizations on university campuses, from the willful blindness toward Islam of multicultural elitists like Canada’s Justin Trudeau, and from the American left’s increasing embrace of Muslim politicians such as Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and activists like Sarsour. Seventy-five years or so after Allied forces liberated the survivors of Nazi concentration camps, Jew-hatred is back with a vengeance.

Of course, it never went away in the first place. It is always with us. Anti-Semitism is the world’s “oldest, most irrational evil,” as Canadian author and blogger Diane Bederman puts it, and in a powerful new book from Mantua Books titled The Serpent and the Red Thread, she tells its story in a stunning, affecting mix of fiction, history and myth. The book is peopled with characters ranging from Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul to Elie Wiesel and Adolph Hitler (whom she refers to as “hitler” – diminishing him by refusing to capitalize his last name).

Ms. Bederman, who also wrote Back to the Ethic: Reclaiming Western Values, which I previously reviewed for FrontPage Mag here, took time out to answer some questions about her new book for FrontPage Mag.

Mark Tapson: Tell us about “the red thread” and why you chose to use it as the central motif in your book.

Diane Bederman: While I was writing the book I heard about the red thread, a Chinese literary device that connects people through time. The thread can bend and twist, but never breaks.  I was writing about Jew haters through time. In Judaism, Amalek represents evil for he was the leader of a tribe who attacked the weakest of the Jews as they fled Egypt. Who can be more evil than one who attacks the weakest of all?  Sadly, there seems to be a pattern of Amaleks, a new one every generation; all connected to the first, through that red thread, that has never been broken. The serpent and his thread take us through 3000 years of Jewish prosecutions, persecutions, pogroms, inquisitions, expulsions ghettos and forced conversions leading to the Holocaust.

MT: Hitler unsurprisingly plays a prominent role in the book. But other characters also serve as guides through your biography of evil, including biblical figures such as Jesus, Paul, Abraham and Sarah, and a young Elie Wiesel. Why did you decide on these characters?  

DB: The book is a history of 3000 years of Jewish prosecution, persecution, pogroms, inquisitions, expulsions, and forced conversions. The Holocaust is the ultimate in Jewish genocide. It was also unique in its implementation. It was aided and abetted by the Nazi military industrial complex. In the book, Jesus and Paul speak for the Christian world. I wondered what they might have said had they seen the result of attacks on the Jews. What led up to them. What would they say? How would they feel? What would they do? 

Abraham and Sarah are the mother and father of the Jewish people. Parents care for their children and worry about them. I imagined them watching the horror perpetrated on their children and trying to understand and then assuage the pain and fear they could not take away. They ask the questions so many ask. How could this happen to the first of God’s children? Isaac is the child of Abraham and Sarah. He is there with his brothers and sisters as they are “sacrificed.” He has the utmost empathy as he remembers when he was on the altar being prepared for sacrifice. 

Elie Wiesel has written many books about his experiences and I have read all of them. When we talk about the Holocaust it is so very difficult to imagine 6 million people being murdered for the crime of being Jewish. I remembered reading about a teacher trying to explain 6 million people to her class. She had them count 6 million grains of rice and place them one by one in mason jars. Counting them one by one brought home the magnitude of the number of people murdered. I decided that I had to find a way to personalize the murder of Jews, mothers, fathers, children, by the Nazis, and the manner in which it was done, by telling the story through the eyes of two children: one murdered in the gas chambers and one by a bullet before being thrown into the death pits. I chose Elie’s story based on his own life experiences because his story is well-known. Of course, Elie lived. I decided to share the horror of the Holocaust by Bullets through the life of a composite child. I named her Sophia because Sophia means wisdom. So much wisdom disappeared in the death pits.

I wanted to narrate the story through many different voices and perspectives. And keep it in a story form; a non-fiction novel, for want of a better description.

Ironically, when the book was published a report came out at the same from the Church of England titled “God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian-Jewish Relations.” The 121-page report said attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a “fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism,” and that Anglicans and other Christians must repent for the “sins of the past,” as well as actively challenge anti-Semitic attitudes or stereotypes. Yet, as I wrote in the book, these same Churches are standing with the BDS provocateurs; anti-Semites. This evil will not go away.

MT: Why do you describe Barack Obama as “the 21st century Amalek”?

DB: I was taken in by Barack Obama. It took me many years to realize that he was not as he presented himself. I believe he brought antisemitism back to the forefront while he was President. The President of the United States has great power. And this President was revered around the world. He often seemed to be apologizing for America whose freedoms and values are firmly rooted in the Judeo/Christian ethic. He attacked the Jewish people from his position of power. He interfered in the Israeli election in the hope of taking down Benjamin Netanyahu. He was the first President to refuse to veto a UN Resolution attacking Israel and this resolution declared Jerusalem and the Western Wall as not belonging to Israel. He bribed Iran with billions of dollars in small bills so they would sign his treaty. I find it hard to believe that he did not think that the Iranian leadership, who call for death to the Jews, death to Israel, would not use that money to sponsor terror. Today, attacking the Jewish state is antisemitism. I believe that President Obama opened the floodgates.

I chose not to use his name, following in the footsteps of J. K. Rowling in her series of Harry Potter novels where she preferred to call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

MT: The American news media hype the threat of anti-Semitic white supremacists (in order to try to link them to President Trump), but in fact, you note in your book that it is “the followers of Islam” who are “the resurrected Amalekites” that have made the old Jew-hatred new again. Do you feel that Islam is compatible with Western values?

DB: The mainstream media in America did its very best to link Donald Trump with white supremacists. They did such a good job that white supremacists like David Duke of the KKK and his followers believed it. Imagine their shock when they came to see that he did not support them. That he supported the Jewish people and the Jewish state. We know that Duke was shocked. He has since turned his allegiance to Ilhan Omar, a woman who has shared her Jew-hatred widely, while not being rebuked by her party, the Democrats.

I would suggest that my opinion on Islam’s compatibility is not important. It is the opinion of Imams. ICNA ( Islamic Circle of North America) Canada quotes from the book Riyad us Saliheen: “The political system of Islam is totally incompatible with western democracy. The concept of government party and the opposition is alien to Islam. All belong to one Ummah with only one goal and pursue the same aims and objects of Islamic guidelines!”

I also shared the calls of the Palestinians. They speak for themselves:

“We the Palestinian nation, our fate from Allah is to be the vanguard in the war against the Jews until the resurrection of the dead, as the prophet Muhammad said: ‘The resurrection of the dead will not arrive until you will fight the Jews and kill them… ’ We the Palestinians are the vanguard in this undertaking and in this campaign, whether or not we want this…”

“The battle with the Jews will surely come… the decisive Muslim victory is coming without a doubt, and the prophet spoke about it in more than one Hadith and the Day of Resurrection will not come without the victory of the believers the Muslims over the descendants of the monkeys and pigs the Jews and with their annihilation.”

“Our battle with World Jewry… is a question of life and death. It is a battle between two conflicting faiths, each of which can exist only on the ruins of the other.”

“When the Jews are wiped out…the sun of peace would begin to rise on the entire world.”

These calls are no different from hitler’s speeches which are shared in the book.

MT: Anti-Semitism is driving Jews from Europe and is on the rise in America and Canada as well. What will it take for us to reverse the tide of this eternal evil once and for all?

DB: For thousands of years Christianity and Islam taught Jew hatred from their pulpits.  Religious leaders add authority to hate. Christians and Catholics accused Jews of killing Christ and using the blood of children for matza. Muslims have prayers and Hadith calling for the death of every Jew and they also spread the matza blood libel. These beliefs become embedded and passed down like eye color. Richard Dawkins calls them cultural memes. The Protestant and Catholic churches have denounced these teachings. But the damage is done. It requires a conscious effort to undo this damage. And it is not helped by churches siding with antisemitic organizations that attack Israel. At the same time we are witnessing the rise of Jew hatred from Islam and the left.

Ending this irrational hate will not be easy. It will take courage and the refusal to be silenced by accusations of Islamophobia, because silence is collusion, as we learned during World War II. Yet today, too many people are allowing themselves to be silenced by the term Islamophobia, which means the irrational fear of Islam. Fearing an ideology that calls for your death is not irrational. I have read Machiavelli. One can think of him as the first behavioral psychologist. He wrote from his experiences with the most vicious of fighters, the Borgias. He wrote that if one says he is going to kill you, believe him. And act accordingly.

We do know only too well, that history tends to repeat itself. I wait for our leaders to act against this hatred. But, like waiting for a miracle, one must work toward the goal while waiting. I live with cautious optimism: the State of Israel exists. And pessimism is deadly.

The book is not yet closed.


Mark Tapson, Shillman Fellow on Popular Culture for the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

It has been called the oldest and the longest hatred. It has persisted through the millennia making its way through human history from Antiquity to Modernity. As such, it has been directed at a small group of people within a sea of vast multitude of people and singled it out for deprecation, persecution, and attempts at annihilation. Much ink has been spilled to account for, to explain and even justify and legitimize this phenomenon. Why the Jews? Is the puzzling question to which there is no plausible answer except for those who carry this evil in their hearts.

Evil is the answer to be found in the small volume by Diane Weber Bederman which she titled The Serpent and the Red Thread. Evil, she explains, has beset the world since the beginning of time – which in this version is associated with the Creation as described in the Hebrew Bible and the Garden of Eden. The beautiful parable of the serpent planting the seed of evil in the heart of the first humans highlights the eternal battle against the good. More often than not, it is the force of evil that seems to win out over a more benevolent inclination. The ultimate form of Evil finds its expression in the form of hatred of the Jews, or antisemitism in a modern-day coinage. The author takes the reader on the winding trail this Evil take in its variant forms – religious intolerance to cultural calumny formulated in Christian Church doctrine and the race theories that sprouted from the secularized modern era on and reached its culmination, its ultimate explosion under the Nazi regime.

As the author weaves and spins out this thread—the Red Thread of Evil, she calls it in a felicitous metaphor—she gathers together an enormous amount of material that documents the poison spread by even some of greatest and most admired thinkers to the venom spewed by the evil incarnate in the person of Adolf Hitler. She takes the reader on a journey, a trail of tears and suffering experienced by few other groups. Yet, even after the most catastrophic event of the Nazi murder of millions, the evil of antisemitism that has hounded and pursuit the Jewish people is not extinguish. In fact, in recent years it has gathered strength and its poison has been spreading like an epidemic in the Middle East, where the Jews regained their ancient homeland, Europe, and even America. As the author states, the Red Thread of Evil has found yet another home in the hands of another group, the followers of the religion of Allah, who are intent on accomplishing what no other regime or culture had been able to do: to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth. Alarmingly, they have found many in the West who make themselves willing accomplices in the campaign of lies and distortions against Israel and the Jewish people elsewhere.

This latter-day incarnation of Evil frequently finds accomplices among young people, uneducated and uninformed and easily taken in by extremist diatribes. That is why it is so important that this small volume with its treasure of information presented in a readable, even gripping narrative is placed into the hands of a wider public, but most especially impressionable youths in universities and high schools. A timely document that will enlighten those receptive to thought and the truth.

Brigitte M Goldstein, Ph.D., historical novelist

The Serpent and the Red Thread chronicles the miasmal hatred, pogroms, and ruthless antisemitism that continues to persecute the Jewish people today. Bederman manages to bring beauty to this horror, which makes her book an engrossing read for students and scholars alike.

Diane Weber Bederman offers the reader a fascinating documentary of antisemitism and its inspiration from ancient times until today. Bederman deftly follows the red thread of antisemitism that begins in the Garden of Eden, threads its way through the descendants of Amalek, Adolph Hitler, and finally into the 21st century where Islamic Jew hatred is Hitlerian in intensity. Antisemitism has managed to wend its way through time and civilizations in its inexhaustible efforts to destroy the Jewish people. The torch of antisemitism passes from generation to generation by leaders who look to history to rationalize their savagery.

Linda Goudsmit, Author of Dear America: Who's Driving the Bus? and children's series Mimi's STRATEGY

Diane Weber Bederman is very passionate in understanding the evil mindset behind hatred against Jews. Her book ‘The Serpent and The Red Thread’ is a sort of short history of historic incidences related to this evil mindset. This book may provide a reference to our present day world leadership in terms of curbing this hatred. Dealing with controversial and messy religious and political history is not an easy task. Holocaust denial and growing antisemitism can never be addressed precisely without addressing the root causes of these hateful attitudes.

Tahir Aslam Goram, Television producer and author

It is quite an achievement. It's the kind of project--terrifying, daunting--that most writers wouldn't even contemplate, let alone carry through--and you did it with style and power. It is riveting.

Janice Fiamengo, Professor of English at the University of Ottawa


Drawing upon history and characters like Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jesus, Paul and ‘hitler’, Bederman lays bare the human dichotomy between good and evil, and love and hate. Exposing the tug-of-war within the human soul and influenced by cultural impact, this book provides a creative, enlightening and much needed crash course in human responsibility. The Serpent renders an inescapable call to confront one’s deeper consciousness and the question to one’s self: can one remain neutral and in denial in the face of egregious evil without bearing a degree of culpability? as witnessed in the Holocaust.

Christine Douglass-Williams, International award-winning journalist and best-selling author of The Challenge of Modernizing Islam

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