Dave Chappelle’s Jokes about “Space Jews” May Be in Poor Taste, but That’s No Reason to Jump on the Cancellation Bandwagon

Oct. 13 2021

This past week, two American comedians managed to spark controversies regarding anti-Semitism. The first came from Dave Chappelle, whose most recent stand-up routine included two jokes that played on ugly Jewish stereotypes, and an even uglier view of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. While some Jews have condemned Chappelle—joining in the louder clamor over his comments about transsexuals—Ruthie Blum cautions against taking humor too seriously:

To be sure, the implication [of these jokes] is appalling, not amusing. The trouble is that the outcry against Chappelle for rejecting “woke” political correctness isn’t funny either. On the contrary, his “blasphemy” against the language and thought police is like a breath of fresh air in a polluted societal environment. Moreover, he’s an equal-opportunity offender. In his routine, he repeatedly uses the “N-word,” refers to women [with a crass epithet], and claims that “what the feminist movement needs to be successful is a male leader.”

[A] piece of advice . . . for the American Jews who were horrified by his anti-Semitism: expend more effort combating the vile phenomenon where it most matters in the United States these days—in the Democratic party. This might be a tall order, though. The vast majority of those concerned by the likes of Chappelle not only belong to that side of the aisle [politically] but have contributed greatly to, if are not mainly responsible for, the current climate that borders on cultural totalitarianism.

It’s fine to call a comic to task for crossing a line. Doing so is what free speech is all about. Prohibiting comedians from being sacrilegious, on the other hand, is a sign of a sad—and dangerous—society.

Something similar can be said about the Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman, who raised sincere complaints about Gentile actors playing obviously Jewish roles—while other instances of cross-ethnic acting invite the ire of the politically correct. Though there is undoubtedly a double standard, Jonathan Tobin argues that Jews should not race to jump on the woke bandwagon:

Jews need to realize that they have thrived because America is a place where you are judged as an individual, not solely as a member of a group—be it privileged or unprivileged—which is the way critical race theory categorizes everyone. Aligning with the woke frame of reference about casting may give a few more juicy Jewish roles to Jewish actors, yet doing so would mire us further into the morass of entitlement and moral panic about race that is antithetical to the best interests of Jews as well as everyone else.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Cancel culture, Comedy, Political correctness

Russia’s Alliance with Hizballah Is Growing Stronger

Tehran’s ongoing cooperation with Moscow has recently garnered public attention because of the Kremlin’s use of Iranian arms against Ukraine, but it extends much further, including to the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah. Aurora Ortega and Matthew Levitt explain:

Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic, and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while sidelining the U.S. and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker.

Russia’s alliance with Hizballah was born out of the conflict in Syria, where Russian and Hizballah forces fought side-by-side in an alliance with the Assad regime. For years, this alliance appeared strictly limited to military activity in Syria, but in 2018, Hizballah and Russia began to engage in unprecedented joint sanctions-evasion activities. . . . In November 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury exposed a convoluted trade-based oil-smuggling sanctions-evasion scheme directed by Hizballah and [Iran].

The enhanced level of collaboration between Russia and Hizballah is not limited to sanctions evasion. In March 2021, Hizballah sent a delegation to Moscow, on its second-ever “diplomatic” visit to the country. Unlike its first visit a decade prior, which was enveloped in secrecy with no media exposure, this visit was well publicized. During their three days in Moscow, Hizballah representatives met with various Russian officials, including the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. . . . Just three months after this visit to Moscow, Hizballah received the Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov in Beirut to discuss further collaboration on joint projects.

Read more at Royal United Services Institute

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Russia