April 13, 2018
I am tired of Jews being blamed for Christian ladies getting dumped
by Sarah Robbins
Instead of eating bitter herbs on Passover in order to feel the bitterness and suffering of the Jewish slaves in Egypt, this year, one needed only read Carey Purcell’s Washington Post article, “I am tired of being a Jewish man’s rebellion.” It left the same taste in your mouth.
In short, Purcell, a book reviewer and freelance journalist, believes that two of her relationships ended because of Judaism. Not because relationships are complicated, nor perhaps because her partners found her blatant anti-semitsm intolerable after a while — nope, in this case, Purcell’s Aryan powers of insight sufficed to tell her that her partners’ religion was the reason she’d been dumped. This logic might seem suspect — Purcell herself writes, “Not being Jewish was not the official reason either of these relationships ended. There were other problems — money, careers and plans for the future.” But she decides that Judaism is the reason regardless. (Elsewhere, Purcell contradicts her own logic: she cites statistics that Jews marry non-Jews with great frequency, which immediately raises the question why, in this face of all these intermarriages, Judaism should be blamed for ruining her multifaith relationships.) There are plenty of other articles and tweets breaking down piece by piece just how anti-semitic Purcell is.
After much backlash, Purcell posted an apology on her personal website that really boils down to, “I’m sorry you were offended, I don’t actually know what I did wrong but I learn a little every day.”
It’s easy to say that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that a white Christian woman wrote an article riddled with anti-semitic stereotypes and generalizations for a nationally renowned newspaper, but it matters quite a lot. The idea underlying Purcell’s diatribe is that Jews are always, inevitably, other: Jews first, and fulfillers of whatever role they’re stepping into—say, “love interest”—second. How dare these Jewish men miss the paradisic shikse boat like this?! They should desire nothing else than to be with beautiful WASPs like Purcell — unmarked, normal members of society, who, in Purcell’s formulation, “[are] blond, often wear pearls and can mix an excellent, and very strong, martini.” Oh, and they’re anti-semites! What Jewish man wouldn’t count himself lucky?
The timing of the article was especially insidious — not only because it came just in time for the annual Jewish holiday of freedom, but because anti-semitism is having a real moment right now, and should not be encouraged. Anti-Jewish rhetoric is appearing faster—and being challenged less—than in years. This week, a Brooklyn assemblymember launched into a bizarre anti-semitic tirade during a community board meeting. Last month, a DC lawmaker publicly spouted some vintage, insane conspiracy theories about Jewish bankers controlling the weather. Many saw anti-semitism behind the Chicago Dyke March’s recent removal of two Jewish women from their event. Many have questioned the reluctance of the Women’s March’s leadership to distance themselves from Louis Farrakhan, a preacher who this year was ranting about the importance of defeating the “Satanic Jews.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, “the number of anti-Semitic incidents was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.” The Washington Post is well aware of the issue, having reported on it repeatedly. So what were they thinking?
Also, small thing, but, Carey? Saying you’d like to create a cocktail named “A Jewish Man’s Rebellion” that’s garnished with bacon has to be the laziest “Jews don’t eat bacon” joke I have ever had the misfortune to read, and gives new meaning to the word oy. (Ask your ex.)
Sarah Robbins is an intern at Melville House.