HAWORTH: Samantha Bee Tries, Fails, To Define Anti-Semitism

Samantha Bee attends the 2017 Turner Upfront at Madison Square Garden on May 17, 2017 in New York City.
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Anti-Semitism is at the forefront of many politically-charged conversations, following the dreadful attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue.

During a recent episode of “Full Frontal,” host Samantha Bee suggested that conservatives benefit from anti-Semitism, hiding their bigotry behind phrases such as “coastal elites,” “globalists,” and “Hollywood liberals.”

If we wish to combat true anti-Semitism, then we have to be as clear as possible when it comes to defining what anti-Semitism is. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has a working definition of anti-Semitism which has been adopted by governments and organizations across the world:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

To provide some specificity to this definition, the IHRA also provide clear and concise examples of the different types of anti-Semitism. These cover the majority of objectively anti-Semitic actions that involve violence, stereotypes, conspiracy theories, The Holocaust, Israel, or symbols associated with anti-Semitism.

With the moral arrogance of Hollywood, Bee dedicated a portion of her show “Full Frontal” to lecture her audience on Republican anti-Semitism. During the segment, she suggested that “the Republican Party tolerates anti-Semitism, and "benefits from it.” She then said that while mainstream conservatives wouldn’t directly criticize Jews, they use other words like “coastal elites,” “globalists,” or “Hollywood liberals.” Her implication was that Republicans use these synonyms to mask their anti-Semitism, in the same way that anti-Semites use Israel.

Criticizing these groups is not anti-Semitic, and Bee is attempting to weaponize the definition of anti-Semitism against conservatives by synonymizing any of these terms with “Jew.” This mean that Jews who fall into these categories would be forever safe from legitimate criticism, an example of clear “positive” discrimination. Additionally, anyone else who falls into these categories can avoid real debate by simply labeling these terms as bigoted.

If anything, her statement was anti-Semitic. By implying that these terms are synonymous for “Jew,” she suggests that all Jews fall into these categories. There are, however, some Jews who are not “coastal elites,” “globalists,” or “Hollywood liberals,” and some “coastal elites,” “globalists,” or “Hollywood liberals” who are not Jews.

Given that Jews make up 5.3% of Los Angeles County, and 8.91% of New York City, it is absurd to assert that criticism of these groups is because these groups are made up of Jews. Bee, a non-Jewish “coastal elite Hollywood liberal,” has spread the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory of Jewish control and influence in an attempt to defend herself and her contemporaries from legitimate criticism.

The selective outrage regarding anti-Semitism was clear when Bee attacked Ivanka Trump, a Jewish convert, as a “feckless c*nt.” Since Ivanka is Jewish, shouldn’t she be afforded the same protections against anti-Semitic attacks? After all, Ivanka is more Jewish than the entirety of the “globalist Hollywood liberal coastal elites.”

The answer is that, while calling Ivanka a “feckless c*nt” is shocking, it is not anti-Semitic, as Bee’s criticism of Ivanka was not based on faith. We must therefore apply the same logic to legitimate criticism of the Hollywood liberal elite, and stop them from weaponizing the protection of minorities for their own political gain.

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