xii Introduction Many Generation Zers know all too well the uncomfortable silence that serves as the aftermath of realizing that you’ve been hit with an antise- mitic incident and needing to process how to respond and what to do next. Jenny, from Boston, shared that sometimes she experiences denial. “Some- times I don’t want to accept that what someone is saying is antisemitic, so I just don’t let it register in my mind.” She has a memory of a classmate walking up to her in the hall during her freshman year of high school, and saying, “Hey, Jen, you’re Jewish, right?” When she answered in the affir- mative, the response was, “Don’t worry. I still like you.” Ella, from Los Angeles, remembers a boy telling her, “You’re hot for a Jewish girl.” For many Generation Zers, these awkward encounters can leave them reeling, particularly when they relate to Israel. As Ella shared, “People aren’t pre- pared or confident in dealing with antisemitism. There was an incident in my school where a teacher was using a Hitler meme, and all the other Jew- ish kids reached out to me to ask me how to deal with it. When it’s just you by yourself, it’s easy to just want to ignore it and shut down instead of engaging.” Antisemitism is confusing in its complexity. In one of the most apt analogies I’ve heard used, this ever-evolving and constantly morphing hatred of the Jewish people was compared to the boggart in J. K. Rowl- ing’s Harry Potter book series. The boggart, a magical creature, is a shape-shifter that will assume the form of whatever the person who encounters it is the most frightened of.3 So, too, is the nature of antisemi- tism. It defies logic, reason, and rationality. Instead, in every place, and seemingly in every generation, antisemitism emerges in a way that feeds into the fears of the populace. In medieval Europe, antisemitism stemmed from religion, with the Jews being accused of deicide, having collective responsibility for the death of Jesus as described in the Gospels.4 In Ger- many in the years leading up to World War II, Jews became the scapegoat for the financial distress that the country was in during the interwar years.5 And in the United States of 2020, an increasingly polarized society found multiple ways to explain the vocalization of once latent antisemitism. Dual loyalty,6 Jews as financial puppet masters secretly controlling the economy and the government,7 Israel as an abuser of human rights,8 and countless other accusations have been vocalized by members of the politi- cal Left, the Right, and the armchair activists of the internet. During the COVID-19 pandemic, antisemitism in the United States saw a new twist, with accusations coming from both the far Left and the Right.9 Amanda Berman, whom we will learn more about later, noted that “antisemitism
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