The prime way that anti-Semitism spreads — as in many other oppressions — is by word of mouth. That’s why maligning is not merely semantics.
“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” means: if you have enough a sense of your self-worth, insults don’t bother you. That does not mean that words can’t hurt or even kill.
Bullies use words especially against people who never were given a chance to build enough self-esteem. And they often don’t keep it at words. Mean words therefore generally hurt. Thus, Jewish Law outlawed the use of them.
Now, “decent” “educated” people learned how to be politically correct, avoid using wrong words. Prejudices and worse come out encrypted. So, some people use “Rothschild, Cohen” as dog whistles, codes for “Jews.” The Rothschilds have messed with our weather, news, money again.
Mel Gibson went from famous to infamous when he shot a movie on the last day of Jesus that was so gruesome that it was feared to ignite the anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews as “deicides,” killers of G^d [sic]. He dismissed the concern. He did nothing wrong, supposedly and wasn’t worried.
But, when the wine is in, the wit is out. So, when he was stopped for drunken driving, he started cursing one of the police with anti-Semitic slurs. He was shunned by many since but vowed to restore his reputation.
Apparently, that time has come with his announcement that he is about to make a movie about a super-rich family by the name of Rothchild — he cleverly dropped the S and declares that they’re not related to the Rothschilds. He could also have named them the Kohans and claimed that they were not Jewish either. (Or put on a Mohamet and claimed that he’s not a Muslim.) Who does he think to fool?
US Democratic religious Buttigieg was immediately confronted when he used the word Pharisee despairingly. He was not aware of it being insulting for Jews and after initially declaring that it can be used for hypocrites, he quickly learned he was wrong, apologized and won’t do it again.
The generally beloved (but not by all) RC Pope Francis has recently been requested to begin teaching against any lewd use of the word Pharisee.
Don’t assume that this is an exclusively US or Catholic offense. A judge, a couple of decades ago, had to force the leading and most authoritative Dutch dictionary (Van Dale) to change its lemma that characterized Jew as usurer. But it kept — unchallenged — circumscribing anti-Semite as someone who hates Jews for their world power [sic]. Adding the adjective “supposed” would be fitting. Until today it defines Pharisee as hypocrite — without qualification. NB: At “homo” it reads: (pejorative) poof. At the N-word it stipulates: (offensive). Anti-Semitism is everywhere.
So, what kind of law should be on the books to stop the spread of hatred against any oppressed group of people? I would say: two types. The first law should be one against slighting, demeaning, hurting any group of people. When I grew up in the Netherlands, insulting was illegal.
The second must be a set of laws, fine-tuned to the effects of specific oppressions. You cannot demean any vulnerable group of people (like blue-collar workers, women, kids, non-Whites). You cannot make any vulnerable group of people (like GLBTQAIs, women, Jews) feel unsafe. You cannot dis-empower any vulnerable group of people. Etc.
Freedom of Speech must have limits if we want to live in a world where innocent people are not hurt constantly for what they are or for what they are legal to choose doing. Everyone will live more dignified and safely in a society that has outlawed spreading prejudices and hatred.
The song calls the US The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, not The Land of the Freedom to curse and the Home of the Bully.
Stop the Mel Gibsons in the US from spreading [baseless] hatred of Jews.