April 26, 2010

Jones' "Slur"

I saw on Memeorendum the headline "National Security Adviser Jones: Jews Are Greedy Merchants." Seeing this headline gave me the impression that National Security Adviser James Jones had... referred to Jews as greedy merchants. So I clicked the link and here's what really happened: Jones, in a speech at the Washington Institute For Near East Policy, told the following joke:

I'd like to begin with a story that I think is true, a Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn’t have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban, the jokes goes on, begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he’s back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: “Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.”
An old joke, yes. And perhaps it's unwise to tell any type of ethnic joke whatsoever in an official speech. But is this anti-Semitic? Was he saying "Jews are greedy merchants"? Of course not. A more accurate headline would have been "Jones: Jews Are Smarter Than the Taliban."

Posted by Stephen Silver at April 26, 2010 05:01 PM
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