Get with the Pogrom

Kanye West during a meeting with then-President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on October 11, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Dear Reader (Not including the AI scabs looking to render me obsolete),

I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I say that antisemitism is bad for a lot of reasons. I’m going to skip the worst and most obvious of those because writing about things like pogroms and the Holocaust is a downer. Besides, if you have to be persuaded that such things are bad, you’re unlikely to accept my arguments to the contrary.

Instead, I want to focus on the stupidity of antisemitism. If you know a lot of Jews—as I do—the idea that they are secretly conspiring to run the world is just really dumb. Put five Jews in a room, you’ll get seven opinions. This is even true about the stuff a lot of non-Jews think all Jews agree on, like Israel or what constitutes a good bagel. Sure, if you narrow the question at a really fundamental level—“Should Israel exist?” or “Is a doughnut a bagel?”—you’ll get something akin to a broad consensus. But once you broaden to second order questions like “What should U.S. policy toward Israel be?” or even “What should Israel’s policy toward Israel be?” the bickering revives.

So, the idea that a bunch of Jews “control” or “conspire to control” anything starts to sound really dumb the moment you start thinking it through. The only way it works is if you think of Jews not as people, but as an abstraction. Even then it doesn’t actually work because it can only make sense if it’s based upon conclusions you reached before reasoning. Jews are overrepresented in this industry or that profession, and so you start with the conclusion that it’s unfair, unjust, or rigged in some way and then reason backward from that conclusion.

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