The Shmooze

What’s the Deal With Celebrities and Anti-Semitism?

By Nathan Burstein

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

Who knows what evil lies in the hearts of celebs? In the age of cell-phone cameras, radio talk shows and YouTube, the answer is: nearly everyone.

At least in the last couple weeks, that evil has been a familiar one: anti-Semitism, with everyone from Charlie Sheen to (allegedly) Julian Assange to a Japanese rock band making what were at best questionable statements (sartorially or otherwise) about Jews and/or Nazis.

The Shmooze, in recent days, has come to resemble nothing so much as a running tally of anti-Semitic celebrity behavior, as well as a log of other celebrities making excuses for the anti-Jewish ranters and ravers.

What gives? (Or as our editorial yesterday asked, “Who raised these guys?”) A quick scan of the news rules out the normal explanations. Relations between Israel and its neighbors are relatively calm, for once, with the main drama in the Middle East unfolding in repressive Arab police states. The global economy, sadly, is still limping along, but there haven’t been any specific developments that would stir up the old hatreds and conspiracy theories.

It’s not like anti-Semitism ever fully goes away, though it’s blessedly far less prevalent now than in most of history. We are relieved and grateful that John Galliano was so quickly and widely condemned, and that Christian Dior fired him. Still, anti-Jewish sentiment has been popping up in strange and unsettling places, whether from the mouths of former Hollywood A-listers (ahem, Mel Gibson), in the ramblings of CNN bloviators, or in photos of Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband, Jesse James.

What’s unusual about the most recent eruptions of anti-Semitism has been their rapid-fire timing. Even Gawker, most famous of late for revealing embarrassing political sex scandals, has been inspired to wonder, “How the Hell is Anti-Semitism Having a ‘Moment’?”

The Shmooze wishes there were a simple answer, but mostly, we’re hoping that the moment will pass. And quickly.

In the meantime we have plenty to write about.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Julian Assange, John Galliano, Jews, Jesse James, Charlie Sheen, Celebrity, Anti-Semitism, Nazis

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!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • 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.