Most people know something about the Holocaust. It is one of the most well known events in recent history.
On TikTok, some users have released videos pretending to be victims of the Holocaust. Known as “trauma porn”, the response is outrage and disgust. The young people who are producing these videos claim that they are using this form of social media to educate their followers about the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews.
If nothing else, these kids get an A for effort. Teaching the Holocaust is not easy, regardless of the age of the student. With the rise of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, it has become more important than ever that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
But I wish they had been a little more sensitive in their portrayal of the victims. The response would have certainly, I think, been more appreciative instead of critical.
When the Internet and social media took off decades ago, they both seemed to be a beacon of freedom of speech and communication. We would speak to and (virtually) meet people who we might otherwise not meet and become a better world.
But while the technology has changed, the world has not.
While the social media giants claim that they are all for freedom of expression, they continue to ignore the elephant in the room. That elephant is racism and antisemitism that continually flows from various tweets and posts.
Twitter, while claiming that hate speech is not allowed on the platform, does not prevent Iranian officials from threatening Israel with annihilation via tweets.
I wish it was easy to remove ourselves from social media. But, they are so much of a part of lives that to do so would be akin to cutting off a limb. The only solution is that the people who run the social media platforms follow through on their terms of service. The question is, will they?
Antisemitism is a disease. How does one route out a disease from one’s body? You hit with medicine. In this case, the medicine is truth and the power of the average person.
In response to the antisemitic posts appearing on Twitter and Instagram, a boycott has been called on both platforms for 48 hours starting this morning.
There is a distinct line between freedom of speech and spewing hate. Until the people who run the social media world realize this and follow the rules they created, they will be as guilty as the ones who spew racist and antisemitic lies.
I know that this boycott will be difficult. But if we do not move forward with the boycott, the message that racism and antisemitism is acceptable will continue it’s destructive grasp on this world.
In the Star Wars film series, Yoda was the character whose sage advice went far beyond the limits of the movie screen. One of the quotes is as follows:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
These days, one would have to be living under a rock to see the rise in antisemitic hate crimes. Unfortunately, some of this is due to the sharing of ancient and bloodthirsty lies by foolhardy celebrities. Stephen Jackson is one of these celebrities.
In New York City, Jewish teenager Mark Shepard tried to bridge the divide and talk some sense into Jackson.
Mark is the kid we need right now. By reaching out to Jackson in the way he did, his attempt to build bridges does more than any law can do. Will this get the ball rolling and create the monumental change needed to finally rid the world of the antisemitic b*llsh*t? No, but a simple conversation is sometimes all that is needed to create real and lasting change.
Antisemitism is a disease that has haunted humanity for thousands of years. Just when we think it has finally died down forever, it rears its ugly head once more.
This past week, the hashtag #JewishPrivilege has been circulating throughout Twitter in response to false and age old accusations. I’d like to talk about my own so called “#JewishPrivilege”.
If this privilege includes having relations that were among the 6 million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust, I want none of it.
2. My immigrant ancestors came to America in the early 20th century with only the clothes on their backs and whatever they could carry. No one helped them to become upwardly mobile, they had to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Whatever “privilege” someone thought they had clearly did not exist.
3. I wouldn’t define privilege of having to hire security during religious services. Or seeing the shootings in Poway or Pittsburgh in the news.
4. Privilege is not defined as hearing about nearly 1400 brothers and sisters of your faith murdered in their homeland due to lies and hate.
5. If privilege is constantly watching Israel being attacked in the press and in the UN for so called “crimes against humanity” while other countries receive a slap on the wrist, that is not “privilege”.
Privilege is defined as: special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.
Whoever thinks that the Jews are privileged needs to get their heads out the sand and read a history book.
Racism of any kind is a disease. It blinds us to see the humanity of others, forcing us to judge someone solely on one aspect of their character or identity.
Over the last week or so, there have been headlines that state that certain African-American celebrities using their platform to spout antisemitic lies. One of these celebrities in Nick Cannon.
I have two very specific thoughts about this topic, which is making my stomach turn.
The first is that the people who are spouting these lies are ignorant. They aren’t stupid, but they are ignorant. One does not have the career longevity in Hollywood that Cannon has by being stupid.
What is sadly sometimes forgotten is that American Jews worked hand in hand with African-Americans in the fight for equality during the Civil Rights era. I wish Cannon and those who think like him would have done their research before opening their mouths or going to their keyboards.
The second is that we have a common enemy. They are called the alt-right. In their ideal world, America is a Christian, Caucasian, and Heterosexual nation. Anyone who does not fit into those categories is therefore, not allowed to be an American.
If America is to become the ideals written down in our founding documents, we have to put our differences aside and remember what we have in common. If we don’t, then we will never become what we say we are.
Sometimes, history is made when we least expect it.
For audiences of a certain generation, The Goldbergs (not to be confused with the present sitcom of the same name), was worth the wait every week for a new episode. But for younger generations, the ground breaking series and it’s creator/star, Gertrude Berg is an unknown.
As a younger viewer who was decades away from being born when the series was originally on the air, I appreciate this documentary. Gertrude Berg was a woman ahead of her time. Without her, we would not have the modern sitcom as we know it to be today. She was also upfront about the antisemitism that existed back then, which is a topic that 70 years later, is still sadly relevant.
For the last two months or so, social distancing has been the norm.
Last week, I wrote about the antisemitic accusation that New York City Bill de Blasio leveled at the entire Jewish community of New York City for breaking the social distancing rules. While the specific synagogue at the center of the brouhaha has apologized for their lack of forethought, this does nothing to nullify the Mayor’s statement.
This past weekend was absolutely perfect weather-wise in the city. It was everything one would ask for a weekend in May. If we were not living through the Covid-19 pandemic, no one would be thinking twice about getting out. But we are living through a pandemic and that requires us to think twice about leaving the house for anything but basic necessities.
Across the city, many took advantage of the warm weather.
I don’t have a problem with people getting out. If I had not already had plans, I would have done so myself. What I do have a problem with is the lack of sweeping prejudicial generalizations of those who were outside on Sunday. Where was the literal nagging finger, accusing city residents of ignoring the social distancing rules?
I think it is fair to say that anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence these days would say that Covid-19 has forced all of us to adjust how we live. I think that it is also fair to say that given the current crisis, it would behoove those in the halls of power to work together.
Last night was the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Mertz, who according to press reports, died from complications from Covid-19. As is the custom in Hasidic and Orthodox Judaism, the funeral was public with thousands of mourners crowding the streets in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. In normal times, this would be a non-news issue for all but the local community. But we are not living in normal times.
According to an article in Gothamist, the Police department knew about this before hand. But yet, Mayor Bill de Blasio accused the entire Jewish community of New York City of breaking the social distancing rules.
The problem that I have with his accusation is that instead of specifically pointing the finger at those in attendance, he blamed every Jew in New York City. I am a Jew and I live in New York City. Was I at this funeral? No. He should be putting the blame on those who were there, not on all practitioners of that particular religious identity. He should have also spoken to his police officials before making this kind of accusations.
Last week was Yom Hashoah. Given our current political climate, the recent climactic (and bloody) events in Jewish history and the extreme rise in antisemitism, I would think twice before making such a comment.
Which is why I did not vote for this man and will be more than happy to see him out of office when his term ends.
While the world deals with the coronavirus and the toll it takes, the Jewish community is dealing with another disease: antisemitism.
Pastor Rick Wiles blamed the coronavirus not on the virus itself, but on the idea Jews have not accepted the Christian G-d as their holy parent and creator.
“Stay out of those things, there’s a plague in them. God’s dealing with false religions,” he said on Wednesday night on TruNews, which he founded. “God’s dealing with people who oppose his son, Jesus Christ. He’s dealing with the forces of Antichrist. And there’s a plague moving upon the earth right now, and the people that are going into the synagogues are coming out of the synagogues with the virus.”
Given what we are going through at this point in time, the last thing that is wanted or need is division. Especially division that is based on something as surface level as religion. The fact is that the coronavirus does not care about the religious faith (or lack thereof) of the person it makes sick. Everyone is an equal opportunity home for this disease.
This is not the first, or the last time that the Jewish community has been blamed for a natural phenomenon. I just wish that in 2020, we would be using our brains instead of half baked lies.