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Jewish World Review
Oct. 19, 2006
/ 27 Tishrei, 5767
The Trouble with Macacawitz: What one word can tell us about the keepers of the PC faith
In choosing to phrase her jab at Virginia Senator George Allen, whose mother
is Jewish, with the term "Macacawitz," Democratic congressional candidate Al
Weed's now former field organizer Meryl Ibis has with a single word
encapsulated the difference between the Jewish minority and all others. For
she reproached Allen for using an ethnic slur-by using an ethnic slur
herself (indeed by innovating one). "Macacawitz" is testimony to the fact
that Jews don't enjoy the same PC protections their fellow minorities do.
Perceived as part of the power structure, Jews are subconsciously considered
by the Left, the media establishment and the other minorities as a
privileged minority, and therefore not as vulnerable or in need of
protected-class status. This is what makes Jews in fact the most vulnerable
minority of all.
Perhaps this is best illustrated by a point that writer Hillel Halkin made
in a 2002 Commentary article titled "The Return of Anti-Semitism"namely
that hostility toward Jews has grown in direct proportion to the number of
Jews killed. In contrast, sympathy for Middle Easterners-a minority in the
more traditional, visible, color-coded sensehas increased in direct
proportion to the number of people they've killed. It seems, the more people
that Muslims kill, the less popular Jews become. This has managed to happen
because Jews are the politically incorrect minority.
When other minoritiesrightly or wronglyaccuse someone of being a racist,
the conditioned, immediate reaction is guilt-if only for a momentbefore
rationality takes over. But when Jewsrightly or wronglyaccuse someone of
being an anti-Semite, the immediate reaction is eye-rolling. And at least
once, I've gotten a "Yeah, so?"-eliciting from me a momentary inclination to
answer, "Oh, sorry-never mind. Nothing wrong with being anti-Semitic; why
some of my best friends are anti-Semites!"
If one thinks about it, what other ethnic group is blamed for genocidal
murders against it? What other ethnic group's back do the other minorities
not have? Indeed, what other minority do the rest of the minorities help
bash? And what other minority's enemies do the media help in fabricating
crimes by the said minority? What other minority has placards devoted to it
at pro-terrorist rallies in Boston and San Francisco, reading Death to the
[fill in minority]? Finally, what other nation has been exterminated not
because of some ethnic rivalry with another nation or by some conquering
force, but because of an entire, diverse continent pitching in? Then, after
no nation offered this ethnic group a safe harbor, such that it had to shed
even more of its blood to secure one, the world decided it wanted a recall
of that agreed-upon harbor.
Jews don't inspire the Left's sympathy. We are perceived to be an
essentially "white" minority, and one doesn't get a warm fuzzy feeling from
sticking up for white folks-and moneyed white folks at that.
Ah yes, the money. Whoever has the money has the power, right? Those rich
Jews are imperturbable, above any threat. Just like rich America can solve
any problem; if it's not doing so, it means its people are indifferent,
greedy, or corrupt.
With money being on the mindsto the point of obsessionof working Joes,
of disgruntled anti-capitalists, and of have-nots, it's the jealousies that
make it more dangerous to be a member of the Jewish minority than of the
have-not minorities. Even Jewish generosity to less fortunate minorities has
bred contempt among the latter, the thinking being, "Boy, those Jews must
really have a lot of money if they're wasting it on us. Those bastards!"
The caricature of the well-off Jew has spun off into another, increasingly
oft-heard contemporary libel against Jews: that it's "risky" to contradict
the "powerful" Jews: "Oh, you can't say anything against the Jews-you'll get
in trouble." (Yes, God forbid you might get hit with a ton of press releases
from the ADL.) These folks would find truth in the statement that in at
least one way, there is more freedom of speech in the Middle East. Anyone
can go over there and, without any consequences, declare publicly that Jews
suck; here it's not so easy.
But Jewish "power" doesn't come from any ability, much less inclination, to
threaten anyone. The notion is all the more contradictory given that,
generally speaking, we're better behaved than most other minorities. And
when we're offended, we mostly just whine while others kill (a distinction
that the country's collective reticence during the Mohammed-cartoon
controversy admitted-even if our tongues still won't).
Even on comedy stages, the new trend seems to be to casually announce "I'm
not a fan of the Jew," as one Italian comic did at a recent open mic. (This
declaration didn't precede or cap off any related bit; he just wanted to put
that out there). The previous week another comedian had informed the
audience that he didn't like Jews-but that he had a good reason: his boss is
Jewish and he's an a-hole.
Is this the new "boldness?" In the current environment, people are "finally
able to say what we think," as many in Europe and the Middle East have been
putting it of late, particularly when expressing doubts about Holocaust
numbers. Ironically, the same people whom we've heard over the years
marveling at the world's silence amid the Holocaust, dismayed that the world
"could have allowed" something like that to take place, are today coming to
the conclusion that there can be a rational aversion to a group, and are
allowing for the possibility that Jews bring the enmities on themselves,
that they must have had it coming, just as they do today. And so here we
are: Holocaust studies are at an all-time high at universities, as are
anti-Semitic incidents, and school children go about collecting six million
paper clips (or pennies, depending on the school) to get a sense of what
that number looks like. What "Macacawitz" shows us is that all of these
exercises will have amounted to a how-to guide.
The ironic "Macacawitz" term has reminded me of a thought I had when
Mahathir Mohamad was retiring as Malaysia's prime minister in 2003 and went
on about Jews controlling the world. For a moment, I actually thought:
"That's kind of interestingthe anti-Jewish stuff coming from someone of
the Oriental persuasion. Not something you see every day. Arabs and
Europeans, yeah, but someone of Mongoloid stock? Hey, it's all about
diversity! Far Easterners should get their chance too."
As George Will put it, "Celebration of tolerance is the first refuge of the
Perhaps the biggest irony was summed up by Claremont McKenna College
Professor John J. Pitney, Jr. on the Political Mavens blog: "Thanks in part
to the 'macaca' episode, the Virginia Senate race remains tight. If a
Republican loss there tips control of the Senate to the Democrats, then
Robert Byrd will become the chamber's president pro tempore. Concern about
racism would thus put a former Klansman in the line of succession to the
So that's where we're at.
Check out Julia's new show pitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjZaYCjsRBk
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