“The Problem Isn’t That Trevor Noah Is Offensive,” declares the headline of an article by Slate’s Jessica Winter. “The Problem,” the title continues, “Is That He’s a Giant Dope.”
I’d argue there’s room for both epithets. Noah, who has been named as Jon Stewart’s replacement on “The Daily Show,” has authored a number of tweets that, in Winter’s formulation, showcase his “breezy anti-semitism.” Consider a couple:
Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 12, 2014
Now there’s anti-Semitism and there’s anti-Semitism. As a case in point, there was Lena Dunham’s “quiz” that ran in the New Yorker last week. The piece presented readers with a series of statements and asked them to determine whether it described her dog or her Jewish boyfriend. Although some prominent Jews, including Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, found the piece insensitive, my only criticism upon reading it is that it wasn’t funny. There are some Jewish stereotypes — such as answering a question with a question — that aren’t merely hilarious but accurate, and Dunham overlooked every one of them. But there is a point where Jewish “humor” breaks down, and that’s where it addresses sensitive issues, such issues as the Holocaust or the beleaguered Jewish homeland:
Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) September 18, 2009
South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful. — Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 2, 2010
In her Slate article, Winter reports that Noah has Jon Stewart’s “full-throated support,” which would be troubling if it weren’t explained by Stewart’s politics. It is fashionable among Jewish liberals to badmouth Israel.
The following is a video of Noah’s first appearance as a Daily Show “correspondent.”
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