Most of you know that I’m going to try to crowdfund a book called From Outrage to Action: A Practical Guide to Fighting Antisemitism. You can read more about it here or sign up to be notified when the Kickstarter campaign is launched. I’m planning on self-publishing simply because I think the book is urgent, and I’m not sure many traditional publishers really “get it.” I’d rather have control over the product. I may be wrong, though. I did get some interest from a publisher who wanted more details, yet expressed skepticism. I won’t name the publisher, but I will show you the letter I wrote back because I think it’s a good explanation of what I’m trying to accomplish. Here it is.
Thanks for your interest in this project, and I understand the skepticism. What I’m hoping to accomplish in this book is not an answer to more than two thousand years of antisemitism but rather ways that Jews (and non-Jews) can channel their post-October 7 grief and anger into action. Aside from cheering on the IDF in the war against Hamas, I’ve found that many people are eager to do something more. They see the worldwide rise in public expressions of antisemitism during the aftermath of the attack and want to take concrete actions and not feel so helpless.
So, I’m emphasizing this as a practical “how-to” book for those who may not be as immersed in these issues as we are but want to do something in their own lives.
I should add that I’m launching the Kickstarter campaign, in part, to pay for my time while I research and write the book. So, most of it is in notes and outline form right now. But here are my plans.
I’m going to break it down into sections and fill it with background, interviews with people who have found effective ways to fight antisemitism, along with their tips. The book will feature real-life examples of individuals and groups who have made significant strides in combating antisemitism. Their stories are meant not only to inspire but also to guide readers on how they can contribute to these efforts in their own lives. For example:
Colleges and Universities: What sort of combination of legal, social, and policy action can students and faculty take if they are harassed, hounded out of student organizations, fired from their positions, or worse? I have contacts with students and faculty who have experienced antisemitism at many levels and have advice for others who are facing the same kind of discrimination. I will tell their stories but always end with actionable advice. I’ll also relate my personal stories of antisemitism in college.
Workplace: There are policy and legal steps that Jews can take to address antisemitic discrimination in the workplace. I’ll consult with legal experts and interview workers who have faced on-the-job harassment. This will be aimed at informing employers who never thought they’d have to deal with geopolitical issues in the office and employees who don’t feel safe at work.
The Virtual World: Developing the tools necessary to fight online hate. What are the “best practices” when dealing with antisemitic trolls in social media? Do you engage? Report? Block? In fact, one of my sources will be Hen Mazzig, whose Tel Aviv Institute is studying social-media-driven strategies to fight antisemitism. An entire book could be written on this topic alone, but I’m going to focus purely on solutions, with anecdotes, interviews, and tips.
In Arguments: I’ll explain how to properly answer the “genocide,” “apartheid,” “settler-colonial” arguments that Jews constantly have to deal with. I’ll also define antisemitism and go into the linguistic history of the word “Semite.” I go into more detail on all those issues here.
The Media: As you know, most mainstream media outlets are not only biased against Israel but tend to dismiss antisemitism as a problem that can come from the left. There have been successful strategies, though, to get media outlets to issue corrections and retractions, not to mention legal recourse as well. Again, entire books could be written on this topic, but I’m going to focus on methods readers can use, from their local newspapers and TV stations to national and international media outlets.
The Literary Community: As the literary world calls for diverse voices, it seems Jewish perspectives are often excluded. Not only that, but many in the literary community are openly accusing Israel of “genocide” in Gaza. Writers are supposed to see beyond the surface and get at truth. In that way, they have failed. However, groups of Jewish authors are working to change this. I was proud to sign the Open Letter on Antisemitism, Israel, and the Literary Community, which addresses these issues head-on. I write about this in more detail here.
Celebrities: There are Jewish and non-Jewish actors, musicians, politicians, authors, and social-media influencers who have used their platforms to fight antisemitism and to counter the lies about Jews and Israel. I’ll interview a handful of them and get their tips on how to successfully ignore the hate and stay positive.
Other areas include:
- Policy and Legislation
- Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogues
- ·Community Action
Who Am I? I’ve dedicated over three decades to journalism, with a focus on Jewish issues. As the former managing editor of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, I led coverage of pivotal events such as the 2000 Camp David talks between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, the Second Intifada, and initiatives like Birthright Israel that connect young people with their Jewish heritage. A child and grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I have been studying and writing about antisemitism my entire life. My work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Jewish Daily Forward, the Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, JTA, and Publishers Weekly, where I’ve written commentaries and in-depth features on Jewish issues. After the rise in antisemitism in 2016, I’ve focused much of my work on understanding the roots of antisemitism, its modern manifestations, and how to effectively fight it. Now, I’m preparing for the release of my debut novel with Vine Leaves Press in 2025. I live in Traverse City, Michigan, with my family and a dog named Henry.
I’m excited about taking this on, and welcome any thoughts you have about this project.
We’ll see if this resonates with the publisher. Either way, I hope it is something you can support. Please encourage me by signing up for Kickstarter alerts here!