The Teen Antisemitism Task Force is a group of high school students who work on projects to educate our peers about Antisemitism and respond to acts of Antisemitism in our communities. I am a member and recently was appointed secretary. The expert speakers we’ve met underline the importance of educating yourself so you can help educate others by using both facts and personal experiences to combat or confront prejudices against the Jewish people. I enjoy taking the opportunity to read new books and expand my knowledge on all sorts of topics, but I find it especially important to learn about Antisemitism, which is why I recently read Antisemitism Here and Now. This analytical book, by the recently confirmed United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combatting Antisemitism, Deborah E Lipstadt, is a thought-provoking overview of current day Antisemitism. I’d recommend it as a great tool to educate others about the realities and threats of Antisemitism.
Deborah E. Lipstadt frames the book in the form of letters between two fictional characters, both students, Abigail and Joe, with whom she is “acquainted”. Both characters are a composite of people who have turned to Lipstadt to express their worries about Antisemitism. They pose important questions, that I and my peers have also asked ourselves, such as, what is Antisemitism? How does one effectively combat Antisemitism and its manifestations? And what is the role that anti-Zionism has played? Although the characters may be fictional, the questions they pose are from people who have communicated their worry and confusion about Antisemitism to Dr. Lipstadt.
Antisemitism Here and Now is a well-researched, practical guide, that explores the different forms of Antisemitism, from its most extreme to its subtle. The book goes further on to discuss, in detail, the different types of anti-semites and how to identify them by their rhetoric and their actions.
This book lists Antisemitic events from 2019 to demonstrate how widespread and prevalent antisemitism is today. She mentions the riots in Charlottesville, the harmful protests on college campuses, Antisemitic acts against Jews across Europe, and Antisemitism on social media that are demonizing Jewish people. While I have been paying attention and consider myself informed on Jewish issues, I was surprised when I read about Holocaust deniers and the 9/11 conspirators. Lipstadt further informs the reader about Antisemitism present in politics, exploring both the left-wing and right-wing, by using global examples from the U.S. and Europe for context.
Deborah Lipstadt is now considered the preeminent expert on issues related to Antisemitism and I am grateful to have an accessible book to be able to learn from her. As young Jews who want to help educate our peers on the realities and challenges of being Jewish in today’s world, I’d recommend reading Antisemitism: Here and Now.
Ayana Henderson is a homeschooled senior in high school. She is a staff writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.