The scholar Jerome Chanes’ contention that “Bari Weiss’ ideas on how to combat anti-Semitism come up short” because “there is little that Jews can do about it” accurately reflects the Jewish experience over the past 2,000 years (“A Pittsburgh Native Tackles Anti-Semitism,” Sept. 20). But it fails to deal with today’s sharply different and obvious realities — a powerful Jewish state with the world’s foremost power, the U.S., as our best friend, while those who seek to destroy Israel are reasonably contained. And the binding bases for this friendship, which is amazingly led by non-Jewish leaders, are shared democratic and humanistic values in a world where these are in short supply.
With today’s military and political power, there is absolutely no excuse for Jews to behave with the shtetl mentality by not confronting anti-Semitism wherever it rears its ugly head — on the right, where it is obvious, and on the left, where it is often cleverly masked by legitimate criticism of Israel.
Unfortunately, the outstanding bravery and success of Israelis on the military battlefield, which rescued the psyche of all Jews from the depths of the Holocaust, is not being replicated in the verbal PR war, neither in Israel nor in the diaspora. And that is Bari Weiss’ simple and brilliant antidote to anti-Semitism.
Be proud Jews — wear a kippah or a mezuzah — and speak out whenever you read or hear anti-Semitism, from whatever source, even Jewish ones. Our own conduct is crucial in defeating the anti-Semites and thus getting closer to eradicating anti-Semitism.