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‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew’: Confronting the Outrageous Ignorance that Fuels Jew-Hatred

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Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew – that’s the title of a new book by New York Times best-selling authors Noa Tishby and Emmanuel Acho. Their goal – to connect the dots between Jewish hatred and stereotypes from the past and how they’re still fueling antisemitism today.  

In a witty promotional video on Instagram, Tishby and Acho address some of the awkwardness with questions like: “The Jewish race, is that a thing? Are Jewish people white? But Jewish people control Hollywood, right? Am I even allowed to say, Jew?”

“Hello everyone, I’m Noa Tishby and I am a Jew. And I’m Emmanuel Acho and I have uncomfortable conversations,” the duo announced.

In their new book, the co-authors of Uncomfortable Conversations With A Jew talk about seeing a problem and taking steps to address it.

“Emmanuel noticed over a year before October 7th, the rise of antisemitism. And it was very interesting to me that somebody from outside of the Jewish community was able to detect that something is brewing, So he called me and he asked me if I would like to write this book and I literally couldn’t have said yes faster,” Tishby said. 

“We’re called to love people, but how can you love what you don’t know?” Acho said. “I finally got to learn about my present-day Jewish brothers and sisters, what breaks their heart, what makes them smile, what makes them cry? And so I can try to be a genuine ally to those that are hurting.”

As an Israeli activist, actress, model, producer, and writer, Noa works hard to address some of the painful, heartbreaking stereotypes that fuel the rising hatred of the Jewish people.

“So, first of all, the thing to understand is that antisemitism, which is anti-Jewish hate, is the oldest form of hate and discrimination that is still being practiced. Today we see first accounts of antisemitism dating from 300 BC in Alexandria and Egypt. So the Jews have always been the brunt, or bore the brunt, of hate around the world. So antisemitism can look something like, ‘The Jews are the vermin of the earth and they’re disgusting like the Nazis used to say.’ But they also sound like, ‘Well, the Jews control the media and the Jews control the banks,’ which is also an antisemitic trope that people don’t understand,” Tishby said. 

***Wake-Up Call’: Israeli-American Noa Tishby Warns US What Happened Oct. 7 Can Happen Here

Tishby and Acho’s book hit shelves just as pro-Palestinian protests spread across America’s college campuses bringing with them unprecedented levels of antisemitic statements and acts of violence.

“And the thing to understand is this, they have been led to believe and been brainwashed to believe that Israel’s actually causing genocide on the Palestinian people. That Israel is a white colonialist state that shouldn’t exist, that this has been going on for decades. So much so that now they think that anything that Israel does, and by extension, anything that Jews do is wrong and needs to be dismantled,” she said. 

“I am not discrediting Palestinian pain in any way, shape or form. And being critical of the Israeli government’s policies is completely legitimate. This is not what we’re seeing on campuses today. We’re seeing, ‘Gas the Jews.’ We’re seeing such hate that is the result of decades of intentional poisoning and we need to be very careful where this can lead,” Tishby said. 

That’s why she recently tried to reason with Israel protestors at the Sundance Film Festival, finding that most did not have their facts straight. 

   Male protestor: “From the river to the sea, Palestine needs to be free from the occupation, which is illegal.”

   Noa: “What’s the river?”

   Male protestor: “Ah, (laugh) I forgot the river’s name but the sea is the Red Sea.”

   Female protester: “The Palestinian genocide is just awful.”

   Noa: “What about the hostages? Do you know about the hostages?”

   Female protestor: “Unfortunately, I’m not that educated about that part.”

Tishby fears what we’ve seen on college campuses comes dangerously close to jihadism.

“So if you support jihadism, if you support that political arm of Islam as it manifests in Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and ISIS and all the rest, then you’re not on the side of history that supports democracy and liberties and everything we hold dear,” she said.

Acho, a former NFL linebacker and Fox sports analyst, hopes their book will be an antidote that can possibly turn hatred to hope and even love.

“Well, first and foremost, I would hope for knowledge. I loved pursuing this book as a Christian man and the son of a pastor because of my affinity and intrigue by and for the Jewish community. When you read the Bible, you read about the Jews. You read about Jesus born in a manger, you read about Nazareth, you read about Bethlehem, but you kind of leave it in the Bible and you don’t remember that modern day, there are Jews walking amongst you that are suffering,” Acho said. 

“And so I really would hope and implore, especially this community, this congregation of viewers, to not just leave the Bible at the Bible, but actually live out what you read on the pages and what you read in the red letters and what you read in the Old and New Testament, be a living, be the beautiful hands and feet that we are called to be,” he said. 

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slider img 2When asked what stereotypes bug her the most or which ones are even true, Noa said, “I think the Jewish Mama might be a real one because I am one and all the cliches, I’m like, yeah, I’m very much like that. I really think my son can do no wrong. That’s not true. He definitely can. So that one might be a bit real.”

“But I loved the chapter about the Jewish stereotypes. We just let it all out, asking everything about money, about power, about being cheap, about all these things, that to me are extraordinary. Again, because when you come from a place of love and authenticity and faith and connectivity, nobody gets triggered. Nobody gets upset, nobody gets hurt. You listen and you exchange ideas. And it was just a beautiful thing. And I think people will enjoy that chapter too. It’s a fun one,” she said.

Despite the growing antisemitism, Tishby says she chooses to live wisely and not fearfully, adding that being Jewish is more than her faith, it’s a very special way of life. 

“Even the basic thing of a Shabbat dinner every Friday night, whether you’re secular or religious or traditional, whatever, most Jews will mark the night. So, you sit around with your family, and you don’t have mundane conversations, and you do kind of this ritual that you’ve done for thousands of years, and it gives an anchor to the family that is pretty positive. So, there’s some things about the Jewish way of life, this obsession with education is something that worked out throughout the years. So, everything that we do is all out there. There’s nothing secretive about being Jewish,” she said.

Tishby and Acho’s new book, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew is available now, wherever books are sold.

Tishby is also the author of the book Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth,





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