No, There’s Nothing 'Jewy' About Harvey Weinstein’s Predatory Behavior

Antonia Blumberg
Tablet has published an apology for the article. (Tablet)

Accusations of sexual assault and rape against Harvey Weinstein have sparked intense public discourse around abuse and misogyny in the entertainment industry ― and beyond.

Several white supremacists and even one prominent Jewish magazine, though, have latched onto Weinstein’s Jewish identity as somehow explaining his abusive behavior towards women.

White supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke called the allegations “a case study in the corrosive nature of Jewish domination of our media and cultural industries” ― rehashing a common anti-Semitic trope of Jewish media control.

“It’s really shocking to think that this Jewish pervert could be revealed to be a Jewish pervert,” Duke said sarcastically in a podcast posted on his website.

Andrew Anglin, who founded the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, similarly wrote in a blog post that the media was just awakening to “the revelation that the perverted Jew Harvey Weinstein is in fact a Jewish pervert.”

Interwoven with comments about raping and killing women, Anglin wrote: “The Jews have made our nation into the global center of filth that they made Germany into in the 20s. ... It isn’t going to end well for them this time either.”

An article posted on AltRight.com, a website launched by white supremacist Richard Spencer, also used the scandal to make a larger statement about Jewish people.

“It’s easy now to scapegoat just one degenerate Jew in the hopes of the goyim not noticing the massive hive of degenerate Jews at the heart of Hollywood,” wrote blogger Vincent Law.

White supremacists also gleefully pointed to an article published in Jewish magazine Tablet by the outlet’s editor-at-large, Mark Oppenheimer, titled “The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein.”

In the article, Oppenheimer called the film executive “a deeply Jewish kind of pervert” and attempted to explain his reasoning using a 1969 novel by Philip Roth, which sparked controversy at the time of its publishing over its use of graphic sexuality to perpetuate anti-Semitic stereotypes. 

Oppenheimer claimed Weinstein’s predatory behavior was different from that of non-Jewish men ― because he’s Jewish. He wrote:

Harvey did something unique—no less odious, but different. Harvey performed. As we now are hearing (whether we want to or not), he allegedly made a woman watch as he masturbated into a potted plant. And if you want to understand this bizarre behavior, don’t look to Roger Ailes, or David Vitter, or Paul Crouch—look to Philip Roth.

Better than perhaps any other author, Roth captured the particular anxiety of the Jewish American man in the twentieth century, finally coming into power but, having not grown up with it, unsure of what he’s supposed to do now. All those years craving unattainable Gentiles, but never before the means to entice them. The result is Alexander Portnoy of Portnoy’s Complaint, a grown man whose emotional and sexual life is still all one big performance piece, just as it had been when he was a teenager and pleasured himself with a piece of liver.

Oppenheimer also claimed that many of Weinstein’s accusers are non-Jews in an attempt to prove his point.

The writer later published an apology on Tablet, calling his original article “hasty and ill-considered.”

Multiple other Jewish outlets criticized Oppenheimer and Tablet for publishing the article in the first place and for playing into anti-Semitism.

“Oppenheimer’s analysis of Weinstein’s behavior in context of Roth’s once-scandalous fiction about the repressions involved in a specific type of Jewish American masculinity is profoundly wrongheaded,” wrote Forward’s deputy culture editor Talya Zax.

“Harvey Weinstein is a real living human, and his alleged sexual offenses were committed against real living women,” Zax wrote. “Interpreting those actions as an interesting living enactment of the ideas in a novel negates their maliciousness, their abusiveness, and the devastating consequences for their alleged victims.”

An article published on The Canadian Jewish News by two anti-Semitism experts said Oppenheimer and Tablet aren’t excused from being called out for bigotry.

“Oppenheimer’s commentary invokes some of the worst tropes in anti-Semitic propaganda – of the Jew raping Gentile women,” the authors wrote.

They continued: “Anti-Semitism remains a stain on our society, and it doesn’t take much to light the spark of Jew hatred. And while it may be harder to call it out when the weapon is a Jewish literary analysis rather than a spray-painted swastika on a synagogue wall, we must. A Jewish author writing in a so-called Jewish publication provides no cover, nor should it.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.