“The most important book you will read this year.”—Caitlin Flanagan, author of To Hell with All That
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD • The prescient former New York Times writer delivers an urgent wake-up call to all Americans exposing the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in this country—and explains what we can do to defeat it.
On October 27, 2018, eleven Jews were gunned down as they prayed at their synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was the deadliest attack on Jews in American history.
For most Americans, the massacre at Tree of Life, the synagogue where Bari Weiss became a bat mitzvah, came as a shock. But anti-Semitism is the oldest hatred, commonplace across the Middle East and on the rise for years in Europe. So that terrible morning in Pittsburgh, as well as the continued surge of hate crimes against Jews in cities and towns across the country, raise a question Americans cannot avoid: Could it happen here?
This book is Weiss’s answer.
Like many, Weiss long believed this country could escape the rising tide of anti-Semitism. With its promise of free speech and religion, its insistence that all people are created equal, its tolerance for difference, and its emphasis on shared ideals rather than bloodlines, America has been, even with all its flaws, a new Jerusalem for the Jewish people. But now the luckiest Jews in history are beginning to face a three-headed dragon known all too well to Jews of other times and places: the physical fear of violent assault, the moral fear of ideological vilification, and the political fear of resurgent fascism and populism.
No longer the exclusive province of the far right, the far left, and assorted religious bigots, anti-Semitism now finds a home in identity politics as well as the reaction against identity politics, in the renewal of America First isolationism and the rise of one-world socialism, and in the spread of Islamist ideas into unlikely places. A hatred that was, until recently, reliably taboo is migrating toward the mainstream, amplified by social media and a culture of conspiracy that threatens us all.
Weiss is one of our most provocative writers, and her cri de coeur makes a powerful case for renewing Jewish and American values in this uncertain moment. Not just for the sake of America’s Jews, but for the sake of America.
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.
Great read and really wonderful ideas!
Great eye opening read by Bari, I can’t believe how much history has be endured by the Jewish people and still to this day! I can’t believe that in 2020 Antisemitism still exist!
It is full of old and new world thinking that is truly miss in this day and age. I wish the world thought like this and then maybe less hate.
A Must Read
This is a must read for every Jewish person in the world. It is a must read for every non-Jew that believes that Jews have a right to exist and support all minorities.
This book sums up EXACTLY what is going on and what is needed today. It is well written and very easy to understand.