How to Fight Anti-Semitism by Bari Weiss is a brilliantly horrifying clear-cut history on the subject. Sourced back to Egypt when the Passover Holiday retelling of the escape from Egypt was an affront to Egyptian leaders that showed how a small minority destroyed Egypt along with the disgrace of slavery. Bari explains the good-bad news that the radical nature of the Jewish story still has the power to drive people crazy. She distinguishes Jewish prejudice versus Anti-Semitism. Not wanting your children to marry a Jew is prejudice while blaming the Jews for conspiring to take over the world through media is Anti-Semitism. The Replacement theory was repackaged by the French philosopher Renaud Camus in 2012. He scared the far right with “You have one people and in the space of a generation you have different people. Think about how the white supremacists shouted “Jews will not Replace Us.” In Charlotsville.
Bari clearly explains how Anti-Zionism connects with Anti-Semitism. It’s not about criticizing Israeli policies, it is about demonization and making Israel delegitimate. The elimination of a single state.
A few of her arguments don’t resonate. She mentions that the United Nations Human Rights has condemned Israel sixty-eight times between 2006-2016. Syria was next with twenty. Yet North Korea and China were all at zero. It’s possible that because United States supports Israel with billions of dollars in aid that the U.N. is more critical of Israel.
One chilling observation she makes is: Europe is very good at building memorials for dead Jews. It is still learning to protect living ones. Vigils honor the dead but they don’t do much for the living.
The book ends with concise choices we can make to fight Anti-Semitism. Beautiful optimism which has the potential to heal the atrocity of wide spread Anti-Semitism. The book is required reading because the journey about how society treats the “other” is a universal message.