Last night’s Oscar performance made fun of everything from movie topless scenes to Abraham Lincoln, from African-American stereotypes to gay stereotypes. Even Jews had to take their knocks, taking their knocks from Ted -- the foul mouthed, digital stuffed bear that was the center of last summer's mega-hit comedy of the same name.
"I was born Theodore Shapiro and I would like to donate to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever," the MacFarlane-voiced Ted said, trying to convince “straight-man” Mark Wahlberg to tell people he was Jewish.
As a Jew who often writes about anti-Semitism I must admit the segment was very funny (although not quite as funny as the beginning of the movie Ted when the narrator says, it was Christmas Eve and all the children were in high spirits. That special time of year, when Boston children gather together and beat up the Jewish kids.)
The ADL led by long-time chief Abraham Foxman, issued a statement on Monday morning slamming MacFarlane and the Academy for the ted segment of the show that it said perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes.
While we have come to expect inappropriate “Jews control Hollywood” jokes from Seth MacFarlane, what he did at the Oscars was offensive and not remotely funny. It only reinforces stereotypes whichlegitimize anti-Semitism. It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs.
There are a few problems with Foxman’s comment. First of all the Ted segment was not making fun of Jews, it was making fun those who stereotype Jews. That's why the words were uttered by a racist/sexist teddy bear. The same way they misogynist, black and gay jokes were making fun of those who stereotype those groups.
An even bigger problem was the fact that Foxman bashes MacFarlane for his “supposed” anti-Semitism but the ADL has been very comfortable with Barack Obama’s choice of Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense?
Senator Hagel would not have been my first choice, but I respect the President’s prerogative.
I trust that the confirmation process will provide an opportunity for Senator Hagel to address concerns about his positions, which seem so out of sync with President Obama’s clear commitment on issues like Iran sanctions, isolating Hamas and Hezbollah and the president’s strong support for a deepening of U.S. Israel strategic cooperation
Actually the confirmation process revealed more of Hagel’s anti-Semitism, such has his statement regarding the closing of the USO Base in Haifa “Let the Jews pay for it”
Yet with all the new revelations regarding Hagel---Foxman and the ADL, as if to reinforce the fact that his obligations to Obama has priority over his obligation to the Jewish community---has been silent.
Its Amazing how Abe Foxman rushed to slam MacFarlane’s Jewish jokes (though the teddy bear Ted ) but after weeks of revelations he has said nothing about Hagel. Its just another more another example of Abe Foxman’s hypocrisy.