Now that Succos is over, school is back in full force, with a full force of situations that just make you blink several times and wonder what, exactly, just happened.
“Hey, take a look at this,” I told an amicable Muslim classmate. He and I are on pretty good terms these days. Once you get past a few glaring differences, he’s actually more alike us than non-religious folk.
I was referring to that new article in the New York magazine. This one, to be exact. The one where it oh-so-flatteringly accepts for granted that New York Jews control the economy. The one where we are urged to happily return to our corner Delis, neighborhood bagel shops, and impecunious origins since our power has been Vanquished. I wanted his opinion on it. I wanted to see if he picked up on the same subtle threads reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Turns out he does. Homes in on it like a heat-seeking missile.
“The glass towers of midtown Manhattan are filled with Jewish magicians who manipulate abstract symbols that shape the contents of people’s characters and opinions as well as the contents of their wallets and can seemingly be transformed at will into other markers of value in a dizzying progression that destroys the certainties of blood and soil on which life is founded for ordinary villagers…” he reads aloud, pausing in the middle so it doesn’t sound quite so much like an endless run-on, until he stops and laughs, “this is so true!”
And then he looks at me with camaraderie, with an I’d-nudge-you-with-my-elbow-here-if-I-could look he was so quick to develop to accommodate me, like he expects me agree with him.
I don’t. “Shush!” I tell him, for lack of anything better surfacing in the gobble-de-gook soup that used to be a functioning mind. “Jews do not control the economy. Think logically!”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Except it was obvious that he didn’t, and was just trying to placate me.
And by the time I figured out what I could say to him on the topic, it was time to go back to class.
So how do you react to flippant, friendly antisemitism?