Ben Shapiro doesn’t care about anti-Semitism
I know. Shocking. Who would have thought it?
Ben Shapiro has a history of performative outrage over “anti-Semitic” ideas like disagreeing with the far-right, genocidal policies of the Israeli government, or acknowledging that Israel has a big lobbying presence in the United States. He also has a history of ignoring or excusing actual anti-Semitism, like Trump’s conflation of all Jewish people and the nation of Israel or, more recently Joe Rogan’s claim that, and I quote, “”The idea that Jewish people aren’t into money is ridiculous. It’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza!”
I hope nobody reading these needs this explanation, but the idea that Jews are greedy is a very old stereotype that has been used for literal centuries to encourage hatred and distrust of Jewish people. Claiming that money is a part of Jewish culture the way Pizza is a part of Italian culture? Fucking hell, that’s like Ye West saying he thinks learning about Hannukah comes with “financial engineering”. In case it wasn’t clear, money is a part of most cultures I’ve heard of, and comments about Jews being “into money” are a bit rich, coming from a guy who got paid $200 million for his bigoted, reactionary podcast. Still, at least Shapiro condemned Ye’s antisemitism, and scolded Candace Owens for defending him. I know Rogan didn’t say that he loves Hitler, but surely Ben Shapiro would be upset by this, right?
Well, sort of.
See, Shapiro was bothered by it. If he wasn’t, why would have have had a private conversation with Rogan about it? But while Ilhan Omar, who did not say the same thing Rogan did, was worthy of condemnation even after she clarified her meaning and publicly apologized, Rogan was just misunderstood, and he gets a pass.
So, I think jokes are different than than, you know, actual honest observations. I did talk with Joe a little bit about this yesterday, and he was saying what I sort of suggested he was saying yesterday, which is everybody likes money and Jews are good with it. And, you know, again, that is a very different thing than, I think, how it came out on the air when Joe was talking about it.
I will say that there is a difference between making stereotypical comments and having a stereotypical worldview. When you talk about full damaging racism or antisemitism, it is actions that are tied to a full scale worldview that are truly damaging. Now, there can be prominent people who say things that then tie into that worldview or give credence to that worldview unintentionally by saying things. And that’s a problem. But the bigger problem is the worldview itself.
So, to take an example, if you make a stereotypical comment about Black people in a joke to a friend, is that good? No, it’s not good. It’s ugly and it’s bad and shouldn’t do it. Does that make you a racist for the rest of your life? No. It means you did a bad thing. It means you said a bad, racist thing. Does it mean that you even buy into a full scale racist world? No. And I think we’ve lost all nuance in this discussion. It’s true with antisemitism too. If somebody makes a Jewish joke, is that the same thing as somebody buying into a broad scale program with regard to Jewish conspiracy theory?
The reason why people’s radar went up when Joe said that is because when you say Jews love money, this does tie into a broader actual worldview about Jews, which is Jews are greedy and Jews are terrible, and they use their greed and horror in order to control world finance. And because they use their greed and horror to control world finance, they’re victimizing surrounding groups. This is, sort of, left-wing view of what Jews are – Jews are evil capitalist, predatory threats who are disproportionately successful because Jews are bad. Right, so, when you say things like Jews love money, it ties into that in one area. It can also tie into old-style religious antisemitism – the whole idea that Jews would sell out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver or stuff like that. You can see how it would tie into broader antisemitic worldviews. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that your comment was meant that way or that it does tie into that.
And I don’t think that the best way to fight racism or antisemitism is to fight these specific comments all the time. Or – you can mention them, you can point out that they’re bad and wrong. But to waste all of your ammo on that, as opposed to the broader worldview I think is a serious problem. It’s the broader worldview that needs to tumble down because that broader worldview sometimes allies itself with fellow travelers who believe things like capitalism is indeed bad, disproportionately successful people are bad and greedy, and that crosses streams of the antisemitic conspiracy theory that I suggested before. And now you have a real antisemitic movement. That’s really dangerous.
He didn’t mean it like that, guys. He just meant to say that Jews are good with money. Nothing wrong with that, right?
So yeah. Ben Shapiro doesn’t actually care about anti-Semitism. Huge, I know. Talking about conservative hypocrisy feels like beating a dead horse, but unfortunately this particular horse won’t stay dead. Hell, Shapiro even coined the term “JINO” – Jew In Name Only – to apparently distinguish between “good” Jews and “bad” Jews. It seems that how strongly he objects to anti-Semitic remarks depends on how friendly the person in question is to his cause (Rogan is pretty conservative on a lot of stuff), and how powerful the person is (Rogan is the biggest podcast host in the world, whereas Candace Owens works for Shapiro). The only principle to which he holds true, is his love of the hierarchy maintained by capitalism.
Pierce R. Butler says
… payed …?
(Otherwise, I agree with all of the above – except for never having watched/listened to either Shapiro or Rogan.)
Abe Drayton says
Thanks for catching that!