The Shmooze

Mel, Oliver and "Mad Men": A Month of Real and Fictional Antisemitism

By Sarah Selzer

  • Print
  • Share Share

It’s been quite the month for antisemitic comments and conspiracies. Just as the new ADL report reveals the continual presence of antisemitic incidents in American lives and online, a number of comments from celebs have brought the strain of bias back into the spotlight. First there was Mel Gibson’s alleged antisemitic threats against TMZ founder Harvey Levin, (really, Mel. We’re shocked. Shocked!) providing the backdrop for gossip wars between Radar and TMZ, the latter of which oddly claims the threats were negligible.

Getty

Then, hot on Mel’s bizarre and sad heels came the disheartening comments from Oliver Stone ( for which he has since apologized ), complaining about how the Jew-controlled media overemphasizes the whole “Holocaust” part of the Holocaust. This was particularly distressing news because darn it, Stone makes great movies!

First Helen Thomas, now Oliver Stone. Two people with legitimate political points to make who backfired on themselves by veering into biased territory.

All of this is particularly interesting given its timing, coinciding with the debut of everyone’s favorite early-1960s advertising drama, “Mad Men.” The show has a wonderfully accurate fascination with the antisemitism of yore, with aggrieved WASPy scion Pete Campbell leading the charge. Many of the show’s moments of anti-Jew sneering have seemed like a sophisticated in-joke between Jewish creator and Jewish fans, who almost seem to get a perverse kick out of this old-school bias – a “look what grandpa had to deal with. Oy.” But period trappings aside, “Mad Men” frequently offers us a critique of how much things have in fact not changed. So when it comes to antisemitism, maybe we haven’t come as far as we think.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Oliver Stone, Mel Gibson, Mad Men

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.