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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern vote Democratic (Further Updated)

• Isn't the President's problem that Denmark is finally governed by someone who can make up their mind (about Greenland not being for sale, if not about whether to kill Claudius). I am surprised (and somewhat disappointed) by the absence of Hamlet jokes in all of this.

• I have a different take on the President's "any Jewish person who votes Democratic shows great disloyalty." I don't think he was trafficking in the dual-loyalty stereotypes that Rep. Omar was accused of. Nor do I think he was accusing American Jews of disloyalty to the United States (at least more than he would say that anyone who votes Democratic is disloyal), although the latter risks giving crazies another reason to target Jews.

I think he was calling us "Bad Jews." But this shows his ignorance more than anything else. As Julian Zelizer put it, "Judaism has revolved around debate, disagreement and deliberation;" there is no official source defining who is a good or bad Jew based on their views and ideas. And certainly not an orange-tinted shaygets.

Update: The President reiterated his point today, saying "If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to the Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.” So he is saying "disloyal," because it is the only word he knows. But he is really saying we are bad Jews.

Further Update: Tying together this post and the news of the day: Denmark saved 90 % of its Jews during the Shoah.

Further, Further Update: Jordan Weissmann at Slate echoes my point that this is about labeling bad Jews. It would be an odd twist on the dual-loyalty trope to stay the problem is that Jews are insufficiently loyal to a foreign country. The problem is more tied to Jewishness:

[T]hey are implying that they are disloyal to their own ethnic interests, American interests, and even the almighty’s. It’s the 2019 version of calling liberal Jews a bunch of heretics. And we all know what happens to heretics in the end.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 21, 2019 at 10:45 AM in Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


I am not suggesting one is worse than the other; both are bad. But see my update with the piece by Weissmann, which argues that this is something other than divided loyalties.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Aug 22, 2019 9:45:30 PM

Interesting that you think being labeled a "bad Jew" in the abstract is worse than being labeled disloyal to Jews because you are disloyal to Israel. Either one is offensive, but the former seems only to refer to an internecine squabble -- i.e., other Jews will be unhappy with you. But the latter deepens the prominent negative stereotype that all American Jews have divided loyalties. I have a hard time believing that Trump did not know exactly what he was doing with his clear and simple comments on the subject.

Posted by: Atticus Grinch | Aug 22, 2019 7:13:49 PM

I thought fellow unfaithful Jew and great actor Michael Rapaport pretty much summed up my feelings with a twitter video. I won't link it here because of the foul language, but google it if you want.

Posted by: MGould | Aug 22, 2019 4:50:07 PM

Well, what he actually said isn't so clear, especially on his "clarification." I certainly don't think I am being charitable--I object to what he said because I don't appreciate being called a bad Jew, especially by an orange-tinted shaygets. And no, not trademarked; please use it far and wide.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Aug 22, 2019 3:09:32 PM

Why do you feel the new to charitably reinterpret his words? Why such resistance to believing that he might actually mean what he actually says?

Posted by: Atticus Grinch | Aug 22, 2019 1:32:27 PM

So the minority of US Jews who vote Republican are loyal to "the Jewish people" and the minority who don't are not.

-> Implication: The majority of US Jews are bad Jews.

-> Implication: The majority of US Jews are bad people.

Posted by: E | Aug 21, 2019 8:27:03 PM

"orange-tinted shaygets" - Love it. I will use it if it is not a trademarked phrase!

Posted by: Chm | Aug 21, 2019 6:47:32 PM

Is he not saying that Jews should have dual loyalty? So he is inverting the usual stereotype, but still thinking in a kind of similar way.

Posted by: Jr | Aug 21, 2019 6:07:36 PM

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