Stinking Jews or Just Jews?

The term, “stinking Jew” is not a recent derogatory name for Jews.

In fact, it was quite popular to use this term in World War II Nazi Germany.

In Russian, they might say, “a stinking zhidovka.”

In German, they might say, “stinkender Jude.”

When Anti-Semites used the words, “stinking Jew,” it was another perfect way to belittle, shame, isolate and, perhaps, even blame Jews for something that has no actual basis.

Nowadays, and even back then, a smell is and was something that can be in the eye of the beholder (or more correct to say, in the nose of the beholder.  If we’re really trying to be precise…in the political agenda of the beholder.) 

Let’s face it, there hasn’t been a genetic discovery of some mysterious “odorous ailment” among Jews that has yet to be found. 

So, the popular name, “stinking Jew,” can still be found in the vocabulary of public places such as transportation, public schools, and even well-respected airlines. 

A Jewish family and their infant were supposed to catch a flight on American Airlines, because they needed to get home and take care of their eight innocent children. 

Not long after they sat in their seats, they were commanded, without any reason, to leave the plane

On their way out, the traumatized couple were told that they had body odor.

The funny thing was, nobody specifically was singled out by the airline employees as being the source of the supposed smell.

They didn’t give any details. 

It was all very vague as to who specifically had the body odor. 

The humiliated Jewish man, Yossi Adler, was drained and confused as he spoke to one of the airport employees. 

He asked them questions, rightfully trying to figure out how, when, and where he was supposed to get home to his eight children. 

The airline employee responded with a very flat, detached tone, very emotionless. 

It was as if he could care less that some Jews were being kicked out because of an Anti-Semitic incident. 

“You have to calm down,” the employee said in this drab tone. 

“I have to calm down?” Mr. Adler asked, in a shaky voice. 

“I have eight children at home,” he tried to emphasize. 

The conversation between him and this automaton of an employee went nowhere.

Then, the employee had the audacity to ask, again in the same ho-hum manner as if he were discussing changing socks, “Now, you told me for religious reasons you don’t shower.”

I won’t get into details of what poor Yossi responded. 

All I can say was that he was extremely shocked and humiliated. 

Let’s face it, it’s obvious that Yossi did not tell him that they didn’t shower out of some religious custom.

There is a video recording of the conversation, and nowhere did Yossi mention not bathing due to religious reasons. 

The family was so ashamed, having nobody to back them up, they decided to take the matter into their own hands by asking people if they smelled bad. 

People would confusedly answered them, “No,”

Not one person said that they were giving off any odor.

If this happened to any other race, or religious group, the company would have been sued and probably closed already.

Instead, this is just another opportunity for the media to basically say, “Here, I told you Jews stink.”

You can look at some of the Anti-Semitic comments about this story in different news outlets, such as “he’s a typical Jew,” and “stinking Jews,” and other comments that are too explicit to be written. 

This is an opportunity for Anti-Semitism to rear its head in the media once again. 

As far as what I will do as a Jew, I can for sure say that I will not fly American Airlines ever again, and I hope that any Jew would do the same. 

Let’s not support Anti-Semitism. 

To me, American Airlines has crossed the line, or shall we call it, “Anti-Semitic Airlines.”

About the Author
Anat Ghelber was born in Israel and moved to Texas when she was 13. She experienced anti-Semitism in public schools there. She moved to New York City when she was 20, and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She started submitting articles to the Jewish Voice two years ago. In her free time enjoys writing poems. She's also a certified Yoga teacher with 200 hours of training who teaches in a donation-based studio called Yoga to the People in New York City.
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