Culture, Identity, Politics

Without Helen Thomases, would Abe Foxman still want to be Jewish?

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Kudos to EV’s latest comfort zone-negating comic aimed at the ugly recesses of establishment Jewry’s view of Jews, Judaism, Israel and all those arrayed to wipe us out. Without the specter of Helen Thomases under the bed, would the previous generation of Jews have cared to be Jewish? Or would they, like our generation, opt-in and opt-out as merited by compelling relevance (or lack thereof) to our lives? And in searching for a way to make Jewish life compelling against a competitive array of interesting options, would Abe Foxman really mount an anti-Semite’s head as a beacon for all young Jews to see?

17 thoughts on “Without Helen Thomases, would Abe Foxman still want to be Jewish?

  1. Vintage Eli Valley: anti-Semitism rears it’s ugly head once again and somehow it’s Israel’s fault for daring to draw attention to it. Classic blame-the-victim stuff right here. Eli’s whole schtick is so tired; he no doubt continues to think he’s being edgy and making the Jewish establishment take a hard look at itself and ask tough questions and blah blah blah. His comics are basically paint-by-numbers at this point; no imagination whatsoever. His contributions are a stain on an otherwise great publication; Forward editors: please drop this clown.

  2. and yo, for real: wtf is this question supposed to mean?
    “Without the specter of Helen Thomases under the bed, would the previous generation of Jews have cared to be Jewish?”
    I “get” the standard Jewschool line, i.e. establishment Jewry “needs” antisemites to stay in business; all these organizations allegedly aimed at combatting antisemitism actually dread the prospect of antisemitism’s demise; moreover, these orgs actually are the CAUSE of antisemitism, etc, etc. Totally offensive and wrong, but I “get” it. I’ve been around this blog long enough to have picked up on this theme.
    But what is this about the “previous generation”? Are you talking about our parents’ generation? Like, the ones whose parents were actually gassed and who maybe had, I dunno, a legitimate fear of antisemitism? Are you suggesting that community affiliation was stronger back then due solely to the “Helen Thomases” of the world? Srs questions; I seek some clarification. (Forgive me if I’m making assumptions about your age).

  3. “Classic blame-the-victim stuff right here.”
    Rootlesscosmo, do you see Jews only as victims? Are we never the instigators? And even when we are the victims, would you recognize that maybe we play it up and/or manipulate the situation just a bit for political gain?

  4. I’d rather move beyond the victim/perpetrator dichotomy. What Valley’s getting at here–and I think the strip is hilarious in its grotesqueness–is the idea that circling the wagons isn’t the only way to encourage involvement in the Jewish community. In fact, for Jews of my generation, it’s not really working. What we need to do show Jews what vital Jduaism looks like and tell Jews why Judaism–persecutors and victimization aside–is worth being involved with on its own. Let Judaism stand and shine for what it is and I’ll get all hard and start making Jewish babies like crazy.

  5. >“Without the specter of Helen Thomases under the bed, would the previous generation of Jews have cared to be Jewish?”
    What a deliciously obnoxious way to smear an entire generation of people. Quite a feat!
    I’m trying to think of some analogous defamation with which to demean the ‘current generation of Jews’…. but every example that comes to mind is as crude and dishonorable as the one written above. So I’ll pass.

  6. rootless — Fear of anti-Semitism is legitimate, but it just doesn’t drive my Jewishness, or that of the majority of my generation according to studies ad nauseum. I like Eli Valley’s comics because the legitimate concerns of the previous generation are preyed upon by leadership with their heads so deep in their own fears they can’t focus on the positive, empowering, good things about being Jewish. Young Jews are plugging out, but all our leadership can talk about is the next posthumous victory to Hitler. EV’s comics are necessary political charicatures in an otherwise self-validating communal conversation.

  7. I guess my disagreement with some of these other posters comes down to how best to treat high-profile anti-Semitic incidents in the media. I believe (as does, apparently, the ADL and Israeli gov’t) that incidents such as Helen Thomas’ outburst need to be highlighted and vigorously fought. Others apparently believe the solution is to ignore them.
    Of all the lessons we can actually learn from the aforementioned “previous generation” of Jews, I think the dangers or ignoring blatant anti-Semitism in the media is high on the list.

  8. except her statements were not made “in the media” and her reporting never carried any anti-semitic sentiment. what’s more, her own POLITICAL opinions do not make her anti-semitic. that’s the point. she was the victim of a witch hunt. We can abhor her political opinions, but she has the right to them. She didn’t say that Jews should go back to the gas chambers. she didn’t say Hitler was right. She didn’t say push them into the sea. She spoke on some yid’s cell phone camera who proceeded to spread it around the internet and then she was made into an example. that is not fighting anti-semitism. nor did her statements signal any dangers of any kind.

  9. rootless — I propose not ignoring, but being less charicatures of ourselves perhaps. Maybe this is a better example: Today the Abe Foxman issued an official statement to, of all the most awful anti-Semites in the world worthy of spending time on, the rock music legend Roger Waters, for using dollar signs near a Magen David at concert. Foxman and Waters’ correspondence even sounds civil. Apparently, Abe Foxman had no fiercer enemies of Semites out there to fight, nor pressing cases of discrimination against Jews or non-Jews. What a joke.

  10. Helen Thomas was “the victim of a witch hunt”!?!
    haha man I don’t care what you feel about the ADL, Foxman, Helen Thomas, the taste of Coke Zero…but ^^^THIS^^^ man…okay dude. SMH.

  11. she absolutely was the victim of a witch hunt. if her journalism had integrity then she would not have been fired had it not been for the active webbased campaign to make that video viral. that video never needed to be turned into anything other than a crazy old lady spouting an offensive opinion. it never had to bring her journalistic integrity into question. anyone familiar with her achievments and her work doesn’t have to question her integrity. did you see the videos that ended in her losing her job? it was ridiculous. prove to me she wasn’t such a victim. prove to me the campaign to make that video viral didn’t cause an important figure in american journalism and american women’s history to lose her job, which she did quite well.
    how many Zionists think that Palestinians should be transfered and keep their jobs? people have offensive ideas. get over it. what i can’t get over it your consistent pompousness. it never fails to give me a stomach ache.

  12. what i can’t get over it your consistent pompousness. it never fails to give me a stomach ache.
    I agree with you 100% Helen Thomas got a raw deal, and I don’t know how that rabbi sleeps at night, after ruining her career and her legacy for no reason at all.
    But, be fair. Some of the most pompous people I’ve ever “met” live in this forum (perhaps I’m guilty of that too.) And, plenty of those pompous writers are you friends. Be fair.

  13. I’m not a huge fan of Abe Foxman(see the film “Defamation), or of “anti-anti-Semitism” as the basis of Jewish identity, but when hatred rears its head in high places I’m glad that we have people on the case. Those who suggest that HT was the victim of a witch hunt would in all likelihood, if urinated upon, insist that it was only raining.
    HT was no victim any more than Dr. Laura or Michael Richards were when they dropped the N-bomb.

  14. the difference is clear. the video distributed around the internet led the viewers to a specific, unwarranted, conclusion. again. we can abhor her views, and any rational person should (just as rational people should abhor any occurrence of unnecessary population transfer based on race, creed, ethnicity or religion), but the question comes down to integrity in professional performance and if one has offensive views that do not effect their work are people with offensive views who still deserve to keep their jobs. political opinions are subjective. I don’t like hers, but she was still a sound journalist.

  15. The witch hunt continues! When will they leave this poor woman alone?!!
    Helen Thomas: ‘Congress, White House, Hollywood, Wall Street … owned by the Zionists’
    (Added irony alert: the president of the Society of Professional Journalists, whose website still advertises the Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement, is named “Hagit Limor” — among the most conspicuously Israeli names I’ve ever heard.)

  16. I think a better question is when will this poor woman leave the Jews alone? How are we supposed to run our octopus tentacled Zionist power grabs with her blabbing all about it in the mainstream press?

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