A Case Study.

You know, I really hate these randomly generated links at the bottom of each post. I don’t like writing a post against anti-Semitism which is then linked to someone else’s anti-Semitic post. You know? Come on.

Anyway, I’m not going to grace this writer with traffic, but I’d like to briefly dissect the page my last entry inadvertently linked to – the one about an anti-Zionist smear tactic. (If you go to the page, please copy and paste the URL into your browser window – I don’t want to lead him back here. Maybe it’s cowardly of me, but I don’t see the point in engaging with him.) Briefly paraphrased: The writer can’t believe he has to explain, yet again, that Jews aren’t evil murderers – Zionists are. Israel is not a Jewish state, it’s a Zionist state. And you know who makes up the bulk of Zionists? Christian and Jewish fundamentalists… from “New Yawk and New Joisy.”

Yeah, you read that right.

There are a few signs here that we’re dealing with a bona fide anti-Semite, even though the whole purpose of his post is to deny it. First off, he seems to consider himself an expert on both Jewishness and Zionism – so much so that he’s fed up at having to explain it to the rest of us idiots over and over again. What a burden! Thank God we have him around to teach us about the mysterious subject of us! His definition of Zionism makes it clear that he’s never actually read up on the subject, nor spoken to a moderate or liberal Zionist (and probably not a right-wing one, either, for that matter). If he was actually concerned with defending Jews from attacks, he’d link to Jewish sites instead of speaking for us. But why would he ever engage with us, when he’s figured it all out himself?

Secondly, it doesn’t occur to him that maybe the reason he has to explain it over and over again is that his viewpoint isn’t the objective truth. Maybe the situation is more complicated than “murderer/not murderer.” Anyone who refuses to examine what they’re saying about another people – or where their information came from – is afraid of what they’ll find. (Also, talking about how tired you are of explaining it is a handy tactic for shutting down real discussion.)

Finally, yes, that was a parody of a Yiddish accent you read in the New York and New Jersey line. (I just know someone will swoop in saying, “No, it’s just a regular New York accent that has nothing to do with Jews!” Well, that’d be a pretty random joke to make in a sentence about New York and New Jersey Jews.) Why swipe at Yiddish speakers when you’re supposedly attacking the Zionists and not the Jews? Oh, right, because since Orthodox Jews are all Zionists, they’re a valid target. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

The fact is, this guy wants us to know how much he hates Jews. He wants it so bad he can’t help himself from revealing it. Yeah, he knows he has to deny it – there’s Zionism as that convenient codeword, again! – but oooh, does it ever feel good to stick it to those nasty big-nosed parasites. Just one little imitation, please? Please, just one? No one will ever notice – especially if I tell them beforehand that I’m not anti-Semitic!

I point this out because so much bigotry is coded as denials of bigotry that you have to know what to look for. If someone’s claiming that they have nothing against Jews, but then simply have to include a nasty remark about “New Joisy,” then they’ve got something against Jews.

Still not convinced? Well, this writer also has a post about how the Zionists have taken over Europe, and his most frequent commenter is someone with the handle “Fourth Reich Israel.” But no, he has nothing against Jews. Does he really have to explain this again!?

In other news, someone has spray-painted a swastika on the JCC in Vilnius. (Scroll down to the Week in Photos section.) I know swastika graffiti is nothing new, but this is especially troubling because Lithuania has been a hot spot for anti-Semitism lately. Er, anti-Zionism.

8 Responses

  1. With so many people around to tell us what is and isn’t anti-Semitic we don’t have to figure it out for ourselves and work our own definition! Talk about liberation.

  2. I remember reading “Heartburn”, by Nora Ephron, when I was in college. Somewhere in that book the narrator is turned down for a network TV job because she’s “too New York-ish” and Ephron says “that’s code for ‘Too Jewish’.”. I’d never thought of that before but suddenly all sorts of things I’d heard made sense.

  3. When you start to realize all the code for New York = Jew, you’d be amazed how many hidden jokes in sitcoms have this subtext. Friends and Seinfeld, of course, are the ultimate examples of this.

  4. “Seinfeld” came along at the right time to help my husband, who was not raised Jewish, put my family into context. Two episodes in particular helped: the one in which Jerry and Elaine go to Florida, and the one in which Jerry lies to his uncle and then runs into his secretary in a restaurant. After he watched those, Sam realized my family wasn’t weird in some unique and undefinable way, but rather firmly rooted in a specific culture. Oddly enough, that helped.

  5. I grew up in NH, and had no idea about New York = Jew until college. So much pop culture finally made sense…

    (Also, you can turn off the annoying randomly generated links.)

  6. Yeah, I threw Seinfeld in there because it’s not always that explicit but at least Jerry’s being Jewish is semi-frequently mentioned, plus in the later seasons Elaine lived in an apartment building with an Hasidic-looking rabbi. Plus, I think that Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David were both Jewish (something more explicit for the latter in Curb Your Enthusiasm) made the jokes more like affectionate jibes…

    …but I don’t think that holds true for Friends. I’ll have to explain more later as I must catch the bus!

  7. No, it doesn’t hold true for “Friends”. I’ll be interested in hearing what you say about that when you’re off the bus!

  8. Basically, what I’m thinking, is that Ross, Rachel, Monica and Rachel’s dad embody most of the very negative stereotypes about Jews – Rachel, of course, is very much the JAP except for maybe the sexual stereotypes, no moreso than in the early seasons. Vain, materialistic, flighty, extremely neurotic, almost married to a dentist.

    Rachel’s dad is a doctor, and as we’ve come to find very very cheap. There’s no real reason for a New York doctor to be so cheap except for, well, YOU know, wink wink.

    Monica plays up the bossy and domineering side of the JAP to a T (never forget the neurosis) while, of course, Ross is highly-educated in a scientific field, but very noticeably un-masculine and also neurotic. I somehow had a much clearer picture in my head that I don’t think I translated well, but the tone is much less whimsical there with their portrayals.

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