As I write this, today is the 17th day of Tamuz, a day when I and many other Jews fast to commemorate the siege of Jerusalem that led to the destruction of the Temple. Amidst this day I am struggling to find media coverage about the ongoing situation in which a number of NFL and NBA players have come to the defense of Eagles player DeSean Jackson after he shared what he thought was a quote from Adolf Hitler describing the age-old, worldwide Jewish domination conspiracy (Pictured in thumbnail). Pushing aside the absolutely convoluted and backward thought of someone proudly sharing a quote they thought was from Hitler, this case is not an isolated incident. In almost every group, political party, culture, race, and creed there seems to be an underlying understanding that in America, Jewish stereotypes and conspiracies are less damaging to us as a community than that of other minorities. I am not here to play the Oppression Olympics because that will get us nowhere. What I am here to do is ask a question: Why do others fail to stand up for the Jewish community when it matters?
I recall vividly being told as a kid by one of my Christian friends that “all Jews were rich.” Coming from a middle-class family I thought, “Well, where is my money?” Just ask any Jewish kid who went to a secular school and they will tell you that the Jewish stereotypes we read about in the history books as the rosebud of extermination in nazi Germany are alive and pervasive throughout our society. Christian parents are not having their kids read “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” but it is problematic that these long-standing and damaging prejudices have been able to go under the radar and spread in our communities.
There is a lot to be said about “cancel culture”— particularly pertaining to the way that Twitter becomes a vigilante for justice at the first sight of a celebrity misstep. When it comes to this online culture we have learned that when important people say nasty things, bad things happen. That is, of course, unless they are attacking the Jewish community. Now I know that I am exaggerating here, but it seems very clear that when it comes to calling out the damaging antisemitic rhetoric displayed by those in power, it only seems to happen when there is an ulterior motive. People were willing to call out Donald Trump for his antisemitic remarks in the past but not Ilhan Omar. We chose to cancel the Nazis that chanted “Jews will not replace us,” but not Deblasio when he singled out the Jewish community or the BLM protesters in France that chanted “Dirty Jews.”
In keeping with the theme of this blog, I refuse to complain about a problem without trying to come up with a solution. We will stop Anti Semitism from being accepted into the mainstream when we start to treat it the same way that we treat blatant acts of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. When cancel culture is willing to cancel every pro sports player that supports damaging antisemitic stereotypes. When I say “we,” I do not mean just Jews: all people of all backgrounds and religions need to speak out against these prejudices, and that is the only way we can fight them and end them. One of the reasons the BLM movement has been so groundbreaking this year is because it is not just people of color in the fight for justice. When all people decide that it is important to be anti-nazi and pro-Jewish all at the same time we will see change.
“It’s crazy how willing so many of you were to post a black screen, but the second an athlete shares a fake Hitler quote you all go silent. Don’t think your Jewish friends haven’t noticed how unwilling people are to speak up for us. Is silence still violence?”
Sorry for the brief intermission in posts, I have been a bit busy recently. Today’s shout out goes to Adam Blue from Chicago, IL. Hi Adam! Thanks for helping me with my car. Make sure to subscribe on the blog homepage to receive a shout out in the future.
And Shabbat Shalom