Dead Jews and the People Who Love Them, by Yair Rosenberg

Back in November 2021, Yair Rosenberg conducted an interview with Dara Horn, author of People Love Dead Jews. We stumbled upon it early this week, otherwise we would have posted this long ago.

This is an excellent interview. And you should read Horn's book. It's an essay collection that everyone should read whether or not they're Jewish. Jews will learn a few lessons from reading it. Non-Jews will learn different lessons. It really is a brilliant essay


Rosenberg: Exactly. People come up with all these reasons why you don’t need to care about anti-Jewish prejudice, which is actually just giving it free rein. This stuff isn’t about confronting anti-Semitism; it’s actually enabling it. So I’m morbidly curious: Do you have any other favorite excuses that folks have given you for not caring about anti-Semitism?

Horn: Oh, a lot. You mentioned one I put in my book: “It’s not systemic, it’s a lone wolf.” It’s amazing how these lone wolves all have the same idea.

“This person’s just deranged.” Well, yeah, but there are a lot of people you could have killed when you were deranged, and you picked these people.

There’s the “Jews are rich” stereotype, which is regularly used to justify anti-Semitism. In David Baddiel’s book [Jews Don’t Count], he notes that one of the wealthiest minority religious groups in the U.K. and the U.S. is actually Hindus, and no one’s like, “Well, they have money,” as an excuse for prejudice against them.

There’s “something something, what about Israel,” which is another great one that I don’t really talk about in the book, but obviously, one that everyone knows about. It’s kind of bottomless.

Something I do talk about in the book is how explicitly these excuses come out in reporting about anti-Semitism. In the last chapter, I write about the attacks on the Hasidic community just before the pandemic. Looking through the news coverage of those events, what shocked me was how I almost couldn’t find an article about them that didn’t say something derogatory about the community in the process. Some people shoot up a Jersey City kosher supermarket, and [the coverage] it’s amazing, because almost every news report says something like, “There were these zoning battles between the Hasidic community and non-Hasidic residents.” Do we normally settle municipal disputes with guns? Because silly me, I did not think so.

What you’re doing in that kind of reporting is you’re signaling to the public that these people got what was coming to them. That’s the purpose of including that information in that report.

Horn is primarily a novelist. After reading this interview though, you may also want to read some of her novels.