Taking Pride in Jews in Finance
Anti-Semite sends flier, but the slur’s on him
Somebody sent a flier to Gawker with nine magazine covers depicting various Jews in the world of finance—including Alan Greenspan, Michael Milken (vintage!), Lloyd Blankfein, and, naturellement, Bernard Madoff—cast in negative lights. The words, “Wall St. Jews,” are superimposed.
Gawker cheekily asks, “What is the message here, about all of these Jews, on Wall Street?” Actually, the montage effect does make you blink at the magazines’ decisions to plaster finance Jews on their covers and in some cases feature mad-clown makeup, an avaricious grin, and even, yes, devil’s horns, and made me momentarily wonder—I’m serious—whether the sender meant his or her missive as an indictment of the anti-Semitism of New York, Fortune, and, um, Bloomberg Markets. Ultimately I’m going to go ahead and agree with Elder of Ziyon that the sender is in fact a “Jew-hater.”
I’d tell this anonymous bigot, however, that he (let’s assume it’s a he, because, I mean, it’s probably a he) is going to have to do better if he wants to indict the Jewish people. He doesn’t prove that Jews are uniquely greedy; or rather he doesn’t disprove millennia of extensive anecdotal evidence that lust for money is general throughout the human race. What he does prove is that Jews are overrepresented in the top tiers of finance. And I’d submit this is something for Jews to be proud of: It’s a sign of our ability, developed over hundreds of years of being forced by anti-Semites like the sender into owning no land and instead relying on commerce and wit, to provide an essential, challenging function to society. If occasionally there is a hugely rotten apple (like Madoff) or, less conspicuously, a bright red apple who thrives in an unfair system (like Blankfein), that’s still because there are more of us in the tree. And I’d add, on this May Day, that Jews also tend to be overrepresented among the likes of those who inveigh against the folks on the covers of those magazines and the system they represent on more virtuous and less prejudiced grounds.
So, not only are you hateful, you’re no good at it.
But tell me why I’m wrong:
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