Social media and the JKK
An annoying thing happened the other day as I was looking for stories on the “Celebrate Israel” parade in New York City. A Google search brought me straight to an “article” on a “Jewish” page. The first sentence of the article referenced Israel’s “grip on New York politicians and its militarization of the NYPD.” That’s when I realized I’d stumbled on fake Jews.
The name of the site is “Jewschool,” which I stupidly assumed was dedicated to educating people on Jewish issues. It’s just one of the many garden variety hate-pages that constitute a virtual Jew Klux Klan on social media. The sites incorporate the words “Jew” and “Israel” into their banner and hang it above a page administrator with a Hebrew surname. That’s the only indemnification they think they need to shed their inhibitions and spew shameless and unrestrained anti-Semitism all over the Internet.
On Facebook, you can’t swing a dead catfish without hitting a page of snotty Jewish students committed to pissing off their parents by insulting Israel while streaming live on social media. It’s their way of saying thank you for their $300,000 college education.
A litany of JKK groups showed up for the “Celebrate Israel” parade – apparently in a competition to prove who hates Israel most — but this time they outdid themselves. Anyone – anyone – showing so much as a scintilla of pride for the Jewish State became a target.
The JKK even heckled and tormented Jewish LGBT marchers, accusing them of oppression and homophobia.
It gets so confusing. With so much irrational venom spewing in so many directions, it’s hard to distinguish the oppressors from the oppressed, the haters from the hated. My instinct is to discount all of it, just as I would discount the tantrum of a child, the grumbling of a street drunk or the indecipherable moaning of Roger Waters.
It’s an obnoxious contest, which is to say it’s a contest to see who can be more obnoxious, offensive and wrong. And yet, they try so hard, it seems rude to simply ignore them. Karen Lehrman Bloch, author of “Passage to Israel,” disagreed. “It’s totally worth outing the hypocrisy of these groups,” she told me.
Fair enough, but if you’re not Jewish, and I’m not, it’s not always easy to challenge the Israel-bashing intentions of someone who is. That’s why I avoid terms like “self-hating Jews,” which is the one thing that seems to get under their skin.
“[They only call us self-hating Jews],” one of them complained, “when we challenge one particular state with an outsized military that dominates and displaces people of color?”
They must have been talking about Iran.
Of course, being un-Jewish gives me a unique perspective. I’m unbiased. I have nothing to advocate for or against. Certainly, I have no Jewish parents to antagonize just to prove how grown up and socially-conscious I am. I’ll leave that to the junior Blumenthals of the world, who act like spoiled teenagers rebelling against their parents by getting nose rings and pretending to be homeless.
It’s all an excuse to inundate social media with words and images that would make the Aryan Brotherhood blush. And it’s impossible to look the other way because it’s popping up unrestricted on newsfeeds and Google searches. We can block advertisers and stalkers, but you can’t block misguided and rotten.
In 1979, when I was in 8th grade, my friends and I showed up to school one morning to find the walls of our predominately-Jewish middle school covered in swastikas. It was such an unforgettably dreadful experience, I still remember every detail of it 35 years later. These days, a child can go online and get the same experience ten times a day.
It senseless to reason with them. With pinpoint accuracy, they can scan the globe searching for atrocities – right past gays hanging from cranes in Iran – and hit a gay pride celebration in Tel Aviv. And they do it with their eyes closed because, well, it doesn’t work any other way.
Mrs. Bloch says we need to call them out, and you don’t need to be Jewish to do that. Throwing a Jewish name in front of the bigoted tirades doesn’t give you immunity from scorn, from me or anyone else. It’s a neat trick; it’s just not working anymore.
John C. Wolfe is the former Chief Speechwriter for NY Gov. George E. Pataki and author of “You Can’t Die: A Day of Clarity” on Amazon/Kindle.