Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hate Crime in Brooklyn

A Brooklyn rabbi said Tuesday that he was beaten by two men screaming "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) after a third man snatched his kippa off his head in a New York City subway station, CBS news reported.
According to various news sources, the one who stole the Rabbi's yarmulke was hit by a car while running away. Police have arrested him and charged him with hate crimes. The other two, who beat the Rabbi, have not been arrested.

Also, Deborah Lipstadt has a post on a wretched analogy by a deputy director for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The museum owns a painting which an Austrian woman is laying claim to. The painting was sold during the Holocaust, and the woman claims it was "under duress." The director makes the analogy to the Depression to suggest that the sale was made freely, minimizing to the extent of denying the experience of Jews trying to escape Nazi genocide. Lipstadt writes:
I would suggest that MFA Deputy Director Getchell learn a bit more about history before she makes any more such far fetched, if not, absurd analogies.
Meanwhile, Norm Geras recently noted another wretched analogy. Journalist Brian Keenan compared the destruction in Lebanon to the Holocuast. While the destruction in Lebanon was tragic, it hardly compares in any sense to the Nazi attempt to systematically destroy an entire people.

Why do I include these links in a post about an antisemitic assault in Brooklyn? Like any ideas that have been around so long, antisemitism and racism are deeply embedded in our society. Yet it isn't the case that stereotypes about Jews show up in crime dramas the way that stereotypes about blacks as criminals does. I think because of that, people have a hard time getting a handle on antisemitism. A lot of people, in fact, think it's a thing of the past. But it is deeply ingrained. Here are two examples of how Jewish history is misremembered and manipulated.

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