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Woke Antisemitism: How a Progressive Ideology Harms Jews
Woke Antisemitism is a firsthand account from a top Jewish leader about how woke ideology shuts down discourse, corrupts Jewish values, and spawns a virulent new strain of antisemitism.
“David Bernstein has written an important book which deserves to be read widely and be thoroughly discussed in our community. This book is a powerful defense of liberal values….Bernstein’s treatment is nuanced and respectful, showing understanding for the goals even as he critiques the methods of woke culture and shows us cases where it leads to antisemitism.”
–Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, American scholar, author and rabbi
“In every age, hatred of Jews cloaks itself in different moral garb. Today’s fashion goes by many names, Wokeism, Social Justice, Critical Social Justice, etc., but the historical commonalities are unmistakable—as are its ineluctable prescriptions. In clear, plainspoken language, David Bernstein denudes the profoundly unsettling relationship between woke ideology and antisemitism. This is an urgent message few people want to hear, but one that everyone needs to understand.”
–Peter Boghossian, author and philosopher
In May 2021, amid another conflict with Iran-backed Hamas, Israel took a beating in both the mainstream press and social media. Notwithstanding the rocket fire aimed at its citizens, the Jewish state was portrayed as the oppressor and the Hamas government in Gaza as the oppressed. While Israel has always been subject to excessive scrutiny, this time was different. What had changed in the ideological environment? A veteran leader of Jewish advocacy organizations and a self-described liberal who has broken with the far left over the adoption of woke ideology, David L. Bernstein traces the growth of woke ideology in his life and career from a remote academic study to an international post-colonialist movement, then a faddish campus ideology, morphing into corporate diversity programs to a dominant ideology in mainstream institutions, including many Jewish organizations. Bernstein shows how core ideological tenets—such as privilege, equity, whiteness, and the oppressor/oppressed binary—can be and are weaponized against Jews.
What’s more, surveys tell us that Americans are self-censoring at record rates. Jewish institutions, long known for their robust deliberative processes and open discourse, have not been spared. Many have uncharacteristically dodged controversial issues and have simply fallen in line. He warns that, unabated, the ideology will disenfranchise the American Jewish community and sap Jewish pride. He puts forward a strategy for restoring liberal values and countering political extremism and antisemitism, focusing on rebuilding the political center strategy.