The N-Word's Real Crime

Editorial

Nazi No-No: Demonstrations that use Nazi symbols and imagery would be banned under a proposed Israeli law. Would it be any more effective than New York’s ban of the other N-word?
getty images
Nazi No-No: Demonstrations that use Nazi symbols and imagery would be banned under a proposed Israeli law. Would it be any more effective than New York’s ban of the other N-word?

Published January 22, 2014, issue of January 31, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

The Nazi flag — with its foreboding black swastika and its blood-red background — had incited hatred and violence in those countries not so long ago, within living memory. Banishing it is a way of protecting lives and maintaining public safety, a cause which could trump the right to free speech.

That is why even the clumsy attempt by the New York City Council to outlaw the N-word has some legitimacy. It was a word first used by white people to subjugate, brutalize and persecute black people. Here. Not really that long ago.

Israel doesn’t face a Nazi threat from within its borders, just a threat within its soul. The crime now is trivializing the past, appropriating Nazi language and symbols and twisting them into something ordinary, temporarily offensive, or just plain awful. But not life threatening. Insult is not the same as genocide.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27. It is an invented “holiday” but a useful occasion to focus on what we Jews still owe the survivors in our midst. And despite the billions of dollars spent in restitution money, tens of thousands of them still suffer.

Of the estimated 200,000 survivors in Israel, 25% need food aid, and 12,000 had no heating or warm clothing during this unusually cold winter, according to Latet, an Israeli humanitarian aid organization. Of the 120,000 survivors in the United States, 25% live below the poverty line, according to federal officials.

The White House announced in December that it was willing to spend up to $15 million to help needy Holocaust survivors in the U.S. Given the immense financial resources in our community, combined with the billions that has flowed through the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for decades, why should taxpayers’ money be necessary?

The crime here is not a slanderous remark by a thoughtless citizen, or the display of an offensive symbol. The real crime is that tens of thousands of the neediest, most deserving Jews in our midst live in inexcuseable deprivation.

What’s the use of banning the Nazi’s symbols if the victims of their dastardly work continue to suffer today?


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!
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • 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.