Do I really have nothing better to blog about than Jew hatred? Evidently I don’t, because here I am again.
Last night, as the sportball player was reinstated to his sportsball team, I was watching an episode of the cooking show Chopped. There was a person on the show talking about using the show to find a date and the person was charming and engaging and I wondered if the show had been successful in that regard. So I googled the chef’s name and the first tweet that came up was this, and I’ll attempt to paraphrase:
Interesting how they didn’t want to promote (#AntisemiticFilm) but they actually promoting it. #SportsBallAthelete #SiteSellingAntiSemeticFilm #BeFree.
(Okay, so it’s not a paraphrase, it’s a direct quote, but I’ve made the hashtags more generic.)
And this is the same thing I continue to be frustrated about. There’s no chance or place for growth.
The thing is, propaganda films are compelling. And if it’s subject matter you don’t know much about, it all sounds so reasonable. That’s the problem with propaganda films. I loved Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! so that’s a good example for me to pick on.
They did an episode on why circumcision is Bullshit! And I don’t want to delve deeply into the subject matter, I just wanted to talk about this one thing that changed the way I looked at the show.
They had a Rabbi on the show and they asked him, “If a boy doesn’t have a circumcision, is he still a Jew.”
And the Rabbi answered correctly, yes.
And that was basis of determining that Circumcision in the Jewish community was Bullshit and should be immediately abolished.
But there’s a problem with that answer. And you don’t know Jewish tradition and Jewish law; you can’t understand the problem. Yes, you’re Jewish, but Brit Milah is part of accepting the covenant. There’s a whole series of responsas and ruling about how to handle an uncircumcised Jew. (Here are some of them, if you want to read up on it, but again, not what this post is about.)
If I watched that Penn and Teller episode, I would never know that there was any nuance or issue with a man being uncircumcised in Judaism. And if you watch the antisemitic documentary without a deeper knowledge of the history of the Jews, you would not think there was anything unreasonable about it as it makes a case for Africa being the settling point for many of the Jews kicked out of Israel. In fact, Africa WAS the settling point for many of the Jews kicked out of Israel. But so was Rome and Europe. Furthermore, it rehashes the Kuzar myth and makes the claim that the majority of European Jewry was actually Kuzari and from Israel. Which is a) wrong to begin with and b) irrelevant because converts are also part of Jewry. But again, these are not history that is generally taught. People watching the video think it’s history, not propaganda and so they treat it as history.
So how can you refute the lies if you don’t tell people that it’s not history. And I realize that telling people it’s propaganda gives it more air and allows it to spread more freely, but it’s out there. And if we don’t tell people it’s false, then it will still be out there and more people will assume it’s truth because there’s no one saying, “This isn’t true.”
Which side to to err on? Do I denounce it and risk exposing more people to it? Or ignore it and hope that people aren’t being taken in, in the face of evidence that people are watching it and believing it.
They wouldn’t attack if it they didn’t feel threatened is something I hear often. Often paired with “The truth hurts.” The truth. sigh. The truth is that lies are also deadly and fearsome. The reality is that the lie hurts. It hurts that people who we like think we’re monsters because of a lie. It hurts that people want to commit violence against the Jewish community because of lies. Violence against the Jewish community because of lies hurts.
Lies hurt. And they have to be debunked and defanged because their hurt spreads.