Are Jews White? Should Anyone Care?

July 27, 2021 | Liel Leibovitz
About the author: Liel Leibovitz, a journalist, media critic, and video-game scholar, is a senior writer for the online magazine Tablet.

As Jews run the entire human gamut in terms of skin-color and physical appearance, the blanket statement that “Jews are white” should be self-evidently absurd. And yet, writes Liel Leibovitz, such a claim can be heard with some regularity in progressive circles. Leibovitz attempts to explain why this should be so:

It’s not too difficult to understand what moves the non-Jews shouting this rot. The creative genius of Jew-hatred has always been its ability to imagine the Jew as the embodiment of whatever it is that polite society finds repulsive. That’s why Jews were condemned as both nefarious bankers controlling all the world’s money and shifty revolutionaries imperiling all capital; as both sexless creeps and oversexed lechers coming for the women and the girls; as both pathetically powerless and occultly powerful. Like something out of the Harry Potter [novels], the Jew takes the shape of whatever the Jew-hater fears and loathes most. And if you decide that there’s such a thing as “whites” and that they are uniquely responsible for all evils perpetrated on the innocent and downtrodden, well, the Jews must be not only of them but nestled comfortably at the top of the white-supremacist pyramid.

Things get a bit hairier when it comes to Jews themselves repeating the “Jews are white” canard, often in the form of a mea culpa. Why do this? Why would any Jew ignore so much evidence and common sense and repeat it?

[One reason]: those Jews who accept the mantle of whiteness . . . conclude quietly that because they themselves have experienced no animosity in Silver Springs or Westchester or Highland Park, that animosity [to Jews] has never really existed. To them, human history began in 1993, between the swearing-in of Clinton and Bjork’s first LP.

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