Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm feeling slightly nervous about blogging this, because I don't know if it's true.

But then part of me thinks, no smoke without fire. But then what do I know? It's only my opinion.

So yesterday's News of the World - not a paper I've ever even bought - had a story about a Manchester rabbi who allegedly frequents whorehouses; I read a Ynetnews report on it.

As you know, I'm from Manchester, and some of my relatives are even bearded.

Aside from the rights and wrongs of supporting the sex industry (probably against halacha), what really gets me is the language of the piece.

It's like every red-top editor's dream, I guess. But still. Maybe it's because I read a broadsheet (frankly, any broadsheet).

But this?

"Preacher has it oy vey with hookers"

or this:

"He can't get enough already: Rabbi J****'s a regular at a brothel"

or this:

"Randy rabbi D**** J**** has been getting sch-mucky with a string of hookers" (because, as we all know, all Jewish words begin with sch..)

and this:

"... turning their brothel into his own personal sin-agogue"

Seems to me, dredging up Jewish stereotypes is alive and well among some journalists at the News of the World. It's not even about whether he did or didn't. It's about highlighting something defining about him, and caricaturing it to almost ridiculous levels. It's possible to imagine the news room with people going round doing Old-Jew no-neck impressions, and talking in translation from Yiddish. If he was a bank manager, would they wear suits and count money?

Counter argument, apparently; someone from his family states: "He was set up by drug dealers who he tried to stop from selling to jewish kids he is suing the paper." Quite how that computes, I don't know, but I'd be interested to hear his side of the story.

And reading through the comments on the Ynetnews site (up to 113 when I last looked): there's lots of support for him, and the intimation that this is a setup based on the Richard Desmond-JC spat (although I believe the NOTW is from the News International Stable, it's not Desmond getting his own back).

Rough translation: a Jew may or may not have done something wrong, but everyone's got their knickers in a twist.

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