Of Grease Monkeys and Birthers

Learning About Intolerance in the Auto-Body Shop

Intolerance Everywhere: You never know when you will learn a stern lesson about the opinions held by many fellow Americans.
getty images
Intolerance Everywhere: You never know when you will learn a stern lesson about the opinions held by many fellow Americans.

By Leonard Fein

Published August 04, 2012, issue of August 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

It happened in the body shop.

With trepidation, I’d delivered my badly wounded car, (more exactly, the tow truck had), and now, while waiting for my rental car to be delivered, I was chatting with the owner of the body shop, a very well-spoken man on whose mercy I now depended and whose expertise was impressive.

Along the way, I asked him whether he favored Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. He chose Romney, and when I asked whether he was at all troubled by Romney’s secrecy regarding his tax returns, his answer was, “And what about Obama’s birth certificate?” Nor was that the whole of it: “And whatever he says, I don’t believe he ever converted to Christianity; he’s still a Muslim. Plus do you know that no one who was at Columbia when he says he was studying there remembers him, there are no academic records of his time there, there are no pictures of him while there?”

I’d heard about people with such views, of course, and had seen snippets of them from time to time on television, but this was my first up-close encounter. I was, to put it mildly, astonished. I briefly — very briefly — considered finding a different body shop, but decided that I could not in conscience subject all prospective craftspeople to an ideological test.

Mulling over the matter the next day (the matter being a way of thinking that is mean-spirited, irrational and disrespectful), I returned to my own weekly experience of abusive response to stuff I’ve written — in particular, the habit of so many bloggers to impute base motives to me. I’ve been called a kapo, a man on a mission to destroy Israel and, of course, a self-hating Jew. Just a few of the less inflammatory examples:

My hands will not be dripping with my fellow Jews’ blood!! Leonard Fein, along with quite a few other left-wing Jews, apparently, would not have any problem just washing off the blood from their hands. Or: For Fein and [Peter] Beinart, it’s more important to pose to gentile leftists to show you are a believer in the Leftist religion rather than stand up for Israel. Or: Fein should have only come over here to see how Israelis of all stripes rose to the occasion to assist Haiti, Darfur, and New Orleans, before most of his ilk had even decided what to buy at Zabar’s that morning. Or: Nothing to see here folks. It’s an old story: The author is yet another self-hating Hebrew who hates his own people.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.