Friday, February 08, 2013

More about anti-semitism in the U.S.

First off, accusations of anti-semitism should be taken seriously and not downplayed. That said, sometimes folks go overboard in taking things that are just statements of fact and acting like they're anti-semitic statements.

One of the prime ones has to do with people who are Jewish and Hollywood. Objectively speaking, there are lots of people who are Jewish who are part of the Hollywood system, pure and simple. Adam Sandler even referenced it in his Hannukah song, where he says "So many Jews are in show business, Tom Cruise isn't but I think his agent is":

That many people who are Jewish are employed in Hollywood is an objective fact, like saying that there are a lot of African Americans in sports in the United States. What you do with that objective fact is what makes the statement either anti-semitic or not anti-semitic. To use that fact to say that people who are Jewish are therefore manipulating the media, that they rule the media, that they're part of some sort of conspiracy to do x,y, or z, is classically anti-semitic. Just saying, well, that's interesting, but it doesn't necessarily mean much, isn't.

I would say that there are very good reasons why there are lots of people who are Jewish in showbusinesses and Hollywood, and they have to do with the jobs that were historically open to people who were Jewish in Europe. Entertainment was permitted, and with the birth of the silver screen in the United States it provided an opportunity for folks who were involved in the theater to use those skills to make it big. There's really no conspiracy in that.

*on edit: I mean, you could easily look at the success of different people who are Jewish in Hollywood as being a good story of people who were the underdogs, who didn't have a lot of money on the East Coast and who worked really hard, coming out West and getting the status that they deserved.

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