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What's Up with All the Anti-Semitism at NBC?

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Bigotry is bad. It’s wrong to lie about people or assume the worst about them because of the way they look and/or their religious beliefs. Everybody knows this.

Except when the targets are Jews, apparently. In an age when we’re all walking on eggshells to avoid offending somebody and getting #cancelled, anti-Semitism is as mainstream as ever.

Just watch this recent scene from the NBC medical drama Nurses:

An orthodox Jew needs allograft surgery, but he rejects it because the tissue donor might be someone he hates. Wait, what?

I know a little bit about this sort of surgery. Ten years ago I got hit by a State Department security SUV making an illegal left turn in Washington, DC, and it shattered the tibial plateau of my left knee. I had surgery to fix it, but after a few months of grueling physical therapy, my knee started to bend inward. So the doctors decided to do an osteochondral allograft. They cut out the damaged part of the knee and replaced it with bone from an organ donor. And it worked. I still don’t have 100% function in my knee and it hurts every damn day, but that surgery is the only reason I can walk at all now. I’m eternally grateful to the doctors who healed me, and to the unknown donor who enabled me to walk again. It’s a miracle of medicine, and it wouldn’t have been possible even 20 years before.

And in all the research I did beforehand about that type of surgery, I don’t remember anything about anybody having religious objections. Is that really a thing among Orthodox Jews? I mean, how many Jewish doctors are out there? I think there are a lot! Jews tend to like science, right?

I’ve never watched Nurses (or most other primetime network dramas since Lost went off the air), but apparently it’s a Canadian show that NBC picked up because there’s nothing else to put on the air in the COVID era. Canadians can be as anti-Semitic as anybody else, eh?

Allison Joseph, the Orthodox Jew in NY who posted that clip, writes:

Despite my invitation to Hollywood producers to consult us when they do their “token Hasidic Jew” episode, Hollywood insists on remaining ignorant and promoting lies about the Orthodox community. Let’s unpack how badly they did with this aforementioned scene:

  1. There is no prohibition on getting a dead body part surgically inserted into one’s body. In fact, Jewish law says we should use the best medicine of our times to recover from our illnesses.
  2. There is no prohibition to get a non-Jewish body part inserted, nor is there a prohibition if the part belongs to a woman or an Arab.

Now, are there Orthodox Jews who look down on non-Jews and Arabs? You betcha. And are there Orthodox Jews who are misogynists? Unfortunately, yes for that one too. But the idea that such a surgery would be problematic in general or problematic because of where the bone came from not only is categorically false according to Jewish law, it is a vicious lie that endangers men who walk around with curled side locks and black hats.

It’s complete BS. But it was written into a TV script, filmed, and shown on national TV because nobody cared to check.

And this isn’t NBC’s only flirtation with anti-Semitism this week. On this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, Michael Che blurted out this Jew-bashing slur:

“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half!”

Remember: SNL is flouting New York’s COVID laws to put on their little show with a live audience every week. It’s worth putting people at risk of contracting a deadly virus, because they need to slander Jews on national TV.

Now, if this were a joke about a group of people that we’ve designated as automatic victims in 2021 America, it would be a big deal:

“New York City is reporting that they’ve vaccinated 10% of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the transgender 1/10th!”

That would be a huge controversy. It would be “hate speech.” Michael Che would already be groveling for forgiveness, promising to interrogate his own cisgender heteronormative privilege and whatnot. Then, after his tormentors got bored with humiliating him, he’d be fired anyway.

Or imagine if that Nurses scene you just watched was a white actor in yellowface who said stuff like, “Ching chong, me no rikey! You no do bone sullgelly, Joe!!” That would never fly. Everybody would be outraged, and rightly so. It’s 2021, man. Come to think of it, that’s exactly why SNL fired comedian Shane Gillis before he even appeared on a single episode. He had made some Chinese jokes on a podcast, so Lorne Michaels caved to the outrage mob.

Hell, Trader Joe’s had to apologize for labeling their burritos “Trader Jose.” Even Trader Joe’s is considered racist now!

Yet bigotry against Jews is still acceptable. I’ve never understood anti-Semitism and I never will. That’s one of the many reasons those alt-right dorks hate me, and I’m fine with them hating me.

But Michael Che and the producers of Nurses agree with those alt-right anti-Semites. Feel free to remind them of that fact.

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