Tag Archive | "antisemitism"

Antisemitism-Why Do I Care?

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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.


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Is Dan Snyder A Devil Owner Or A “Devil Jew”?

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Is Dan Snyder A Devil Owner Or A “Devil Jew”?

I am always up for some good satire.  I have been known to throw a punch or two at individuals and organizations with some fun “Onion” type stories.  That’s why when I heard that Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, had taken offense to a story satirizing him in WashingtonCityPaper.com I was unmoved.  Being related to the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, I have seen and heard a lot.  Thick skins are a requirement of the job.  I however, also  took interest in Snyder’s claim of antisemitism related to a graphic with the story that had graffiti “penciled in” adding horns, beard and mustache to his photo.  Shrugging off hate speech may or may not be part of the minority sports owner’s  job when it comes to the comment trolls and blog bigots but when it comes from main-stream media, it must be addressed.

For those unaware, the use of horns and beard is a time “honored” anti-Semitic caricature.  WashingtonCity claims that the image was not antisemitic and meant to make him look like the devil.   Is Dan Snyder the Devil or a “Devil Jew”?  I am Jewish and consider myself in touch with anti-Semitic portrayals.  I know Snyder is Jewish yet did not context this as anti-Semitic until Snyder brought it up.  It could be the devil.  That’s not what bothers me about the incident.

It is the response of Washington City that I find, insensitive, ignorant and  bordering on antisemitism itself.  They engaged in what I call the “Jewish Kryptonite Defense” engaging in statements that are grounded in stereotype that have no logical basis to refute.

In the response to Snyder’s claim of Antisemitism, the paper responded as follows:

“The story didn’t mention Snyder’s religion at all. And the illustration is meant to resemble the type of scribbling that teenagers everywhere have been using to deface photos for years. The image of Snyder doesn’t look like an “anti-Semitic caricature”—it looks like a devil.”

The paper goes on to state:

But we at City Paper take accusations of anti-Semitism seriously—in part because many of us are Jewish, including staffers who edited the story and designed the cover. So let us know, Mr. Snyder, when you want to fight the real anti-Semites.”

Because the story does not mention that Snyder is Jewish the intent can not be anti-Semitic? Because they chose to defend an alternate definition, that makes it so?  Does Mike Madden have any personal context to view the picture in any other way? I don’t know.  I suspect there are numerous Jews not invested in defending the caricature who will look at it and feel differently.  Much of antisemitism is implied and subtle(sometimes not so subtle) imagery.  It is rare that the  hard core “StormFronter” actually comes out and says “Dirty Devil Jew” in a mainstream news forum. The Rick Sanchez and Helen Thomas blunders are few and far between. It is generally more subtle.

Then we get to the other part of the Jewish Kryptonite Defense:

We would never engage in antisemitism because Jews work here and worked on the story”

I put this right up there with ” I am not a bigot because I have two Jewish friends.”  I have a news flash for WashingtonCity.  Jews can and do engage in anti-Semitic behavior.

Could the true intent have been to portray Snyder as a devil owner rather than a Devil Jew?  Sure.   I am not accusing the City Paper of being anti-Semitic as an organization but simply pointing out that there can be antisemitism in the organization and the fact that they “know some Jews” or that Jews were involved with the story does not change this. It tells me that if there is any antisemitism at WashingtonCity, there is no way they will be able to figure it out unless it drops like a not so subtle Mel Gibson anvil through the roof of the building.  Ignorance is bliss.  It is much easier to avoid dealing dealing with facts, and instead engage in a shameful public “Who Us?” Jewish Kryptonite” defense that is almost as bad as as antisemitism itself.

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Wikipedia Speaks on Jewish Lawyers And Black Athletes

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Wikipedia Speaks on Jewish Lawyers And Black Athletes

I am a Jewish lawyer.  I consider myself to be a fairly complex individual having positive and negative qualities.  I however, was shocked to learn that I also represent a “stock character”, and a “anti-Semitic” stereotype.  I can thank Jimmy Wales and the editors of  Wikipedia for educating me on what I really represent in society as a Jewish lawyer.  Had I not read the Wikipedia entry “Jewish Lawyer” I would have never known.

‘A Jewish lawyer is a stock character and common antisemitic stereotype of Jews, with Jews and Jewish lawyers depicted as clever, greedy, exploitative, dishonest, and engaging in moral turpitude and excessive legalism.’

Wow.  I thought that more often than not,  a Jewish lawyer is just a “Jewish lawyer”.  There are good Jewish lawyers. There are bad Jewish Lawyers. There are greedy Jewish lawyers and there are benevolent Jewish lawyers.  Just like  all the other religious and ethnic makeups of the legal profession.  I did not know that as a Jewish lawyer I deserved a category all my own.

Let’s give Wikipedia a break here.  Maybe all ethnic/religious makeups of attorneys have their own sections on Wikipedia. I looked hard but I could not find sections on “stock character”  stereotypes for Christian lawyers, Muslim lawyers, Irish lawyers, Asian Lawyers, Hispanic lawyers or any other classification.  What an honor!  What love to hear from Jimmy Wales or his editors and be told what I, as a Jewish Lawyer have done in my life to deserve such an entry in Wikipedia.

Let however not let Jewish Lawyers grab all the Wikipedia fame in the use of ethnic and racial stereotyping as supposed “legitimate categories”.  We can also read about  “Black Athletic Superiority“.

I do not know everything Wikipedia claims to be or what founder Jimmy Wales envisioned but we should certainly not leave out its role as a major propagator of religious, racial and ethnic stereotypes.   I hope Jimmy is proud of his child.

Many thanks to the JIDF for alerting me to these issues.

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Cutting The Onion Of Anti-Semitism

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Cutting The Onion Of Anti-Semitism

Sometimes the satiric/parody news site The Onion can be pretty darn funny.  Sometimes they miss the mark. Sometimes they are downright offensive in a very non-funny way.  This is one of those times.  It appears the powers that be at the Onion have not gotten the societal message that there is nothing funny about Antisemitism.  One of their latest parody endeavors raised my eyebrows in the use of a virulently anti-Semitic graphic combined with antisemitic financial stereotypes.  The  premise of the segment is that you can “Overcome Stress By Visualizing It As A Greedy, Hook-Nosed Race Of Creatures”

I and others raised a similar issue not long ago with NBC in the use of similar imagery in conjunction with their popular Parks And Recreation Series.  NBC was nice enough to respond and provide context for the use of the anti-Semitic image.  Their explanation was reasonable within the context of the show.  I have a hard time imagining any similar context for The Onion.  Anyone there care to respond?

Grabbler image via simplyjews.blogspot.com and thanks to @criticalanalyst on Twitter for alerting me to it.

Overcome Stress By Visualizing It As A Greedy, Hook-Nosed Race Of Creatures

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