For some people, “Jew” is an adjective that defines someone’s ethnic or religious identity. For some other people, “Jew” is a slur.
Gamal Saber, who was the campaign manager for a now-disqualified candidate for the Egyptian presidency, recently got booted from the set of a popular chat show. The show’s host is a woman named Azza Mustafa. As she was interviewing Saber (who, I guess I should point out for the purposes of this post, is a hardline Muslim), he replied to her, “You are a prominent media personality, and you are famous worldwide because you are talented and smart, and you moderate the dialogue very well…But there is another reason why you are so famous. Do you know what it is? I know that you know, but I will let the viewers know as well. Azza is of Jewish origin! Here are the documents.”
Azza then replied, “You have a problem with the Egyptian state. Maybe the elections committee allows you to talk about forgeries, but even if you apologize, I do not allow you to accuse me of being Jewish. I am very sorry, but you will have to leave. Even if you want to demonstrate how anyone can accuse anyone of anything, I’m asking you to leave because you made this comparison and told me I am Jewish.”
Here’s the fucked up thing. Azza Mustafa should be allowed to kick people off of her show if she feels like it, and if they were being annoying and combative like Saber I wouldn’t want to deal with them either. But they both seem to be operating under the assumption that being called Jewish is a really bad thing and even a mark on someone’s character. If only an adjective could just be an adjective.