Footnotes: How to Fight Anti-Semitism and Jewish Book Week

A new book shines a spotlight on the growing issue of anti-Semitism and considers what we can do to tackle it. 

Anti-Semitism campaigners
Photo: Getty

What’s the story?

Now in its 68th year, Jewish Book Week began in 1952 and runs in London this week from Saturday 29 February to Sunday 8 March. The festival celebrates Jewish writing and features members of the community including authors and speakers, who come together to discuss some of the most important themes and issues affecting Jewish people today. 

What’s the book?

The clue is in the title. Written by New York Times writer Bari Weiss, How to Fight Anti-Semitism is a passionate call to arms against the continued global rise of anti-Jewish rhetoric and sentiment. Weiss’s trigger for the book was the 2018 attack and mass murder at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Tree of Life, where 11 people were killed and six injured. It was the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history, at her childhood synagogue.

How to Fight Anti-Semitism collates research alongside Weiss’s own anecdotes and reflections and documents the rise in anti-Semitism and its roots while also reflecting on the present-day problems and solutions that could help eradicate it.

Weiss argues that it is not simply a problem of either the left or the right, and that the continued momentum of neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideologies is due to contemporary identity politics amplified by social media and ‘an ever-morphing conspiracy theory in which Jews play the starring role in spreading evil in the world’.


2019 saw anti-Semitism continue to rise across the globe and in the UK, with the Community Security Trust recording an all-time high number of incidents for the fourth year in a row.


Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more