The 'having Jewish friends' defense to anti-Semitism charges

The 'having Jewish friends' defense to anti-Semitism charges
Zola's defense of Dreyfus/Brandeis University

Writing on Gérard de Villiers in the New York Times Magazine, Robert F. Worth observes, “But his reputation as a racist and anti-Semite is largely myth; one of his closest friends is Claude Lanzmann, the Jewish leftist and director of ‘Shoah,’ the landmark Holocaust documentary.”

Marshaling the “some of his best friends are Jewish” argument to thwart charges of anti-Semitism is not an uncommon move. One column for Huffington Post even defends it as logical:

…the notion that someone who is truly an anti-Semite, or who genuinely harbours an innate dislike for Black people or Muslims, could form close and enduring friendships with not just one (it’s “friends” in the plural, remember), but a number of people of that culture/religion/race, surely defies logic.

If someone hates Jews, he or she is unlikely to go out of their way to have them as friends, invite them into their home and voluntarily and frequently mix socially with them. Because how — unless, the bigot in question is an Oscar-standard actor — would they hide their abhorrence and hatred over a sustained period?

How indeed, unless one considers countless historical example where the hatred of “Other” races and religions stemmed from the “curse” embedded in that faith tradition or race.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, anti-Semitism is “Hostility and prejudice directed against Jewish people; (also) the theory, action, or practice resulting from this.”

But, of course, anti-Semites consulting the definition of the term to inform their worldviews is as comical as the Office Space heroes looking up “money laundering” in the dictionary.

Filed under: Judaism

Tags: anti-Semitism

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