Mar 3rd, 2016
What to make of Bernie Sanders, the Jew. See, there is this whole thing going on among American Jews... is Bernie Jewish enough? Why doesn't Bernie talk about his Judaism more? I'll tell you why, because he doesn't have to. His Jewishness, to any degree, is the two ton gorilla in the room. Take this political cartoon by Pat Bagley. The whole joke depends on a single premise: that all Christians (even the Pope) are anti-Semitic, is a given. And why shouldn't that be a given? Donald Trump was endorsed by the KKK and the Nation of Islam. The only thing those two groups have in common is a virulent anti-Semitism. (Editing for clarity here, I'm not saying that I believe all Christians are anti-Semites, just that the whole premise of the cartoon depends on that assumption. Which makes the joke not funny, at least to me.) Just last month, I had a stranger use the phrase "he Jewed me" as she described a business deal that she felt had not been to her advantage. I had just told her my name, and she still used that expression and she was insulted by my response. I didn't slap her, so I don't know what she was so pissed off about. I only called her out on her appalling manners and overt racism. Is it racism? Because, you know Jews aren't really white. They're...Jews. Don't believe me? Try typing "are Jews" into your Google search engine. Auto-fill suggests the answer: Are Jews White? And how many hits does that get you? A cool 71 million articles. MILLION. And there isn't an easy yes/no answer to be found. Even in Israel, there are questions. Jews: are we a religion? A race? When you search the Ellis Island data base to find your Jewish ancestors, you have to search for Hebrew. I had this conversation many years ago: Jesus was not a Jew, he was merely of Hebraic extraction. I still don't know what that meant. But back to Bernie. Try typing Bernie Sanders into your Google search, and the number one result is "Bernie Sanders Jewish". That must be a less pressing issue than are Jews white, because that comes up with a paltry 11 million hits. Predictably, the headlines are "yes, but not enough", or "yes, but too white", or "yes, but he doesn't like to talk about it." Which is also a matter of media spin, because when he does talk about it, nobody seems to listen. Still, it doesn't matter, because in the American mind, such as it is, Bernie is a Jew, and if there is one thing everyone can agree on, that history has taught us, it's that nobody likes the Jews. Even the delicate dancing around of the problem that Bernie doesn't carry minorities because he's a white male is bullshit. Bernie doesn't carry minorities because he's a Jew and even though Jews were in the forefront of the labor and civil rights movements, when push comes to shove, a white woman is perceived to be a better choice than a Jew of any gender.