Antisemitism-Why Do I Care?

I was recently made aware of a guy who tweeted some antisemitic content.  Nothing unique. Happens all the time.  Antisemitism is rampant on Twitter.   I try not to get into individual battles over it. That’s all  I would be doing all day.  This particular  tweet happened to come from a local kid(Dallas) so I decided to take an interest and teach him a lesson about his message.  Most speech is free from goverment interference  and Twitter does not prohibit this type of content but hate speech  does have consequences.  If I can teach one kid the consequences of his hate speech by costing him his job I am ok with that.   A short time later I got a tweet from a local Dallas atty asking me why I cared about the tweet of some random “tool”.  Here is the majority of the exchange.

There are some other exchanges that I have not posted but are in my Twitter stream if you care to look.  I admittedly got defensive and to use her word “rude’ with her.  For that, I apologize to Patricia.  I should have handled it with professionalism and a explanation of how antisemitism spreads.  Too much for 140.  Being anonymously rude was easier and more cleansing on a visceral level.  Even I can succumb to that in social media.

Here is why I care.  The kid may be a “tool” and a “waste of air”.  It’s not my place to say.  We all have value to someone.   The message he is spreading however, is not inconsequential nor harmless even from a random tool.  The message of antisemitism is spread  by “tools” lawyers, doctors, PhD’s and many others.  Millions of “tools” get together and that is how hate goes viral.  Pretty simple concept.  I won’t stay silent.

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Those are reason enough for me to care about the Twitter message of a  random “tool.   Every genocide starts with one “tool”.   Here are some other reasons why I care. About 11 million of them.

Never again.


12 Comments For This Post

  1. Adam Barr Says:

    Asking why someone would care is almost as offensive — and dangerous, as your famous quote so compellingly proves — as the hate speech itself.

    No decent human does his or her duty to mankind by ignoring hate speech and trying to pass it off as harmless, no matter what its origin or direction.

    Good work, Brian. Keep fighting this important battle.

  2. Frank Zappa Says:

    I think it’s spelled “J-O-O”

  3. Barry Zisman Says:

    Thank you Brian.

  4. Patricia B Cole Says:

    I truly never intended to offend you! I also never doubted why Antisemitism bother you! What happened during the Holocost has ALWAYS offended me and it should offend anyone with a conscious. I was only looking for some understanding of why this particular person bother someone such as yourself so much that you felt compelled to threaten him! I guess your post goes to answer that it wasn't this particular person at all, but the underlining issue.

  5. Otir (4 comments.) Says:

    Brian, I find it interesting that you cared enough to "take an interest and teach him a lesson about his message". However, lessons are better taught without threats and it had to be about changing the kid's point of view on hatred, not on your point of view as valid as it was. That is why you had to resort to becoming overly defensive, and you ended up being less effective than if you had approached the underlying motives of the kid's needs to spur out hatred. Using the holocaust and looming consequences (like losing one's job) doesn't address the point of view of people who need to spit out their anger, resentment, prejudices, and who are totally ignorant about how it affects the world (including themselves).

  6. bcuban Says:

    feel free to do it your way. I will do it mine. You clearly have zero understanding of the nature of hate speech in social media

  7. Otir (4 comments.) Says:

    Wow… you certainly know more about me and my own understanding than I did!
    I see no real reason why both our methods could not coexist. I am not dismissing you as a determined and dedicated person to combatting hatred and antisemitism. I do it too, on a daily basis, and I command you for your attempt.

    However I will never be convinced that images of the holocaust serve well the purpose you pursue (and don't start me on my zero understanding of the holocaust, unless you have fully checked my background of course!)


  8. bcuban Says:

    I never said you had no understanding of the Holocaust did I. now who is defensive? In any event, if you want to reach out to the kid and teach him to love his fellow man knock yourself out. I will teach him accountability.

  9. Otir (4 comments.) Says:

    Point well taken, Brian. I am no match up to you anyway, and I have no intention to play on words, since you will always, rightfully so, seek the last one: I didn't intend to reach out to the kid and to teach him to love his fellow man, because I would find it as preposterous as teaching him a lesson with threats.

    I find social media a very interesting arena where points of view can be discovered, confronted, and yes, spread at a different speed than with the old media in the past. Therefore, I find the debate a very valuable one, and I am trying to understand the impact of the images you posted on the future behavior and hate speech of that kid, that's all. I am not precluding the fact that I might be completely wrong either.

  10. bcuban Says:

    It's all good. I respect your point of view. I simply choose to use a different method to make my point

  11. Otir (4 comments.) Says:

    We're definitely on the page in the end!
    I enjoyed debatting with you anyway, so thank you!

  12. @JessicaClackum Says:

    We have a responsibility, not just as Americans, but as human beings to confront and put an end to hatred whenever possible. This stuff goes viral because either people are desensitized to it, just don't care, or think they can't make a difference. The truth is we can and do make a difference when we stand up to it.

    My mom is a baby boomer who grew up in Brooklyn and moved to South Florida with her family in the late 1950s. When the civil rights movement was in full swing in the 60's mom made a point to sit with the blacks on the bus and protest with them, for them. Yeah she was a white middle class female, she didn't have to do anything, but she did because she cared. That's how she was raised. Fortunately my parents raised us like that, I'm proud that they did.

    Sometime in the mid 60's, someone in my grandparents quiet serene bedroom community neighborhood in South Miami, burned a cross on their front lawn. She's been on the receiving end of hate before, and when it is it's ALWAYS been about her being Jewish. When we moved out of Miami, to a small rural farming community in North Central Florida in 1980, people talked about the "new Jew in town." One day, my father walked into a convenience store and someone was talking about it. My dad, who was a tall, well-built man, born and raised to a Christian family in Kennesaw, Georgia, simply smiled and reached inside his shirt and pulled out his necklace, hanging on it was a Star of David with a cross in the middle. After that, people shut up.

    Ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds hate. We can never stomp this out, but we can show we will not tolerate it.

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