Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Jew and a Taliban Walk into a Tie shop

The Internet is abuzz with a Joke about a Jewish merchant outsmarting a Taliban guy as told by told by the National Security Advisor, General James L. Jones at a pro-Israel think tank.

Many people have accused Jones of telling an Anti-Semitic joke (or worse, representing an Anti-Semitic president).

Ha’artetz quoted a “prominent think-tank source” as saying that the joke was "wrong in so many levels" and that it "demonstrated a lack of sensitivity."

YNet quotes Anti-Defamation League head Abe Foxman as calling the joke “inappropriate," saying, "It's stereotypic," he said. "Some people believe they need to start a speech with a joke; this was about the worst kind of joke the head of the National Security Council could have told."

I am bothered by prominent Jewish figures who look for anti-Semitism in places where it clearly doesn’t exist.

If as a community we scream “Anti-Semitism” every time someone tells a joke, makes a speech, directs a movie, or writes a magazine column that includes Jews or criticizes Israel, what are we supposed to do when we see real anti-Semitism (like attacks on Synagogues or Jewish schools, attacks on people dressed like Jews, or calls to attack or kill Jews).

We have got to the point where anti-Israeli columnists open columns with a statement like “‘Some Jewish groups go so far as claiming any criticism of Israel is fuelled by anti-Semitism”, and then feel free to say whatever they want about Israel or Jews, because if they are accused of being anti-Semitic, that just proves their point.

However, I think that DovBear accurately summed up the joke affair:

  • The joke isn't funny.
  • The joke is poorly told.
  • The joke isn't offensive to Jews. It merely depicts us as smarter than a Taliban warrior. I'd like to meet the Jew who does not consider himself brighter than any Taliban.
  • The fact that Jones told a joke starring a smart Jew is no proof that his boss, the president, hates our guts. My dear GOP Jews, I know its tempting to make this leap of logic but the conclusion doesn't follow.

But, if you really feel that the joke is in bad taste or reflects badly on Jews, you should contact the people that told it first, that known anti-Jewish website: Aish HaTorah.

(Hat Tip: DovBear Comment from JustAJew)

No comments: