We know that it’s a bit late in the go-go internet news-cycle to be weighing in on Juan Williams, but Jewdar is a man who doesn’t like to waste words, and we wanted to make absosmurfly sure that nobody else would say what had to be said before we tossed in our two shekels. Right off the bat, let’s make it clear that we back Mr. Williams 100%. Granted, some of this may be a bit self-serving (the thought of losing one’s day job because of something you say in your irregular media gig is a little cercano to Jewdar’s casa), but even by annoying PC standards, this is pretty nuts. Even if he had said something anti-Muslim, one would hope that, given how long he’s worked for NPR, he would at least be given a chance to explain himself. But of course, he didn’t say anything anti-Muslim.
He didn’t say that Muslims were terrorists or should be treated as such. In fact, further into his discussion with Bill O’Reilly, he specifically says that Muslims shouldn’t be attacked or denied their rights, and the overall tenor of the discussion was that one shouldn’t stigmatize all Muslims for the actions of Muslim terrorists. So in essence, what he was fired for was admitting that he has, like many Americans, a visceral negative reaction to a particular group. Maybe Jewdar is nuts, but isn’t Juan Williams doing precisely what we’re supposed to do—go beyond our initial emotional conclusion, and try to arrive at a logical one.
That being all said, we do have to take some umbrage at Williams’s remarks. Personally, Jewdar has no angst when we see Muslims bedecked in their religious finery at an airport, since, of course, the Muslim terrorist about to launch an attack is not too likely to be wearing the equivalent of a giant “Pay Close Attention to Me” sign. In fact, not only is Jewdar not concerned by the presence of such Muslims in the airport, we’re positively delighted, since, after all, as real experts on Muslim terrorism know, all Muslims everywhere always know when a terrorist attack is going to take place, which means you see a woman in a burqa, you know that the only bomb on that plane is going to be the in-flight showing of Sex and The City 2.
I get soooo NERVOUS when I see those RABBIS n sears sucker suits. Or young kids from the local Yeshiva wearing those funny little hats. (doesn’t sound (or read) so good, idnit?)
Context is everything. You just made up a completely context-less scenario. How about a Palestinian saying “when I hear Hebrew, I’m instinctively angry/afraid, but I don’t hold all Israelis accountable for what the Israeli government does.”
The point is that Williams very clearly wasn’t blaming all Muslims or Islam for terrorism, but was expressing an–all things considered–natural visceral reaction. Unlike many people who pretend that they don’t notice racial, ethnic, or religious differences, Williams was honest enough to note that he does notice such things–but that his personal issues shouldn’t be translated into actions. Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do?
Also, the suit is “seersucker,” and if you knew what that meant, you would know how absurd that is in the context of Orthodox rabbis.