Gott in Himmel, not a scarf both black AND white!

Wonkette and Feministe both have posted about this recent horror of horrors: Rachel Ray, wearing a black-and-white scarf that, despite having no geometric pattern (as Holly delightfully pointed out), is reminiscent of the Palestinian symbol, the kaffiyeh, on the basis of two facts:

1) It is a scarf
2) It has a black and white pattern – a non-geometric one, but a pattern nonetheless.

At this point, I’d like to point out that the two loudest voices for this ‘controversy’ are Michelle Malkin and a man named Charles Johnson. You might ask, what’s the common thread here? Well, the common thread would be that neither of them are Jewish. It’s bad enough, of course, that they’re alleging any combination of black-and-white on a scarf is tantamount to supporting terrorism, but they’re appropriating an outrage that doesn’t really belong to them at all because, well, Palestinian terrorism doesn’t affect right-wing American pundits, it affects Israelis and Jews.

The bigger issue here, is this: Jews, generally, throughout history, are not used to having great powers firmly on their side. So when the Christian Zionists came knocking, there was a sort-of embrace, because hey – this lobby had a lot of pull, and to a large enough degree supported the same goals, so why not?

But there was a problem. According to The World Jewish Population 2002, Israel only represents 37.8% of the total Jewish population, rougly about 3/8. So even if 100% of the Jews in Israel agreed with the stance of the Christian Zionists, a sort of “damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!” with regards to belligerence and unending, unquestioned support, that still wouldn’t really represent the majority view, so there is a danger in misrepresenting this alliance as a good thing for Jews everywhere.

There is, sadly, another danger here. Allowing the support of these kinds of elements gives rise to anti-Semitism, as was seen in Adbusters some time ago with their article highlighting which members of the so-called ‘neo-con cabal (a loaded word if there ever was one)’ happened to be Jewish, which was all very Protocols.

As David Schraub points out, this leads to a dynamic where Jews are seen to paranoid (“The top echelons in US foreign policy are completely dictated by Jews, what are they complaining about?”), we will assumed to be spoken for, and most importantly, breeds a mistrust of the majority of Jews and their motives for Israel – we end up all being seen as unanimously in support of Olmert or the hawk of the day and the bulldozing of houses, or even more ghastly, the starving out, blockading, and cutting off of power for Palestinians in Gaza. This can be used as a means to further marginalize us, as Schraub again points out.

Ultimately, it serves to show that allowing the support of people like Malkin, Johnson, Hagee, and their like, and allowing them to do things like point out supposed support of anti-Semitism where there clearly is not, simply marginalizes us further as paranoid and complaint-prone, and does us no favors, in the short-term or long-term.

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One Response

  1. No Scarf For You…

    Dunkin’ Donuts caves into radical right bloggers protesting an ad where the actress wears …. a scarf. Not just any scarf, mind you. A black and white scarf. Which might be (but in fact, is not) a kaffiyeh. Which could be taken as a symbol of Islami….

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