Judah P. Benjamin's name as it (briefly) appeared on the JILV's "Jewish Harpers Letter." by the Forward

‘Jesus,’ ‘Jeffrey Epstein’ and more sign on to ‘Jewish Harper’s Letter’

Courtesy of twitter

Anyone who’s anyone, living or dead, vile criminal or ancient sage, can add their name to the “Jewish Harper’s Letter” — and they are.

The initial letter from the newly-minted Jewish Institute for Liberal Values, which slammed “suppression of dissent” among Jews, was unveiled with such notable signatories as Bari Weiss, Bret Stephens and Rabbi David Wolpe. The missive, which at press time drew signatures from over 300 Jews the world over, but was mocked by many for arguing that Jews aren’t complicit in white supremacy and that “Jewish privilege” isn’t a thing, now boasts representation from several different centuries, continents and realms of existence. (Most appear to have been removed — but the internet is forever.)

Yeshua Ben Yosef from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, (Jesus we presume) threw in his support. So did Shabati Tzvi, the heretical — and very deceased — kabbalist from 17th century Smyrna, thus giving the letter the imprimatur of not one, but two purported messiahs!

Jeffrey Epstein from West Palm Beach, Florida, who listed his affiliation as J. Epstein & Company, lent his name and so did one Jared Fogle from Indianapolis, Indiana. (Yikes.)

Chaim Rumkowski, the infamous head of Łódź Ghetto judenrat, who pled with Jews to “give me your children” for deportation to Chelmno, was also on the list at one point.

These names seem to come from critics poking fun at the letter, supported by some who view it as adding necessary nuance in the dialogue around race and decried by others as racist. Perhaps the most pointed fake signature surrounding the latter perspective is Judah P. Benjamin from New Orleans, Louisiana — obviously a reference to the Jewish secretary of state for the Confederacy.

Alas, Benjamin’s name came down faster than his monument.


PJ Grisar

PJ Grisar

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.

‘Jewish Harper’s Letter’ collects fake, famous names

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