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Semitism: Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  293 ratings  ·  76 reviews
A short, literary, powerful contemplation on how Jews are viewed in America since the election of Donald J. Trump, and how we can move forward to fight anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism has always been present in American culture, but with the rise of the Alt Right and an uptick of threats to Jewish communities since Trump took office, New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman has p
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  293 ratings  ·  76 reviews


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Bill  Kerwin
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it

Semitism. That’s the way the title is listed on Goodreads. But that’s not the real title: the real title is (((Semitism))). And therein lies a difference.

So what’s up with those triple parentheses? If you know what’s up already, then you know why you should read (((Semitism))). If you don’t, then you need to read it even more, particularly if you are Jewish. Bad things are going on out there in America, and it helps to keep yourself informed.

The triple parentheses—also known as an (((echo)))--i
...more
Joseph
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-events

(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump by Jonathan Weisman is a study of antisemitism in American both personal and general. Weisman is the congressional editor and deputy Washington editor at the New York Times, is the author of the novel No. 4 Imperial Lane. In his 25-year journalism career, he has covered the White House, national politics, and defense for the Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Baltimore Sun.

Antisemitism is probably as
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D
Apr 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Oy Vey: Kvetching in the Age of Trump is a puddle-deep histrionic screed, subjecting the reader, through a relentless onslaught of migraine-inducing prose, to the inner workings of the author's particular neuroses without a solitary ounce of perspicacity. Despite this, it is sure to delight European-Style Socialists everywhere. How can you take a book seriously which unblushingly uses the triple parenthesis echo meme on the cover? World-famous Internet celebrity Morrakiu isn't even credited for ...more
Sarah
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: jewish
this book was PERPLEXING because it simultaneously offers a well-researched understanding of the profound anxiety & complex social positioning of being Jewish in today's political climate, and also completely misses the mark. There are a lot of places I could choose to criticize - it's really obvious to me that the writer didn't bother connecting with the many many MANY young, progressive Jewish people & groups who are doing the work every day to embody Jewish values by, say, protesting ...more
Alexis
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish that we lived in a world that this book didn't need to be written. It was insightful to have a Jewish perspective on the current rise of the alt-right, and the hate that is directed not only at Jews, but women and all other minority groups. While the focus is on antisemitism, the author includes a look at other instances of the alt-right such as church shootings, Charlottesville and gamergate. Information is provided on details about the alt-right and some of their code words, and you get ...more
Cynthia Dunn
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
Chilling.
Sarah Perchikoff
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay, let me just get the necessary stuff out of the way before we get to the review. While I will certainly be getting into the writing of the book as I would in any other book review, I am Jewish (Culturally and genetically. I don't subscribe to any religion at the moment), so it is pretty impossible for me to be unbiased about this book. That being said, this was a really tough read for me. I had moments where I wasn't sure I would finish it. But let's get into what the books about and then w ...more
Dana
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Anti-Semitism tends to be invisible until it isn't." This book is a chilling reminder that anti-semitism, often a less visible form of bigotry, is alive and thriving in the US and growing in popularity and acceptance under the Trump regime. Jews face hatred from the alt-right who back Israel because they want the Jews to all leave the US and go to Israel, and from the far left who promote the BDS to the point that they are anti Israel and anti Jewish. The author shares his experience as a journ ...more
Sara
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brief history of antisemitism and a closer look at how the alt-right exercises its own particular brand of antisemitism and hate of the “other” in the age of technology and with the tacit consent of the Trump administration. Author explains the importance of fighting this movement and provides some guidelines for doing so.
Lissa
Well, of course I picked up this book as soon as I saw it at the local library. I'm Jewish, liberal, and I remember when the ((()))s started cropping up and when the author of this book was targeted by Neo-Nazi trolls on social media.

It's an important book, although it's disjointed. I do like most of the points the author made, especially towards the end when he called for Jews to be more involved with other minority or persecuted groups and their struggles under the age of Trump, as well. Some
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Rhonda Lomazow
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book shines the awful light on the truth of the amount of antisemitisim that has risen its evil head in the time of Trump the alt right trolls on twitter the pursuit and attack on columnist ,those on tv and other media who once identified or believed to be Jewish are pursued at times threatened.An important eye opening book.
Mary Alderete
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recommend.
Kurt Pankau
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mostly good. I learned a few things and got some insight into an unfamiliar perspective, which I always find valuable. I had no idea, for instance, that the Anti-Defamation League was formed in the aftermath of a Jewish man being lynched in the 1910's. Much of the book is spent chronicling the instances anti-Semitism that spiked after the election of Donald Trump, but Weisman draws a line from the Gingrich revolution of 94--which was largely good for Jews, especially conservative Jews--through t ...more
Miri
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Timely, well-written, and important. I love the generous use of quotes from Zoe Quinn, who knows of what she speaks, and the way the author brutally excavates the anti-Semitism linking together all of these various alt-right figures and publications.

Some gripes: I found it a bit repetitive at times, as in the book would reintroduce events or situations that had already been discussed. Some of the arguments were self-contradictory—for instance, that we should stand up and fight back against neo-
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Andrea Levin
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are places where I disagree with Weisman's perspective or wonder why he didn't interview a broader range of Jewish people (especially those who are more deeply engaged with Judaism on a spiritual and political level), but, overall, this is a book that I've been waiting a long time to read. It is a thoughtful, well-written, and nuanced exploration of what it means to be Jewish in Trump's America. I feel so starved for nuanced thinking in political discourse that I can handle a bit too much ...more
Barbara
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some of the analysis I found difficult to follow. Also some of the references required one to be "in the know," so I ended up googling a lot. Also sometimes the author was being sarcastic or ironic and I had to stop to decide whether he agreed or disagreed with something. Having said that:
1. I really loved the last couple chapters. I have been "resisting" since Nov. 2016 and it is exhausting. I really loved Weisman's analysis of Jewish organizations, historical responses, and I totally agree tha
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Emma Weisman
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent piece, think long long-form journalism. The recent history of anti-semitism is well worth understanding, and he lays out a cogent plan of fighting all hate, together with others who stand against hate. Weisman keeps anti-semitism in perspective, and offers ways forward. I feel both better educated and calmer after reading this.
Liz
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this in exchange for an honest review. This book was a bit of a disappointment. It had great potential and the subject matter was interested it just felt like it could have been edited some more and expanded on.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
Antisemitism resurgence in the age of Trump. History and current issues
Many Jewish people had become complacent about being Jewish in America - the past was the past. But Trump has reopened the past
Mirah Curzer
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting analysis of social media harassment and the tactics of the alt-right. False claims about American Jews and Jewish institutions, weirdly regressive suggestions about how to move forward. The policy recommendations read like they were thrown together in a weekend.
Rachel
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: jewish, non-fiction
I tend to start reviews with what a book does well. I appreciate the author speaking from his experience and sharing it. I like that he interviewed Zoe Quinn and thought there was some good highlighting of how there is overlap between online communities and how that could also be used to help us support ourselves and reach out. I liked highlighting where Jews and other communities have come together to support each other. It felt good to be reminded that we are a people of activism who have done ...more
Shelly
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book will (should) keep you up at night with terrifying accounts of alt-right trolls. If it only hints at a path forward, I think that's because Weisman is still exploring what Judaism means to him. He assumes that his relationship to Judaism is representative of all Jews, and misses a lot that is going on that is positive. Simon Schama said it better than I can: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/26/bo....
Jonathan Shipman
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great read and look at the increasing tide of white anger and hate against minorities, women, and Jews alike. How did we get here? Why has the Trump phenomenon fueled it? How has the response been? Where do we go from here? These questions and more are examined.
Joe Stack
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is at times a tough book to read because of the hate filled rhetoric reviewed by the author. This is a book that is hard to like because of the material covered; thus, the 2-star rating. I think the last two chapters are worth 3 stars because this is where everything comes together and held my interest more than the previous chapters. Writing-wise, the author is succinct and clear throughout the book. Since the author has had hate rhetoric directed at himself, the personal aspect gives this ...more
Alex
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Full review to come, but worth reading when you get a chance.
Brian
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for people who are not Extremely Online.

I am Extremely Online, and I remember seeing the exchange between Weisman and @CyberTrump (now banned) come across my timeline. I remember GamerGate, and how people like Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich used video games to promote themselves to the position of culture warriors against the SJWs they claimed were trying to control everyone's lives. And I saw the antisemites and racists swoop in to this new space and leverage it to th
...more
Michael
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So this book was published probably six months ago, and was completed a year ago or so (I imagine). At one point, the author writes that Jews in America are not facing any real violence, or at least not much more violence than normal.

A week ago, eleven Jewish people were murdered in their synagogue in Pennsylvania, but a killer who shouted "Kill the Jews!" as he committed his act of terror.

This book documents the alt_right, the alt_light, and the confluence between the small number of insane,
...more
Dove
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot from it, and it was well-researched. This book talks about what it's like being a Jew in America in the modern day, considering it's the age of Trump. He talks about how Trump doesn't support anti-semitism, and he made statements on how he's going to stop it, but yet he does nothing about it. By being racist to other races, all followers of Trump feel like they are allowed to be racist to anyone that's not purely American- which includes the Jews. He t ...more
Jim Thompson
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written book.

This was a tough one to read. I mean, it flows nicely, it's not terribly long, it's not "difficult" reading in the typical sense. It was tough to read because every time I picked it up, I ended up feeling some mix of rage, sadness, contempt, despair. Could only do 20 or so pages at a time.

While the book touches on more than just current events, the main focus is on anti-Semitism in the "Age of Trump." Weisman examines key players in the alt-right-- people like Richard
...more
Carole
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a powerful book. I saw Mr. Weisman on Book TV and was very impressed with his clear, direct, and alarming messages.

Weisman reminds us that you can be Jewish by religion, culture, birth, or identity. This vast diversity of Jewish genesis has found, in recent years, a unifying issue in the promotion and protection of Israel. Weisman argues that this blind focus on "Is it good for Israel?" has damaged the political position of American Jewry and urges a more expansive view of the more alar
...more
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Jonathan Weisman, the congressional editor and deputy Washington editor at the New York Times, is author of the novel No. 4 Imperial Lane and the upcoming memoir (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump. His long journalism career has taken him to The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times, where he has covered Congress, presidential ca ...more
“In late March 2016, at a very bad Thai restaurant in the little town of Selfoss, Iceland, I and my daughters Alissa and Hannah sat with my girlfriend, Jennifer, and her daughters Sadie and Hannah (yes, two Hannahs) as Jennifer and I pressed forward with the difficult task of family blending. Jennifer's Hannah was talking about Black Lives Matter and the injustices that befall African Americans every day.

'Anti-Semitism basically doesn't exist in the United States,' she asserted.

I shocked myself with my response. I recoiled at her words and argued passionately that Jews must never think that anti-Semitism has been eradicated. Vigilance, I preached. The Jew can never be at peace.

I sounded like my grandmother.”
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“Until the rise of Trumpism, Judaism was easy, not just for me but for millions of American Jews. It was cafeteria-style: observe or don't, join a synagogue or attend the occasional Jewish film festival, read Philip Roth, eat bagels and babka, say 'oy' ironically. You could be Jewish by religion, Jewish by culture, Jewish by birth or identity - take your pick. In October 2013, the Pew Research Center asked the American Jewish community what it meant to be Jewish. The answers said a lot: 73 percent, the largest category, said remembering the Holocaust, followed by another category that was even more nebulous, who said leading a moral or ethical life. Then there were the 56 percent who said that being a Jew meant working for justice and equality, the 49 percent who said it meant being intellectually curious, the 43 percent who said it meant caring about Israel, separated by a statistically insignificant gap from the 42 percent who said it meant having a good sense of humor. Second from the bottom, at 19 percent, was observing Jewish law, followed only by eating traditional Jewish food.

Oy.”
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