6/10/16 MIKEY WEINSTEIN’s OP-ED ON DAILY KOS – From the Yellow Star to the “Coincidence Detector”: Jews Once Again Targets of Search and Destroy Tactics

Google just announced last week that they pulled an abusive Chrome browser extension called the “Coincidence Detector” – when applied to your browser, it automatically surrounds the names of Jews with a triple parenthesis, (((like this))). To white supremacists, the triple parenthesis means the “echo” of Jews through history – the nasty, evil, filthy, Jews, of course, who must be identified and targeted for “corrective action.”

This app was brought to my attention when a friend recently sent me an email after seeing the story. He tracked down the app where it still exists in dark corners of the web and sure enough – Your name shows up in parentheses, Mikey,” he said. “You’ve been targeted.”

The extension has two different tagging functions: it tags Jewish last names – for example, my name on Facebook shows up as Mikey (((Weinstein))), MRFF; but it also draws from a list of specifically targeted people in which my name is included – for example, it shows up on the Wikipedia MRFF page (only with the now unavailable browser extension) as (((Michael Weinstein))).

Of course, Google isn’t the first to try this kind of targeting; in 2011, Apple tried a similar tactic with their “Jew or not a Jew?” app, which was dropped after lawsuits were threatened in Paris, France, where it’s illegal to compile such lists.

Jews have been negatively identified throughout history to make them easier targets for racists and bigots to spew their hate and aggression. We could go way back to medieval times, but Hitler and the yellow star badges Jews were forced to wear is probably the event most non-Jewish people will associate with what is now known as “Jew tagging”. Yep, this despicable practice didn’t die out after the Holocaust – it’s thriving and well and even has a nifty new name!

Jew-tagging is now the darling pastime of the bigots and racists, especially on the internet where cowards love to play. Wikipedia is a prime example. Anti-Semitic editors routinely go in and change the articles to tag people as Jewish – Mark Bernstein points out that they do this not only to Jews and “suspected Jews” but to anyone the editor feels they can insult or stir up anger and distrust towards by tagging them as Jews: “Some editors, for example, try to change the first sentence of every possible Democratic politician to read, “____ is a Jewish-American politician.””

Even fictional characters aren’t immune. Dan Murphy, who wrote the Wikipedia article on Jay Gatsby (the title character of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s magnum opusThe Great Gatsby(1925), noted that the article as it stands now is significantly different than when he created it, with the name changed to “James Gatz” in the introductory paragraph, derogatory references made to his Jewishness, and the sneering statement that he “dropped out of strip club school.”

None of this is surprising. And none of it, frankly, is new. The U.S. Military in particular is a hotbed of anti-Semitism, directed by those who would like to see it the subject of a fundamentalist evangelical Christian takeover. My wife, Bonnie, is the author of “To the Far Right Christian Hater… You Can be a Good Speller or a Hater, But You Can’t Be Both” (Vireo, 2014), a shocking anthology of correspondence that is virulently anti-Semitic in nature.

I personally have been named one of the 50 most influential Jews in America by the Forward, one of the nation’s preeminent Jewish publications, which has the dual effect of widening my sphere of outreach while concomitantly inflaming white supremacists. Additionally, it is no secret that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), of which I am Founder and President, is routinely a target of hate coming from anti-Semites, most of whom are Christian fundamentalist evangelicals.

Both my wife Bonnie and I are outspoken about the abuses heaped on anyone in the military who doesn’t profess the supremacy of evangelical fundamentalist Christianity. I and MRFF stood up for a Jewish soldier who faced a vicious anti-Semitic assault at Fort Benning, and we’ve been on the front lines battling for the brave men and women of our country who serve despite the disgusting, dehumanizing abuses heaped on them for not being good little foot soldiers for weaponized Jesus.

This video, compiled by a MRFF client who chooses to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, starkly illustrates the sometimes veiled, sometimes overt anti-Semitism that exists within the military; a long-existing undercurrent that is given de facto support by the Christian fundamentalist fifth column within the four major service branches. It will literally make you sick, but watch it anyway.

The opposition is strong, of course! The US House of Representatives found myself and MRFF so threatening that they actually passed an amendment against me. You wouldn’t believe the hate mail I get. Emails calling me a “whining Jew” practically get filed as love notes, these days; more direct are letters like this one from a self-identified “spirit filled pastor” from Nebraska, who said: “We pray as one for you to die tonight in your sleep leaving a bloody mess for your family to find at daybreak.”

I and my family have been repeatedly targeted by cowards; our family home in Albuquerque was subjected to hate crime vandalism that included a night time attack resulting in a swastika and a crucifix marked side by side next to our front door, and the killing of our fish in an outdoor pond on our property in 2008. Our living room window has been shot out, twice, our vehicle tires slashed, and feces and glass bottles thrown at our home.

Dead animals – both disemboweled and decapitated – have been left in pieces in pools of blood on our front porch and driveway. We get constant phone calls – from men threatening me, women sing-songing their wishes for me to be shot in the head, and even small children yelling down the line that we are going to burn in hell.

I won’t even repeat what these degenerates say about Bonnie and my children and other family members. Vile. Evil.

The Google “Jew-tagging” extension is simply more of the same; a way for those who hate Jews to focus their cowardly and ignorant bigotry and prejudice more directly.

Tragically, even with it gone, there are plenty of people who are more than willingly ecstatic to tell you how to spot a Jew.


Click to read on Daily Kos


 

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3 Comments

  1. G

    Dear Mr. Weinstein:

    Can you post the video about anti-Semitism that exists within the military?

    Monday was the anniversary of D-Day and since that time, military veterans are always boasting how they protect our freedoms especially speech; yet, many of these veterans, their children, and their grandchildren continue to display the same kind of racist, sexist, ethnic, religious, political, social, and economic prejudices that would get a Communists, Fascist, and/or Nazis hang for expressing those viewpoints. You wonder what was the point of fighting fascism and communism since it was all for nothing since we can not or will not face and conquer our own prejudices?

    When you look at the history of the American military, they were not fighting to protect freedom but to conquer the American continent on behalf of American business people, break up labor strikes, and to make the world safe for American businesses and wealthy people.

  2. Jews and other minorities attract the rage of the worthless.

  3. Larry and Susan Bitow

    We stand with you….

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