By Manny Friedman
We Jews are a funny breed. We love to brag about every Jewish actor. Sometimes we even pretend an actor is Jewish just because we like him enough that we think he deserves to be on our team. We brag about Jewish authors, Jewish politicians, Jewish directors. Every time someone mentions any movie or book or piece of art, we inevitably say something like, â€œDid you know that he was Jewish?â€ Thatâ€™s just how we roll.
Weâ€™re a driven group, and not just in regards to the art world. We have, for example, AIPAC, which was essentially constructed just to drive agenda in Washington DC. And it succeeds admirably. And we brag about it. Again, itâ€™s just what we do.
But the funny part is when any anti-Semite or anti-Israel person starts to spout stuff like, â€œThe Jews control the media!â€ and â€œThe Jews control Washington!â€
Suddenly weâ€™re up in arms. We create huge campaigns to take these people down. We do what we can to put them out of work. We publish articles. Weâ€™ve created entire organizations that exist just to tell everyone that the Jews donâ€™t control nothinâ€™. No, we donâ€™t control the media, we donâ€™t have any more sway in DC than anyone else. No, no, no, we swear: Weâ€™re just like everybody else!
Does anyone else (whoâ€™s not a bigot) see the irony of this?
Letâ€™s be honest with ourselves, here, fellow Jews. We do control the media. Weâ€™ve got so many dudes up in the executive offices in all the big movie production companies itâ€™s almost obscene. Just about every movie or TV show, whether it be â€œTropic Thunderâ€ or â€œCurb Your Enthusiasm,â€ is rife with actors, directors, and writers who are Jewish. Did you know that all eight major film studios are run by Jews?
But thatâ€™s not all. We also control the ads that go on those TV shows.
And letâ€™s not forget AIPAC, every anti-Semiteâ€™s favorite punching bag. Weâ€™re talking an organization thatâ€™s practically the equivalent of the Elders of Zion. Iâ€™ll never forget when I was involved in Israeli advocacy in college and being at one of the many AIPAC conventions. A man literally stood in front of us and told us that their whole goal was to only work with top-50 school graduate students because they would eventually be the people making changes in the government. Here I am, an idealistic little kid that goes to a bottom 50 school (ASU) who wants to do some grassroots advocacy, and these guys are literally talking about infiltrating the government. Intense.
Now, I know what everyone will say. That everyone tries to lobby. Every minority group and every majority group. That every group has some successful actors and directors. But thatâ€™s a far call from saying that we run Hollywood and Madison Avenue. That the Mel Gibsons of the world are right in saying weâ€™re deliberately using our power to take over the world. That weâ€™ve got some crazy conspiracy going down.
Okay. Fine. So some of that is kooky talk.
But letâ€™s look at it a bit deeper.
Maybe itâ€™s true: everyone lobbies. Maybe itâ€™s true there are actors of every ethnicity out there. But come on. Weâ€™re the ones who are bragging about this stuff all the time. Canâ€™t we admit that weâ€™re incredibly successful? Canâ€™t we say it to the world?
Iâ€™ll give my theory for why Jews donâ€™t want to talk about their control of the media.
First of all, as much as Jews like to admit that so many of them are successful, and that so many of them have accomplished so much, they hate to admit that it has to do with theyâ€™re being Jewish. Maybe theyâ€™ll admit that it has something to do with the Jewish experience. But how many Jews will admit that there is something inherently a part of every single one of them that helps them to accomplish amazing things?
The ADL chairman, Abe Foxman, was interviewed in a great article about the subject and he said that he â€œwould prefer people say that many executives in the industry â€˜happen to be Jewish.â€™â€ This just about sums up the party line.
The truth is, the anti-Semites got it right. We Jews have something planted in each one of us that makes us completely different from every group in the world. Weâ€™re talking about a group of people that just got put in death camps, endured pogroms, their whole families decimated. And then they came to America, the one place that ever really let them have as much power as they wanted, and suddenly theyâ€™re taking over. Please donâ€™t tell me that any other group in the world has ever done that. Only the Jews. And weâ€™ve done it before. Thatâ€™s why the Jews were enslaved in Egypt. We were too successful. Go look at the Torah â€” itâ€™s right there. And we did it in Germany too.
This ability to succeed, this inner drive, comes not from the years of education or any other sort of conditional factors, but because of the inner spark within each Jew.
Now, the reason groups like the ADL and AIPAC hate admitting this is because, first of all, they are secular organizations. Their whole agenda is to prove that every Jew is the same as every other person in the world. I cannot imagine a more outlandish agenda. No, weâ€™re different. Weâ€™re special.
Of course, people hate when anyone says this. They assume that if youâ€™re saying that Jews are special, it somehow implies that theyâ€™re better.
To be honest, Iâ€™m not really sure what the word â€œbetterâ€ even means. What I do know is that being special simply means a person has a responsibility to do good.
I think thatâ€™s the real reason most Jews are so afraid to admit that thereâ€™s something inherently powerful and good about them. Not because theyâ€™re afraid of being special. But because theyâ€™re afraid of being responsible. It means that theyâ€™re suddenly culpable when they create dirty TV shows that sully the spiritual atmosphere of the world. It means that things canâ€™t just be created for the sake of amusement or fun or even â€œart.â€
Suddenly, we canâ€™t screw up the world.
The interesting thing is that Jews have done so much for the world in so many other ways. Theyâ€™ve moved forward civil rights; theyâ€™ve helped save lives in Darfur, Haiti and just about everywhere else.
But thatâ€™s not enough. Fixing the world physically is only half the battle.
Our larger battle, the harder battle, is elevating the world spiritually. And this is what the people that fight with every inch of their soul to prove that Jews are just the same as everyone else are afraid of. It means that we can no longer just â€œexpress ourselves.â€ Weâ€™ll have to start thinking about the things we create and the way we act. It means weâ€™ll have to start working together. It means weâ€™ll have to hold one other, and ourselves, to a higher standard.
The time has come, though. We no longer have to change our names. We no longer have to blend in like chameleons. We own a whole freaking country.
Instead, we can be proud of who we are, and simultaneously aware of our huge responsibility â€” and opportunity.
Â© 2012 The Times of Israel