Good Jews and bad Jews

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"Good Jews and bad Jews" is a common argumentative dichotomy, whereby "good Jews" are those who happen to agree with a person's positive stereotypes regarding how those who happen to practice Judaism or are of Jewish ancestry should behave (and, hence, ought to be protected from criticism) and "bad Jews" are those who fulfill negative stereotypes about how those same individuals should not behave. Either straw-man "group" can be a majority or minority, but both usually fulfill the lowest expectations (by non-Jews, usually those in historically-Christian- or Muslim-dominated territories) of how a Jewish person should be perceived.


[edit] Examples

[edit] Christian Zionism

Christian Zionism generally espouses that Jews should (re)move themselves and their families to Israel as a matter of fulfilling "Biblical prophecy" (including Christian rhetoric regarding the "End Times" and the "Second Coming" of Jesus). Bad Jews, on the other hand, are those who do not move to Israel, or who call out Evangelical ideologues on their bullshit.

[edit] Christian nationalism

European racialist, religionist and nationalist arguments often hold that the smaller of a population of Jews in Europe, the less of a "Jewish problem" (they being the source of the great "international Jewish conspiracy" and all) there will be. Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 bombing and massacre in Norway, wrote such in his 2083: A European Declaration of Independence:

There is no Jewish problem in Western Europe (with the exception of the UK and France) as we only have 1 million in Western Europe, whereas 800 000 out of these 1 million live in France and the UK. The US on the other hand, with more than 6 million Jews (600% more than Europe) actually has a considerable Jewish problem. But please learn the difference between a nation-wrecking multiculturalist Jew and a conservative Jew. Don’t make the same mistake that NSDAP did. Never target a Jew because he is a Jew, but rather because he is a category A or B traitor. And don’t forget that the bulk of the category A and B traitors are Christian Europeans. 90% of the category A and B traitors in my own country, Norway, are Nordic, Christian category A and B traitors.[1]

[edit] Ultra-reactionary Zionism

Sometimes, right-wing Jews who are not Israeli will express deep contempt for Jews with a differing opinion on Israel, the role religion or ethnicity should play in the political system, or other political issues. The most famous witch hunters are David Horowitz, Pamela Geller, and Melanie Phillips.

[edit] Melanie Phillips

As one example, Phillips called the then-two-month-old Independent Jewish Voices, a rather tame (but no less serious and committed) organization, 'Jews for Genocide' on her blog simply on the grounds that they'd criticized Israel.[2] Never mind that Israel's security is one of their five founding principles and combating anti-Semitism makes up two more of the five founding principles.

[edit] Anti-Zionism

In Anti-Zionism, a "good Jew" is one who does one of the following:

  • if living elsewhere, forswears moving to Israel
  • if living in or born in Israel, agrees with anti-Zionist viewpoints regarding why Israel should not be classified, culturally, as a "Jewish state".
  • tells "the truth" about "Jewish evil"

A "bad Jew" includes those who do not do these things, including everyone from Jewish settlers in the West Bank to nameless Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv.

[edit] Relation to anti-Semitism and Judeophobia

The dichotomy dates back to ancient stereotypes regarding Jews as evil people, particularly those stereotypes spread in Christian-ruled polities. However, due to the focus of the Bible upon ancient Israel/Judah/Judea/Canaan and its inhabitants (and all the purported divine interventions in reality as written in the Bible), these same Christians also accord a strong religious significance (often to the point of obsession-fetish) upon anything that has to do with Judaism, Jews or Israel; in other words, in the eyes of those who hold to this fixation, any of the three become dehumanized for their religious fixation.

Someone who uses the "good Jew, bad Jew" dichotomy may also be prone to say "b-but some of my best friends are Jewish!"

[edit] Objections

A blogger for the New Jersey Jewish News, Ilana Angel criticized the dichotomy, saying:

It is offensive when people say I am one of the 'good Jews'. What does that mean? Is the implication that Jews are bad people, but I managed to somehow not be? Is there a private club of 'good Jews'? How do you qualify to make it into this elite group of chosen people?

[edit] Application to other demographics

"Good/reasonable atheists" are also claimed to exist by those who adhere to stereotypes about "militant atheists,"[4] and conservative pundit Ann Coulter claimed that Republican blacks are the better blacks.[5]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, pages 1163-4
  2. We can't find the blog post itself- yet- but she admits to having written it here.
  3. Ilana Angel. "Good Jew, Bad Jew, Red Jew, Blue Jew." Keeping the Faith. 2011 November 19.
  4. Chris Hallquist. "Don’t say I’m one of the good atheists." The Uncredible Hallq. Patheos. 2012 March 15.
  5. Sam Seder. "Ann Coulter: Our Blacks are the Best!" Majority Report. YouTube. 2011 November 2.
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