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Bari Weiss Explains How To Fight The Rise Of Anti-Semitism

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14.09.2019

You don’t need to convince me, but for anyone who remains skeptical that rising domestic anti-Semitism is a threat, Bari Weiss’s How to Fight Anti-Semitism offers a compelling survey of the present scene. The New York Times opinion editor and writer examines anti-Semitism on the right, the left, and among Islamists.

Weiss describes her book as being “for anyone, Jew or gentile, who cannot look away from what is brewing in this country and in the world and wants to do something to stop it.” I appreciate her casting a wide net, especially on such a civilizationally important topic, but this is primarily a book by a center-left writer for a center-left audience. That said, because I agree with Weiss that leftist anti-Semitism tends to be “more insidious and perhaps more existentially dangerous,” I didn’t mind that addressing the left was not only her clear passion, but also her strong suit.

This book should still engage readers from the right, though, even if it isn’t pitched squarely at us. Weiss writes knowledgeably about her topic, deftly weaving historical episodes, observations from writers and thinkers, and her opinions into one coherent argument that feels something like an extended version of Weiss’s columns on the subject.

Weiss traces the roots of anti-Semitism to ancient Egypt and confronts centuries of religiously based anti-Semitism. She also shares images readers won’t soon forget, like the horrifying story of “the Cossack rebellion in Ukraine in the mid-1600s.” As the Cossacks fought for independence from the Poles, “some one hundred thousand Jews were slaughtered. These were massacres........

© The Federalist