Thursday, November 17, 2022

Jon Stewart spoke about the recent antisemitism scandals from Black celebrities on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He was funny and perceptive, but not entirely right.


Stewart said, "Penalizing somebody for having a thought, I don't think is the way to change their minds or gain understanding. [Kyrie Irving] is a grown ass man and the idea that we say to him that we're going to put you in a time-out - 'you have to sit in the corner and stare at the wall until you no longer believe that Jews control the international banking system' " is not effective. 

He's right. It will not change the minds of the antisemites. In fact, it strengthens them, as they just take penalties as proof that the all-powerful Jews really do control the world.

Instead, Stewart said, we have to deal with it in a straightforward manner to gain understanding. Colbert asked exactly what that means. Stewart replies, "I think reflexively naming this antisemitism is as reductive as some of the things they might be saying. It immediately shuts down a conversation."

He then quoted Kanye West saying that "hurt people hurt people," that Jews must realize that Black antisemitism comes from a place of pain even if their facts are incorrect, and that it is more effective to directly deal with and counter the tropes than to shut down the conversation.

I agree that antisemitic tropes must be countered with facts. That's what I do, every day. 

When Black celebrities began publicly saying that they are the real Hebrews and Jews are imposters, I did not see a single media outlet actually look at the source of their claims and debunk them. I did. When modern antisemites obsessively attack Israel and claim that they are merely "criticizing" it, I show, from many angles, how anti-Zionism is rooted in antisemitism and how it remains so today

Contrary to what Stewart claims, however, he wants to pull punches with some kinds of antisemitism. He says that using the word shuts down the conversation, but it doesn't have to. When someone says something that is antisemitic, we shouldn't shy away from calling it out. Not to necessarily call the person an antisemite - one needs more evidence over time that someone is not just mindlessly repeating lies. However, we must point out that statements from Kanye West and his defenders or Ilhan Omar or Nick Cannon or Marjorie Taylor-Greene or Mahmoud Abbas or Roger Waters or David Miller or Joseph Massad are in fact antisemitic, and explain why. 

Which is what I do.

Part of being straightforward is to show how "progressives" and Blacks and Muslims sometimes are just as guilty of spreading antisemitism as white supremacists. 

Now, Stewart is partially right in saying that there should be a dialogue. Kyrie Irving is probably far more guilty of being ignorant than of being an antisemite, and it is possible that education might help. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case. Someone like Irving is not mentally equipped to watch the "Hebrews to Negroes" movie, to read a debunking, and to figure out which one is correct. The entire reason people are attracted to antisemitism to begin with is not based on facts but on prejudices - it is easier to blame Jews for one's misfortunes than to take responsibility for them. All of the "facts" in the Hebrews to Negroes book and movie are easily disproven, but people believe them because they want to, and no amount of facts will dislodge that desire.

Exposing antisemitic lies is more important for the masses who have not yet been exposed to them than for the people who are already spreading them. And we must not soft-pedal that.

Beyond that, the most effective way to fight antisemitism is not with endless arguments (even though that is what this website is about.) It is for Jews to act as proud Jews. For Jews not to allow ourselves to be put on the defensive. To not apologize for anything other Jews do, whether in Brooklyn or Jerusalem.  To not ingratiate ourselves with modern Jew-haters by dividing us up into "good Jews" and "bad Jews." 

To fight antisemitism, Jews need to learn and keep learning about our history and heritage. We need to be knowledgeable about, and proud of, the miracle that is Israel. We need to stop acting apologetic and start acting proud, to love the Hasidim as much as Seinfeld, to study the Torah and Jewish philosophy as much as we obsess over the New York Times. 

When Jews are apologetic about their Judaism or about Israel, and when we prioritize being progressive over being Jewish, non-Jews will pick up on the idea that we are uncomfortable with ourselves and our place in the world. 

When we are proud to be Jews, people will like us and want to be like us.

That is the most effective way to fight antisemitism.





Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!

 

 



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