Sunday, December 8, 2013

There Are Comments. And Then There Are Comments.

You again? I thought you'd finished banging on about comments.
I had, but then I received an anti-Semitic email about my Guardian article, so I thought I'd post it and my answer below.

From: [deleted]

To: Ariane Sherine
Sent: Sunday, 8 December 2013, 10:00
Subject: To the man who threw $1,000 in the Mall of America: just give to charity

Cheap Jews like you just can not understand this.

Am I wrong???


From: Ariane Sherine

To: [deleted] 
Sent: Sunday, 8 December 2013, 12:29
Subject: Re: To the man who threw $1,000 in the Mall of America: just give to charity

Dear AL, 

I'm Ariane, the journalist who wrote the Guardian piece on giving to charity. To answer your question simply: yes, you are wrong.

Firstly, you are wrong on a technical level: I am not Jewish. But my mother's heritage is Iranian, so we're near enough the same people from the same part of the world.

Secondly, and far more essentially, you are wrong on a basic human level: Jewish people are no less generous than people of any other ethnicity.

How do I know this? I could tell you about my Jewish friend Mark, who took me on holiday to Cyprus when I was 19, because I couldn't afford to go and had never been abroad on holiday before.

I could tell you more about him and his American wife Allie (also Jewish), who throw great parties every US election night with no expense spared.

I could tell you about my Jewish boyfriend Dan, who would never allow me to pay for anything (dinners, club nights, travel, etc) despite my insistence, because I was a student and wasn't earning.

I could relate any number of stories to you, but I'm not sure it would sway you from your view, because I don't think your view was formed through any valid reasoning. 

So I think it would be better to ask you to examine your prejudices against Jewish people. Did your parents bring you up to believe that you were in some way better than them? Were your schoolfriends anti-Semitic? Have you ever considered that making a prejudiced generalisation against a whole ethnicity is racist and wrong?

And - to throw a completely different light on your question - would you be surprised to learn that Mr Vorobyov, the generous subject of the article I wrote, was most likely Jewish himself?

I hope this answers your question.

Yours sincerely,