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Why Jewish Jokes Are Dangerous

Abe Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defemation League, stopped by Big Think today to talk about the state of anti-Semitism in America today. Among other things, we asked him if it was okay for Jews to tell Jewish jokes. His answer, in a word: No.

Foxman pointed to examples dating back to Archie Bunker on “All in the Family,” which was the first time it became okay to laugh at bigotry. All hate begins with words, explained Abe Foxman, from the Holocaust to slavery. He even told us that he had it out with Sacha Baron Cohen after the release of the first Borat movie, when he saw the skit “Throw the Jew Down the Well.” Foxman said that even though people think the viewers were laughing at Cohen, they were really laughing with him. He even asked Cohen to film a public service announcement for the ADL; Cohen is apparently “still considering.”

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