The Jewish Conspiracy Of Humour
Psalm 2 : 4 ‘God in heaven laughs’.
Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are alive and unwell. On 25th June 2020 Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Education Shadow Secretary was sacked by the Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer after she retweeted an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory offered up by Maxine Peake. Maxine Peake is a long-time Labour supporter and she had told the Independent online newspaper 'The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd's neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.' The article led to a backlash, with Israeli Police issuing a statement denying Ms Peake's claims saying: 'There is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway'. Maxine Peake’s statement seems fanciful and tendentious. But it reflects a mindset among many on the political left who blame Jews for all that is bad in the world. European socialist movements are infected with these prejudices.
On 20th June the journalist and academic Zoe Strimpel wrote in The Telegraph. ‘Anti-racism movements often foster anti-Semitism. This is because the most committed anti-racists see Jews as part of an imperialist racist Zionist conspiracy, represented by Israel. According to their political lights, Israel is the world’s single biggest problem, and they believe it exists solely to egregiously and brutally oppress people of colour – including, but not limited, to their Arab neighbours. Jews, Zionists and racists unite, for them, in one toxic brain fog’.
Zoe Strimpel continued, ‘A few weeks ago, rioting in Los Angeles following the murder of George Floyd saw a number of Jewish shops destroyed, synagogues vandalised with “Free Palestine” graffiti, and a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews being murdered by the Nazis, daubed in anti-Semitic slogans. It goes on. Last week, at an anti-racism rally in Paris inspired by Black Lives Matter, placards and stickers read such jewels as “Israel, laboratory of police violence”, “Who is the terrorist?”, “Palestine to the Palestinians! Boycott Israel!’’, and “Stop collaboration with Israeli State terrorism.” Back in America, Ice Cube, the iconic rapper, chose to advance the cause of George Floyd by posting a caricature of Jewish figures with the caption: “All we have to do is stand up [against them] and their little game is over.” The image was nearly identical to one used by Nazis in the 1930s to incite hatred and violence against Jews’.
There is a long history to this. Starting in the 19th century, the anti-Semitic notion that Jews were plotting to establish control over the world and dominate it by promoting capitalism and engaging in banking and finance first emerged. ‘The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion’ was published in 1903 in Russia and in 1919 in English). It is a fabricated anti-Semitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination.
The reasons why anti-Semitism exists are fear and jealousy. Jews have been disproportionately successful in all areas of human endeavour. Today Israel counts 140 scientists and technicians per 10,000 employees, one of the highest ratios in the world. In comparison, there are 85 per 10,000 in the United States and 83 per 10,000 in Japan. Israelis are world leaders in desalination, drip feed irrigation and dew harvesting and as such are essential to the survival of the human race in the middle east as global warming continues and water supplies grow less. Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 900 individuals, of whom at least 20% were Jews although Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world’s population. There is indeed a world wide conspiracy of Jewish excellence in science, medicine, humanities, arts, business, finance and even in entertainment.
For much of the 20th century and into the twenty-first, Jews have conspired to make everyone laugh. The American entertainment industry has been their main vehicle. Some comedians have overtly confessed their Jewishness such as Sid Caesar (Isaac Ziser), Jackie Mason (Jacob Moshe Maza) and Woody Allen (Allan Stewart Konigsberg) and others have disguised themselves as gentiles, such as Joan Rivers (Molinsky), Jack Bennie (Benjamin Kubelsky) and George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum). Programmes such as The Kominsky Method, The Good Cop, The Goldbergs and the Marvelous Mrs Maisel top the TV ratings there. Film director and producer Mel Brooks (Kaminsky) broke new comedy ground with Blazing Saddles.
Jews were instrumental in the origins and development of the Hollywood film industry and there has always been a strong comedic element within American film production. MGM was founded by Marcus Loew, Sam Goldwyn (Szmuel Gelbfisz) and Louis B Mayer (Lazar Meir). Humanity and quality are seen today in the cinematic work of Steven Spielberg, winner of four Oscars. The influence of Jews throughout the film industry has been disproportionate. In Britain there is a long list of recent Jewish comedians including Peter Sellers, Denis Norden, Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Ronni Ancona, David Baddiel and the outrageous Sacha Baron Cohen. Impresarios, Lew Grade (Louis Winogradsky), Bernard Delfont (Boris Winogradsky) were Jewish as is Michael Grade and indeed these three are related.
Much Jewish humour is self-deprecating. It is often about the relationship between Jews and gentiles. Much is part of the human commonwealth of humour. Jews have an inordinate and extravagant capacity to laugh at themselves. They are so often first to the one liner, the quip, the gag (Groucho Marx - ‘Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others’). Why? High intelligence is one quotient, a capacity for irony is another and the Jewish story in world history is the context. Suffering has emphasised difference and distinction. Jews have not turned to bitterness and violence. Many have resorted to humour and have sought to share this humour with all humanity. Few people realise how indebted the world is to Jewish humour. It is a vehicle to victory for Jews to be able to laugh at life, everyone and themselves even in the midst on ongoing trauma. Here are some examples.
‘Did you know that the Jews invented sushi? That's right - two Jews bought a restaurant with no kitchen’. (Jackie Mason)
‘To you, I’m an atheist. To God I’m the loyal opposition. (Woody Allen)
‘I was kidnapped as a child. My parents sprang into action. They rented my room’. (Woody Allen)
‘I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio’. (Joan Rivers)
‘I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery’. (Joan Rivers)
‘It's a real Strad, you know. If it isn't I'm out one hundred and ten dollars. The reason I got it so cheap is that it's one of the few Strads made in Japan’. (Jack Bennie)
‘Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family - in another city’. (George Burns)
Jeremy Dauber’s academic publication ‘Jewish Comedy (A Serious History) offers examples of archetypal Jewish humour.
A man sits at the outskirts of the shtetl, (village) paid two kopecks a week to watch out for the messiah. “Two kopecks”, he’s asked, “Not very much”. “No”, comes the response, “But it’s steady work”.
A man went to his tailor and asked him to make him a suit. The tailor said “Come back in six days”. “Six days”, said the buyer. “So long? God was able to make the world in six days”. “True” replied the tailor, “But just look at the world and look at this jacket”.
A Jew emigrates to Britain, leaving his family behind him. 20 years later they join him. He is dressed in tweeds like an English gentleman. On seeing his family, he bursts into tears. His family also start crying. But then he explains ‘I’m crying because we lost India’.
From American TV there is a fine example.
A Presbyterian Minister went to his barber for a hair cut. ‘How much?’ He asked before leaving. ‘Nothing’ relied the barber. ‘You are a man of the cloth’. The following week the Presbyterian Minister returned to the barber with a Bible. A Catholic Priest went to the same barber for a hair cut. ‘How much?’ He asked before leaving. ‘Nothing’ relied the barber. ‘You are a man of the cloth’. The following week the Catholic Priest return with a wooden crucifix. A Jewish Rabbi went to the same barber for a hair cut. ‘How much?’ He asked before leaving. ‘Nothing’ relied the barber. ‘You are a man of the cloth’. The following week the Jewish Rabbi returned – with another Rabbi.
An anthology of Presbyterian humour might be slim and similarly an Anglican one. Catholic humour might make single volume. Baptist, Brethren and Pentecostal humour is little known. Jihad humour is no joke. Hamas and Hizbollah humour may exist but is it funny? Jewish humour is of encyclopaedic proportions requiring several entire libraries, evidences in architecture of the Jewish capacity to make humanity laugh.
There is undeniably a world wide conspiracy by Jews to excel in every human endeavour and hope. It is their success that is the problem for some. Anti-Semitism is a rebellion against their calling and purpose and therefore against their Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jews were slaves who won their freedom by the divine intervention and election of their Maker. That is their testimony. Jackie Mason in a more serious moment said, ‘I'm crazy about the fact that the Jewish people should survive because they have so much to contribute and so many values to contribute to the world. It would be a much better world, a much more peaceful and non-violent world if we lived by Jewish values’.
As a Christian I am indebted to God’s calling of the Jews. Otherwise I would not be who I am. Christianity offers the Good News about Jesus to all humanity. His teaching was the best of Judaism multiplied in and by Himself. For everyone – so that you did not need to become Jewish to know and love the Lord your God. St Paul expressed this continuity in his Letter to the Romans, Chapters 9, 10 and 11 in the New Testament of our Bible. Christians are now the most persecuted community in the world. In our suffering we have become again the New Israel. Together we continue to bear witness to our Maker.