9 comedy bits Lena Dunham critics need to call anti-semitic

image via youtube
image via youtube

It was disappointing, but  not  surprising that the Daily Show’s incoming host, Trevor Noah, be labeled anti-Semitic. He’s not, but that’s never stopped the Anti Defamation League .  Of his 8,828 tweets, two have been called anti-Semitic—that’s .0002 of his twitterfeed. In fact, one jokes about Israel’s hawkishness ( not Jews’ )  and one joke references the Holocaust (which  he acknowledges and does not endorse). While Noah says his mother is half Jewish, he is not perceived to be Jewish, for several reasons, including some quite racist ones. And as a perceived non-Jew, he lacks the Member of the Tribe protection that goes along with mocking your own.

The same cannot be said, however, of the other major alleged anti-Semite in the headlines, Lena Dunham.  The outraged response to Lena Dunham’s Dog or Jewish Boyfriend: a quiz,in the March 30 New Yorker would have you believe Dunham penned a chapter in a modern-day Mein Kampf. The comedian and writer is far from anti-Semitic. Dunham is doing what so many comedians have done and will continue to do: mock their own. When Larry David or Woody Allen do it, they are geniuses. When Lena Dunham does it, she’s an anti-Semite. Dunham, who was raised in a very New York secular Jewish world (much like I was—full disclosure) and her mother is Jewish. So, she is between fully Jewish and half Jewish, depending on how you define Jewishness. Religious Jews say you’re a Jew if your mother’s Jewish. My own standard is JEH, Jewish Enough for Hitler.   Dunham’s boyfriend is Jack Antonoff,  the lead singer and songwriter of Bleachers and lead guitarist of the indie rock band Fun–and a Jew.

Continue reading…

 

Urban Outfitter’s greatest racist, sexist, tasteless hits

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This week Urban Outfitters sold a great sweatshirt. It said Kent State and had, what appeared to be a blood stain. Everybody except, allegedly, Urban Outfitters saw the sweatshirt as a reference to the blood-stained history of Kent University where, in 1970, the National Guard killed four students and injured 10. Urban Outfitters released an apology, via Twitter, which is really huge. And then they came out with another apology which was surprisingly honest in its acknowledgement of how little their word counted:

this truth does not excuse us from our failure to identify potential controversial products head on. We, as a company who caters to a college-age demographic, have a responsibility to uphold to our customers. Given our history of controversial issues, we understand how our sincerity may be questioned.

Because it turns out, Urban Outfitters has an amazing resume of offensive products under its belt. And to be fair, they take diversity really seriously. They are an equal opportunity offender, whose products have mocked eating disorders, Jews, African Americans, Native Americans. I know I’m leaving someone out, so I apologize. On this week’s Morning Jew, Heather Gold and I talk about these Urban Outfitters blunders, which include a game of “Ghettopoly,” which sounds sooooo fun, full-figured fashion, and  Jewish behinds. Enjoy!

Originally posted on RawStory

What if a Muslim comic said about Jews what Joan Rivers said about Palestinians?

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A week after her death, Joan Rivers remains in the headlines. The exact cause of her death is still being debated. And reports of her star-studded theatrical funeral continue to emerge. Howard Stern delivered the eulogy, Hugh Jackman sang and people like Sarah Jessica Parker, Carolina Herrera, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Kelly Osbourne, Andy Cohen, Donald Trump, and Diane Sawyer paid their respects.

Rivers deserves the attention she is getting. She was hilarious, brave, and an undeniable trailblazer. And the funeral was  a perfect fit.  But I can’t help but wonder how different the event would have been if a Muslim comedian had said about Jews what Joan Rivers recently had said about Palestinians.

In August, when a TMZ reporter approached Rivers at an airport and asked her what she thought of the casualties in Gaza, the comedian responded,

Good. Good. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead. You deserve to be dead. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that. You can’t get rid of Hamas, you have to say you do not recognize them, they are terrorists … They were re-elected by a lot of very stupid people who don’t even own a pencil… They were told to get out and if you don’t get out you’re an idiot. And at least the ones who were killed were the ones with low IQs.

Rivers issued a statement that was more damage control than apology. But, the truth is, it’s not Joan Rivers’ statements, per se, that I find so horrifying. It’s the response, or lack thereof, from Rivers’ peers and the double standard and pervasive dehumanization of Muslims that it reveals. Let’s imagine that there was a very famous  Muslim-American comedian, of Joan Rivers proportions. Then let’s imagine this comedian  had been asked to share his thoughts on an attack which killed over 2,000 Israelis, the majority of whom were civilians. Imagine that the response was,

Good. Good. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead. You deserve to be dead. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that. You can’t get rid of Israel, you have to say you do not recognize them, they are terrorists …

Now, imagine that a month after these statements are made, the comedian dies. Can you imagine the stars mentioned above attending the funeral? Or if attending, not at the very least clarifying that they disagreed with the anti-Jewish statements? Wouldn’t the ADL launch a campaign?

There was, indeed, a very strong response to what Rivers said on social media. One friend of Rivers claims that the comedian received death threats and hired a body guard, though Rivers’ publicist has said she was not aware of this.  Yes, among the social media comment were those that were clearly vitriolic, misogynistic, and/or anti-Semitic, as is often the case in online comments.  In contrast, no respected leaders, no celebrities, no organizations, no parts of any establishment have felt the need to at all dissociate themselves from the hateful comments made by Rivers.

For some reason, most people, even people who are usually intelligent, become incredibly dense when comedy is being discussed or analyzed. So, allow me to clarify a few things. This is not a debate about free speech. Nobody is debating whether Joan Rivers has the legal right to say what she said. This also isn’t an issue of outrageous humor. Comedians trade in transgression, at least the great ones like Rivers.  But Joan Rivers was clearly not joking when she made her comments that the civilians in Gaza “deserve to be dead.” Perhaps she was being slightly hyperbolic. But she was not being sarcastic or ironic. She was being genuine. Her comments were offensive, but for what? They were shocking in their cruelty. But did they challenge anyone’s ideas or prejudices or go against the status quo? No. They confirmed and perpetuated them.

I am sad that Joan Rivers is dead. I don’t speak ill of the stupendous woman and comedian. It’s the the U.S. media and entertainment establishment’s blind spots about its own prejudice and callousness that shocks me in the aftermath of Joan River’s death.

Watch Heather Gold and me debate the Joan Rivers controversy on this week’s Morning Jew.

Originally posted on RawStory

Morning Jew Ep. 50: Joan Rivers, Jack the Jewish Ripper & Gwyneth Paltrow


Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the headlines and ask: Is it good for the Jews? This week we look at the Air Force’s intolerance of atheism; get kind of excited about Jack the Ripper being a Jew; get offended by Gwyneth Paltrow; and discuss what Joan Rivers’ funeral would look like if she had been a Muslim comedian whose statements were about Jews.
Subscribe to get the shows in your inbox plus a nosh at http://morningJewz.com

Also, Ben Stein is nostalgic for when “lynchings of African Americans weren’t rare”

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Ben Stein is a renaissance man. Famous for his role as the attendance-taking teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, he was also a game show host, a speech writer and lawyer for President Nixon and a philanderer. He is a man of contradictions. Socially conservative and in an open marriage. Jewish and doesn’t believe in evolution.

But when it comes to his racism, he’s extremely consistent. Recently, Stein gave an interview with Newsmax in which he totally, and unequivocally, exonerated not only the officer who killed Michael Brown, but the officer (who was actually not a policeman, and explicitly disobeyed police orders to stay in his car) who killed Trayvon Martin. For Stein, both Brown and Martin, not their innocent executioners, were the guilty ones.

Stein disputes the fact that Brown was not armed:  ”I mean he wasn’t unarmed; he was armed with his undoubtedly strong, scary self.” See! If he didn’t want to get shot, Brown shouldn’t have gone out with…. himself.

Also, if you want to not be executed by the police, simply change your tone.  In both the Martin and Brown case,

it’s the very large, so-called victim attacking the policeman who winds up dead…. I mean if they didn’t just, would not attack the policeman, if they would just talk to the policeman in a reasonable way instead of attacking the policeman, nobody would be dead.

(FYI, Trayvon Martin was 158 pounds. George Zimmerman weighs 178 pounds at the time. But, yes, Martin was taller. None of this is relevant but it just shows how Stein’s theory lack coherence and how is premise is not based on reality)

So, Ben Stein’s advice to young Black men: don’t leave the house because you are scary. But if you do… use your words.

Stein is concerned for the real victims and expressed fear that the Justice Department’s investigation into the killing of Brown would result, not in justice, but in a ”lynching jury.” Choice words.

Luckily, Stein doesn’t just use lynching as a metaphor. He addresses it literally:

There was a time, even in my youth … when lynchings of African Americans were not that incredibly rare. Now the lynchings are of the police, and it’s just an outrage!

Ahhh… the good old days. Before lynching of African Americans was replaced by the lynching of police officers. Not sure when any police officer in the United States was ever lynched. But it makes a great soundbite (lie).

To hear more about Ben Stein’s racism police fetish, watch this week’s Morning Jew.

Originally posted on RawStory

Why do Holocaust survivors have more empathy for Palestinians than Seth Rogen?

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Happy 50th Day anniversary of Israel’s assault on Gaza!

Guys, I’m really torn. This weekend, two open letters were published which address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One condemns, “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.” The other one argues that, “Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities.”

I’m trying to figure out which of the two letters is more relevant and helpful. Bear with me, won’t you, as I look at the context and the content of these two letters before coming to an informed decision.

The Authors

The letter Condemning Israel:  40 Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and 287 children and grandchildren of Jewish Holocaust survivors.

The founding of Israel, as well as its policies, are based on the notion of self-defense and “never again.” The Holocaust almost wiped out the Jews. And it could happen again. That’s why Israel does what it does. If there’s one group of people who you would think this idea would work on it would be the very people who were almost wiped out during the actual Holocaust. And yet, the people who signed they letter realize that their trauma doesn’t justify the policies of Israel. So, that is pretty significant.

The Letter Condemning Hamas: 190 actors, directors, producers and at least one “mogul” in Hollywood.

None of the signatories survived the Holocaust, spent time in Concentration Camps or witnessed the Holocaust. But some of them are important Jewish voices. Seth Rogen, for example, boldly took on the theme of the overbearing Jewish mother in film Guilt Trip. Bill Maher helps bridge the dangerously widening gap between misogynist domestic abusers and islamophobes. Among the non-Jews, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are known for their commitment to peace over violence on and off the screen, Tom Arnold is really smart, and Kelsey Grammer endorsed Michele Bachmann, whose commitment to Zionism is unwavering (since Jews need to go back to Israel in order for The Rapture to happen after which all the Jews who don’t accept Jesus will burn in eternal damnation.

The Message

The letter Condemning IsraelIsrael’s actions are inexcusable, and so is the United States support for Israel:

As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians….

….. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.

The Letter Condemning Hamas: Hamas’s actions are inexcusable, and children are the future.

While we stand firm in our commitment to peace and justice, we must also stand firm against ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas’ charter, Article 7 of which reads, “There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” The son of a Hamas founder has also commented about the true nature of Hamas.

Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields.

The Significance and Relevance Continue reading “Why do Holocaust survivors have more empathy for Palestinians than Seth Rogen?”

Morning Jew Ep 42: Circumcision Debate, Aushwitz Selfies & Auschwitz Wall Art

Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the headlines and ask: Is it good for the Jews? This week we talk to Michael Wex again about the one issue Heather & Katie can’t see eye to eye on: the origins of circumcision. Plus why are people taking selfies at Concentration Camps and why were Walmart and Sears selling concentration camp decor?

Morning Jew Ep. 41: Born to Kvetch author Michael Wex

 

Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the headlines and ask: Is it good for the Jews? This week we get Biblical on your tush and ask Yiddish, historical and religious expert Michael Wex some critical questions: What’s the difference between Judaism and Christianity? Why do so many Jews sound alike? And why are there so many Yiddish words for dick?

Morning Jew Ep. 40: Win Ben Stein’s Open Marriage, Hobby Lobby + Facebook manipulates

Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the headlines and ask: Is it good for the Jews? This week that strange mix of John Hughes cameo star and traditional family values shonda Ben Stein creepily gushes about girlfriends , the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby is handed down and Facebook learns how to scale passive aggression

Morning Jew 39: Luis Suarez, Dating a Spanish futbolista & Nazi Jazz Hands!

Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the headlines and ask: Is it good for the Jews? Today we return to the World Cup and discuss Javier Suarez: the bite that was felt around the world. Plus we talk about the soccer team called “The Jews” by its fans, and the soccer player whose grandparent was a holocaust survivor. And guess which Jewish dated a closeted Spanish soccer player!