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Opinion| Chappelle didn’t say the harshest things about Jews last week — this other comedian did
Double standard? More than 3 million people have tuned into a standup set on YouTube that mocked Sephardim, cheap Jews and religious rituals around menstruation — and includes a Holocaust joke. The 90-minute show, filmed in Brooklyn and called “Jew,” stars Ari Shaffir, a Jewish comedian. “If we’re upset with Chappelle, why aren’t we livid with Shaffir?” asks our columnist, Rob Eshman. “I’m going to suggest a crazy answer: We shouldn’t be upset with either. We should, if we feel like it, even laugh a little.”
Jewish jokes: “Has no one called out Shaffir because of the rule — illustrated by Chapelle’s frequent use of the N-word — that those in a tribe get a free pass to mock the tribe?” Rob asks. “Or is it because Chappelle poked not at Jewish religion but at Jewish power, a very sensitive subject for people more used to seeing themselves as victims?”
Perspective: “It’s almost unseemly that as Iran snuffs out the lives of peaceful protesters, Ukrainians fight for freedom in the cold and dark, and real white supremacists are reelected to Congress,” Rob writes, “all Jewish Twitter seems to care about is whether one of Jon Stewart’s best friends just launched a pogrom.”
Read his essay ➤
Speaking of Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show” joined his old friend Stephen Colbert to talk about the controversies surrounding Chappelle, Kanye West and Kyrie Irving, the NBA star who was suspended for sharing a link to movie filled with antisemitic conspiracies. “Penalizing somebody for having a thought, I don’t think it is the way to change their minds or gain understanding,” Stewart said, jokingly calling himself a “spokesJew.” Read the story ➤
- Irving “is continuing his journey of dialogue and education,” according to a source inside the NBA, and could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets as soon as Sunday. (ESPN)
- The ADL has asked Amazon to remove the movie, “Hebrews to Negroes,” as well as the book on which it is based. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble announced it would stop selling the book. (TMZ)
- Jerry Seinfeld on the Chappelle monologue: “I did think the comedy was well-executed,” he said, “but I think the subject matter calls for a conversation.” (Hollywood Reporter)
- Chappelle isn’t the first to suggest that Jews run Hollywood. Here are the origins of the trope. (JTA)
- Plastic bags filled with fliers reading “Kanye 2024” and “Defcon 3 on Jewish People” along with an image of the rapper and a crossed-out Star of David were found on the driveways and lawns of residents of Warwick, Rhode Island. (WJAR)
- The Hillel at the University of Florida hosted a solidarity tailgate Saturday to unite students against antisemitism, after the message “Kanye is right about the Jews!” was displayed at its football stadium during a recent game. (WUSF News)
- Two Jewish groups launched an online portal to help people report and fight against antisemitic content online. (Jerusalem Post)
Leonard Cohen in 1968. (Getty)
Leonard Cohen’s lost novel shows the artist’s surprisingly vulgar and violent side: “A Ballet of Lepers,” which Cohen started writing more than 60 years ago, has finally been published. It tells the tale of a young man whose tempestuous, physically abusive grandfather comes to live with him. The book “is not light reading,” Irene Katz Connelly warns in her review, “but it’s also an astonishingly deft and confident work” on the themes that preoccupied Cohen throughout his life: “passion and violence, sacredness and shame.” Read her review ➤
A fascinating new documentary shows how antisemitic lies were the ‘original fake news’: What do German bankers, a Ukrainian Marxist and a French military family have in common? They are the subject of a new film, “The Conspiracy,” which debuts at the DOC NYC film festival tonight. In an interview, director Maxim Pozdorovkin explained that he “wanted to pick three families that would both get at the core of this conspiracy theory and also destroy it from the inside.” Read the interview ➤
But wait, there’s more…
- Ivanka Trump says she won’t be involved in her father’s third presidential bid. She is among key Jewish advocates and mega-donors who distanced themselves from the campaign in its first hours.
- Lizzy Savetsky has quit the “Real Housewives of New York City” reboot before the new season has even wrapped. The Orthodox social media influencer with outspoken pro-Zionist views said she left the show because she “was on the receiving end of a torrent of antisemitic attacks.”
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WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel ‘Maus’ on sale at a French bookstore in 2017. (Flickr)
📚 Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” along with six other books about the Holocaust geared toward young readers, are among hundreds of books that a handful of Missouri school districts have reportedly removed from their shelves since the start of this school year. The books were yanked after the state passed a new law dealing with child trafficking and abuse that calls for jail time for anyone who provides “explicit sexual material” to students. (JTA)
💰 Larry David is among 13 celebrities targeted in a class action lawsuit for promoting the failed cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX. David was featured in an FTX Super Bowl commercial. (JTA)
🤦 The Trump-appointed judge who blocked President Joe Biden’s student-loan forgiveness program suggested that allowing debt relief in response to an emergency is similar to a German law that gave Hitler power. (Business Insider)
🤷 And while we’re on the topic of Third Reich comparisons … Facebook’s independent oversight board overturned the social media giant’s decision to remove a post that likened Russian soldiers to Nazis. The board said the post did not violate the company’s rules against hate speech and violent content. (Washington Post)
🇮🇱 Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to keep Mike Herzog as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Herzog, a brother of Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, was appointed to the post last year, when Naftali Bennett was prime minister. (Axios)
🤔 A majority of the parts collected from Iranian drones shot down over Ukraine appear to have been manufactured by Western nations, including Israel and the United States. (Wall Street Journal)
👋 Crown Heights will be more crowded this weekend, as 6,000 Chabad emissaries descend on the Brooklyn neighborhood for their annual reunion. The event, which began Wednesday and runs through Monday, includes workshops focused on colleges, day schools, adult education and other areas of outreach. (Religion News Service)
👨❤️👨 In an unexpected move, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave its support to a proposed federal law that would codify same-sex marriages. Church doctrine still supports only heterosexual marriages; one expert said the news reflects a “dramatic reversal of previous teachings.” (Salt Lake Tribune)
🎶 A memoir by an ex-Hasidic mother of seven is now an opera, which opened Wednesday night in Manhattan. It runs through Saturday. (NY Jewish Week)
Shiva calls ➤ Henry Rosovsky, the first Jewish dean of Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences and founder of Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies, died at 95 … Budd Friedman, whose empire of Improv clubs offered a launching pad for the likes of Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin and Jay Leno, died at 90.
What else we’re reading ➤ Israel’s most-wanted mob boss arrested in South Africa … Austria plans to tighten law banning use of Nazi symbols … Japanese anime is packed with spirituality and gaining popularity among Gen Z.
What we’re listening to ➤ Today’s episode of “The Daily” podcast from The New York Times is about the recent rise of the far-right in Israel. Listen here.
On this day in history (1903): The musician and composer Joseph Kaminski was born in Odessa. Kaminski began playing the violin when he was 6 and living in Warsaw. His career took him around the world, but he moved back to Poland after the death of his mother, Ester Rachel Kamińska — known as “the mother of Yiddish theater” — to lead the Jewish Theater Orchestra. In the 1930s, he was invited to join what was then the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, now the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as lead violinist, a position he kept until he retired in 1969.
Last year on this day, our colleagues at the JTA reported that a Brooklyn Judaica store stopped selling a series of children’s books after the author, Chaim Walder, was accused of sexual misconduct. Walder died of an apparent suicide on Dec. 27.
In honor of National Homemade Bread Day, check out this simple six-ingredient challah recipe.
Netflix released the trailer for the upcoming second season of “My Unorthodox Life,” which continues to follow the journey of Julia Haart, 51, a former Judaics teacher-turned fashion mogul. The new episodes, which drop on Dec. 2, look to shed light on her second divorce, which made headlines earlier this year.
And while you’re waiting for the new season, catch up with my conversation with Haart.
Thanks to Nora Berman, PJ Grisar, Rina Shamilov and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at [email protected].