By Pinny Arnon, Times of Israel
The outsized role Jews play in multiple fields can be explained, and Jews – tasked with the mission of spreading light – are not above criticism.
Dave Chappelle is right. There ARE a lot of Jews in Hollywood. There are also a lot of Jews on Wall Street, and in real estate, and in medicine, and in academia. Chappelle stated a fact in his recent SNL monologue. No need to get ruffled or bent out of shape.
Of course, there may have been a certain innuendo in Chappelle’s factual statement. It may have seemed as though he was justifying Kanye’s antisemitic outburst or Kyrie’s antisemitic post. There is a risk in doing so, even if it is only in the context of satire or humor.
The implication is that Jews have a disproportionate degree of control and influence, and therefore they should be subject to critique when their power is wielded unfairly. This is not an unreasonable assertion. Those in power should indeed be liable to criticism and censure. The problem is when that criticism is focused on one’s race, religion, or ethnicity. At that point, the commentary becomes bigotry and bias.
Dave Chappelle may be correct in alluding to the possibility that Kanye has valid complaints against those Hollywood powerbrokers who have somehow manipulated or stifled either his career or the career or other artists with whom he is acquainted. To go “DEATH CON 3 on the Jews,” however, is patently antisemitic, even if some of those with whom Kanye has authentic gripes happen to be Jewish. And to offer justification for such bigotry is certainly problematic.
This is not to say that Chappelle’s social commentary is analogous to Kanye’s blatant antisemitism or to Kyrie’s irresponsible posting of discriminatory materials. Rather than knee-jerk accusation and overreaction, it is worth responding to Chappelle’s comments rationally and objectively.