‘Personally I was glad to see the outpouring of anti-Semitism,’ says Jewish journalist targeted by haters

Middle East
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A week after the Anti-Defamation League released a report on the frightening trend of anti-Semitic tweets aimed at Jewish journalists, one of those journalists, Julia Ioffe, said she was “personally glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism” because it restored Jews’ status as a persecuted minority.

Ioffe, a columnist at Foreign Policy and contributor at Politico, spoke Thursday night at the Temple Emanu-El in New York, as interlocutor for Jeffrey Goldberg. “Both Jeff and I have been the subject of really surprisingly vicious attacks on social media,” she said. “As a pessimistic Soviet Jew, I always felt this was there.”

An emigre to the U.S. from Moscow as a girl in 1990, Ioffe later elaborated:

Personally and not because I’m a pessimistic Soviet Jew– personally I was kind of glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism, because for a long time I was very frustrated by the discussion on kind of the liberal side of the political spectrum, where Jews, like Israel, were no longer seen as the underdog, no longer seen as the persecuted minority, in fact, this kind of scurrying line of anti-Semitic stereotype of us as the establishment, and people who run and control everything…. I had black friends, for example, black intellectuals who say, “Our issue is the more important one, we are the persecuted minority, you’re part of the establishment, you are white,” and to me seeing that reaction, that seeing that anti-semitic reaction that came with Trump I think got those people to kind of see us again as the minority… I think that people are recognizing that we’re still kind of in the same boat…I’m seeing it as a little reminder to people.

Goldberg shook his head when Ioffe said that Jews and blacks were in the same boat. “I don’t know if I agree with your perceptions of Jews in America,” he said. “Two things can be true at once.” The American Jewish story is that here we “became white. In Europe we were the most oppressed group.” He described an America in which no Jew is persecuted. But because Jews are not easily categorized — “a people, a religion, a country, a tribe” — on the margins there is continuing anti-Semitism, though young people need to be reminded of the Holocaust.

Ioffe’s family emigrated to the United States from Moscow when she was 7, according to Wikipedia, at the end of a period when American Jews mounted political pressure to force the Soviet Union to allow Jews to leave Russia.

She was targeted by anti-Semites last spring after she published a profile of Melania Trump in GQ. She likened the attacks to the experience of Jews in Russia.

 The ADL’s new reportAnti-Semitic Targeting of Journalists During the 2016 Presidential Campaigndocumented 19,000 anti-Semitic tweets aimed at journalists. A “spike” of such tweets “occurred on May 17, 2016, when Melania Trump asserted that Julia Ioffe ‘provoked’ the anti-Semitic attacks against her.” The ADL said:

Ioffe wrote a profile of Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, for the May 2016 issue of GQ. [White supremacists Andrew] Anglin and [Lee] Rogers (self-identified Trump supporters) felt the piece was unflattering. Anglin wrote to his supporters on April 28, “Please go ahead and send her a tweet and let her know what you think of her dirty kike trickery. Make sure to identify her as a Jew working against White interests, or send her the picture with the Jude star from the top of the article.” Anglin provided Ioffe’s Twitter address and the anti-Semitic picture he mentioned. Rogers followed a similar path a few days later, telling his supporters, “I would encourage a continued trolling effort against this evil Jewish bitch.” He then provided Ioffe’s Twitter address.

Here’s Melania’s “provoked” quote. Haaretz:

“I don’t control my fans,” Melania said in an interview with DuJour. “But I don’t agree with what they’re doing. I understand what you mean, but there are people out there who maybe went too far. She provoked them.”

The Guardian published a story on the abuse last April in which Ioffe likened the attacks to Russian anti-Semitism:

On Thursday, Ioffe answered a phone call from an anonymous caller who played a Hitler speech. She received another call from “Overnight Caskets”. On Twitter, users posted photos of her face superimposed on a mug shot from Auschwitz. The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist site, attacked Ioffe in a blogpost titled: “Empress Melania Attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!”

“It’s unsettling,” she said on Thursday night. “I started the day off having a sense of humor about it but by the end of the day, after a few phone calls like this, with people playing Hitler speeches, and the imagery, and people telling me my face would look good on a lampshade, it’s hard to laugh.”

Ioffe worked as a reporter in Moscow for three years. During this period, she experienced antisemitism and witnessed colleagues receive bouquets of funeral flowers at work. But never as a journalist working in the US.

“The irony of this is that today, when I was getting all of this horrible antisemitic shit that I’ve only ever seen in Russia, I was reminded that 26 years ago today my family came to the US from Russia. We left Russia because we were fleeing antisemitism,” Ioffe said. “It’s been a rude shock for everyone.”

Ioffe posted some of those anti-Semitic threats:

 

At the Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center last night Goldberg said Ioffe was number 7 on the ADL’s “top ten” list of targeted journalists, while he was the Bronze medalist, at number three. In fact, she is not on the ADL’s “top ten” list.

About Philip Weiss

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35 Responses

  1. Mooser
    October 28, 2016, 11:53 am

    “said she was “personally glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism” because it restored Jews’ status as a persecuted minority.”

    And considering that anti-semetism has never actually hurt anybody, what do you have to lose?
    And could there be any status better than “persecuted minority”?

    • pabelmont
      October 28, 2016, 1:45 pm

      Mooser: two possibilities here. [1] she actually sees Jews as a persecuted minority [PM] (and Israel ditto) and is glad to see “evidence” that does (or that might) persuade others to this view. [2] She is a strategic thinker and wants “evidence” in order to persuade people of that view even though she doesn’t believe it personally.

      But neither of these seems sufficient — to my jaundiced eye — to prove that [a] high-and-mighty Jews in the USA are a PM [b] that American Jews generally are a PM, [c] that Jewish journalists are a PM (but we need to know what they were writing to see if they were inciting these A/S tweets; or [d] that Israel in any way whatever represents or should be thought of as a PM.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      October 28, 2016, 6:34 pm

      What we need is just enough antisemitism to get recognition as a persecuted minority, with the political status and moral comfort that such recognition brings, but not so much as to cause us any serious harm.

  2. lyn117
    October 28, 2016, 11:54 am

    Real anti-Semitism! I’m almost surprised anyone can recognize it.

    • Krauss
      October 30, 2016, 6:03 pm

      Yeah those tweets were vicious. This is what genuine hatred looks like. Still, her gleeful cynical pleasure of being at the receiving end of those is pretty galling.

  3. jd65
    October 28, 2016, 12:00 pm

    Ioffe: “I think that people are recognizing that we’re still kind of in the same boat.” Let’s hope she doesn’t go down the same road as Sam Byck…

  4. jd65
    October 28, 2016, 12:01 pm

    Ioffe: “I think that people are recognizing that we’re still kind of in the same boat.” Let’s hope she doesn’t go down the same road as Sam Byck…

  5. eljay
    October 28, 2016, 12:55 pm

    Ioffe wrote a profile of Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, for the May 2016 issue of GQ. [White supremacists Andrew] Anglin and [Lee] Rogers (self-identified Trump supporters) felt the piece was unflattering. Anglin wrote to his supporters on April 28, “Please go ahead and send her a tweet and let her know what you think of her dirty kike trickery. Make sure to identify her as a Jew working against White interests, or send her the picture with the Jude star from the top of the article.” Anglin provided Ioffe’s Twitter address and the anti-Semitic picture he mentioned. Rogers followed a similar path a few days later, telling his supporters, “I would encourage a continued trolling effort against this evil Jewish bitch.” He then provided Ioffe’s Twitter address.

    I condemn the overtly anti-Semitic attacks against Ms. Ioffe. Anglin and Rogers should be held accountable for their hateful and immoral acts of incitement.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 28, 2016, 2:48 pm

      the pointedly anti semitic attacks on Ioffe are disgusting. although i thought her GQ “interview” w/melanie trump was clearly a long extended hit job (Melania Knauss was 28, a tall, shy brunette whose face had yet to acquire the taut, plasticine squint that makes it look as if cameras are forever catching her a second before a sneeze. … and do we really need to know that 50 years ago her father, before he was married to melanie’s mother, challenged his ex in court in a paternity case about when he had sex with Marija and the rhythms of her menstrual cycle) there’s no excuse for it.

      this kind of hit job reporting is destined for pushback, but aimed at the journalist’s jewishness??? it goes to show some of trumps strongest supporters are raving racists. but i’d argue, if this kind of reporting was aimed at a jewish subject, the ADL would have called it an anti semitic attack (of the “jewish princess” stereotyping insinuations).

      personally I was kind of glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism, because for a long time I was very frustrated by the discussion on kind of the liberal side of the political spectrum, where Jews, like Israel, were no longer seen as the underdog, no longer seen as the persecuted minority

      why would she want jews to be viewed, today in america, as the underdog, persecuted minority? she was glad to see the outpouring of anti semitism. i found it revolting.

      • oldgeezer
        October 28, 2016, 5:00 pm

        I totally agree Annie. If It was a hit piece it could have been attacked on the merits. Her religion, ethnicity, gender had nothing to do with it.

      • Tchoupitoulas
        October 28, 2016, 6:00 pm

        @Annie “why would she want jews to be viewed (…) as a persecuted minority?”

        From Rationalwiki, “Persecution complex,” with sub heading “Role in tribalism:”

        …The formation of a tribe, in the sociological sense, relies on there being a common interest or goal strong enough that a group would in some way delimitate itself from the larger society. Persecution complexes are not inherent in all forms of tribalism, but they do lend themselves to the polarization of such groups. Communal reinforcement (and, often, indoctrination) reassures group members that they are indeed correct; how could all of us be wrong? At extremes this leads to the groupthink that places continued membership of a group and conformity to its norms above rational and critical evaluation. Such a process is highly evident in fundamentalist religion, but is almost a given for any group expressing sufficiently extreme ideology. Nothing brings people together like having a common enemy.

        Sociologically, people tend to form groups with like-minded people. These social units form a kind of tribe united against the world by an ideology or an idea. This is evident in religious groups, but the behavior can be seen in any group that places group cohesion above the need to critically evaluate its claims.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 30, 2016, 3:45 pm

        thank you Tchoupitoulas

      • echinococcus
        October 28, 2016, 6:12 pm

        why would she want jews to be viewed, today in america, as the underdog, persecuted minority? she was glad to see the outpouring of anti semitism.

        Why? For the same reason Herzl and Weizmann and Jabotinsky and the Yahoo and Beinart all love it and sometimes provoke it –though some of them only say it so clear and loud.
        Without “antisemitism”, where are you with recruiting anyone to that crazy scheme?

        In this case, it was a pure, unadulterated expression of the vilest, old-fashioned KKK racism. But look at the lady, who immediately twists it in something more than racism, making it about ethnic identity, Soviet-bashing and recruitment.

        i found it revolting.

        Not the Zionists.

      • JWalters
        October 28, 2016, 6:36 pm

        Annie, Thanks for that background information. It gets hard to tell the players without a program.

        “I was very frustrated by the discussion … where Jews, like Israel, were no longer seen as the underdog, no longer seen as the persecuted minority” – Julia Ioffe

        These are the thoughts of someone wanting to “fix the facts to fit the policy”, NOT the thinking of an objective journalist.

        “The irony of this is that … my family came to the US from Russia … because we were fleeing antisemitism” – Julia Ioffe

        Another irony is that she wants the Palestinians to flee Zionism, continuing the Nakba.

      • Marnie
        October 29, 2016, 3:55 am

        ” she was glad to see the outpouring of anti semitism. i found it revolting.”

        I find it revolting too. Someone who is ‘glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism’ can only be an israel firster, a rock solid zionist. Reminds me of netanyahoo on his Israel is the only safe home for the Jews tour in Paris after charlie hebdo. The more danger, real or imagined, the better it is for the zionist enterprise as they need a steady supply of useful idiots. What keeps it going (besides the u.s. and other enablers) after all, is not because it’s ‘a light to the nations’, a place where the mantra is ‘justice, justice, you shall pursue’. Oh hell no. Instead the mantra is ‘god gave this land to the Jews’ and ‘death to the Arabs’.

        I found her honesty refreshing and horrifying at the same time. The ghost of ben gurion.

      • eljay
        October 29, 2016, 11:03 pm

        || Annie Robbins @ October 28, 2016, 2:48 pm ||

        Ms. Ioffe may or may not be right in the head, but she’s mistaken if she thinks that the rise in anti-Semitism about which she is so glad (why does she hate Jews so much?!) in any way validates Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

  6. inbound39
    October 28, 2016, 2:28 pm

    What concerns me is we see Ioffe penning an article specifically designed to offend and when she got the expected backlash that any journalist ,jewish or otherwise would get then because she is jewish it gets termed anti semitic regardless of how offensive she was. She was the one who went fishing and caught the fish of the day she was after. People would have done better to simply ignore the imbecile instead of giving her what she wanted. She incited the reaction she got to a large extent and those supporting the Israel regime cannot expect pussyfooting given their abhorrent behaviour toward Palestinians. Let us not forget that Germans responsible for the Holocaust were put to death for their part in the Holocaust. What will the outcome be for rightwing Zionist actions against Palestinians which have equally been as bad. She played a role like Lord Haw Haw….anyone remember him?

    • Annie Robbins
      October 30, 2016, 4:04 pm

      when she got the expected backlash that any journalist ,jewish or otherwise would get then because she is jewish it gets termed anti semitic

      no, the backlash was specifically anti semitic and that’s what her main (anti semitic) critic emails to his supporters to send her.

  7. Tchoupitoulas
    October 28, 2016, 3:58 pm

    “..one of the great secrets of human nature is that the one thing people want more than love, security, sex, chocolate or big-screen TV’s is to feel hard done by. Why? Because being hard done by is the shit. Feeling hard done by is the sweetest of drugs. If you’re being persecuted — it must mean you’re doing the right thing, right? You get the mellow buzz of the moral high ground, but without arrogantly claiming it as your own. You get an instant, supportive community in a big dark scary world of such scope it may well literally be beyond rational human processing. When you are hard done by, you get purpose in a life where otherwise, you’d have to find your own. And when you ride that high, then no amount of logic, no pointing out that in actuality you and your beliefs are at a high point of popularity and influence for the last hundred years — is going to pry that sweet crack-pipe of moral indignation from your hands.” – John Rogers

  8. Talkback
    October 28, 2016, 5:40 pm

    Poor thing. A world without antisemitism would be living hell for her.

    • biggerjake
      October 30, 2016, 12:14 pm

      Yeah…you’re right..

      She’s not really a “persecuted minority”… she just plays one on TV.

      …or maybe she just slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night….

  9. JWalters
    October 28, 2016, 6:17 pm

    “I was kind of glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism” – Julia Ioffe

    “Whew! I was beginning to think the Palestinians might be victims of Jews after all! But thankfully here’s evidence that Ayelet Shaked is right, we’re the persecuted ones! So it’s OK to slaughter Palestinians and steal their land. What a relief!

    “I wonder how Ayelet explains those predatory financiers … Madoff, etc. … Must ask her sometime.”

  10. reere
    October 28, 2016, 7:29 pm

    “Personally I was glad to see the outpouring of anti-Semitism”

    Perfect confluence of competing identity politics here. Ioffe can be, as she puts it, like American “blacks” – and not white and hence have to placed in the villains chair and address the consequences of that (though still she recently got in trouble with certain crowds for suggesting a female cop arrested for killing a black motorist was the victim of gender bias) – while Anglin can pose his anti-semitism as power-from-bellow against the effete elite aristocracy and its courtiers- plus reemphasize the “jews are only posing as “white” people line” here. Both parts get something out of it and nobody gets hurt ( and people hurt by racism general don’t casually say they’re “glad” it happened- unless they’re unhinged by the experience) since this virtual-world schoolyard drama doesn’t rise to any political praxis.

    The articles cited above by Ioffe’s friends and colleagues dont mention, notable given the topic of chauvinism, of her passionate racism towards Russians (see her piece on Snowdens asylum for example or anything really) and chauvinism at people from the region in general (a comment above mentioned her piece on Trumps wife, which to give a sense of the stylistics piece mockingly ascribed a “Transilvanian accent” to someone from Slovenia. Or the time she wrote about how she almost got beat up by a group of elderly Ukrainian women for talking to them like dumb animals.) Its very different from the usual jingo stuff you read in any media outlet/pundit. Dont know if thats a product of her 3 year stint in Russia or her general upbringing in the US.

    I do want want to note that given how often she mentions her family “fleeing” to the US (they got refuge status) it both coincides with millions fleeing economic/political collapse at that very moment and she writes that 25 years later her grandparent(s) apparently still live there. The “I was very frustrated by the discussion on kind of the liberal side of the political spectrum, where Jews, like Israel, were no longer seen as the underdog, no longer seen as the persecuted minority” comment puts that into a new light for me.

  11. jon s
    October 29, 2016, 6:28 am

    I don’t see how anyone could be “glad” to see an outpouring of Anti-Semitism. Especially since it’s not confined to relatively harmless tweets. In the real world , where Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism have converged, real people have been murdered.

  12. Stephen Shenfield
    October 29, 2016, 8:18 am

    Besides the political advantage, it’s a great moral comfort to be recognized as a persecuted minority. But the worst persecution is that suffered by those who are not generally recognized as persecuted.

  13. Ossinev
    October 29, 2016, 8:35 am

    I hate to sound pejorative but it sounds to me that this lady was going through some sort of identity crisis due to a lack of a sense of being a member of the most persecuted minority in the history of minorities until social media which of course is a honey trap for right wing loony freaks of all cults shapes and sizes came along and rescued her. She can now return to the comforting womb of ant- Judaistic victimisation and sleep the sleep of the victimised. What a relief.

  14. Shawshank
    October 29, 2016, 9:21 am

    I worked in an industry where a lot of my co-workers are Jewish. Many of them are my friends. I have a doctor and an eye doctor who are Jewish. NONE of these people look persecuted to me. They all have nice, safe lives, living comfortably within their careers. They have nice homes, drive nice cars and take wonderful vacations. Again…tell me how they are being persecuted…because someone gets mad at them and calls them a name?

    I had an incident at work where I related how I was almost killed on the way over in a near traffic accident. One of the Jews remarked, “That’s okay, we wouldn’t miss you!” Appalling…should I have shouted “Anti-Catholic”?!

  15. YoniFalic
    October 29, 2016, 9:24 am

    Julia Ioffe provides another example where Jewish beliefs simply don’t correspond to the historical facts.

    Right up until the collapse of the Soviet Union Jews had disproportionately higher incomes than other Soviet citizens. Soviet Jewish Zionists had problems but any other Soviet national group expressing loyalty to an external state would probably have worse problems.

    In retrospect the movement for Solidarity with Russian Jews seems like a con job to give Soviet Jews more rights and privileges than other Soviet citizens.

  16. Vera Gottlieb
    October 29, 2016, 10:19 am

    Yeah…a persecuted minority now persecuting another minority.

    • Talkback
      October 30, 2016, 4:27 am

      In hist. Palestine and with regards to the refugees a settler minority is persecuting a native majority.

  17. Keith
    October 29, 2016, 12:08 pm

    I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, but something about this doesn’t smell right. A good-looking, successful Ashkenazi journalist suffering anti-Semitism in Russia and now from Trump supporters. Interesting timing, no? And all of this time I thought that Russian Jews were relatively privileged.

    As an aside, I don’t like or use Twitter. It is a medium which lends itself to mob psychology. It is the very antithesis of reasoned thought and discourse.

  18. jon s
    October 29, 2016, 3:46 pm

    I don’t understand how anyone could be “glad” to see manifestations of Anti-Semitism, especially since it isn’t just a matter of relatively harmless tweets. Anti-Semitism, converging with Anti-Zionism , has cost real lives of innocent people, mainly in Europe.

    • eljay
      October 30, 2016, 8:08 pm

      || jon s: … Anti-Semitism, converging with Anti-Zionism , has cost real lives of innocent people, mainly in Europe. ||

      But that won’t stop Zio-supremacists from doing their very best to continue conflating all Jews with the hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist ideology and the oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” project.

      I don’t understand why Zio-supremacists hate Jews so much.

  19. rosahill
    October 30, 2016, 2:13 pm

    The article reports a worthwhile story but I find the tenor of many of the comments distressing. Regardless of whether Ioffe thinks she can gain political advantage from anti-semitic attacks, the attacks made against her were virulently anti-Semitic and unacceptable. It’s bad enough when Zionists conflate anti-Zionism with anti-semitism. It is worse when anti-Zionists make find ways to minimize clearly anti-semitic attacks. Attacks against women are not excused because the woman attacked is privileged. The same goes for anti-semitism.

  20. WH
    November 1, 2016, 4:21 am

    Hate posts en masse and phone molestation are certainly very unpleasant, but they’re a far cry from police brutality and systemic discrimination. ‘Persecuted minority’? Not quite.

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