Culture, Global, Identity, Justice, Mishegas, Politics

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

Hey kids, are you looking for a way to get out of studying for that English test? Take a page from some British Jewish students who boycotted the Shakespeare section of the national English test, and claim antisemitism!

The 14-year-old girls, whose actions were supported by their parents, The Independent said were protesting anti-Semitism in Shakespeare’s portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. The exam questions they refused to answer were actually about The Tempest, a different work of Shakespeare’s.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. I was a physics major in college, and I busted my ass learning quantum mechanics when I could have skipped the test instead, on the grounds that Heisenberg was employed by Hitler.
(Note: The extent to which Heisenberg willingly cooperated with the Nazis is a subject of much historical controversy, inspiring a Broadway play. But so is The Merchant of Venice, which I assume has also played on Broadway.)
And now that I’m a high school teacher, I refuse to grade Regents exams, because we use an assembly-line method, which is totally antisemitic.
Finally, I’m boycotting the Torah, because whoever (or Whoever) wrote it is clearly an antisemite (or a self-hating Jew). I mean, they go out of their way to portray Jews in an unfavorable light, reviving all the tired stereotypes. Look at the evidence: Jacob tricks Esau into selling his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. The Israelites run off with the Egyptians’ gold and silver. And don’t get me started on “an eye for an eye”.

14 thoughts on “If you prick us, do we not bleed?

  1. The kids are 14 years old. It’s difficult at that age to compartmentalize their emotions. Keep in mind though, that the kids are in the United Kingdom, so given the sort of antisemitism that was behind the recently attempted boycotts of Israel by the NUJ and UCU, the students might have been looking for some way to make a stand on hatred in UK society– however misdirected it might have been.
    Anyway, it’s already come up in a Shakespeare blog I sometimes read.
    Oh yes, maybe Heisenberg was employed by the Nazis, but plenty of the other physicists working on quantum mechanics were Jews.

  2. Not only that, all aspiring Jewish astronauts should totally refuse to have anything to do with the space program, seeing as how it was built using the research and contributions of Nazi scientists like Werner von Braun.
    Oh, and we should all boycott schnitzel into perpetuity.

  3. Don’t give me this ‘the UK’ is full of anti-semitism nonsense. I live here. Its fine. The Jewish community is very comfortable and very well integrated. A few boycott attempts (which were not anti semitic in the slightest) doesn’t change anything.

  4. I’m sure that everybody here would be willing to lay down in traffic to support Arab students boycotting an anti-Arab writer.
    But, with Jewish kids–even quixotic ones–they’re just being obnoxious. Right?

  5. I’m sure that everybody here would be willing to lay down in traffic to support Arab students boycotting an anti-Arab writer.
    First of all, I don’t lie down in traffic for anybody- you don’t know where those roads have been.
    Second, this has got nothing to do with race or religion and everything to do with being dopey. Next they’ll be refusing to take spelling tests because English was the language of the British Empire, those pro-Arab Black Paper bastards. Or protest screenings of Lawrence of Arabia because there aren’t enough Jews in it.

  6. “Finally, I’m boycotting the Torah, because whoever (or Whoever) wrote it is clearly an antisemite (or a self-hating Jew). I mean, they go out of their way to portray Jews in an unfavorable light, reviving all the tired stereotypes. Look at the evidence: Jacob tricks Esau into selling his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. The Israelites run off with the Egyptians’ gold and silver. And don’t get me started on “an eye for an eye”.”
    This might sound stupid. But I was just wondering if you really meant this or if you were being sarcastic? Do you really hate the Torah?
    Thanks.

  7. Those kids are being dopey as hell. Agreed. I just hope we can recognize dopeyness, wherever it rears its ugly hear, and not only amongst Jews.

  8. Jos – nobody else has called you on this. Why is the anti-Israel boycott movement in the UK not anti-Semitic? I haven’t studied the issue much. That being said, it does seem to come from a place of holding Israel to a different standard than the rest of the world. “If Hamas shoots rockets at civilians from civlian areas it is resistance, when Israel tries to stop them it is indiscriminate firing into civlian areas.” Please do correct me if I’m wrong…

  9. Yes simon, you are wrong, since the Palestinians are not a sovereign state. Nobody holds terrorists to any standard – that’s why they’re terrorists.

  10. Actually, the UCU ended up pulling out of the boycott because their solicitors informed them that such a boycott would probably violate UK civil rights law, and that the union could be sued into bankruptcy– which tells me that the the boycott was seen as anti-Semitic by some of its better educated supporters.
    Also, I do so much enjoy the arrogance of journalists for BBC and other British press outlets presenting misinformation about the Arab-Israeli conflict and then proceeding to organize a boycott as well.
    I still think the kids’ protest was misdirected and did nothing to confront contemporary antisemitism.

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