NEW YORK (VINnews) — Allison Josephs, founder of the “JewInTheCity” blog, called out the New Jersey Department of Health over an ad that linked Jews celebrating Purim with the spread of Covid.
Josephs tweeted a picture of the ad, originally published on Facebook, and wrote: “Hey @NJDeptofHealth I notice you don’t name holidays or communal gatherings of other marginalized groups when you discuss Covid making a comeback. Jews as vectors of disease is a millennia old trope. Get some sensitivity checkers before you mention the Jewish community.”
She wrote: “This ad is being targeted to Jews on Facebook feeds specifically and was made by a Jewish ad agency. Other minority groups are also getting targeted ads.” She added several takeaways about the potential of the ad and its messaging to harm Jews.
1. @njdeptofhealth platforms should include positive messages about Jews, like they do for other minorities. If their goal is diversity, Jews should be included for the good times, not only when it comes time to mention not spreading disease.
2. Even content made by well-meaning Jews can miss the mark because an issue is sensitive. Purim 2020 got labeled as a super spreader event, but St. Patty Day celebrations happened all over the country at the exact same time, but there was no blaming of Irishmen as vectors of disease
3) With Mayor de Blasio calling out Jews by name during Covid, the recent Washington Post article on a Somali measles spread, using images on only Hasidic Jews, plus millennia of tropes of Jews being disease spreaders, if we’re sensitive on this topic, we have a reason to be.
Josephs frequently exposes antisemitic tropes in the media. She was recently very vocal in her criticism of a Netflix film which depicts Jews in an extremely negative light.
In addition, she recently tweeted an image used by the Wall Street Journal as a header for an article about haggling and bargaining, in which an Orthodox Jew with a kippah was visibly front and center.