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Is Hiring Jews Evidence of anti-Semitism?

Summary:
At first glance, the title of this post seems strange. How could hiring Jews be evidence of anti-Semitism? And yet that is where we are. I got a late start this morning and made the mistake, while on my exercise bike, of turning on Megyn Kelly's new show on NBC. Apparently, Alabama Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore had been accused of anti-Semitism. Kelly showed a clip of his wife defending him in which she pointed out that they had hired a Jewish lawyer. Kelly then asked a Roy Moore supporter, with a somber tone, whether he could understand how that statement by Moore's wife could upset some people; presumably she had Jews in mind. I thought the Roy Moore supporter deflected the issue nicely

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At first glance, the title of this post seems strange. How could hiring Jews be evidence of anti-Semitism? And yet that is where we are. I got a late start this morning and made the mistake, while on my exercise bike, of turning on Megyn Kelly's new show on NBC. Apparently, Alabama Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore had been accused of anti-Semitism. Kelly showed a clip of his wife defending him in which she pointed out that they had hired a Jewish lawyer. Kelly then asked a Roy Moore supporter, with a somber tone, whether he could understand how that statement by Moore's wife could upset some people; presumably she had Jews in mind. I thought the Roy Moore supporter deflected the issue nicely by pointing out that some people will get offended by anything.

But I would have preferred a more direct response. It would have gone something like this:

No, I don't see why it would upset people. What evidence would we look for it we were trying to figure out whether someone was anti-Semitic? One major piece of evidence would be whether they associate with Jews. Assuming Roy Moore's wife told the truth, the evidence here is that he does associate with at least one Jew. That may not be enough evidence to persuade people who think he's anti-Semitic. But it's some evidence and it goes in the right direction.

In a broader sense, think about one reason people care so much about whether others are anti-Semitic, anti-black, or anti-gay. If you look at the discussion when I talk about freedom of association, you can't help but conclude that one major reason is their fear, possibly justified, that those who are anti-Semitic, anti-black, or anti-gay will refuse to hire or do business with, Jews, black people, or gays, respectively.


David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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