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The Schmooze

Mark Zuckerberg And Sheryl Sandberg, We’re Revoking Your Mensch Cards

Well, well, well, well, well, well, well.

Here at the Schmooze, the Forward’s pop culture desk, we’ve been pretty relentless in our criticism of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

But damn! Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, whose clean-cut looks and professed Jewish and American values have always endeared them to us just as Javanka’s have for many, are just as bad.

Mark, Sheryl, we’ve defended you long enough — now we’re officially revoking your mensch cards.

The two are head honchos at Facebook — Zuckerberg is founder and CEO, Sandberg is COO — which was the focus of an extensive investigative piece in the New York Times on Wednesday concerning the company’s handling of Russian interference on the platform during the 2016 election, as well as the company’s handling of the spread of misinformation and hate speech. Of the many revelations in the piece, this passage is perhaps the most telling.

From the New York Times Image by Screenshot

The picture the Times paints is one in which Zuckerberg and Sandberg’s behavior is brilliantly insidious, with the two tech leaders exploiting the grossly anti-Semitic associations with Soros and simultaneously falsely accusing others of anti-Semitism. Don’t forget that while Zuckerberg and Sandberg were apparently using a false victim status to shield their own interests, Zuckerberg was defending the right of Holocaust deniers to spread misinformation on his site.

Don’t these people have to answer to their bubbes and zeydes on Thursday?!?

Oh, Mark and Sheryl! We’ve stuck with you through a lot. Through Mark’s hoodies, and constant grimace, and an entire movie painting him as a villain, and countless privacy concerns. Through the most wildly overprivileged parts of Sheryl’s “Lean In,” and then her contrition when she half-realized just how out-of-touch she had been, and her continued defense of Facebook’s worst moments. We stuck with both of them as their website allowed the spread of hate speech and fake information, we stuck through the Cambridge Analytica scandal and censorship issues and privacy issues upon privacy issues.

We believed them when they said they were devoted to the best tenets of Judaism. We believed them when they said they were committed to making their company a force for good. We listened while Mark talked DACA and Sheryl talked grief and they both talked feminism. We believed them when they said they were good, even when there was always evidence to the contrary.

It’s painful to see major Jewish figures act in a way that confirms the worst of anti-Semitic stereotypes, and it’s doubly painful that they seem to be leveraging anti-Semitism in a time of fear for Jewish Americans. And it’s a lesson to anyone who thought political affiliation could redeem bad behavior. It’s a shande for the goyim, but a reminder to all of us to keep holding our community to high moral and ethical standards.

Bergs, both Zuck and Sand, should be grateful that Yom Kippur is months away — they have lots to atone for. They can start by getting rid of that thing where you get a messenger notification when you accept a friend request. We hate that.

And as for us? We’ll miss Zuckerberg’s boyishness and philanthropy, and Sandberg’s style and wisdom. But we’re on the lookout for new Jewish role models in tech and business. To quote the title of Sandberg’s second book, we’re on to “Option B.”

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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