cover image How to Fight Anti-Semitism

How to Fight Anti-Semitism

Bari Weiss. Crown, $20 (224p) ISBN 978-0-5931-3605-8

Weiss, a staff editor and writer for the New York Times opinion section, investigates the global resurgence of anti-Semitism and offers helpful tactics to prevent its spread in this impassioned wake-up call. She begins with the 2018 mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in her hometown of Pittsburgh, an event that “marked the before and the after” in her awareness that anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past. She then traces the history of “the Jew-hating disease” from Egypt in 300 BCE to 21st-century America, where President Trump’s “dog whistling” draws conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, and anti-Semites to his banner. But Weiss argues that anti-Semitism is “more insidious and perhaps more existentially dangerous” when it originates on the political left, because “it pretends to be the opposite of what it actually is.” She notes that liberal college campuses are hotbeds of anti-Zionism, where many Jews report “preemptively censoring themselves.” Weiss outlines the best practices for Jews and their allies to fight back, including denouncing anti-Semitic ideas vocally, especially when they’re espoused by progressives, and resisting “hierarchical identity politics” that rank groups on the degree to which they’re oppressed. Weiss’s refreshingly forthright opinions and remarkably thorough yet concise history lessons make this a must-read for anyone seeking to understand and stop the rise of a pernicious ideology. (Sept.)