When somebody asked me what I thought of this earlier I wasn’t convinced there was anything wrong. What went some way to convince me was this:
“Would a profile of Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, make it to the printers with the word “inscrutable” in the headline? Would Mike Tyson, who beats people up outside the ring as well as inside, be called a “savage”?”
She makes two points here – about stereotypes and about editorial process.
If you acknowledge the suspicion wealthy Jews in particular come under, the undue scrutiny for their attempts to exert influence in the ways other groups exert influence, and the contemporary tendency to dismiss Jews’ concerns about antisemitism as touchiness or, as somebody disagreeable says, “hypersensitivity”, then this is pretty convincing.
But in case it’s not, search the Web for “wealthy Jews”, “rich Jews”, “Jews and usury”. Among other things you’ll find:
Jews have an inordinate amount of wealth (due largely to their high intelligence) and they are extremely cohesive or ethnocentric (that is they belong first to the nation of Jews)
(Stephen Silberger’s barmy NeoEugenics page.)
The Jews have not changed since the days when Jesus Christ took up a whip and drove “the money changers out of the Temple.” Jews have always united to form monopolies. Today they control all the department store chains and speciality shops along with the lucrative jewelry and animal fur trade. Jews dominate the fields of all precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, tin, lead, etc. They will always ban together to drive Gentile competitors out of business.
(A piece of claptrap on Stormfront)
The God of the Jews is gold. There is no crime he would not commit to get it. He has no rest till he can sit on the top of a gold-sack. He has no rest till he has become King Money. And with this money he would make us all into slaves and destroy us. With this money he seeks to dominate the whole world.
(Julius Streicher in his piece ‘Money is the God of the Jews‘)
They rush to trade because it suits their character and natural tendencies.
The 1940 Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew
The wealth accrued by Jews has long been associated with ill-gotten gains. There’s also a tendency to believe that all that wealth is going into a central pot to be spent on furthering Jews’ common plan to ‘dominate the whole world’ – Jewish riches, not individuals with their own wealth.
Jews’ riches therefore remain susceptable to more suspicion and disapproval than other people’s riches. You don’t get the above kind of sinister stuff said about the wealth of Hindus, Muslims, or Christians. Most of the references here are anodyne, even congratulatory. So Jews can be forgiven for being ‘sensitive’ to scrutiny of their finances which departs from the normal forms of scrutiny. In this context the FT title is provoking.
To overlook this is ignorant and if not ignorant then callous. The FT should apologise for allowing a sub-editor’s infatuation with a pun drag their paper into a sorry show of insensitivity, and one which, Benjamin is right, at first glance confirms the above canards.
Cue the Anti-Israel-Lobby Lobby: “So, what – can’t we ever refer to Jews, their money, and their sensitivity about the way they’re seen to spend it? This is trampling all over our intellectual curiosity – typical!”
Benjamin’s point about editorial process is the same point that Bernard Harrison makes in his book Resurgence – that editors (such as the New Statesman’s Peter Wilby who presided over the Kosher Conspiracy debacle) are better-placed than, say, bloggers or pub pundits, to assess the kinds of phrases that will stir up old antipathies and old fears.
So talk about Jews’ wealth and Jews’ sensitivities all you want (if you find the subject particularly consuming you may well be a sicko, a journalist making a living out of a sicko, a worried anti-racist or an academic – possibly more than one of these at once). Just give the matter sober, unprejudiced consideration and avoid provocative titles which play on bad myths about Jews while simultaneously jeering about Jews’ sensitivity to these.