Category Archives: antisemitism

Quoted: Lucette Lagnado On Being An Egyptian Jew In 1960s America

Lucette Lagnado

I was a child of the ’60s. No, not those ’60s of peace, drugs, and rock and roll, but rather the period several years prior, when a secret agent named Emma Peel reigned supreme on TV’s The Avengers. [...]

When I caught my first episode in 1965, I assumed it was the black leather that gave Mrs. Peel her courage. At nine years old, I longed for a catsuit of my own. [...] Every week, I watched with a combination of fascination, intrigue, and utter longing, dreaming of growing up to be exactly like her.

It was madness, of course. No child on earth was a more unlikely Mrs. Peel.

At the time, my family was new to America. Even our black and white TV was a recent acquisition – the only vaguely valuable possession in that cramped apartment on 66th street in Bensonhurst, a working-class section of Brooklyn where our neighbors were either Italian Catholics or Jewish like us. But we were Egyptian Jews – Arab and Jewish both. When I was seven, my parents moved me and my three older siblings from Cairo, where we were born. In Egypt, we’d lived in a lovely apartment overlooking a main boulevard and I attended a private French lycée. Several times a week, my father would take me to a Swiss patisserie where we’d sit outdoors enjoying cakes and cold drinks.

But this comfortable way of life was rapidly deteriorating. For decades, Egyptian Jews had been embraced by both Muslims and Christians, managing to flourish in a society that was exceptionally tolerant. But the creation of Israel in 1948 marked the beginning of a Jewish exodus, which intensified after the Egyptian monarchy was overthrown in 1952 by an oppressive military dictatorship. Its leader, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, had decided that Jews were no longer true Egyptians. The security that Jews, foreigners, and other minorities had enjoyed vanished; a Jewish community numbering 80,000 was chased out or pressured to leave.

By 1963, businesses had been confiscated, the once-renowned Jewish hospital had been taken over by the army, and a g general fear — of arrest, of some terrible repercussion for refusing to leave-was pervasive. Most of our friends and relatives had already fled, and my father finally agreed that we too should go.

We were a family of six with only $200 ~ and 26 suitcases. Our papers branded us co as “stateless”-people without a country. Our painful journey led us from Cairo to Paris and ultimately to New York, where we fetched up in a corner of Brooklyn.

Yet Americans had trouble processing us. How could I be both an Arab and a Jew? Had I lived in the Pyramids, they asked, or perhaps in a tent? I learned early on not to tell people I was Egyptian at all.

—”The Avenger” by Lucette Lagnado, part of her memoir The Arrogant Years, originally published in Elle Magazine

A Boy Band In Nazi Gear and A Hitler-’loving’ Fashionista

By Arturo R. García

It’s nothing new, unfortunately, to see “celebrities” doing Nazi cosplay or making anti-Semitic remarks. But Wednesday saw an instance of each making the news, on different sides of the world

The day started with the firing of Christian Dior creative director John Galliano after video surfaced (NSFW) of his drunkenly telling a fellow restaurant patron,  “I love Hitler” and “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed.” This came less than a week after being suspended for verbally harassing a couple in the same anti-Semitic fashion at the same restaurant, La Perle.

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“Chaim Levine,” “Charlie Sheen,” and Racism in Hollywood

by Latoya Peterson

Charlie Sheen is a fucking trainwreck.

I caught about five minutes of an E! True Hollywood Story on the man, and saw references to drug abuse and rehab, domestic violence, and a very pissed off Heidi Fleiss, noting that while Sheen is one of the top paid sitcom stars of our time, she was stuck in jail.

Charlie Sheen has been on a downward spiral for a good while now, and it’s clear from comments like these that things are only going to get worse:

Both Today and GMA asked Sheen, who says he underwent private rehab at home, if he is now on drugs. As he told the latter, “Yeah, I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen! It’s not available, because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off, and your children will weep over your exploded body. … I woke up and decided, you know, I’ve been kicked around, I’ve been criticized. I’ve been this ‘Aww, shucks’ guy with this bitchin’ rock-star life, and I’m finally going to completely embrace it, wrap both arms around it and love it violently. And defend it violently through violent hatred.”

I could normally care less about the troubles of Charlie Sheen, but one of his recent verbal misfires is interesting on a few different levels. Sheen referred to Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre as Chaim Levine in an angry open letter, protesting the cancellation of the show, widely rumored to be because of Sheen’s erratic behavior. After receiving pushback for his remarks, Sheen offered this gem to TMZ:

While Charlie spilled his guts to TMZ yesterday about his hatred for Chuck Lorre, he referred to the “Two and a Half Men” creator as Chaim Levine — the Hebrew translation of CL’s birth name — which many people felt Charlie used in a mean-spirited attempt to denigrate the Jews.

Now Charlie tells TMZ … “I was referring to Chuck by his real name, because I wanted to address the man, not the bulls**t TV persona.”

FYI — Chuck’s birth name is Charles Levine … and his Hebrew name is Chaim.

Charlie added, “So you’re telling me, anytime someone calls me Carlos Estevez, I can claim they are anti-Latino?”

Oh, readers, where do we start? Continue reading

Epic Fa-La-La-La-Fail Of The Week: ‘Tis The Season To Be A ‘White Separatist’

By Arturo R. García

So, what to make of Mark Eliseuson (as ID’ed on Angry Asian Man), who chose to show the holiday spirit at his Idaho home with this hooded snowman and accompanying noose? Racist? Idiot? Racist Idiot? Or, as suggested on NPR’s story about him, Misunderstood Patriot?

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Epic Fail Of The Week: The ‘PC Master Race’

By Arturo R. García

Yesterday a reader e-mailed us with a tip (emphasis mine):

Recently I’ve begun to notice in the PC Gaming scene this really irritating meme going around that basically consists of people calling themselves part of the PC Master Race and acting like that they’re nearly untouchable to anyone who even thinks to play on a console [XBox 360, Playstation 3, etc.]. Now, the attitude itself that PC Gaming is superior has actually been around for quite a long time and I’ve always considered it nothing more than part of the sophomoric fanboy loyalty that’s extremely rampant in computer gaming in general that I’ve long outgrown. For the record, I do think that PC Gaming is much better if you’re going independent or something since you’ll have much more creative control and won’t have to go through the trouble of worrying about what publishers want, but that’s only if you care enough about making games to begin with, but that’s kinda besides the point.

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On Rick Sanchez, Jon Stewart, and Why We All Lose Playing the Oppression Olympics

by Latoya Peterson

Jon Stewart Rick Sanchez

CNN anchor Rick Sanchez was tired of being the butt of everyone’s joke.

He was done with hiding things. He was fed up with playing corporate games. So last Friday, Rick Sanchez went on Pete Dominick’s Sirius hosted XM radio show to get a lot of things off his chest.

Sanchez came out firing – and hit two targets, his own leg, and a few passerby.

His comments on the biased nature of news media were dead on until they veered into bigoted territory. His attacks on Jon Stewart, specifically about his ethnicity, veered fully into old antisemitic tropes. This led to Sanchez’s firing from CNN on the day the news broke.

The reactions around the media world are a mess, and unpacking the issues behind the situation becomes a wild ride through the dynamics of oppression, kyriarchy, professional passing, media conglomerates, and prejudice. Continue reading