In a previous post, Pariahdog explained the historical context and meaning of the anti-Semitic joke told by John Whitbeck to warm up a Republican crowd in September, and Whitbeck’s dismissive response to the outrage it generated. The joke itself embodied the historically lethal ideas of deicide, replacement theology and the “greedy Jew” stereotype: “And by anti-Semitic, I mean really anti-Semitic. It’s about Jews presenting the pope with the bill for the Last Supper, so it packs two of the most toxic anti-Jewish stereotypes into a single punchline: God-killers! Cheapskates!” In their ignorance, or perhaps their cultural hostility, Whitbeck and his supporters have tried to claim that the offense taken to both his joke and his non-apology was manufactured and politically motivated.
Now, the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn has given us a contrasting incident involving accusations of anti-Semitism.
In the Crown Heights incident, the offense was caused by New York Councilman-elect Laurie Cumbo when she made a statement about a recent cluster of “knockout game” attacks allegedly perpetrated by African American youth against Jews. In her initial statement, Cumbo suggested that resentment over “Jewish success” was a factor in the attacks, explaining that in conversations with constituents during her campaign “many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes.” The Anti-Defamation League responded:
“…we are troubled by the incoming councilwoman’s sentiments, particularly her comment about resentment over Jewish economic success, which evokes classic anti-Semitic stereotypes.”