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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The other side of "the Shmegege Vote"

The Huffington Post just posted a piece by Susan Isaacs, punctuated with lots of Yiddish for authenticity, fearful that the majority of Jews will refuse to vote for Obama because of their deep-seated prejudice against blacks:
shmegege [shmeh∙geh'∙geh], noun: Yiddish word meaning buffoon, idiot, ignoramus

A whispering campaign might be better because that would connote shame, or at least discomfort. Instead, anti-Obama e-mails -- by Jews, for Jews -- continue to make the rounds:

Don't believe the Christian business because he really is a Muslim;

No, he actually is a Christian, but no matter what he says, don't believe he's with Israel because at heart he's a radical and, trust me, he has a pro-Palestinian agenda.

Oprah left that church but Obama stayed because he truly buys into what that antisemite minister is selling, so don't get taken in by all that denunciation business.

This would have a bit more bite if she could actually quote these purported e-mails in context and not just interpret them so the dumb gentiles can understand the true Jewish bigotry that underlines them.

Notice Isaacs' smug assumption: of course Obama is not pro-Palestinian, of course he didn't identify with Wright; because all of the evidence to the contrary is by definition suspect and everything he says on a particular day is the Truth.

Offline, too, there are those "just between us" declarations. My eighty five-year-old cousin tried to deck a guy at his senior citizen center who announced "I'm never going to vote for a shvartzer," though unfortunately he was slowed by his emphysema and held back by his wife. Yesterday, at lunch, a friend confided how shaken she'd been at a recent wedding when she discovered everyone at her table -- all Jews who had voted for Clinton, Gore and Kerry -- felt compelled to explain they were going for McCain because he when push comes to shove, you just cannot trust a black to do right by us. Saddest of all, another pal -- successful, lively, chic, overtly Jewish three days a year -- announced, "I wish I could bring myself to vote for him, but I can't." Her brow would have furrowed in distress but for the Botox.
Someone explain to me why a Jew who makes gross stereotypes about Jews - that they are all racist, that they routinely refer to blacks as "shvartzes" [indeed true for the 80+ age group] - is any less offensive than the people she is upset about for stereotyping.

Yes, there is racism among Jews as well as among the general population. But Isaacs assumption that Jews are somehow more bigoted than the general US population is so way off base as to be itself borderline libelous. Did 90% of the Jews vote Hillary?

My 2008 concern has nothing to do with the thousands of American Jews who will vote for McCain because they sincerely believe in him and the Republican agenda. It has to do with the nature of the case against Barack Obama. Too many Jews are buying into the same sort of blood libel and belligerent ignorance that has tormented our people throughout our history.
Sorry, Susan, but a sizable number of Jews are uncomfortable with Obama because of Obama's actual positions, his actual statements, and his actual actions, not because of his race. To say otherwise shows that there is a bit of projection in your arguments: the only one showing provable bigotry here is you against most of your co-religionists, the ones you lovingly refer to as filled with Botox.

Isaacs ends with a hilarious attempt to establish her own Jewish bona-fides - to use Yiddish words in ways practically never used in Jewish conversation:
When that curtain is drawn in the voting booth, are some Jews going to abandon their remembrance of cruelties large and small and pull a lever because of the heady power rush of having permission to believe lies because they are Jewish lies ? Are we going to let our neshumas, our souls, shrivel in fear of the new ? Will we accept any dreck we read in an e-mail, any falsehood we hear, just because it comes from a fellow Jew?

November fourth is an important test for us. We will get to see if we are mensches or if have turned into the people we most despise.

I haven't read any other pieces of Isaac's "dreck", but from this article one can get the impression that she will vote for Obama because he is black and that is the progressive thing to do - a position at least as vacuous as the one she is ascribing to her co-religionists.