kosher bookworm

Bari Weiss: ‘How To Fight Anti-Semitism’


Yes, our headline is indeed the title of a new and important d book on a subject that has haunted the Jewish people through the ages.

The author, Bari Weiss, is a writer and opinion editor for the New York Times. Before joining the Times she was an op-ed editor at the Wall Street Journal and an associate book review editor there. For two years, she was a senior editor at Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish news, politics, and culture, where she edited the site’s political and news coverage. Weiss was the winner of the Reason Foundation’s 2018 Bastiat Prize, which annually honors writing that “best demonstrates the importance of freedom with originality, wit, and eloquence.”

A graduate of Columbia University, Weiss is a proud Pittsburgh native. It was to that city and the tragic events that recently played out there that inspired her to write this book. For many people, the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue was to prove to be a sharp and memorable horror that would define their Jewishness. For Weiss, this event inspired her to revisit her native city, assess her self-image as a Jew, and write a book on her take of what constitutes Jew-hatred at its core.

In the opening chapter Weiss writes:

“The logic of anti- Semitism is very different from the logic of xenophobia or racism. It is not just a form of hatred, one that happens to be directed against Jews rather than against lesbians, Koreans or left-handed people. It is a grand unified theory of everything. As the father of modern French anti-Semitism, Edouard Drumont , put it in his 1886 book “La France juive”, three years before he founded his country’s Anti-Semitic League: ‘All comes from the Jew; all returns to the Jew’.”

The tone of this book is in many was very provocative, constantly driving the facts of history as sharp instruments of narrative that explains historical reality. She openly calls a spade a spade. It makes for an intense read, to be learned and to be acted upon.

On Jan. 5, 2020 at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights, Weiss addressed 25,000 people at the “No Hate, No Fear” march. She spoke in sharp terms with passion that inspired all who heard her. I urge you, my dear reader, to read her words and consider what they mean for us today.

If in spirit and by action we follow her passion, we will be very well served for the years to come.