Popular Articles

The danger of the “Jewish nose” stereotype dare not be underestimated

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Hahns Copeland (left), the Republican candidate for the 89th District in the Virginia state House of Delegates, responded to a video of House speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (right), a Democrat, talking about a child care subsidy program. “I was surprised to see a pair of eyes and a mouth with that NOSE,” Copeland tweeted. He soon admitted it was “immature and impulsive” and apologized: “It was never intended to be anti-Semitic or reference her ethnicity or religion.”

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

A political candidate in Virginia, a television game show host, and a Washington, D.C. historian seem to think that jokes about “Jewish noses” are funny. They’re not. In fact, they’re dangerous.

In Virginia, Hahns Copeland, a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates, last week mocked the size of a Jewish delegate’s nose. Earlier this year, Mike Richards, the new host of “Jeopardy,” was revealed to have made a joke about a Jewish woman’s nose.

And then there’s Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, a staff historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, who tweeted in 2019: “At a talk today, asked about my personal background. I confessed that I’m not Jewish, but with a Hebrew first name, German last name, and my nose and hair, I ‘pass’.”

It’s instructive to see how each of these controversies played out:

* Richards apologized—but was fired from “Jeopardy” anyway.

* Copeland apologized—but denied his slur was antisemitic.

* Erbelding has never apologized at all. In fact, she hasn’t even acknowledged the public’s legitimate concerns about what she wrote.

Producers were right to oust Richards—and to replace him with a committed Jew, actress Mayim Bialik. That sent a message to the public that anti-Semitism can’t be washed away with an apology.

The Virginia Republican candidate’s “apology” was unacceptable. Saying you’re sorry but then denying you did anything wrong is not saying you’re sorry at all.

The Holocaust Museum historian’s response has been the worst of all. Dr. Erbelding’s refusal to address the controversy, much less apologize, is an insult to the public which pays her salary. For a government-funded institution to have on its staff somebody who jokes about “Jewish noses” is an embarrassment. For a Holocaust museum—which is devoted to teaching about the horrific consequences of antisemitism—it’s positively shameful.

The danger of the “Jewish nose” stereotype dare not be underestimated. The notion that there is a distinctive “Jewish nose” is one of the oldest anti-Jewish myths. Jew-haters invented it in the 12th century as a way to single out Jews for contempt.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

Government propagandists in Nazi Germany often used the “Jewish nose” stereotype in their hate-mongering. A notorious Nazi film in 1940, called “The Eternal Jew,” which claimed to expose the “real” Jew, focused again and again on “Jewish faces,” zooming in on their noses to make Jews seem repulsive.

Images of big-nosed Jews appeared frequently in the Hitler regime’s news media, cultural publications, and children’s books.

Der Giftpilz, an anti-Jewish children’s book published by Julius Streicher (who was also the publisher of the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer), featured a section called “How To Tell A Jew.” It showed a 7th grade boys’ class, in which “Karl Schulz, a small lad in the front row,” stepped to the chalkboard and proclaimed: “One can most easily tell a Jew by his nose. The Jewish nose is bent at its point. It looks like the number six. We call it the ‘Jewish six.’ ”

In much of the Muslim world today caricatures of Jews with stereotypical noses regularly appear in viscously anti-Zionist / anti-Israel editorial cartoons.

Online media such as Twitter has proven a ripe opportunity for antisemites to mock Jews and spread hate with distorted cartoon caricatures. (Photo: File)

Perpetuating stereotypes such as the “Jewish nose” is not just offensive. It can have real-life consequences.

Prof. Jonathan Kaplan of the University of Technology-Sydney has pointed out that the perpetrator of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, Robert Bowers, echoed classic anti-Jewish stereotypes in his online ravings. “How we speak about and depict others in the media and social discourse perpetuates long-held stereotypes and ultimately emboldens hate-filled individuals,” according to Prof. Kaplan.

Whether told by a co-worker at the water cooler, a schoolyard bully, a celebrity, or a museum historian, jokes about “Jewish noses” deserve the public’s scorn—and there must be consequences.

Moshe Phillips is a commentator on Jewish affairs whose writings appear regularly in the American and Israeli press. He was a U.S. delegate to the 38th World Zionist Congress in 2020. His views are his own. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Previous
Next