Culture, Identity, Justice, Mishegas

Of course John Galliano's lawyer is Jewish…

In the great tradition of Jewish lawyers defending Nazis and Nazi sympathizers (such as the infamous Supreme Court case involving neo-Nazis marching in Skokie, IL in the late 1970s), turns out that the most recent source of drunken and/or drug induced anti-Semitic rants (in the great tradition of Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen), fashion designer John Galliano, has got himself a Jewish lawyer–to be fair, according to the interview linked below, he has been his lawyer for the last seven years.
YNet has published an interview with the Galliano’s lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, who has apparently received threats because representing the former top designer of Christian Dior. You can see the video of the clearly drunken and rather despicable rant at the HuffPost.
My favorite gem from the interview comes right at the beginning.

Your client is accused of making rather harsh anti-Semitic comments. What is your explanation for this?
“I have no explanation. It could happen to any one of us. Anyone can go to a bar, drink a little and get into a fight with someone.”

Yes. It could happen to any one of us. You walk into a bar, become obliterated drunk while under the influence of prescription drugs and then tell the people next to you that you wish Hitler had killed them… Happens all the time.
My personal opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Galliano’s comments are unforgivable and despicable. Not to mention, in the greatest sense of irony, as a homosexual and self-proclaimed “gipsy” (apparently very publicly) he too would have fallen victim (twice) to the egregious and murderous crimes of the Nazi regime. However, I also think it wrong for people to be threatening his lawyer. Justice is justice, and lawyers take an oath to uphold justice; not to pick and choose which parts of the law to uphold. All the more so I find it acceptable for Zerbib to represent Galliano if they have had a professional relationship for nearly a decade.
Ultimately, anti-Semitic sentiment (drunken or sober) will not be eradicated because Jewish lawyers refuse to represent anti-Semites. Again, justice is justice and in free and democratic societies all people have the right to fair representation in court. Plus, if Galliano’s lawyer is going to make arguments in court such as the one quoted above–that any one of us could, in a drug and alcohol induced state, proclaim our love for Hitler–well, I think we can feel comfortable in how this case will go.

15 thoughts on “Of course John Galliano's lawyer is Jewish…

  1. It happens all the time on Purim. A Rabbi will get plastered, forget the difference between Haman and Mordechai, start waving around the king’s signature ring and promising the Jews that their days of unbowed insolence are at an end. All. The time.

  2. Yes. It could happen to any one of us. You walk into a bar, become obliterated drunk while under the influence of prescription drugs and then tell the people next to you that you wish Hitler had killed them… Happens all the time.
    I understand the sentiment of Justin’s post . . . but aren’t there bigger problems in the world than whether or not this fashion designer “gets his due” for having done something that really isn’t that big of a deal, IMHO.

  3. Maybe you should contribute posts about things that are of interest to you, Jonathan. That way, all the important problems are covered 😉

  4. Don’t I babble on enough in the comment section (although I keep telling myself–and you–that I’m done?)
    In any event, what’s the big deal about some dude, who is probably somewhat anti-Semitic, stumbling into a bar and making a drunken comment about Hitler? Isn’t the fact that we’ve forced this guy into making an insincere apology enough?

  5. Long history of fashion designers being nice to Nazis, starting with the employees of Hugo Boss (gotta admit those uniforms they designed were s-nazi) through collaborateurs Coco Chanel and Christian Dior (who designed the frocks for the fraus of the occupying Germans).
    Of course, starting with SA leader Ernst Rohm, there’s a long history of gay males’ fondness for Nazi reagalia (see Tom of Finland) if not Nazism itself.
    Perhaps the most interesting relationships were between the Nazis and lesbian Jewesses Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas who lived through the Shoah without any inconvenience.

  6. It amazing. First it can be a Galliano impersonator. Second If you want to go after bigger fish look at the world around you and seriously comment and publish on things of valuable nature. The fact that this video was sold and the person is getting international revenue from it should tell us is a set-up.

  7. honestly, no one recognizes that this charge demonstrates a larger European particularity – that someone can hurl antisemitic insults in a bar and be arrested for it. Honestly, if such a law against free speech existed in the United States, I can think of at least 20 of my high school classmates I could have brought to trial.

  8. I think my favorite Jewish lawyer story – quite possibly apocryphal – is of the Guantanamo detainee who was disappointed to learn his lawyer wasn’t Jewish. “All the best lawyers are Jewish,” he said (supposedly, anyway).

  9. @J1, is there an understand that we should only post important things? can’t we have a giggle once in awhile?
    @Boxthorn, are you saying Hugo Boss designed the Nazi uniforms? That’s kind of interesting. Do you have a source for this? I’d also love to read more about Gertrude Stein’s relationship with the Nazis… Is surviving the Shoah “without any inconvenience” proof of guilt? Or do you have more information about it.
    @Rene, I’m all for conspiracy theories and am the first to rant about the non-journalistic tendencies of journalism, and I did read some stuff about apparently in different videos he is wearing different clothes which might lend itself to the set-up theory. also, it seems that he also could have been roped into the scenario and that he may have been threatened himself. however, a) this post was tongue in cheek, b) like I said to J1, why must everything be about something “valuable”? can’t blogposts of a mundane nature be a way for people to consider “the world around them?” ultimately, it seems to me that people aren’t thinking about Galliano (or his potential impostor) the fact that the video was sold and generated profit is no proof for a conspiracy–that’s just “journalism” today. I’m more interested in the fact that it is specifically illegal to make comments of the like about the Shoah or Jews. I think it’s fascinating. I also think it’s fascinating that Jews care about whether or not the lawyer in the case is Jewish. Ultimately, I agree with you that this shit doesn’t really matter at all. but the conversation isn’t really about John Galliano and his lawyer, it’s about the emotion behind all of this that drives it. I’m intrigued by the question of why people care. I don’t care if he is a lover of Hitler–ultimately he has no power to do anything about it. So he has a repugnant thought, so does every other human being alive. but the conversation can be had about it nonetheless. why was Helen Thomas interesting to people? I think it’s fair to say that more citizens of the world would be offended by Galliano’s remarks than hers, yet there was a media shitstorm about it. What is this thought police obsession about? why do we not thought police people on repugnant thoughts about other global minorities? the issue is much deeper than trashy media.

  10. @Justin.
    I think there is a misunderstanding. I completely understand the point about your post–and don’t think your post inane at all.
    I just think that what this guy did isn’t a big deal. It doesn’t deserve media attention; he doesn’t need a lawyer for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he a pretty good person. He probably just has some anti-Semitic thoughts (like plenty of people do, just like plenty of people have plenty of unpleasant thoughts, about all sorts of topics) and when he had one too many he said something nasty . . . but really I think the sun would have still risen tomorrow, even if this guy hadn’t been forced into making an inauthentic apology.

  11. he doesn’t need a lawyer for it.
    Yes, he does! People get arrested for stuff like this in Europe. Doesn’t anyone (other than lamarcus) take issue with the fact that this guy can be charged with a crime for having (allegedly) made anti-Semitic comments? Or do y’all just have less expansive notions of free speech than I do?

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