Saturday, June 10, 2006

Is this antisemitic?

Walking on the loop tonight there were some people distributing leaflets and they were wearing T-shirts. On these T-shirts was printed a star of david. Inside the star was written "Jesus Loves You." Now to me, this seems insulting to Jews, taking one of their symbols and juxtaposing it with a christian message. It seemed a little antisemitic to me. Am I right?


Blogger Expatriate Owl said...

Yes, I consider it antisemitic.

Robert Browning put it quite well in his poem "Holy Cross Day":

"By the torture, prolonged from age to age,
By the infamy, Israel's heritage,
By the Ghetto's plague, by the garb's disgrace,
By the badge of shame, by the felon's place,
By the branding-tool, the bloody whip,
And the summons to Christian fellowship.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous c said...

Antisemitic: One who discriminates against or who is hostile toward or prejudiced against Jews.

I don't think it is. Quite frequently whenever religion is discussed, one of our close friends in law school who is Jewish states, "Jesus hates me." I think those people were trying to counteract a common belief among Jewish people, that christians are antisemitic. I think their technique is in poor taste, but the message is not discriminatory, hostile, or prejudice. E.O., while I am sure you like the little poem, it has nothing to do with what was being discussed here. Not everything has to be your personal soapbox.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

C, you don't think the symbolism manifests a hostility toward Jews? Also, I don't think E.O. was necessarily on a "soapbox" by merely pointing that Christians have historically been hostile toward Jews.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

"age" and "heritage" don't rhyme.

The t-shirt is an offer of conversion, suggesting that Jews find Jesus and come on over to Christianity.

As to whether that's antisemitic is going to depend on your point of view. Some would say that it's an offer to come over and join a team that's really awesome and makes all the people on it really happy. On the other hand, some would say it's an attempt to assimilate and thereby destroy a minority cultural identity.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Squishy Burrito said...

Be careful in assuming the meaning behind the shirt. What if instead of meaning Jesus loves you so you need to follow him, its just saying Jesus loves you, therefore the people who follow Jesus love you. How does that phrase insinuate a need to assimilate or join fellowship or even to profess a belief that he is something that jewish people don't believe he is? They still believe in Jesus, just not as a Messiah. Maybe the shirt is saying even if you don't believe Jesus is the Messiah he still loves you, and therefore, I love you.

I agree with C that it is in poor taste but be careful placing meaning on something that might not even be there.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous c said...

I don't think it manifests a hostility towards jews, even assuming that it was intended as a command to assimilate. I think it was a perversion of a religious symbol for that person's (those people's) personal expression, much like the jesus fish with legs and darwin written in it. Poor taste to pervert someone else's religion for your own expression, I think so. But not anti-that religion. I think often times people want to make their point in as loud and controversial manner as possible, but without an underlying prejudice against those whose symbols and ideas they pervert.

11:44 AM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

If the point the person was trying to make was that Jesus loves everyone, why not just have a shirt that says that. To target one specific religious (or sub-group) group changes the message. The message becomes, in my mind, "Jesus loves you even though your Jewish."

Think about it: if the shirt had been a picture of a prostitute, I can't imagine we would think it was saying that "Jesus loves prostitutes - go do some good business!" No, we would interperete it as saying, "Jesus loves you even though you are a prostitute. He can help you change your life if you want."

This is not to say that the person wearing the shirt meant to be, or is, anti-semitic, but it it is offensive.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

While we're on the subject of Judaism and poor taste...

10:54 AM  

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