When Jews Started Having “Jewish” Noses

The image of a vicious Jew with a large, hooked nose has long been a mainstay of anti-Semitic caricature, and remains so today. Before the year 1000, however, Jews in European artwork had no distinctive physical features, although there was no shortage of works depicting them as conniving, wicked, or dangerous. According to Sara Lipton, this all changed in the 13th century, not because someone noticed Jews with large noses, but because the hooked nose symbolized Jewish depravity:

For the rest of the [12th] century, and for several decades beyond, the shape of Jews’ noses in art remained too varied to constitute markers of identity. That is, Jews sported many different kinds of “bad” noses—some long and tapering, others snout-like—but the same noses appeared on many “bad” non-Jews as well, and there was no single, identifiable “Jewish” nose. By the later 13th century, however, a move toward realism in art and an increased interest in physiognomy spurred artists to devise visual signs of ethnicity. The range of features assigned to Jews consolidated into one fairly narrowly construed, simultaneously grotesque and naturalistic face, and the hook-nosed, pointy-bearded Jewish caricature was born. This image served many purposes. In being so fleshily vivid and realistic, the Jew’s face seemed to embody for Christian viewers the physical, secular, material world, a realm with which Jews had long been associated in Christian polemic.

Read more at New York Review of Books

More about: Anti-Semitism, Art, Christianity, Jewish nose, Middle Ages


The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship