After becoming a victim of unhinged anti-Semitic hatred, trolled and cyberstalked by fringe-right bigots, a journalist delivers his forceful response.
Weisman (No. 4 Imperial Lane, 2015), the deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, once reported on the activities of a neoconservative, journalism that provoked alt-right activists on social media. Under the cover of “free speech,” they openly expressed their prejudice against Jews in general and the author in particular. Certainly, the author notes, anti-Semitism in the U.S. is hardly new. He recalls the lynching of Leo Frank, the bile spewed by Charles Lindbergh, and other examples. Erstwhile good feelings engendered during the civil rights movement eventually collapsed, and Judaism and its adherents became conflated with the State of Israel. Now, anti-Semitism is flourishing in the Trump era, and what was unacceptable once now swims in the mainstream. With reportorial skill, the author brings us up to date on activities of current hate groups and their leaders. The titular meme—three parentheses (“echoes”) around a proper noun—is a dog whistle signaling, for those attuned to it, “Jew.” Today, marchers in Nazi regalia parade, and swastikas and graffiti abound; harassment, trolling, and cyberstalking are essential tools in the alt-right kit. So what can be done? What should American Jews do? Weisman issues a call to arms in defense of truth. We must organize and fight, he urges, using the internet and social media. Jews, the “Other,” must ally with other Others like African-Americans and immigrants. The author also recommends toning down the obsession with Israel and supporting organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The moral response is imperative,” writes Weisman. “Morality can inform tactics.” For now, though, the value of his brief text remains the light he shines on the current state of bigotry.
An urgent and compelling report on the clear and present danger of proto-fascism in the U.S.